When Lawyers Go Electric
By Bill Moore
How many law offices do you know where nine of the attorney's drive the exact same model electric car? Well, meet two of the lawyers at Arnall Golden Gregory in Atlanta who drive Nissan LEAF EVs after discovering they're not only cheap of lease, cost $20 a month to recharge, and, maybe best of all, gives them free access to HOV lanes and toll roads. Photo credit: John Disney, Fulton County Daily Report.
The law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory [http://www.agg.com/] is the legal home of 150 practicing attorneys with offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C. In most respects they're like any other stable of lawyers, some focused on trademark issues, others on contracts: the more or less mundane side of the profession that helps keep the wheels of American commerce turning.
But in at least one area, AGG seems pretty unique. It's the first law firm we here at EV World are aware of in which nine of the attorneys drive the very same model of electric car: the Nissan LEAF. Exactly how that came about is a story we thought worth exploring, so we arranged to get Scott Wandstrat and Scott Taylor on a really good Skype connection (for once) and chatted with them for nearly 30-minutes about what led them to park their gas-guzzling SUVs and switch to this particular model of electric car.
With nine LEAFs in the same firm, my first assumption was the company was offering some type of employee incentive program to encourage their partners to 'go electric'. Atlanta has some serious air quality issues and providing incentives for their members to lease electric cars certainly would help raise the profile of the practice. After all, this many LEAFs in one place precipitated our 'deposition'. So, if that is the motive, it worked.
But it turns out that the firm hasn't offered any such program. It is, in fact, the State of Georgia that has helped popularize the LEAF, as well as the city of Atlanta where electric cars not only are allowed single-passenger access to the city's HOV lanes, they are also entitled to free use of its toll roads, along with free solar charging, in the case of AGG's members of the bar, just across the street.
As Scott Taylor, the gentleman on the left of the screen, explains, when he calculated the cost of the lease, combined with the state's $5,000 tax credit (EV lessees aren't entitled to claim the $7,500 federal tax credit), the HOV access and free use of the toll system, as well as the lower operating costs - his 'fuel' bill went from $50 a week to $20 a month - the LEAF isn't just saving him money, it's making him money!
Which is, of course, one reason the State has been debating revising or eliminating the credit, which we discuss, along with Tesla's legal battles to sell its electric cars direct to buyers. The interview is divided into two segments, at just about the point where the Skype connection drops for some inexplicable reason. We pick up Scott Taylor's comments on the George EV bill debate in part two.
Thanks to both gentlemen for sharing their stories with EV World viewers.
Originally published: 10 Aug 2014
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