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Choosing a law school in Georgia

A few times every year, parents of college students considering law school ask me to talk with their offspring about which Georgia law schools they should consider. Before responding to that question, there is always a conversation about why they want to go to law school, priorities in life, and other options for life and … Continue Reading

A year of bright ideas in advocacy

No matter how many years a lawyer has practiced, there is no end to the need for exposure to bright new ideas from the best lawyers around the United States.
Over the past year, I had the opportunity to serve as chair of the Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway and Premises Liability Section of the American Association … Continue Reading

Virtuous Lawyer Is Not an Oxymoron

Versions of this article were published by Ken Shigley as a president’s column in the Georgia Bar Journal (August 2011) and as the chairman’s column in the American Association for Justice Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section Newsletter (Spring 2016).

 
James[1] had great unrealized potential. Son of a minister in another Southern state, he … Continue Reading

A Lawyer’s Calling

A lawyer’s calling
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
– Isaiah 1:17
It was a Sunday in December 1971, at my grandparents’ home in Mentone, Alabama, halfway down the hundred-mile-long plateau from Chattanooga to Gadsden that is Lookout Mountain. Within a … Continue Reading

Governor Deal’s legacy to the Georgia judicial system

Proposed new Georgia Judicial Building, future home of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals
It appears that by time he leaves office at the beginning of 2019, Governor Nathan Deal will have:

Vastly reformed our criminal justice system;
Expanded the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals;
Appointed a majority of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals;
Appointed a substantial … Continue Reading

The passing of Justice Scalia and the premature debate about his successor

Justice Antonin Scalia
The one time I met the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, he talked about how much he loved hunting quail. It is good that he was able to spend his last day in this mortal realm on a quail hunt.
Back in 2012, when I was president of the State Bar of Georgia, Justice … Continue Reading

Puzzling stall of federal judgeship nomination in Georgia

U.S. Courthouse, Atlanta
Dax Lopez is a judge of the State Court of DeKalb County, nominated by lame-duck President Obama to fill a vacant seat  on the U.S. District court in Atlanta, as an apparent bipartisan compromise to fill the seat with Republican approval.  Surprisingly for an Obama nominee, Judge Lopez is a conservative Republican, a longtime … Continue Reading

Explosion of video evidence in injury and death cases

When I started practicing law in 1977, hardly anyone but TV stations had video cameras, which at the time were heavy, tripod-mounted and extremely expensive. The idea of being able to play a video recording of an event in court would have seemed like science fiction if anyone had been so fanciful as to suggest  … Continue Reading

4 advantages of contingent attorney fees

 
Almost all personal injury and wrongful death cases in the United States are handled on a contingent fee basis. That means that the lawyer is paid only in proportion to the amount recovered for the client. If there is no recovery, the lawyer is not paid. If money is recovered from the other side, the … Continue Reading

Touch at trial – jurors lay hands on injured plaintiff

 
The “laying on of hands” can resonate powerfully. In my background, it has spiritual and theological implications as a ritual of blessing or of healing. Can this and other senses beyond sight and hearing also be part of legitimate trial advocacy in conveying truth to jurors?
The Georgia Court of Appeals recently said yes in the context … Continue Reading