'What kind of law do you practice?'

Posted October 13, 2017

I am often asked what kind of law I specialize in. People see ads for lawyers who claim to be experts in certain types of cases – accidents, bankruptcy, real estate or disability to name just a few – and they want to know where I fit into those categories.

I am proud to say that for most of my legal career, I have handled a wide variety of cases. Like the old family doctor who would take care of whatever ailed you, I have tried to help my clients with any type of legal trouble they encountered.
My cases have included contract disputes, municipal laws, real estate, church bylaws, insurance company disputes, automobile accidents, business purchases, creation of corporations and the dissolution of partnerships. Each time I take on a new kind of case, I silently thank my wonderful professors at the University of Alabama School of Law for giving me the background I need. In their classes, we were given sets of facts and then had to identify all of the legal issues posed before thinking of ways to handle them. When clients come into my office or call me, I rely on the same process of getting the facts, identifying the legal issues, and coming up with answers.
The one thing all of my cases have in common is that they challenge me to solve legal problems for my clients. Without this broad experience, I might not be able to recognize all of the legal issues, which would be a detriment to my clients. In addition, researching different areas of law and applying them to a variety of situations has always been interesting to me, and it helps me solve the problems my clients bring to me. 
While I was on the Circuit Court bench, much of my attention was devoted to family court law. You might think that family law is a fairly small and unified sort of law, but that’s not true.  It is a broad field that encompasses many types of law, including domestic relations, contracts, mortgage law, property law, business law, child custody, juvenile detention and dependency law, and adult protective services. Also during that time, I was honored to set up our county’s first Veterans Court to deal with the criminal law, substance abuse and mental health problems faced by some of the people returning to civilian life after serving their country.
I was reminded of my diverse legal background the other day when a television ad came on for an insurance company. Their slogan was “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” That pretty much sums up the way I think of my legal career, and I look forward to continuing to explore the ways I can make the law work for my clients.
So my answer to “What kind of law do you practice?” is “What kind of law do you need?”


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