"When society confers the privilege to practice law on an individual, he or she accepts the responsibility to promote justice and to make justice equally accessible to all people. Thus, all lawyers should aspire to render some legal services without fee or expectation of fee for the good of the public." The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.
Here in North Alabama, we are blessed to have lawyers involved in a very vibrant and active pro-bono community. The Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program (MCVLP) serves hundreds of clients each year with thousands of pro bono legal hours. There are many well-respected lawyers who are anxious to perform pro bono legal work through this organization.
The Executive Director of MCVLP is Nicole Schroer. Nicole previously worked as a partner at the highly regarded law firm of Wilmer and Lee. While there, she did a lot of non-profit work in her "free time," to include long and active involvement, including as president, of the Junior League of Huntsville. She then decided to invest herself in giving back on a full time basis through her work overseeing MCVLP. I enjoyed getting to know Nicole and learning more about her background and passion for serving others in this podcast. Our community is a better place as a result of Nicole's many contributions. We are fortunate to have her amongst us.
I attended a recent NOVA conference where I was able to sit down with attorney Chris Attig. Chris has a law practice devoted solely to helping veterans. This makes sense since Chris has served as a U.S. Army field artillery officer and a paratrooper and he also attended Ranger school. He is very well respected in this area of law. Chris does a great service to veterans' lawyers as he spends a good bit of his time teaching and instructing others on how to best help veterans. Chris is focused, driven and very intelligent, and he is also has the ability to crystalize concepts down to a pretty basic and understandable level. I enjoyed getting to know him and his story on this podcast.
I think I have heard the phrase "judicial temperament" more in the last couple of months than I have throughout my entire life. For me, a way to describe and define judicial temperament is to simply say the name of Judge Dennis O'Dell. He is a long-standing Circuit Court Judge in Madison County Alabama. He is, of course, knowledgeable, wise and well-respected. Beyond those qualities, he also takes great pains to treat all litigants and lawyers who appear before him fairly and respectfully, with a dose of good humor and a ready smile. We have really been blessed here in North Alabama to have a judge like Dennis O'Dell. That will be evident when you listen to this podcast. Judge O'Dell is retiring from the bench soon and, as I implore him on this podcast, the citizens of Alabama would be very well served if he would consider a run at the Alabama Supreme Court!
Those of us who practice law know that certain exceptionally bright lawyer who always has a relevant holding and a case name to go along with it, no matter what the topic may be. Mike McCormick is one of those lawyers. I know this not only from practicing on the other side of him but, more to the point, from practicing with him. Bond and Botes was fortunate enough to have Mike as a Managing Partner in our Biloxi office way back when before he left for the big city of Atlanta. Mike is now a Senior Partner with the firm of McCalla Raymer where he handles all aspects of a mortgage lending bankruptcy law practice. We sure do miss him being on the consumer side! By the way, I don't think I have ever met someone admitted to practice law in more states than Mike. I think you'll enjoy hearing his story.
Call me Alabama! You can't go anywhere in Alabama without seeing Alexander Shunnarah's billboards or seeing his ads on television. In fact, there are games and songsthat have been made regarding his billboard advertising. Alexander Shunnarah's name has become synonymous with personal injury law in Alabama. In this podcast, you will find that Alexander has a sense of humor regarding his advertising as seen here and here. He has built a powerful law firm with a very well-respected team of lawyers. I had never met nor spoken with Alexander before I sat down with him for this podcast and I found him to be gracious, humble and just a nice guy with a tremendous work ethic and drive to succeed. It is clear that he is intelligent, tenacious and a visionary. Alexander has an interesting family history of how he got to where he is and I think you will enjoy hearing his story. I am glad that I got to know him.
Here is a podcast with another well respected attorney from the highly regarded Bradley law firm. Kevin Gray practices in the areas of banking and real-estate transactional work along with complicated bankruptcy matters. I have known him by his stellar reputation for several years but I got to know him personally during what we'll call a poor man's trip (if there is such a thing!) to Italy a number of years ago with his middle son, Riley, and my youngest son, Sam. We went on a high school trip for about nine days throughout Italy. The trip replicated what was known centuries ago as the Grand Tour of Italy for the youth of nobility to learn about the world. Of course, since it was a public school trip, we didn't stay in the finest accommodations! Nonetheless, it was one of the most fun and relaxing weeks of my life. I think Kevin feels the same way. One of the things I learned about Kevin was his keen taste for the finest limoncello produced in Italy! It was really great to get to know this talented and accomplished lawyer on a personal level and I was happy to catch up with him again on this podcast.
If you are searching for a real estate expert (or real estate wizard!), then Mike Brodowski is it! In fact, I have so much confidence in him that he has handled all of the real estate matters for me and my family since the 1990's. Real estate law can have a lot of twists and turns. Mike and his law firm are prepared to deal with what can seem to be catastrophic situations and pretty seamlessly work them out for the satisfaction of all parties involved. In fact, when I have complicated real estate matters that arise for my own clients, Mike is the first call that I make. Mike also practices in the area of estate planning and adoption. Off the subject of law, Mike has a great office complex off of Church Street in Huntsville called the Depot Professional Village. It is right across from the 1860's Huntsville train depot / Early Works Museum. Mike's even got a red caboose in his parking lot! I know his office very well because I was one of his tenants for approximately 10 years. I am fond of telling Mike that I still believe I was his best tenant and, while I am glad I'm not paying him rent anymore, I miss seeing him around the "shop." Mike is a very well-respected and highly regarded attorney throughout the state of Alabama and it was great spending some time catching up with him.
In the world of intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights, infringement cases, etc.), it is not an overstatement to say that Frank Caprio is the gold standard. For as long as I have been in Alabama, anytime a question, concern or an issue regarding intellectual property comes up, there is an immediate, universal statement to "call Frank Caprio." Frank, of course, has the pedigree that is expected for this area of law with both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in engineering. He flew anti-submarine missions in the Navy on active duty for six years after college, then stayed in an ASW flying squadron in the active reserves until he retired. As you will hear, he loved his flying career in the Navy. After active Navy, Frank then worked for a period of time in the high tech world of Huntsville, Alabama as an engineer before taking time off to attend law school. He is the managing partner of the Huntsville branch of the highly regarded Bradley law firm of where he also chairs the firm's Intellectual Property Practice Group. Frank is engaging and personable and he is one of those people that others want to be around. I think you will enjoy hearing this story of how a New Jersey boy made his way to and in the deep South.
The last thing that anyone wants to deal with is being charged with a crime. Although we are innocent until proven guilty in our country, simply being accused of wrong doing comes with a great deal of dread and trepidation. Your first call should thus be to an attorney like Andy Segal. Andy and his wife Sandy of the law firm of Segal and Segal are very skilled and accomplished criminal defense lawyers. They are personable, empathetic, compassionate and smart. Any prospective client who has a criminal matter or concern is in great hands with these lawyers. In fact, Andy and Sandy look at all aspects and potential ramifications of a criminal charge for their clients and make sure that all avenues are covered and thought through as thoroughly as possible. For instance, I have worked with them with clients they have had in the past regarding security clearance issues as they relate to criminal charges. Also, they are both former prosecutors so they are aware of all of the nuanced angles and issues on both sides of criminal law. I had a great time catching up with Andy in this podcast and he reminded me that Sandy once worked with our law firm years ago when we were young and overly ambitious and working on Saturdays. This worked out wellfor us since their children were small and Sandy preferred to work Saturday mornings so she could be at home with her kids during the week. Also, Sandy's brother, Mark Rogers and his wife Donna, were our next door neighbors when my wife and I first moved to Huntsville and the four of us and our boys have remained good friends ever since. Small world, as they say!