Why I Serve

The Boy Scout Slogan is, "Do a Good Turn Daily." and the Alabama State Bar's motto is "Lawyers Render Service." I strive to live up to these mottos in my practice and my life.

Food Banks and Alabama Legal Food Frenzy

Food Banks and Alabama Legal Food Frenzy

Alabama Legal Food Frenzy
As chair of the Alabama State Bar's Legal Food Frenzy Committee, I am proud to help the Food Banks in Alabama. 1 in 4 children in Alabama live in households that experience food shortages. Alabama lawyers are working to stock shelves at Food Banks to meet these needs.

The North Alabama Food Bank
In 1984 a small group of volunteers started the Food Bank of North Alabama from a borrowed desk at the Huntsville Madison County Senior Center. Today we feed over 80,000 people in North Alabama through a network of over 200 partner feeding programs. We are also a proud member of Feeding America.

Here's how you can help.

Veterans, Service Members and Their Families

Veterans, Service Members and Their Families

I was honored to work with Alabama Veteran Network and Alabama State Bar committees and sections focused on support of our service members and veterans including:

U.S. Army JAG Corps
Alabama Veteran Network
Alabama State Bar Veterans Commission

Alabama Veterans Legal Guide

To ensure that all veterans and their families understand and receive all the benefits, support, care, and recognition that they have earned and are entitled to, by expertly administering all current programs, anticipating future needs and taking appropriate action to meet these needs.

Reflections as a Judge Advocate

Reflections as a Judge Advocate
United States Supreme Court

Originally published in the Spring 2015 Edition of The Quill & Sword, the official newsletter of the United States Judge Advocate General’s Corps. 

 I truly enjoyed my time in the service, and fondly reflect on so many of the experiences.  I am thankful that I had lawyer mentors like Marcia Nelson Hadjis, Greg Gross, Jeff Nance, Peter Becker, and Kevan Jacobson.  COL Chris Maher, my Staff Judge Advocate, taught me to find out what is really important to your client, and to find a way to help them accomplish their goals legally.  They showed me that you can fight hard for your clients, and that at the end of the day you can be friends with your opposing counsel.
    I also learned from my deployment experiences.  While my deployment service pales in comparison to those who have served recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, I deployed to the hostile fire zones that existed at the time.  The professionalism of the staff officers with whom I worked in the Tactical Operations Center in Tuzla, BosniaHerzegovina and later in Slavonski Brod, Croatia was inspiring.  I worked harder, because I did not want to let these professionals down.
    Among the most important lessons I learned was the value of careful preparation, hard work, and focusing on what is important.  Then Major General George Casey taught
“deliberate flexibility.”  That is, plan extensively, but leave room to take advantage of opportunities that appear.
    I am most proud of being a part of some great teams  Task Force Eagle in BosniaHerzegovina, Task Force Able Sentry in Macedonia, the 1st Armored Division, and TDS.  The things that we accomplished made me proud to be a part. I have continued that tradition with the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the Alabama State Bar.
    As President of the Alabama State Bar, I have focused on access to justice.  Lawyers have a monopoly on the provision of legal services, so if we don’t provide pro bono services to people that need it, it won’t get done.  I’ve worked to establish Veterans’ Courts and to meet the legal needs of our veterans, service members, and their families.  The National Children’s Advocacy Center is another example of an organization that focuses on providing services to those most in need.
    I encourage current Judge Advocates to enjoy the experience that they receive in the Army.  While my work in private practice is rewarding, no law firm has the camaraderie that you experience practicing law in the military.  The military provides practical experience in many areas of the law that ultimately make you a stronger advocate in any setting.
    I am frequently asked about the transition from the military to the civilian world.  We all leave the military service with years of practice ahead of us.  I encourage judge advocates to spend as much time preparing for separation as they spent preparing to enter the military.  Learn about different practice areas, and take the time to identify where you want to practice when you leave Active Duty. Understanding the practice in your area will better prepare you to explain how your military experience translates into your new practice area.  Reach out to your friends and colleagues to understand how civilian practice is different, and how the legal market in your area is different.
    It is hard to express how important my military service has been in my life.  Practicing in front of military judges who took the time to mentor as well as preside over cases made such a difference.  Learning the rules of evidence at OBC and at the Criminal Law Advocacy Course, and applying that knowledge at the side of so many terrific advocates, made me more successful in my present practice.

Military Pro Bono Project

Military Pro Bono Project

Most veterans are strengthened by their military service, but the combat experience has unfortunately left a growing number of veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.  One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment.  One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance abuse issue.  Research continues to draw a link between substance abuse and combat–related mental illness.  Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

Military Pro Bono Project
Justice For Vets
ABA Veterans' Claims Assistance Network

Arts Huntsville

Arts Huntsville

Stimulating and supporting community creativity and engagement by advancing the arts, entertainment and culture in the Huntsville metropolitan area.

National Children's Advocacy Center

National Children's Advocacy Center

The NCAC models, promotes, and delivers excellence in child abuse response and prevention through service, education, and leadership.

MCVLP & ASB VLP, Pro Bono Celebration Week

MCVLP & ASB VLP, Pro Bono Celebration Week

As an attorney, what better gift could you give than the gift of time and expertise? In order to bring hope and justice to those who are less fortunate, the Volunteer Lawyers Program of the Alabama State Bar matches attorneys who wish to do pro bono work with low-income clients in need of civil legal assistance.

Every year, more than 2,000 attorneys who volunteer through the VLP give the generous gift of time, service and expertise to thousands of Alabamians who would not otherwise have access to justice.

Pro Bono Week 2016
Alabama Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Program

Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.