The firm was first established in 1916, more than 90+ years ago, by William Hale Barrett (whose grandson also practiced law with the firm up until his death) and James Meriwether Hull to provide legal representation to Augusta and the surrounding communities. Will Barrett, as he was popularly known, was an outstanding lawyer with an exceptional knowledge of business, banking and the economies of the surrounding areas. Mr. Barrett left the practice when he was appointed Judge of the United States District Court in 1922-Augusta’s first federal judge. It is said, that Judge Barrett’s character made him not only an eminent jurist, but a beloved one as well. He was fair and understanding which inevitably led him to temper justice with mercy in every judicial act he committed. James Hull early in his career gained a reputation as an outstanding trial lawyer and an eloquent jury advocate. His devotion to his clients and the community were widely admired as he strived to give inspiration, courage and incentive to others to be better lawyers, better citizens and better men. Mr. Hull practiced with the firm up until the age of 90.
Over the years other legendary attorneys practiced at the firm and left their marks: George Barrett, Julian J. Willingham, John Bell Towill and Robert Claude Norman, all of whom were military veterans. John Towill was instrumental in increasing representative government after World War II and leading it to greater growth economically, socially and educationally. Robert Norman was a well rounded, hard working trial attorney who was influential in improving the rules of Civil Procedure in Georgia and attracting new industry to Augusta. With the expansion of the firm over the years, the name changed from time to time becoming Hull, Towill, Norman and Barrett.
In 1999, the firm was growing and many clients required legal representation in Aiken, South Carolina and the surrounding area. With the help of Julian B. Salley, Jr., who practiced law since 1936 with only a brief interruption to serve his country in World War II, Hull, Towill, Norman and Barrett merged with the Aiken firm of Henderson & Salley. Henderson & Salley was established in 1872 by Daniel Sullivan Henderson, a prominent South Carolina lawyer and a member of the South Carolina State Senate. With the merger came Hull, Towill, Norman, Barrett & Salley with two locations serving the Augusta and Aiken communities.
Several of the firm’s partners have gone on to positions of public service. In addition to Will Barrett becoming a federal judge in 1922, Bernard J. Mulherin, Sr., who headed the real estate practice at the firm from 1960-1980, became a Superior Court judge and Neal Dickert, who has returned and is practicing with the firm today, served as Superior Court judge from 1997-2007. Julian Willingham served as State Workers Compensation Judge. Susan Barrett was appointed United States Bankruptcy Court Judge for the Southern District of Georgia in 2006 and most recently Ed Tarver, who was serving as a Georgia State Senator resigned that position to become the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Firm attorneys have a deep and devoted attachment to the CSRA community and a desire to aid in the development of its resources for the betterment of all of its citizens. Mr. Hull was a founding member of the Augusta Rotary Club and President when the Club established Augusta's first Boy Scout Camp. Mr. Barrett was a founder and first president of the Augusta Kiwanis Club. Not much has changed. Firm members are active in a wide variety of charitable organizations, civic organizations, educational institutions and church related activities. A firm partner recently served as President of the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce and several members have held governance positions in Leadership Georgia, Leadership Augusta, the Augusta Sports Council and on various civic, university and other non-profit boards.