Attorneys and Support Staff

Stephen A. Harlan, Attorney

Admitted to the bar, 1995, Georgia. Education: Emory University (B.A., 1992); Emory University School of Law (J.D., 1995). Email:

Stephen Harlan, Not Steve Zissou
As a kid in Atlanta, all Stephen wanted to be when he grew up was an astronaut or Evel Knievel. Unfortunately daredevilling just wasn’t the same after the Skycycle X-2 didn’t make it across Snake River Canyon and NASA stopped going to the moon after Apollo 17. So naturally, Stephen went to law school and started practicing real estate law instead. Along the way, he picked up a degree in philosophy and another in psychology. He’s worked in a bookstore, managed and toured with a band or four, and even spent time as a college professor. He’s also personally handled somewhere between fifteen and twenty thousand closings.

His expertise in real estate touches every aspect of a transaction. He has skillfully navigated title issues and represented a clientele of buyers, sellers, lenders, and investors for longer than he’d like to admit; and his comprehensive experience has earned recognition and respect in the Atlanta real estate industry. Stephen is also known for sharing his knowledge and he has presented at continuing legal education classes and real estate investment seminars both locally and nationally.

Stephen is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the American Bar Association, The Georgia Real Estate Closing Attorneys Association, and The Georgia Real Estate Investors Association. He lives in Midtown and makes a mean Mai Tai.

J. Michael Florence, Attorney

Admitted to the bar, 1972, Georgia. Education: University of Georgia School of Law (J.D., 1972). Email:

Mike stands as a distinguished member of the State Bar of Georgia, with a legal career spanning various facets of the law. He’s admitted to practice across all State and Federal Courts in Georgia, reflecting his broad legal expertise. His journey in the legal field is marked by significant roles, including serving as a Judge in Fulton County and an Assistant Solicitor in Dekalb County. His foundational experiences also include being a staff attorney for the firms of McCurdy & Candler, and Morris and Schneider, before becoming a founding partner at Florence, Robinson & Bennett, LLP., and previously at Warren Kalish & Florence.

In his current practice, Mr. Florence brings a wealth of experience in civil and criminal litigation, with a specialized emphasis on real property. Recognized for his depth of knowledge in real estate law, he is a frequent lecturer at seminars in Atlanta, empowering both homebuyers and investors with invaluable insights. His expertise is also sought after by over two hundred lenders nationwide, for whom he acts as an approved closing agent. He focuses on comprehensive real estate legal services, particularly catering to investors, creative financing solutions, and asset protection.

He also once won a car in a raffle. He lives in Decatur.


Michael C. McGoff, Of Counsel Attorney

Admitted to the bar, 1985, Georgia. Education: Georgia State University School of Law (J.D., 1985). Email:

It's Mike McGoff
Mike has an active litigation practice which primarily focuses on business advice, business disputes, real estate litigation including quiet title, easement disputes, and title insurance claims; construction law; landlord tenant law; and personal injury claims.

Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Mike is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Georgia, where he earned a B.A. in Economics, cum laude, in 1982. He went on to obtain his law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law in 1985. Mike’s legal prowess is recognized across multiple courts. He is admitted to practice in all Georgia state courts, including the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals. His federal admissions include the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, the U.S. District Court of Kansas, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

A respected member of the State Bar of Georgia and the North Fulton Bar Association, Mike’s legal acumen is further evidenced by his AV Pre-eminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell. This prestigious accolade is a testament to his esteemed standing among judges and peers, reflecting the highest degree of ethical standards and legal abilities. Beyond his professional commitments, Mike has actively contributed to his community. He has served as an assistant Scoutmaster and adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America and has coached the Chattahoochee High School Mock Trial program. Mike and his family are proud residents of Johns Creek.

John J. DiPietro, Title Guru

Education: Villanova University (B.S., 1982); Hofstra University (J.D., 1984). Email:

J.D. grew up in Long Island. Then he moved to Atlanta. He lives in Johns Creek where he serves as the chair of the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

Telekinesis Banks, Office Wizard

Education: Illinois State University (2000). Email:

Tele’s career in real estate began in 1997 in the Chicago area, launching a journey that brought her to Atlanta in 2001. With a commitment to mastering the field, she started first as a receptionist for RE/MAX Greater Atlanta. Moving on from there, Tele has spent time as an REO closing coordinator for a high-volume asset manager brokerage and closing manager for a large luxury intown developer before settling in on the legal side of the business.

Away from her professional life, Tele enjoys family time with her husband, her daughter who aspires to major in Animal Science at UGA, and her beloved pitbull. A self-described food enthusiast, she finds joy in culinary explorations, whether it’s trying new restaurants or experimenting with recipes at home.

Tele has been confused more than once with being an actual bank. She isn’t, but thinks it might be kind of cool if she was. She lives in Douglasville.

Where Are They Now?

Kelsey Ervin, Closing Whisperer.

Kelsey has retired. She checks in every now and then as she spends the bulk of her time between Florida and Maine. That doesn’t sound too bad.

Felecia Rakestraw, Office Kahuna

Felicia has moved on to Thomas & Brown LLC. She can be reached at

Harlan Florence is an Atlanta-based boutique law firm that believes there's a better way to handle your real estate closing. We'd love to work with you. Contact us today, and let's see what we can do together.
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

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