Hull Barrett Attorneys Selected in Best Lawyers

AUGUSTA, GA – Hull Barrett PC is proud to announce that thirteen of the firm’s attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 26th edition of Best Lawyers in America. Davis A. Dunaway was also selected as “Lawyer of The Year” for his work in insurance law. This award is made to only one attorney in a geographic region.

For more than 30 years, Best Lawyers has compiled its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting extensive peer review surveys in which leading lawyers evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for a lawyer are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that lawyer must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

The following attorneys from Hull Barrett have been included in the 26th edition of Best Lawyers in America:

  • Neal W. Dickert (appellate practice, mediation)
  • William H. Tucker (real estate law)
  • Patrick J. Rice (bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, medical malpractice law – defendants, personal injury litigation – defendants)
  • Davis A. Dunaway (commercial litigation, insurance law)
  • James B. Ellington (employment law – management, litigation – First Amendment, litigation – labor and employment)
  • Mark S. Burgreen (tax law)
  • Robert L. Buchanan Jr. (personal injury litigation-plaintiffs)
  • David E. Hudson (personal injury litigation – defendants , bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, first amendment law, litigation – construction, and first amendment – litigation)
  • Darren G. Meadows (environmental law)
  • Rand Hanna III (public finance law and real estate law)
  • Christopher A. Cosper (commercial litigation)
  • George R. Hall (legal malpractice law – defendants, litigation – insurance, personal injury litigation – defendants and professional malpractice law – defendants)
  • William J. Keogh III (commercial litigation and litigation – construction)

Established in 1916 in Augusta and in 1872 in Aiken, Hull Barrett PC serves the entire Central Savannah River Region and beyond. With 27 lawyers plus support staff, the firm aims to provide quality legal representation and service to its clients and the community.

George Hall named Georgia Defense Lawyers Treasurer

George Hall, a defense attorney for Hull Barrett Attorneys, has been elected treasurer of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association. He has been a member since 1988.
The 900-member Georgia Defense Lawyers Association is a statewide organization for lawyers who specialize in defense litigation. As the treasurer, he is in charge of finances for the organization. In the past year, he was the organization’s secretary and the editor of its journal.
Hall joined Hull Barrett in 1986 after completing law school at the University of South Carolina. He specializes in general civil defense litigation and is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
“The Georgia Defense Lawyers Association is great because it lets you meet and get exposure to lawyers from all over the state. I have made lots of referral relationships, but even more important, I have made a lot of good friends through the organization,” Hall said.
Originally from Red Springs, N.C., Hall and his wife, Margaret, live in Augusta and have two adult sons.


 According to Georgia law, a residential real estate closing must be conducted by a licensed real estate attorney in Augusta GA. Several Augusta lawyers at Hull Barrett Attorneys specialize in real estate, including commercial acquisitions, land development, eminent domain and residential real estate. Your Georgia real estate attorney can draft contracts properly with limited financial risk to ensure correct property rights are granted and to make sure that all parties are in compliance with the ever-changing federal and state regulations.

Hull Barrett’s real estate attorneys practice in areas of the law associated with tangible aspects of the land – agriculture, contamination, minerals, structures – and the intangible – zoning, access, interests and air space. Your Hull Barrett real estate attorney in Augusta GA represents clients in a variety of commercial and residential real estate matters, including: home purchases and sales, residential financing, land acquisition, foreclosures and much more.

When the time comes to hire a Georgia real estate attorney, you want to make sure you are hiring the best, of course. Here are five questions to ask when hiring a real estate attorney in Augusta GA.

  1. Have you handled cases similar to mine? All real estate matters certainly are not created equally. A Georgia real estate attorney who has worked similar cases will be able to anticipate potential problems and take care of them. Hull Barrett’s many estate attorneys have experience in all aspects of real estate law and will be able to effectively handle your case.
  2. How will you handle my case? Your attorney’s plan of action should be no secret. In fact, asking this question can help you determine whether your chosen attorney is the right one for your case. Ambiguous answers – “Don’t worry about it.” – can mean your attorney doesn’t know what to do or doesn’t have a plan. Clear, concise answers are the signs of a competent, experienced attorney.
  3. What is the fee schedule? Knowing how your attorney will bill you helps you avoid financial surprises. Simple matters, such as drafting a document, usually are billed by the project. Real estate matters that involve negotiations or going to court are generally billed by the hour.
  4. Will you provide references? Talking to a real estate attorney in Augusta GA will go a long way in helping you choose the right person for your situation. Take that one step further, though, and talk to people your prospective Georgia real estate attorney has helped. It’s safe to say that an attorney who refuses to give references is probably hiding something. Hull Barrett Attorneys are proud of our work and are happy to supply references.
  5. How much do you know about local laws? Not all attorneys who practice in Georgia have experience in local laws. Atlanta lawyers, for example, might be best suited to help you there, but how much do they know about Richmond County or Hephzibah? Hull Barrett’s Augusta lawyers live and practice here, so we have years of experience working with local real estate laws.

Partnership to Raise Food, Funds, and Awareness

Hull Barrett, Ivey Residential, and The Augusta Chronicle are teaming up to participate in Legal Food Frenzy.

A company that is doing business in the community should also SERVE the community.  Hull Barrett realizes a mere monetary donation from the firm is not enough to make a real dent in the hunger stats that face the CSRA and surrounding areas.

Hull Barrett, Ivey Residential, and The Augusta Chronicle are looking to spend more time and effort to bring awareness to the food insecurity and hunger statistics, and more, to do something about it.

3 companies, working together, have a real shot at making a difference.  We have set an ambitious goal of 55,000 lbs of food and funds, a goal that cannot be met without the help of the public’s generosity.

So, What is Legal Food Frenzy?

The Office of the Attorney General, the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia, and the Georgia Food Bank Association have joined forces to create a friendly food and fund drive to benefit food banks in Georgia from April 18 – April 29, 2016.

Hunger Facts

  • 1 in 5 Georgians struggle with hunger
  • 1 in 4 children struggle with hunger
  • Nearly 60% of Georgia’s public school children are eligible for free and reduced lunch
  • Golden Harvest distributed 229,000 pounds of food in its BackPack Program in 1 year
  • The BackPack program serves approximately 2,500 students
  • Golden Harvest feeds approximately 78,000 children
  • Golden Harvest is able to provide food to the children through the BackPack Program for $5 per week, per student – $180 covers the cost of 1 student for an entire year
  • Golden Harvest distributes 14.2 million pounds of food per year
  • Golden Harvest serves 30 counties

How to Help

Share this information with family, friends, and colleagues!

Food may be dropped off at any Hull Barrett or Ivey Residential office location.

Anyone that donates online will be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card or 4 tickets to the Morris Museum of Art! Hull Barrett will also be giving away additional prizes at random, including during the first week of the fundraiser. So don’t wait to donate online!

Golden Harvest serves all of the CSRA. Let’s work together to make our community less hungry.

Donate to Golden Harvest

Hiring Legal Assistant

Hull Barrett is Hiring!

We are currently accepting applications for a General Trial Legal Assistant in Augusta.  All interested candidates should send cover letters and resumes to  Job description is described below.

Why Hull Barrett:

  • Competitive wage
  • Paid holidays
  • 95% coverage of employee health insurance
  • Retirement contribution
  • Wellness program
  • Being a member of the largest legal firm in the CSRA

General Trial Legal Assistant

We are seeking a full time, experienced, knowledgeable General Trial Legal Assistant to work in our downtown Augusta location. Duties include but are not limited to:

Case Management:

  • Organizing, tracking, and maintaining documents, calendar entries and deadlines
  • Electronic filing in various state and federal courts
  • Organization and maintenance of electronically-stored files
  • Scheduling hearings, depositions, and witness appearances

Discovery and Records Review:

  • Reviewing and summarizing case files and a variety of types of documents
  • Gathering, analyzing and organizing information, legal pleadings, discovery and other documents pertaining to litigation files
  • Preparing deposition summaries, abstracts, correspondence, responses, and working drafts of simple motions or pleadings under direction
  • Maintaining electronic legal research software and law library
  • Interviewing clients
  • Preparing records for review by experts

Trial Preparation:

  • Locating, interviewing and preparing witnesses
  • Assembling and identifying trial exhibits and trial notebooks
  • Organizing file materials for ready access at trial
  • Preparing of exhibits
  • Researching various topics and parties

Basic Qualifications:

  • Associate Degree or equivalent
  • One or more years of experience in legal office
  • PC literate with working knowledge of Windows software and a thorough knowledge of computerized legal research software
  • Experience in case management
  • Research skills
  • Discovery drafting skills

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in propounding written discovery and preparing substantive drafts of responses to all written discovery (interrogatories, document requests, requests for admission)
  • Experience in trial preparation (trial notebooks, exhibit preparation, jury instructions)
  • Experience in obtaining and summarizing records
  • Team-first attitude, and plays well with others
  • Initiative

The right candidate must have prior work experience with electronic billing, excellent organizational skills, pays attention to detail, and be a team player.

Hospital Denies Access to Records

Are sunshine laws relevant to everyday life? Does access to records under sunshine laws matter?

Northside Hospital was asked for and denied access to records after patient bills went up after the acquisition of a couple of practice groups.  In this case, patients’ wallets are directly effected.  Further questions arose when the AJC was compiling research for a piece related to nonprofit hospitals’ CEO executive compensation.

This week, in the Georgia Court of Appeals, the hospital is arguing that its records and activities are private matters and not public.  The hospital’s stance is contingent upon the Hospital Authority of Fulton County leasing the hospital facility to a nonprofit that was created by the Authority for the purpose of operating the hospital.

Many hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the state of Georgia now operate under this structure: a non profit is formed with the purpose of operation and then the facilities are leased to the non profit.  David Hudson refers to this as “spinning off a private entity and transferring its assets, duties and public functions to that entity.”

David Hudson argued for transparency in an amicus brief filed in the appeal: “Without the access afforded by the Open Records Act, the public that these entities are supposed to serve is left in the dark. Are they in business to provide quality and affordable healthcare to the public, as the law requires, or are they incentivized simply to maximize revenue? Should not the public have the right to know when it is the public’s assets — and its health — at stake?”

David argues, “it cannot and should not be possible for a government agency to insulate itself from public scrutiny.”

Read the full article published by AJC HERE.

access to records

Image Credit: Bacho/

Meet Jim Ouellette

Jim Ouellette is Hull Barrett’s newest associate.

Jim graduated from Notre Dame Law School and served as an Officer in the U.S. Navy for 21 years. After retirement from the JAG Corps as a Navy Commander, Jim joined Hull Barrett. Hull Barrett posted his professional bio here but also wanted the community get to know him on a personal level. Here is what Jim had to say in a recent interview:

Let’s start off with something easy. What is your favorite snack food?  

After spending three years in Italy, I would instinctively answer “red wine.”   However, if I must stick to “food” I do admit that I enjoy home-made chocolate chip cookies, especially when still soft and warm.

Wine and cookies! Good answer. Now for a question about your field: what fascinates you about the legal industry? 

As an attorney, I get to take part in a very complex and dynamic legal system which, although constantly, continues to operate on two very simple principles:  (1) seek justice, and (2) protect the innocent.

What do you value in leadership? 

A true leader sets the example, learns from the individuals they work with, and makes others want to follow them through trust in their capabilities and faith in their motivations.  There is no such thing as “leadership by being a jerk.”  I value those who inspire and lead from the front by example, not those who push from behind.

What are you passionate about?  

I’m passionate about ensuring the safety and welfare of children.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are rights that belong to the young, to include necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, education, safe and stable home environments, and personal safety.

Let’s bring it local.  What is your favorite thing about the CSRA?

First and foremost, I have to thank the CSRA for producing my beautiful wife.  As a person, she embodies much of what I love about the CSRA:  a positive disposition, cheerfulness, and ambition.  I’m excited to be settling into a military friendly community that is on the rise, working hard to improve business opportunities, education, employment, and essential services.

Here is one of the most important questions and what everyone really wants to know: what is your favorite sports team? 

I am all about the University of Notre Dame – GO IRISH!

Back to law for a minute.  What was your most interesting case? 

In 2001, when internet protection was misunderstood and there were few computer experts available to testify, I defended an individual who was charged with accessing child pornography on a library computer that had been infected with malware that was causing innocent searches to redirect to certain adult websites.  The case involved finding and qualifying an “expert” to explain search history to a low-tech audience and then arguing that the viewing of thumbnail photographs did not violate federal law in that case.

Traveling new legal terrain must be fascinating. Let’s end with some interesting facts about you.

I’ve traveled to twenty six countries, lived in three, appeared as an extra on television shows in two, and served as a diplomatic liaison in one.

Before graduating high school, I once rode on a bus through Chicago while sitting next to George Lucas – he assured me that “Return of the Jedi” would not be the last Star Wars movie.


Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Dismissal from Train Derailment

Hull Barrett obtains multi-million dollar lawsuit lawsuit dismissal from train derailment.

Hull Barrett attorneys George Hall and Shannon Lanier successfully defended a Class I Railroad in a multi-million dollar property damages lawsuit. George Hall and Shannon Lanier were able to convince the trial court to grant summary judgment on the liability damages claims asserted by a commercial landowner after a derailment in Burke County, Georgia in 2010. The landowner alleged that he planned to develop the 900 acre tract of land as a mitigation and stream credit bank and projected 15 million dollars in potential revenue.

Hall and Lanier convinced the trial court to grant summary judgment based on federal preemption defenses and the speculative nature of the Plaintiff’s claim for lost profits. An appeal is expected.

To guarantee you see Hull Barrett’s legal alerts and advice, subscribe to our bi-monthly email newsletter HERE.

What Beats Employment Attorney Jim Ellington?

Do you know your attorney outside of the legal realm?  What do you get when you push away the motions and legal research?  Attorney Jim Ellington is keeping it PG and confesses to Augusta CEO what beats him outside of the office.

To guarantee you see Hull Barrett’s legal alerts and advice, subscribe to our bi-monthly email newsletter HERE.

Meet Aimee Pickett Sanders

Aimee Sanders is Hull Barrett’s newest associate.

Aimee graduated from the University of Georgia, School of Law in 2008 and worked in Atlanta, Columbia and Augusta before joining the firm.  Hull Barrett posted her professional bio here, and the announcement may be viewed here, but thought it would be good for the community get to know her on a personal level.  Here is what Aimee had to say in a recent interview:

What fascinates you about the legal industry?

Its expansiveness. The legal field is an integral part of nearly all other industries. Whether you want to construct a plant in Augusta, Georgia or release a new doll in China, there are legal questions and/or issues that have to be addressed.

What do you believe is the most urgent legal issue in Georgia?

Access to legal services continues to be a serious issue in Georgia. There are many people who have limited access to attorneys for various reasons including location in rural areas and financial means. The State Bar of Georgia and other entities have made great strides, but we must continue to try to find ways to connect Georgians to the services they need.

What do you value in leadership?

Passion and competence.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about developing the potential in children. People are our greatest asset and the failure to invest in them early and consistently is a missed opportunity.

What is your favorite thing about the CSRA?

All of the untapped potential! The CSRA is a great place with a bright future. I look forward to being a part of that growth.

What is your favorite sport/team?

I’m not a big sports fan, but I cheer for my home teams, the Elon Phoenix and my Georgia Bulldogs!!!

What is your favorite candy?

Gummy Bears

What is something interesting about you?

I studied in Belgium and received certification in European Union Law.



The Best Lawyers in America® includes 12 Hull Barrett Attorneys with 1 Named as 2016 Lawyer of the Year

12 lawyers at Hull Barrett, PC were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016.

Best LawyersBest Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. “The methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.”  The process includes nomination, peer review, analysis of feedback and eligibility check. The lawyers being honored as “Best Lawyers” have received particularly high ratings in their surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism and integrity.

The values of Best Lawyers in America align with the values of Hull Barrett: Experience, Quality and Community.

Not only are 12 lawyers included in the upcoming list, George Hall is named as 2016’s Lawyer of the Year for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

George Hall


The Hull Barrett attorneys selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016:

Douglas D. Batchelor, Jr.

  • Government Relations Practice
  • Health Care Law

Mark S. Burgreen

  • Tax Law

Neal W. Dickert

  • Mediation

Davis A. Dunaway

  • Insurance Law

James B. Ellington

  • Employment Law – Management
  • Litigation – First Amendment
  • Litigation – Labor and Employment

George R. Hall

  • Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Litigation – Insurance
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants

R.E. (“Rand”) Hanna III

  • Public Finance Law
  • Real Estate Law

David E. Hudson

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • First Amendment Law
  • Litigation – Construction
  • Litigation – First Amendment
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

William J. Keogh

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Litigation – Construction

Darren G. Meadows

  • Environmental Law

Patrick J. Rice

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Medical Malpractice – Defendants
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

William H. Tucker

  • Real Estate Law

“Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.”

For more information about the inclusion process or credit for direct quotes, please check out the history of Best Lawyers.

George Hall Named Director for GDLA

Congratulations to George Hall for being named to a 3 year term as a Director of the Southern District for Georgia Defense Lawyers Association.  Part of GDLA’s mission is: “to support and work for the improvement of the adversary system of jurisprudence in our courts, to work for the elimination of court congestion and delays in civil litigation, and to promote improvements in the administration of justice and to increase the quantity and quality of the service and contribution which the legal profession renders to the community, State, and nation.”

Congratulations to all of the 2015-2016 Officers and Directors!


President: Matthew G. Moffett – Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett & Brieske, Atlanta
President-Elect: Peter D. Muller – Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson, Savannah
Secretary: Hall F. McKinley, III – Drew Eckl & Farnham, Atlanta
Treasurer: Sarah B. (Sally) Akins – Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Adams, Savannah

Executive Committee  (includes the officers and three most recent Past Presidents)

Immediate Past President: Kirby G. Mason – Hunter Maclean, Savannah
Past President 2013-2014: Theodore (Ted) Freeman – Freeman Mathis & Gary, Atlanta
Past President 2012-2013: Lynn M. Roberson – Swift Currie McGhee & Hiers, Atlanta

Vice Presidents

Craig C. Avery – Cowsert & Avery, Athens
David N. Nelson – Chambless Higdon Richardson Katz & Griggs, Macon
Jeffrey S. Ward – Drew Eckl & Farnham, Brunswick
James D. “Dart” Meadows – Balch & Bingham, Atlanta


Northern District
Brian T. Moore (2016) – Drew Eckl & Farnham, Atlanta
Pamela Lee (2017) – Swift Currie McGhee & Hiers, Atlanta
Wayne S. Melnick (2018) – Freeman Mathis & Gary, Atlanta

Middle District
Jason C. Logan (2016) – Constangy Brooks & Smith, Macon
Jason D. Lewis (2017) – Chambless Higdon Richardson Katz & Griggs, Macon
Robert R. (Rusty) Gunn, II (2018) – Martin Snow, Macon

Southern District
James S.V. Weston (2016) – Trotter Jones, Augusta
James W. Purcell (2017) – Fulcher Hagler, Augusta
George R. Hall (2018) – Hull Barrett, Augusta

William T. (Bill) Casey, Jr. – Hicks Casey & Morton, Marietta
Martin A. (Marty) Levinson – Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young, Atlanta
Ashley Rice – Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout, Atlanta

Physician Employment Contracts: Important Considerations

Whether a young physician finishing up residency or an experienced surgeon, negotiating and signing an employment contract can be overwhelming.  Physician employment contracts are especially unique, and it is this contract that will ultimately determine your relationship with the hospital or group with whom you chose to join.

When looking at these contracts, it is important to have a complete understanding of the terms of the contract.  Below are just a few of the contract clauses to which you should be paying close attention:

The Term

The contract should specify a start and end date.  Some contracts are only written for a year while others are automatically renewable.  It is important to consider the term and how the renewal process works.

Compensation Formula

The starting salary is just one number among many which will ultimately determine how you are compensated.  Many groups provide a base salary but will ultimately compensate based upon performance.  Understanding the compensation formula is of utmost importance in deciding whether the contract meets your expectations.

Non-Compete Clauses/Restrictive Covenants

Most physician employment contracts will have a non-compete clause that prohibits the physician from practicing medicine for a specified period of time in a specific geographical area.  Restrictive covenants may also limit the physician’s ability to keep certain patients.  Knowing the restrictions that will be placed on you should you chose to leave the group may play a major role in knowing whether this arrangement is right for you.


Image Credit: Roman Motizov/

Written by Mary Runkle Smith