Beasley Allen’s Atlanta office opened in 2018 with two lawyers – Chris Glover and Navan Ward. The lawyers there were embraced by their new community, and have experienced great success in Georgia. We now have 10 lawyers based out of Atlanta, with room to grow, with Chris leading the team as Managing Attorney for that office.
Our Atlanta office was hitting its stride at the end of its first year, and in 2019 we recognized we needed to expand from our original office location to another facility. Our first office building was fairly small, and with the expansion of the team of lawyers and support staff, quickly outgrew it and we had to move some of the team into another building on the property. This was awkward, having folks split up between buildings.
In December 2019, we located new space at the Overlook II property on Paces Ferry Road, and began the process of getting the office ready. Everyone was excited about the prospect of having the whole team together in one place. Collaboration is a big part of the legal process, exchanging ideas, getting feedback, building camaraderie with new and young lawyers.
But as we all know, 2020 had a giant curveball in store. Just as the team was moving in, the pandemic hit, and businesses everywhere began closing their physical office spaces, moving the bulk of employees to working from home. Not only that, court closures wrecked the full trial calendar, putting cases that were ready to go on hold indefinitely. This was difficult for the lawyers, but even more so for clients. Chris explains:
One of the big tragedies of the pandemic is the people who have been seeking justice, who were wronged and lost so much are sitting waiting on their case to be allowed to move forward. Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s hard to explain to a mom who lost her son that we can’t move forward seeking justice for you because the courts are shut down. How do you tell someone whose loved one is paralyzed, and they need access to health care, and support and they aren’t going to get it until the case is tried, that you have to wait? These are people hurting and waiting. It keeps me up at night. We try to be creative but all that won’t get us where we need to be. The court system was designed to be the answer to this.
We were encouraged in October and November as courts began to slowly reopen. Beasley Allen lawyers were among the first able to return to the courtroom for a jury trial, successfully representing a client in court in Mobile whose fiancé was killed by a drunk driver. Under Alabama’s Dram Shop Laws, we were able to hold the facility that overserved the driver alcohol responsible for his subsequent conduct, driving under the influence and causing the fatal crash.
It is hoped that with safety precautions to socially distance jurors, require masks, face shields, and other protective barriers and procedures, jury trials will resume across the country very soon. Trials are being scheduled, trial dates set and added to the calendar. We are excited about his prospect, not for us, but for our clients – the families who have lost everything. We need to be prepared as soon as the courts allow to seek justice for them.
This article is excerpted from a longer story that appears in the December 2020 issue of The Jere Beasley Report. For more like this, and to read the full article, visit the Report online and subscribe.