Thank you, Jim Miller

In the Preamble of the Dagger Law Partnership Agreement is a history of the origins of the firm: “The Partnership traces its origins through the history of two law practices started in Lancaster, Ohio by J.W. Deffenbaugh, Esq in 1902 and William C. Dagger, Esq. in 1946. The two partnerships merged on January 1, 1986.” Attorney J.W. Deffenbaugh was Jim Miller’s grandfather, and since 1902 Lancaster and Fairfield County have been blessed to have had three generations of the Miller family as prominent lawyers within our community. Eminently respected by all, they were dedicated to making our community a better place to live and raise a family.

The effect that the Miller family has had cannot be measured. For the first time in 118 years that chain of excellence, role modeled by the Miller family lawyers, is broken.

Our partner and friend, Jim Miller, passed away at 2 p.m. July 15, 2020. Dagger Law mourns the loss of a great man and honors his legacy by carrying on the tradition of outstanding attorneys dedicated to the community and our clients; as Jim Miller always did.

Due to COVID-19 a traditional funeral is not possible, but there will be a drive-by burial recognition on Saturday, July 18 at 11 a.m. at Forest Rose Cemetery at the Miller Family plot, which is located at the top left side of the cemetery by Marks Ave.

Connecting with People

By: Hannah Travis, Law Clerk and current law student at Capital University 

Hannah Travis playing golf for OU AthensAs someone who has golfed since I was six years old, I have always connected with people through the game. At my young age, I participated in the First Tee program. This program is built on nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment—all characteristics I believe the attorneys at Dagger Law possess.

I learned so early in life how important networking and connecting with others is. I learned about good eye-contact, how to properly shake someone’s hand, and being engaged in conversations with others. I believe my people skills have helped me get to where I am today. Through golf, I met Partner Jeff Spangler, as well as others who work for the county in law and law enforcement. Through conversation and friendliness, these people asked about my life—where I was attending college, what my major was, what I wanted to do in life. Being from a small town and wanting to stay in the area long term sparked interest in these people and landed me a job at Dagger as a summer law clerk.

I think there is a certain prejudice that lawyers, doctors, and other professionals seem to have surrounding them. In my first year of law school, my Contracts II professor had the class complete a group activity. She first asked us to describe what people typically think of when they think of a lawyer. Several students raised their hands and gave answers such as crooks, rude, intimidating, and not genuine. She then asked what we would want a lawyer we hired to be like, to which students answered: friendly, helpful, caring, and kind. We then discussed how most lawyers are actually described as the way we answered the second question.

I find it very important to form opinions of others for yourself, not by what others say about them. Lawyers are highly educated individuals, but they are still people. They like sports, they have families, they exercise, they go out with friends, etc. just like everyone else. Throughout the week, and even sometimes on the weekends, they talk in “legal-ese” because they are mostly surrounded by other attorneys and judges. When talking to attorneys, I have found that if you do not understand something, just ask! They get used to a certain way of communicating at work and sometimes just forget to “change gears.”

In the legal field, I have also observed that talking to a Partner of a firm seems to be more “intimidating” than talking to other attorneys. At Dagger, this is not the case. As a law clerk, I do a lot of work for Partner Jeff Spangler. He is extremely approachable and willing to answer any questions I have. He is thorough in explaining facts of a case to me or in what work I need to do. He treats everyone in the office with respect, and he gets his work done just like everyone else.

I have also had a chance to shadow Katie Cornelius-Blume, another attorney at Dagger. I observed a meeting she had with a younger client, and she was extremely thorough in explaining the client’s rights to them. Katie is understanding and caring with her clients and wants to make sure they understand what she is explaining to them.

In the end, people will always remember how you treat them and make them feel, so make your first impression to others one you want them to remember for the better. I believe the attorneys at Dagger truly care about their clients and put forth their best work each and every day.

COVID-19 Hours of Operation and Precautions

Coronavirus **UPDATED 14 JULY, 2020**

For the protection and peace of mind of our clients, staff, and the community at large, Dagger Law has established an office policy to practice social distancing and to conducting business by phone and email based on the attorney’s discretion and safety of all involved. 

Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary for clients to visit our office in order to attend meetings, review and sign documents, or for depositions. In these instances, appointments will be coordinated through your attorney and specific guidance regarding the meeting will be provided so that the meeting can go smoothly and quickly. Though we are accepting unscheduled, in-person, visits we request that  every effort be made to set an appointment, the interests of public safety.

For your convenience, we do have a drop box, labeled “night drop” located in our rear parking lot on the left set of double doors as you look at the building. If you need to drop off a payment, or paperwork, we ask that you consider the use of this option to minimize any unnecessary social contact between clients and staff. We understand that not every packet of papers will fit in the slot, and that there may be times when you may have questions about your paperwork that may be answered before you hand them over to our attorneys and staff. If this is the case, we ask that you proceed to our main reception area located on the Main Street side of our offices. This reception area is staffed during working hours, and can assist clients with most questions. If you need a notary, our reception desk can also provide this service to you, quickly and safely.

We are not requiring the wearing of face masks by clients of the firm, but ask that you consider this option for the safety and protection of others, as recommended by the Governor of Ohio and the CDC. Dagger Law will be adhering to the new Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which uses four levels of Covid-19, public emergency, severity to determine what additional precautions might be necessary for the safe operation of our business. We encourage all clients and visitors to be aware of the current state of this advisory system before coming into our offices so that we can ensure that all parties are adequately protected. Some disposable masks may be available by request, as supplies last, for those clients who visit the firm in person. Staff and attorneys will wear face masks to the maximum extent possible, but may need to remove them in order to be heard clearly, or to have hard-of-hearing clients read lips. In these cases we will make every effort to institute the recommended six foot social distancing measures, if possible, in our office spaces and conference rooms.  

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance with our efforts to keep the community safe. It is our hope that by acting with caution now, we may return to a more normal state quickly.

Why Families With Children Need an Updated Will.

Who Needs a WillIt might be a logical statement to say that everyone would be better off with some planning for their estate. However, today we want to focus on the reasons that families with kids need to be planning ahead.

While nobody wants to sit down and think about what happens to their kids if they suddenly, and unexpectedly, die; there are many important reasons to ensure that there is a clear plan in place.

  • First of all, as a parent, we know you want what is best for your children. In your mind you probably already have ideas about whether you would want your kids to be raised by a friend, godparent, or your favorite aunt. In many cases the plan has been loosely developed and it takes little work to make it official with a legal document. Without a Will, the state has no way of knowing who you would trust to raise your kids, or how you want your children to receive your property. 
  • Second, nobody knows your children better than you do. While it is unlikely that the state would allow any harm to come to your children, it can’t know the particular needs that they might have. If the state might divide your property in an equitable manner, it may not account for your wish to help a child buy their first car, or assist a child with paying for college in your absence. These situations may not apply to your children equally, and only by establishing a will would you be able to ensure that these important items are taken into consideration. 
  • Finally, you may admire the way your aunt loves and dotes on your children, but perhaps your accountant brother would be a better person to manage the assets that your child may now inherit upon your death. A will would allow you to create some distinctions about who manages what aspects of your child’s life, until they become an adult. As with our second point, you may know the strengths of the potential guardians in a way that the probate court may not. 

We understand that you want what is best for your children. With some careful planning, today, you can ensure that your plans for your family can be protected even after an untimely death. It is hard to predict all the nuances that you might want to spell out in an estate plan. That is why Dagger Law recommends that you sit down with an attorney to ensure that your wishes and intentions are clearly defined, and allowed, under the law. We are here to help you protect your assets, and your children’s future. Call today.

Dagger Law Names Alyssa Parrott as First Woman to be Partner

Dagger Law, General practice law firm in Lancaster & Canal Winchester, OhioAlyssa Parrott has been named as a partner with the law offices Dagger, Johnston, Miller, Ogilvie & Hampson, LLP. Parrott joined the firm in 2011 and her legal practice focuses on family law and domestic relations. This includes child custody and support, adoption, estate planning, and dissolution or divorce. She is the first woman partner in the firm’s history, which dates back to 1902.

“Alyssa has been a valuable asset to our firm for several years and it’s an honor to offer a promotion to such a successful, strong and knowledgeable woman into our team of partners,” said Jeff J. Spangler, co-managing partner at Dagger Law. “Her passion for our clients, and the legal community in Central Ohio, have added some very positive energy to our firm. We are looking forward to having her help lead Dagger Law into the future.”

Attorney Parrott is a past president of the Fairfield County Bar Association and a CALI Award recipient. She was also named a 2019 and 2020 Ohio Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Parrott is a member of the Fairfield County Women’s Bar Association, The Ohio State Bar Association, The Rotary Club of Lancaster-Sherman and the Fairfield County United Way. She also serves as a juvenile law instructor at the Ohio University Summer Law and Trial Institute and is a member of the Ohio Supreme Court Juvenile Rule Work-group.  

She graduated magna cum laude from  The Ohio University in Columbus, Ohio, with a bachelor’s in political science. She received her Juris Doctor (law) degree from the Capital University Law School with a concentration in children and family law.

“I am looking forward to starting this next phase of my career,” said Parrott. “I especially appreciate that I’m able to move into this role at Dagger Law and continue to serve our community in an even greater capacity.”