Articles & News

from the Hour Pro article in Hour Detroit magazine, August 2011

Ruling The Court

It is an interesting irony that you must yourself become a judge when it comes to deciding on the right attorney to represent you. Fortunately, there is one attorney whose brilliant legal mind and complete dedication to winning for her clients is sure to make you rule in her favor.

That attorney is Armene Kaye and, as the facts will show, her obsession about practicing law and looking out for her clients’ best interests is both reassuring and the key to her track record of being virtually unbeatable in court.

Ms. Kaye’s general practice includes civil lawsuits, family law, estate planning, probate litigation and just about all other legal matters that come to mind — and she handles all these facets of the profession as the sole attorney in the practice. In a male-dominated world, she rules the court by being better prepared than her counterparts and extremely competitive, and by working up to 14 hours a day to make sure she wins for her clients. Ms. Kaye is an articulate speaker whose easygoing manner belies what has been referred to as a “shark-like” ferocity in the courtroom. Nonetheless, having a conversation with her is a pleasure, and she has a big heart.

In one very telling story, she described a misdemeanor case that she handled. When she approached the judge for a possible plea bargain, h e tossed her client’s file across his desk and said that her client was “going to jail.” Upon further discussion, she convinced the judge to allow her to advocate on behalf of her client and, ultimately, to allow her client to go home on probation. The overjoyed young man gave her a big hug and cried. As Ms. Kaye says, “to pursue the results that really make a difference in someone’s life is what it’s all about.”

In addition to her law degree, Ms. Kaye holds a degree in business. As a result, she advises those involved in divorce cases to look at the breakup of their marriage as “the dissolution of a business, leaving troublesome emotions behind and making sure to focus instead on the property settlement to obtain a secure financial future.” Here again, she is always keen on making a difference in other peoples’ lives.

When asked, “What would you like people to know about you?” she says simply, “That I built a successful law practice one client at a time and have developed relationships with my clients that will last a lifetime.” She goes on to explain that she enjoys the fact her practice is driven by client referrals and that she doesn’t have to rely on advertising to keep people knocking at her door.

“I’m very grateful,” she says. “My clients are responsible for my success, based on those all important referrals. It doesn’t get any better than that.” It is this gratitude that sets Ms. Kaye apart from others, who sometimes forget to acknowledge the people that truly fuel their profession.

So what compelled Ms. Kaye to become an attorney? “It was inevitable, I guess,” she says. “Even as a child, I found so many injustices in the world. There were arbitrary bedtimes, unfair household chores, and bullied classmates who needed an advocate. From a very early age, I learned arguing was an art form and I became very persuasive at it. I guess the best way to correct perceived wrongs was to become an attorney … and I can honestly say that today I do what I love and I love what I do.”

When asked about her average workday, Ms. Kaye gives an answer that would make even the most driven individual take pause. “I have a hyperfocus on the law,” she says, in a voice that sounds like she’s delivering a closing argument. “I’m obsessed about the law. I think about my cases all the time and I’m always reading up on what’s current in the law, never leaving a stone unturned. I am definitely unique in that way.” As if to add a final exclamation point, she says, “If I had to hire an attorney, I’d hire someone exactly like me!” So when it comes to choosing an unbeatable attorney at law, what’s the verdict? You be the judge.

Armene Kaye is an attorney and counselor at law serving your legal needs throughout Michigan. If you would like to receive a free consultation, she can be reached at (248) 496-9500, or by e-mail at goodlawyer@armenekaye.com

She is an experienced attorney with the legal knowledge and skills essential to protecting your best interests.

 

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from an article written for the Detroit Legal News, April 22, 2011

Marriage: Unequal Rights Under the Law

by Armene Kaye

The wedding expo coming up on May 1 in Livonia, which was created for same-gender couples, demonstrates that the subject of gay marriage isn’t going to go away. It’s an issue that is gaining national attention and momentum. Last month, Congress introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would serve to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996. It is widely seen as balancing the scales of justice in favor of marriage equality regardless of gender-based issues, or gender-biased issues as I prefer to call them. DOMA is the federal law signed by then President Bill Clinton that allowed the federal government to narrowly define marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman.

On Feb. 23, 2011, the U.S. Attorney General announced that the Obama Administration would no longer defend DOMA Section 3 in court, which interestingly enough is the section that defines marriage for federal purposes. The following day, the Department of Justice notified the First Circuit Court of Appeals that it would “cease to defend” a pending case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. It is quite remarkable that only 15 years separate the two Democratic presidents with such a dramatic reversal in their administration’s policy toward the enforcement of DOMA.

Seven jurisdictions now recognize marriage equality since the enactment of DOMA’s discriminatory intrusion into the private lives of U.S. citizens. Those included are Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. California is also included primarily because it allowed some 18,000 same-gender couples that married in 2008 to remain legally married today. The issuing of marriage licenses in California was halted with the passage of Proposition 8, a citizen led referendum that prohibited the state from legalizing same-gender marriages. It remains to be seen whether the public at large can initiate discrimination into their state’s constitution by voting on the rights of a suspect class of fellow-citizens.

From this attorney’s perspective, it’s simply a matter of when, and not if, our government resolves to fully recognize the constitutional rights intended to be conferred upon all citizens. This would naturally include the legal ability to marry the person you love and cherish until death do you part.

In the meantime, eight states have enacted benefits and responsibilities of marriage for same-gender couples. However noble that may appear, they attached a label such as civil union or domestic partnership and not that of “marriage” in their endeavor to move the issue forward. To many, including this author, it is the mark of inferiority or yet another notation further identifying a second-class citizenry amongst us. It’s not just another debate in semantics, but an example of how good intentions often miss the mark.

The General Accounting Office has previously identified 1,138 federal statutory provisions in the United States Code in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges. In essence, there are over a thousand benefits that are bestowed upon heterosexual couples with the issuance of a marriage license.

It turns out that opposite-sex married people have a great deal of significant advantages in the area of estate planning, income tax, housing, pensions, social security, insurance and healthcare decisions just to name a few. It’s simply astonishing how many areas that LGBT couples, otherwise engaged in loving and committed relationships, are relegated to the status of second class citizenship.

Nonetheless, gay couples can take legal measures to honor their relationships through the creation of various deeds, wills, trusts and contractual agreements. I have personally found a great deal of satisfaction in sharing my knowledge and skill with those that had given up hope on receiving any legal recognition of their status as a family.

The more widespread the inequities have become, the more frustrating the wait for equality. Many years ago, I began to address key areas of concern for domestic partners. With a great deal of determination and matched effort, I tailored my legal services to those clients with unique needs such as those within the gay community. Proactive measures can be taken while waiting for equality under the law to arrive. We have the ability to offer legal documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Designation of Patient Advocate and Domestic Partnership Agreement to establish certain rights and responsibilities until the government offers a more permanent solution.  While the aforementioned is not meant to be an all inclusive list, it is a good start. Simply put, one cannot wait for the government to grant legal recognition when there are other means to immediately establish legal rights and protections.

For me, the debate ended a long time ago. It’s not about gay marriage. It’s about marriage, stupid. It’s about couples that want to pursue a lifetime of commitment to each other with full legal acknowledgment of their relationship. No matter how hard some may try, they can’t stop the inevitable progression of equal access to legal marriage. The politician and gay activist Harvey Milk said that gay rights were a “simple matter of justice.” Adding to further the notion to marriage equality and rightfully so, love conquers all.

“To Have and to Hold: The Same Sex Wedding Expo will take place on Sunday, May 1 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott Livonia. Information at

http://www.pridesource.com/events.html

Armene Kaye has worked in private practice since 1999 at the Law Offices of Armene Kaye, P.C., a full service law office providing legal advice and services throughout the Metro-Detroit area. Kaye also offers practical legal alternatives for the specific needs of the LGBT community statewide.

She can be reached at (248) 496-9500

Armene Kaye, Esq., Attorney at Law
Call me today! (248) 496-9500