~  Karla Crosby Ayer  ~

Mission Statement: To provide professional and personal service to those in need of legal assistance; to educate clients on the court system and applicable laws, their options, and to obtain the best possible results.

• 1989 B.A., Florida International University, with Honors in Political Science
• 1992 J.D., University of Miami School of Law School
• 1992-1999 Title & Closing Attorney for various title companies and law offices in Miami-Dade County, Florida
• 1999-2005, Associate, practicing in the areas of real property, probate, foreclosure and Landlord/Tenant law
• 2005- Present Attorney, Law Office of Karla Crosby Ayer, Saint Augustine, Florida

Professional Affiliations:

• Member since 1992, Florida Bar
• Member, St Johns County Bar Association
• Member,  Elder Law Section, Florida Bar
• Member, Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section, Florida Bar
• Admitted, United States District Court - Middle District of Florida
• Participant, Pro Bono Clinic. St. Johns County

My Declaration of Commitment to My Clients:

~To treat you with respect and courtesy.

~To handle your legal matters competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession.

~To protect and preserve the confidentiality of communications and handle your monies and property with fiduciary care.

~To exercise independent professional judgment on your behalf.

~To charge a reasonable fee and to explain in advance how that fee will be computed and billed.

~ To explain the conditions and scope of representation and office practices prior to acceptance of representation for a legal matter.

~To return telephone calls promptly. To keep you informed and answer queries within a reasonable time, and provide you with copies of important papers.

~To respect your objective in your case, as permitted by law and the rules of professional conduct, including whether to settle.

~To work with others to make our legal system more accessible and responsive.

~To operate in good faith and practice fair dealing with other counsel, their clients, and the courts.

~To exhibit the highest degree of ethical conduct in accordance with the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.

Of Interest:

"Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six,
Four spend in prayer, the rest on nature fix"

"There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature, and of nations."

"Apart from cheese and tulips, the main product of the country is advocaat, a drink made from lawyers"
ALAN COREN (on Holland)

"In my youth, said his father, I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife:
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"It ain't no sin to crack a few laws now and then, just so long as you don't break any."

The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice Act III Scene iii 

Iago: Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, 

Is the immediate jewel of their souls. 

Who steals my purse steals trash-'tis something, nothing, 

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands

but he that filches from me my good name 

Robs me of that which not enriches him 

And makes me poor indeed.

William Shakespeare 

From Dominic 1. Gianna & Alfred Julien, Opening Statements 2d: Winning in the Beginning by Winning the Beginning, §1O:1 (2004): 

The first great advocacy teachers were Aristotle and Quintillian. Here, in a nutshell, is the essence of the teachings of Aristotle and Quintillian on the art of advocacy: 

Aristotle's concept of "ethos" meant, to him, the manifest character of a person, group or culture. The "ethos" of the speaker, he said, must be "good." The audience will not side with an advocate they do not trust. He stressed that, if there is one characteristic common to suuccessful advocates, it is the ability to project sincerity. 

Quintillian taught that persuasive speech must evoke the right character, the "ethos" of the speaker and bring the audience into the right state of feeling. The speech must show the speaker to be a person of intelligence, virtue and goodwill. Such a speaker, according to Quintillian, will always win the confidence of his audience.


The Zealousness Trap:

Pit-bull or professional? 

" .... Pit bull dogs possess both the capacity for extraordinarily savage behavior and physical capabilities in excess of those possessed by many other breeds of dogs. Moreover, this capacity for uniquely vicious attacks is coupled with an unpredictable nature." Ham v. City of Overland Park, 244 Kan. 638, 772 P.2d 758, 768 (1989) quoted in Pape, 918 So.2d 245. 

"An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, 

and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel." Proverbs 18: 19 

"A soft answer turns away wrath, 

but harsh words stir up anger." Proverbs 15: 1 

"Preparation is the be-all of good legal work. Everything else - felicity of expression, improvisational brilliance-is a satellite around the sun. Thorough preparation is that sun." Louis Nizer. 

The preparation process for an oral argument must go beyond your own understanding of the controlling case law and the relevant facts. When preparing for an argument, it is important to look beyond the advocate's perspective and take stock of your case with the objective eyes of the judges who will hear your argument. .. Switch places with the court and consider what the judges hearing your case will need and want to know. The Honorable Karen J. Williams, Comment, Help Us Help You: A Fourth Circuit Primer all Effective Appellate Oral Arguments, 50 S.C.L. REV 591 (1999). 

Joseph Story, Memorandum book of arguments before the Supreme Court, 1831-32, in Life and Letters of Joseph Story 2:90 (William W. Story ed. 1851) 

Who's a great lawyer? He, who aims to say the least his cause requires, not all he may. 

"Advice to a Young Lawyer," Joseph Story, 1831.  

Be brief, be pointed; let your matter stand 

Lucid in order, solid, and at hand; 

Spend not your words on trifles, but condense; 

Strike with the mass of thought, not drops of sense; 

Press to the close with vigor, once begun, 

And leave, (how hard the task!) leave off, when done

From Edward Bennett Williams, "You in Trial Law," in Listen to Leaders in Law 97. 124-125 (Albert Love & James S. Childers eds. 1963): 

The classic story about the extra question has to do with the man who was charged with mayhem. The allegation was that he was in a fight and the fight got rough and he bit the complainant's ear off... 

So the case went to trial. A witness was on the stand and the defense lawyer took him over on cross-examination. 

"Now, you saw this fight, did you?" 

"Well," he said, "I didn't see all of it." 

"As a matter of fact, you didn't see very much of it, did you?" 

"I didn't see very much of it, no." 

The lawyer said, "As a matter of fact, you never saw the defendant bite the complainant's ear, did you?" 

And the witness said, "No, I didn't."

... But this lawyer could not stop. 

He had to go on and he said, "But you testified that he bit it off, didn't you?" 


"Well, how did you know that the defendant bit the complainant's ear off'?" 

"Because I saw him spit it out." 

What is an "officer of the court"? 

"An attorney is more than a mere agent or servant of his or her client; within the attorney's sphere, he or she is as independent as a judge. has duties and obligations to the court as well as to his or her client, and has powers entirely different from and superior to those of an ordinary agent. (footnote omitted) In a limited sense an attorney is a public officer. (footnote omitted) although an attorney is not generally considered a "public officer," "civil officer," or the like, as used in statutory or constitutional provisions. (footnote omitted) The attorney occupies what may be termed a "quasi-judicial office" (footnote omitted) and is, in fact, an officer of the court. (footnote omitted)"  7 AmJur. 2d Attorneys at Law §3. 

In re Bergeron, 220 Mass. 472, 476-7 (1915). The Massachusetts Supreme Court stated: 

... On that point it becomes necessary to consider somewhat closely the duties of an attorney at law. He is in a sense an officer of the state. From early days he has been required to take and subscribe an 'oath of office' which forbids him from promoting and even from wittingly consenting to any false, groundless or unlawful suit, from doing or permitting to be done [by] falsehood in court, and which binds him to the highest fidelity to the courts as well as to his clients. The courts being a department of government, this is but another way of saying that his obligation to the public is no less significant than that to the client. He is held out by the commonwealth as one worthy of trust and confidence in matters pertaining to the law .... Manifestly the practice of the law is not a craft, nor trade, nor commerce. It is a profession whose main purpose is to aid in the doing of justice according to law between the state and the individual, and between man and man. Its members are not and ought not to be hired servants of their clients. They are independent officers of the court, owing a duty as well to the public as to private interests.

A traditional story of Marshal Wright's was that when Jeremiah -otherwise "Jerry" -Wilson began an elaborate opening by citing many of the fundamental authorities, he was interrupted by an Associate Justice who said that Mr. Wilson ought to take it for granted that the Court knew some elementary law. To this "Jerry" Wilson replied: "Your Honors, that was the mistake I made in the Court below."
Charles Henry Butler, A Century at the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States 88-89 (1942). 

Many quotes herein from Fred R. Shapiro, The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations

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