For four decades, it has been an honor and a privilege for the attorneys and staff at the Beasley Allen Law Firm to serve their clients – “helping those who need it most.”
What started out as a one-lawyer firm headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, has grown to more than 85 lawyers and over 200 support staff serving clients nationwide. It has also expanded to include another office location in Atlanta. As the firm kicks off a year-long celebration of its 40th Anniversary, we reflect on the years of work that have made the firm what it is today.
In 1978, Jere L. Beasley was the state’s 22nd Lieutenant Governor who also served briefly as Acting Governor after an attempted assassination on then-Gov. George C. Wallace. Then, after a strong but unsuccessful push to win the Governor’s office during the 1978 election, Jere left politics. He and his wife, Sara, both devout believers, were at peace with the outcome and, through prayer, relied on the Lord’s guidance for their future. At this time of contemplation and planning, Jere explained that he established a “permanent set of priorities” with God first, then family and work. He and Sara asked God to help them forge a new beginning for him and their family.
“I soon found that by putting God first, everything else would fall into place,” Jere said.
Determined to pay all the political campaign’s financial obligations, the Beasleys realized it was time for Jere to return to practicing law. With no offers on the table from existing firms, the option they were left with was for Jere to start his own, new firm. After seeking the advice of the esteemed civil rights leader and federal judge Frank M. Johnson, Jere was clear about his calling and the purpose of the firm. His new practice would be a safe harbor for those who need help. He would do what many lawyers refused to do at the time – take on powerful corporate interests on behalf of consumers and hard-working employees, or “the little man” as others have described.
Founded on the principle of “helping those who need it most,” the firm was established to provide legal service to both individuals and businesses who have been wronged by no act of their own. That principle still serves as the bedrock for the firm’s work.
A small office on Hull Street served as the firm’s first location. Frank Wilson, a former law clerk for U.S. District Judge Bob Varner, would become Beasley’s first law partner and remained with the firm for 19 years. In the meantime, Greg Allen, a Georgia native and a law student, joined the firm as a law clerk. Following law school, Allen became a firm attorney and soon Jere’s second partner. Allen is now the firm’s lead products liability lawyer whom Jere describes as “the very best products liability lawyer in the country.”
“I never realized how much I missed the courtroom until I got back into the practice of law,” Jere said.
Taking on powerful corporate interests in the name of consumer and worker health and safety positioned the firm on the forefront of Consumer Litigation. It is now recognized nationally for helping shape the landscape for this area of the law and securing more than $26 billion in verdicts and settlements for its clients. The work of Jere and his law partners has also served as a catalyst for improving health and safety for consumers and those in the workplace across the country. But these successes, for the firm, its clients and consumers, were the result of many hard-fought battles in the courtroom and on the stage of public opinion.
Visit BeasleyAllen.com throughout the week for more reflections on the firm’s first 40 years.