At a time where the average person holds 11 jobs over the course of their working life, it’s unusual to find someone like J. Anderson “Andy” Davis.
Davis took a job at then Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis, LLP in 1984 after graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law. Now, he’s one of the named partners marking his 30th year with the firm. Davis has ingrained himself so fully in the Rome community that many people think he is a native.
“After law school, I interviewed with a lot of different firms, including one in Lafayette where Justice Norman Fletcher worked at the time,” Davis said. “He and his partner there decided to hire someone else, but they recommended Brinson Askew & Berry interview me. I talked to these partners and was hired. It’s been a great situation for me.”
Ironically, Justice Fletcher has called Davis “boss” since Fletcher’s return to Rome in 2005, as Of Counsel with the Firm.
Davis serves as City Attorney for the City of Rome, lead attorney for the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority, and Counsel for Shorter University.
“The great thing about being a lawyer with our firm is you don’t see the same thing every day,” Davis said. “We have a very diverse practice. You may deal with a car wreck in the morning and two hours later you are working on a copyright infringement or business litigation. You are always working with different types of people and businesses, so you are constantly learning.”
Davis specializes in business litigation, personal injury, governmental official liability, and product liability. He has earned recognition for his law practice, having been named a Georgia Super Lawyer nine years and to the Best Lawyers in America list in 2013 and 2014.
“Andy is an outstanding attorney and has been a great asset for the firm over the past three decades,” said C. King Askew, managing partner at Brinson Askew Berry. “His hard work and commitment to his clients provides a great example for all attorneys.”
Davis has been active in the community and with civic groups on a local and state level. His work earned him one of the first-ever Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Benham Awards for Community Service.
Among his awards, Davis received the Rome Jaycees Distinguished Service Award and the Silver Beaver Award from the Northwest Georgia Council of Boy Scouts of America. He was honored by Community Heart Foundation and the Redmond Regional Medical Center with its Heart of the Community Award. On a state level, Davis served as chairman of the board for Leadership Georgia, an affiliate of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as a state host for the Georgia Chamber's state-wide Fall Feather Hunt and the Red Carpet Tour.
His work with the Boy Scouts is one of Davis’ proudest civic accomplishments.
“My father was a Scoutmaster, and I said I’d never be a Scoutmaster,” he said. “But you never say never. I’ve been a Scoutmaster for almost 30 years, and that’s one of the things I’m most proud of. We just made our 165th Eagle Scout presentation. I was a Scoutmaster for one of my partners, Lee Carter. So I’ve been doing it a long time.”
Said Carter, “It's hard to describe Sarge in a few lines. He has been a father-type figure since I started Scouts when I was 10 1/2 years old. He guided me through the Scouting process, led countless camping trips, including our 10-day trek at Philmont, and was instrumental in me attaining the rank of Eagle. To now be partners with Sarge at the firm is both surreal and a blessing.”
Davis’ experience as a scout growing up in Covington helped influence his decision to become a lawyer. One of his Scoutmasters, Jim Morgan, was a lawyer and being around him influenced Davis’ decision to pursue law.
That career choice has given Davis great experience practicing law including two famous cases in the Rome area.
Davis served as lead and liaison counsel for the defense in the Tri-State Crematory litigation from the early 2000s. He collectively represented approximately 50 funeral homes that sent bodies to Tri-State for cremation.
In 2002, Georgia authorities found more than 300 decaying bodies on the property that had not been cremated. The crematory had not been cremating the bodies and had been returning concrete dust to families. The families filed a federal lawsuit against the funeral homes and the Marsh family who owned the crematory. The funeral homes settled the lawsuit for $36 million.
“For a year and a half, I worked 9 to 12 hours a day on the case,” Davis said. “I depended a lot on people at the firm to handle my other cases.”
After the Tri-State Crematory case, Davis and the plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Smalley spoke before funeral home director groups on the East Coast discussing the case and the dos and don’ts for funeral homes when dealing with crematories.
The other interesting and well-known northwest Georgia case Davis handled involved the murder of Darlene Roberts.
Darlene was murdered by her husband’s ex-wife, Barbara Roberts. Barbara, who lived in Conyers, stalked her ex-husband. Along with her boyfriend, Bob Schiess, Barbara planned to kidnap and kill Vernon’s wife Darlene. They carried out their plan and Barbara, who shot and killed Darlene, was convicted and sentenced to life. Schiess received three years for kidnapping.
Davis filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Vernon Roberts and won a $30 million verdict. The case was featured on Investigative Discovery Channel’s “Behind Mansion Walls” in 2013.
Founded in 1975 in Rome, Ga., the law firm of Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis LLP provides representation to local and national business and individual clients throughout North Georgia and the metropolitan Atlanta area. More information on the firm can be found at brinson-askew.com or by calling 706-291-8853.