May 9, 2017:
Yesterday, as I was driving my tractor and bush hogging the pasture where I built my home, I was listening to some old tunes on my “IPod,” [yes you heard me right, an “IPod”] and an old favorite of mine “Small Town” by John Cougar Mellencamp popped up. When I was a teenager, this song was very popular and at that time in my life I wasn’t listening to it in the same context as I was yesterday. Back in those days, my friends and I were all thinking about our future, how we were going to get out of this small town and live the high life in some big city. The irony of all this is now, most, if not all, of my childhood friends have moved back to our small town. As I listened to those lyrics, some 30 years later, the words had a more profound meaning to me. Yesterday, it became apparent that “Small Town” pretty accurately describes my past, present and my future. Therefore, I felt compelled to this write this blog post and express how “Small Town” relates not only to my life but most importantly my profession as an attorney.
“Small Town” begins with these words “Well I was born in a small town, And I live in a small town, Probably die in a small town, Oh, those small communities.” Well, I wasn’t born in a small town. Actually, I was born in Birmingham, Alabama and lived in the community of Cahaba Heights. At the ripe old age of two, my parents decided to move our family to my mother’s home of Haleyville, Alabama. With the exception of my four years at the University of Alabama and three more at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, I have lived in this small town for the past 41 years.
I have been blessed to have so many of my friends live in this small town. I was educated in this small town and taught to fear Jesus at the First Baptist Church in this small town. I even married my beautiful high school sweetheart from this small town and we have raised our two daughters in this small town. I am also blessed to still have my parents who also live in this small town.
As I reflected more about the lyrics of “Small Town”, I also considered the meaning this song had to me in the context of my profession as an attorney. Being an attorney in a small town, you quickly learn that you have to know a lot about many different areas of the law. You don’t get to specialize in any single area of the law. You essentially have to become learned in all areas of the law because of the diversity of the clients you represent. It is because of this diversity of education and experience, that small town lawyers are some of the best attorneys in this state. Over that past 23 years of practice, I have been blessed to have handled matters in all areas of the law. These experiences have given me a wealth of wisdom that I could not have obtained in any big city law firm setting. So, you may be asking yourself, ”JLowe, where are you going with all of this “Small Town” dialogue and what in the world does this have to do with me?”
Well, here it is. For the past 41 years and many years prior to that, there are small town lawyers, just like me, all over the Great State of Alabama who have hung their shingle and invested their entire legal careers in their small towns. It is the small town lawyer that has donated to the local schools, contributed to your children’s local events, and that have been the volunteer coaches for many of your children’s athletic teams. In addition, we are the leaders in our local communities, we are involved in our local churches, we serve on local boards, and we educate and raise our families in our small towns. Most importantly, when personal tragedy strikes or you have a legal problem, it is the always the small town lawyer and his or her staff who are always there for you.
In today’s legal market, we are constantly bombarded and overwhelmed by a plethora of attorney billboards at every interstate exit and in every small town. As a small town lawyer, my billboard, my television commercial or other advertisement is simply my personal reputation. Just like small town lawyers all over Alabama, I have invested my entire life in my small town and give back to my local community every day in some form or fashion.
So when it comes to deciding whether to hire a small town lawyer like myself versus some television or billboard lawyer ask yourself these questions. What are these television and billboard lawyers giving back to your small town? What contributions are these television and billboard lawyers making for your benefit every day in your small town? How are these television and billboard lawyers making themselves personally available to help you today rather than having an answering service take your call? When you want to chat with your lawyer, do you want to go to their website and communicate through a “Live Chat” feature or do you think of “Live Chat” as sitting down and speaking with your attorney in person in your small town? How many of your family, friends or relatives have been employed by one of these lawyers in your small town? How many of these television or billboard lawyers volunteered to coach your child’s ball team and taught your children valuable lessons not about the game but about life? I could give example after example and go on and on. I would expect the answer to these and many questions just like them is simply “NONE OF THE ABOVE.”
So why do the television and billboard lawyers barrage the highways and airways with their marketing materials? Well, simply stated, they do it because they need you to hire them so they can maintain a large volume of personal injury cases. You may ask, “Why must they have a large volume of cases?” Well, it is simple economics. They must have a large volume of cases to support the large expense of their marketing campaigns on television and billboards. If they didn’t have a large volume of cases, they couldn’t afford to pay for all those commercials and billboards. What does this mean for you? Well, it could mean that your case is potentially being handled along with hundreds or thousands of other personal injury cases just like yours at the same time.
So you have to ask yourself, why would I want to hire a television or billboard lawyer to handle my personal injury matter? To put it in perspective think of it in terms of choosing a physician. When you choose a physician do you search for a doctor on television or on a billboard? Of course you don’t. If you are like me, you have a local family physician that you rely upon for all of your healthcare needs. If there is ever a need for your small town doctor to refer you to another doctor, he or she has a network of specialists they routinely work with and provide you with a referral to that specialist.
Choosing a lawyer is no different. It is because of the personal relationships we share with one another in our small town that allows our clients to confidently choose our firm for their legal needs. Just like your local physician, we are professionals and we care about our clients. Since 1971, LMLL has been in this small town and we have helped thousands of clients in just about every kind of case from the most complex and severe personal injury matters to the most minor traffic infractions. As a result, our firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients in every kind of automobile accident and personal injury matter. In addition, our attorneys have tried some of the largest and most complex cases that have ever been tried in Marion and Winston Counties. Because of our reputation and history, we have been able to develop relationships with some of the best personal injury law firms in Alabama. Therefore, if it becomes necessary for our firm to associate lawyers in certain personal injury matters, our clients are able to be represented, not only by their local attorney, but also by some of the top attorneys in the country.
We hope you or your family will never need an attorney for a serious personal injury matter or wrongful death matter. But before you consider hiring a television or billboard lawyer, think about your “Small Town” and consider hiring that small town lawyer who has always been there for you and your community. We will be happy to help in your time of need or to assist you in any legal matter for which you may need counsel or representation.
Till next time my friends, may you continue to be blessed.
“THE LOWE DOWN”[Note: The photo included in this blog post is a picture of me and my beautiful mother in August, 1987, the day I left home for college. The truck in the background (AKA “The Farm Unit”) contained me and my roommate’s furnishings that we took with us to the University of Alabama.]
Disclaimer: “No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.”