Author Biography 

Having explained on the home page that I have led a life full of adventure, I feel compelled to provide a little more detail to those who might be interested. But rather than write a single long biography, I have instead organized my life by categories so that you may look at the parts that interest you. Or simply watch my author video.


In 1979, I received a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude with departmental honors in political science from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. While at Tulane, I was named a Tulane University Scholar, was listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and earned both Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa keys. Upon graduation, I was awarded Tulane's Pi Sigma Alpha award for writing the superior honors thesis in political science, Brazil: Economic Development Under an Authoritarian Regime.

After graduating from Tulane, I entered law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from which I received a Juris Doctor in 1982. During the summers while I was in law school, I worked as a legal intern in the United States Attorney's Office and as a law clerk for a New Orleans law firm. During the academic year, I worked part time as an assistant to a registered lobbyist seeking amendments to the Clean Air Act. Upon graduation from law school, I was listed in Who's Who Among American Law Students.

Bar Admissions

I am licensed to practice law in Alabama, Texas, and the District of Columbia, though only my Alabama license is currently active. I have also been admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the United States Army Court of Military Review (now the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals), the United States Court of Military Appeals (now the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces), and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama.

Military Service

I attended college on an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, and so I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on May 13, 1979, the same day I graduated from college. During the summer after my junior year in college, I attended Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia and received my jump wings. I attended Advanced Camp at Fort Riley, Kansas the same summer. While a cadet, I was a member of the color guard, the orienteering team, and the Rangers. I was also a member of Scabbard and Blade, a tri-service military honor society, and was president during my senior year. Upon graduation, I was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate by the Department of the Army.

The Army granted me an educational deferment so that I could attend law school, and while I was in law school I was promoted to First Lieutenant. Following law school, I applied for admission to the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, and upon admission to the District of Columbia Bar, I was accepted. I attended the Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course in Charlottesville, Virginia, and shortly after graduation was promoted to Captain.

My first duty assignment was with the Eighth Army in Seoul, Korea, where I first served as a member of the United States Foreign Claims Commission, negotiating and settling tort claims filed against and on behalf of U.S. forces in Korea. In the following year I served as a military prosecutor in courts-martial.

I was then reassigned to the First Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. After receiving specialized training in the law of war and the law of terrorism, I became the Chief of Administrative Law for the First Cavalry Division, where I advised commanders on questions of administrative law, the law of war, and the law of terrorism. I simultaneously served as the Chief of Legal Assistance, supervising four other lawyers rendering legal services to soldiers.

For my military service, I was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, and a special commendation from the Honorable Bae Myung In, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Korea.

Law Practice

After leaving the military, I entered private law practice in Birmingham, Alabama and initially concentrated in commercial matters, including business litigation, commercial real estate transactions, workouts and foreclosures, commercial bankruptcies, and international transactions. I continued in this practice for eight years with the law firm Martin, Drummond, Woosley & Palmer, P.C. and its predecessors. During that time I was twice named as a trade delegate for the State of Alabama and attended the Sixth Joint Conference Between Korea and the Southeastern United States in Kyongju, Korea, in October, 1991, and the Seventh Joint Conference Between Korea and the Southeastern United States in Atlanta, Georgia, in October, 1992.

In 1995, I left the law firm Martin, Drummond, Woosley & Palmer, P.C. and began practicing in the area of toxic tort litigation with the law firm Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. There I represented the victims of exposure to toxic substances in lawsuits against the manufacturers of those substances. I remained with that firm until I sold my interest at the end of 2009 in order to write full time.

Legal Writing and Teaching

During the course of my legal career, I have authored articles in a number of legal journals, including the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, the Commercial Law Journal, the Alabama Trial Lawyers Journal, and the Christian Lawyer. I have also taught various legal courses both as an evening college instructor and at seminars for lawyers. In addition, for several years, I have been listed in a number of Who's Who publications, including Who's Who in America.

Alabama Legal Reform Foundation

In my toxic tort practice, I became aware of terrible injustices in Alabama law, so in 2005 I founded the Alabama Legal Reform Foundation, a nonprofit organization of which I remain the president. For my successful effort in one reform campaign, I was nationally recognized by the Public Justice Foundation of Washington, D.C., which gave me its Access to Justice Award in 2008. I was also named a Champion of Justice by the Alabama Association for Justice for the same successful campaign.

Jimmie Hale Mission

I am currently the chairman of the board of directors of the Downtown Jimmie Hale Mission, Inc., a Christian-based, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which includes a homeless shelter for men, a shelter for women and children (Jessie's Place), recovery programs, learning centers, and thrift stores.

On July 1, 2010, Charity Navigator rated the Jimmie Hale Mission with 4 stars, its highest rating for sound fiscal management. According to Charity Navigator, this indicates "that Jimmie Hale Mission executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America."

Other Activities

I am a past president of the Birmingham chapter of the Christian Legal Society, and a member of the Alabama State Poetry Society, the Birmingham Historical Society, the Birmingham Art Association, and the Birmingham British Motoring Club. I have also been actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America, serving as both an assistant scoutmaster and merit badge counselor.

New Writing Career

In the past two decades, I have published guest columns in more than 20 newspapers throughout Alabama and elsewhere, including the Birmingham News, the Mobile Register, the Huntsville Times, the Montgomery Advertiser, and the Anniston Star. I have also written poetry since the time I was in college, and I have occasionally published poems. But, as I said on the home page, this writing did not satisfy my dream, and so I left my legal career to write full time.