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Atlanta Magazine Super Lawyer, 2006: Top 100 Super Lawyer

Randall Kessler – Recognized as a Top 100 Georgia Super Lawyer

For the fourth year in a row, Randall M. Kessler has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer. Honorees are considered to be among the top 5% of lawyers across 60 practice areas. This year, Mr. Kessler was also included in the Super Lawyer Top 100 Lawyers. Georgia Super Lawyers are selected based on surveys of over 23,000 lawyers across the state. The full list of lawyers will be published in the March issues of Atlanta Magazine and Georgia Super Lawyer.


Don’t Fear New Child Support Rules

Don't Fear New Child Support Article


Rison’s Ex Considering Options

ATLANTA (AP) — Landing employment abroad shouldn’t affect former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison’s child-support obligations, said the attorney for the mother of two of his children.

Two weeks after a DeKalb County judge ordered Rison arrested for failure to pay more than $100,000 in child support, Rison signed a contract to play with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Rison joined the team Saturday, but working in Canada shouldn’t prevent him from fulfilling his child-support obligations to ex-girlfriend Raycoa Handley of Atlanta, who he owes $107,350 in back child support for their children, ages 16 and 18.

Handley’s attorney, Randall Kessler, said he will either petition a Canadian court to enforce DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker’s order that Rison pay the back child support or wait to see if Rison’s return to the gridiron rekindles a career in the NFL, where he surely would be paid more and it will be easier to garnish his wages because he’ll be in the United States.

“Everyone wants him to do well. Then everyone wants his money,” Kessler said.

Rison has had other problems with back child support payments in Michigan, prompting that state’s attorney general in May to issue an arrest warrant for Rison’s failure to pay $94,891 to his ex-wife, Tonja. Rison was never arrested because a Michigan judge canceled the warrant in June and instead sentenced Rison to two years of probation.

Kessler has repeatedly expressed frustration with authorities’ inability to arrest Rison and he said in June that he suspects Rison is hiding his money, making it difficult to inventory his assets. He said Monday he was pleased to hear Rison is working and doesn’t want him to go to jail.

“Better employed in another country than unemployed here,” Kessler said. “We don’t want to ruin his career. Putting him in jail doesn’t help in the long run.”

Because Rison will be making money in Toronto, Kessler said he’s reluctant to seek his arrest there. The judge’s clerk, Jessica Harris, would not comment on the matter.

Rison’s Michigan attorney, David Kallman, was out of the office until Wednesday. His Atlanta attorney, Max Richardson, and agent, Charles Tucker, did not immediately return messages left at their offices.

His longtime business manager, Bill Thies, told Toronto’s Globe and Mail on Sunday that the Georgia judge merely wants to see Rison gainfully employed, which is written nowhere in her court order. Thies also said Rison will resolve his child support problems by Saturday.

“That situation will be resolved. It’s not a criminal matter. It’s a civil matter in a small county court in Georgia,” Thies told the newspaper, “but because it’s Andre Rison, people like to jump and run with it.”

Rison also spoke with the newspaper after his Sunday practice with the Argonauts. Calling himself “the best receiver to play the game,” he told the newspaper that others were handling the child-support situation. He also said he has a great relationship with his children. Handley claims Rison hasn’t seen or talked to their children in 21/2 years.

Argonauts coach Michael Clemons said in a team statement that Rison was hired because of his outstanding ability and so he could help groom Toronto’s young receivers.

Rison last played for the Oakland Raiders in 2000, finishing with 41 catches for 606 yards. He was suspended for four games in 2001 for a repeat violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and had been out of football until signing with the Argonauts.

Rison, who played from 1989 to 2000, had 743 catches for 10,205 yards and 84 touchdowns in 12 seasons with seven teams.ATLANTA (AP) — Landing employment abroad shouldn’t affect former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison’s child-support obligations, said the attorney for the mother of two of his children.

Two weeks after a DeKalb County judge ordered Rison arrested for failure to pay more than $100,000 in child support, Rison signed a contract to play with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Rison joined the team Saturday, but working in Canada shouldn’t prevent him from fulfilling his child-support obligations to ex-girlfriend Raycoa Handley of Atlanta, who he owes $107,350 in back child support for their children, ages 16 and 18.

Handley’s attorney, Randall Kessler, said he will either petition a Canadian court to enforce DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker’s order that Rison pay the back child support or wait to see if Rison’s return to the gridiron rekindles a career in the NFL, where he surely would be paid more and it will be easier to garnish his wages because he’ll be in the United States.

“Everyone wants him to do well. Then everyone wants his money,” Kessler said.

Rison has had other problems with back child support payments in Michigan, prompting that state’s attorney general in May to issue an arrest warrant for Rison’s failure to pay $94,891 to his ex-wife, Tonja. Rison was never arrested because a Michigan judge canceled the warrant in June and instead sentenced Rison to two years of probation.

Kessler has repeatedly expressed frustration with authorities’ inability to arrest Rison and he said in June that he suspects Rison is hiding his money, making it difficult to inventory his assets. He said Monday he was pleased to hear Rison is working and doesn’t want him to go to jail.

“Better employed in another country than unemployed here,” Kessler said. “We don’t want to ruin his career. Putting him in jail doesn’t help in the long run.”

Because Rison will be making money in Toronto, Kessler said he’s reluctant to seek his arrest there. The judge’s clerk, Jessica Harris, would not comment on the matter.

Rison’s Michigan attorney, David Kallman, was out of the office until Wednesday. His Atlanta attorney, Max Richardson, and agent, Charles Tucker, did not immediately return messages left at their offices.

His longtime business manager, Bill Thies, told Toronto’s Globe and Mail on Sunday that the Georgia judge merely wants to see Rison gainfully employed, which is written nowhere in her court order. Thies also said Rison will resolve his child support problems by Saturday.

“That situation will be resolved. It’s not a criminal matter. It’s a civil matter in a small county court in Georgia,” Thies told the newspaper, “but because it’s Andre Rison, people like to jump and run with it.”

Rison also spoke with the newspaper after his Sunday practice with the Argonauts. Calling himself “the best receiver to play the game,” he told the newspaper that others were handling the child-support situation. He also said he has a great relationship with his children. Handley claims Rison hasn’t seen or talked to their children in 21/2 years.

Argonauts coach Michael Clemons said in a team statement that Rison was hired because of his outstanding ability and so he could help groom Toronto’s young receivers.

Rison last played for the Oakland Raiders in 2000, finishing with 41 catches for 606 yards. He was suspended for four games in 2001 for a repeat violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and had been out of football until signing with the Argonauts.

Rison, who played from 1989 to 2000, had 743 catches for 10,205 yards and 84 touchdowns in 12 seasons with seven teams.


The Art of Distraction

Client comfort influences design choices at divorce firm

The Daily Report

When you stroll through the corridors of Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany, there are no portraits of button-down managing partners staring down from their paneled perches. There isn’t even any paneling.

Instead, there are a half-dozen lithographs by Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based artist David Schluss. His subjects, all clowns, have their heads thrown back, their eyes squeezed tight by spasms of laughter, their caps askew and their polka-dot outfits splashed with color.

The upbeat collection, purchased by Randall M. “Randy” Kessler, offsets the often somber atmosphere of the divorce firm. So do vivid holographs by Israeli artist Ygal Agam, colorful prints by pop artist Peter Max and a lithograph of “My Petunia Could Lick Your Geranium” by Theodor Seuss Geisel—Dr. Seuss himself.

The artwork is not the only eye-catching element of the Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany office. Situated in the Centennial Building, 35 floors above Marietta Street, the firm boasts impressive views of downtown Atlanta, including every landmark from Turner Field to Centennial Olympic Park.

A ‘Happy and Light’ Atmosphere Founded in 1991, Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany has remained in the same location for 13 years. The current office design took shape just six months ago, following two major expansions that, together, added 5,900 square feet to the firm’s space.

As part of the first expansion, completed in 2001, the firm removed a conference room, giving visitors to the reception area an unobstructed view of downtown. It also expanded glass panels in select outer walls to enhance openness and admit natural light.

At the same time, the firm redecorated the entire office, bringing in new artwork and replacing fluorescent lighting with recessed fixtures and incandescent bulbs.

“We wanted a distinctive look that was more modern and upbeat,” Kessler said.

Having chosen the firm’s artwork himself, Kessler took charge of decorating. In addition to creating an “uplifting, happy and light” atmosphere, his goals were simple: He wanted a look so unusual that no one entering the office would say, “This reminds me of an office I’ve seen somewhere,” and he wanted the space to have a “wow” effect on visitors.

Kessler calls the result of his efforts “the art of distraction,” adding that the artwork and panoramic views are uplifting to his clients.

Balancing Openness and Privacy

Openness is a hallmark of the Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany office. During the second expansion, overseen by Atlanta-based design consultant Jennifer Treeter, the firm installed glass walls in six new offices, repeating a design element from the first expansion.

While the airy atmosphere can be uplifting, it also can create anxiety for some clients who feel “on display.” For example, the interior wall of Kessler’s office is partly glass. While the design allows natural light to pass into interior workstations, it also provides a partial view into the office.

Clients were uncomfortable with the lack of privacy, and, as a result, the firm added partitions to the workstations, obscuring staff views of Kessler’s office. The firm also began holding initial client meetings in private conference rooms.

According to Kessler, clients quickly adjust to the sense of openness in the office, and they enjoy the décor. In at least one instance, however, the firm’s artwork brought Kessler face to face with someone who wasn’t a fan.

While attending an art auction several years ago, Kessler noticed that the auctioneer slammed the gavel with far more force when Kessler bid than when other attendees bid. Following the auction, Kessler asked the auctioneer about what he had noticed.

“You represented my ex-wife at the divorce hearing,” the auctioneer told him.