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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 22, 201905:10 AM EST

The Marbut Report: Kate and John Hatfield, partners in law and in life

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Couple says their professional skills translate and complement their personal partnership.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Since they graduated from Widener University School of Law in Delaware in 2006, Kate and John Hatfield have become closer, personally and professionally.

They moved to Jacksonville to practice law, then they married and started a family.

After each was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2007, Kate Hatfield opened The Consumer Law Firm to help clients navigate Florida’s Lemon Law that allows arbitration of disputes between consumers and motor vehicle manufacturers.

John Hatfield used his prelaw school experience as a claims adjuster to work for an insurance defense firm.

“I really enjoyed doing Lemon Law, but it didn’t pay the bills, so I started taking on auto cases. As I got busier, I asked John to help me,” Kate Hatfield said.

“It started out that I was going to help her, then it turned into a full-time job,” he said.

That’s why The Consumer Law Firm became Hatfield & Hatfield, focused on personal injury and traffic cases.

In December 2014, the Hatfields purchased the building at 210 E. Forsyth St., where they practice each day with a paralegal and a legal assistant.

They find the proximity to be complementary.

“We’re opposite in a lot of ways. It helps to have two sides looking at something,” John Hatfield said.

“He’s good at research and writing and that is not my strength at all. I’d rather pick up the phone and call somebody than write a letter,” Kate Hatfield said.

Their professional skills translate to their personal partnership.

“We know how to work it out. We do a lot of negotiating, here and at home. We’re partners and we are committed to being partners,” Kate Hatfield said.

Florida TaxWatch honors program

The 4th Judicial Circuit’s Family Court Services was selected for a 2019 Florida TaxWatch Productivity Award in the Service Delivery Improvement category.

The award is for a program that expedites the process for couples with no children or property who want a simple divorce.

The process reduces the time between filing for a simple divorce and final judgment from as long as 14 weeks to little more than the 21-day “cooling off period” required by state law, said Assistant Supervisor of Family Court Anna Mercado.

“We can get people on the court’s calendar the same day they file, they only have to attend one hearing and within 30 days, they’re divorced,” she said.

Mercado said nearly 90 percent of people who come to the Duval County Courthouse seeking a simple divorce take advantage of the program and Family Court Services processes between 30 and 40 cases each month.

Beau Baker

Baker, McCranie join Akerman

Beau Baker and Christopher McCranie have joined the Akerman law firm’s Real Estate Practice Group in the Jacksonville office.

Baker focuses his practice on real estate capital markets, securitizations, financial services, structured and commercial finance, creditors’ rights, loan portfolio management and financial restructuring.

Christopher McCranie

McCranie focuses on commercial real estate transactions. He represents community, regional and national institutional lenders in permanent and development loan transactions secured by real and personal property, as well as distressed asset loan workouts, foreclosures and bankruptcy.

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