A Personal Law Practice
Having practiced law in Gwinnett County Georgia for over 40 years, that journey has taken many directions. I begin practice as a real estate closing attorney when Gwinnett County was tied with Orange County CA as the fastest-growing county in the country. I was also an appointed counsel for criminal defense cases in Gwinnett Superior Court for a number of years. This arrangement is used by Gwinnett County in lieu of a public defenders’ office. Criminal defense was a great training aid to learn how to be an effective courtroom attorney. And real estate closings were a good way to meet people. They would come back if they had cases involving the homes they had bought, or about their business matters or personal injuries.
I moved into a litigation practice a few years after I began, as a recession took hold and slowed down the real estate. I had a law firm with Wayne Bailey in Lilburn. We handled family law, injuries, business cases real estate and construction cases, and virtually anything else that ended up in court. I also handled bankruptcy cases, wills and probates, and estate litigation from the beginning. I designed pension and profit sharing plans for small businesses based on IRS templates, and handled Social Security disability cases. The litigation practice evolved further into medical malpractice and medical device cases. I found the medical device cases extremely interesting.
Most of the litigation matters involve either lawsuits against a larger corporation, or a large insurance company, or some other wealthy entity. Many times I worked on a contingent fee because my client couldn't afford to pay for the services involved unless we won. There is a large risk-reward factor in these cases. It's really gratifying when you win and get your investment back, plus get paid. Not so gratifying if you don't win and make nothing. Many of these involved jury trials, and I've done over 140 of these.
At this stage of my practice, after roughly 4 decades, I find it most gratifying and interesting to deal with individuals in their personal legal matters. There are some legal things that most everyone should have, such as a will, power of attorney for disability, and advanced directives for healthcare. Many individuals have gone through divorces, These cases sometimes are not over after the initial case. Modifications of support, or changes in custody, may come after, so that these individuals need legal services for years. Many small businesses need legal services at a reasonable cost, whether they need a shareholders’ agreement, want to purchase another business, or need a contract written for a specific purpose. I find experience in multiple fields of law is valuable to help bridge gaps between these areas of practice with individuals. Sometimes a divorced couple has business ventures that need to be divided, which involves divorce and business law. Decedents’ estates often need real estate transactions done within the estate. My wide range of legal experience allows my office to handle numerous related matters for individuals. I find it most gratifying to work with an individual or small business to achieve a legal goal.