Welcome back to my multi-part New Year’s post.
As I mentioned in Part 1, as Stone & Baxter was wrapping up its 25th year and Plan Proponent posted its 99th post in 2021, I thought it would be fun use the Wayback Machine to take a look back at how professional websites—law firm sites, in particular—have evolved over the last 25 years. It’s my way of saying Thank You to those I’ve worked with and those who have supported the blog for the last 7 years.
In Part 1, I focused on the big national firms. Naturally, King & Spalding’s 2001 Recruiting Bloopers Reel was the star attraction. That post had relatively broad appeal and was even noticed by the leading legal tech journalist in the U.S.
In Part 2, I’ll leave the big firms, the Atlanta firms, and the cringe behind until Part 3. Instead, I’ll focus on organizations I’ve been a part of since 1994 and firms in Middle Georgia.
University of Georgia
It’s fitting that I start with UGA as we head into tonight’s game. I was there from 1994 to 1999 in the Terry College of Business and my wife Jessica was there from 1998 to 2002 in the College of Education. The earliest index of the site is February 4, 1997:
If you’re like Jessica and me and have kids who are starting to look at colleges, then you’re likely astonished by how different the application process is today than it was back in the mid to late 90s. Today, UGA is basically a lottery. According to this 1997 FAQ, UGA received 13,000 applications for 3,500 spots in 1996 compared to 39,615 applications for 16,729 spots in 2021. And whereas the middle 50% GPA and SAT were 3.1 to 3.7 and 1110 to 1280 in 1996, those figures were 4.00 to 4.30 and 1340 to 1480 in 2021. Yikes!
Moving on, here’s the humbler looking campus that I remember:
While the Student Bookstore is still there anchoring Central Campus, it’s amazing how this leisurely view changed when, years later, they added the Tate Center expansion, the Zell Miller Learning Center, and the Tate Center Parking Deck.
Speaking of big developments, in 1997, the $100 million Ramsey Center was barely two years old. Incoming freshman in 1994 saw a “Coming Soon” mock-up of the Ramsey Center at the Tate Center. I can remember, at a least a couple of weeks into each New Year until I stopped, driving my 1990 Honda Accord to the Ramsey Center. Even college kids have New Year’s Resolutions. The major difference 27 years ago was that the goal was to gain weight rather than to lose it. Despite this insane On Campus Menu, that was next to impossible.
Here’s the Ramsey workout center today:
If you’ve ever lived in or visited Athens at any point, then you’ll enjoy Flagpole’s 1996-1997 Guide to Downtown. Compadres was still in business and serving spinach quesadillas; Clockwork Orange was playing at the Tate Center movie theater; and Jittery Joe’s was still on Washington St. near the 40 Watt where it belongs.
I have to restrain my optimism. We have assembled a good staff and a good group of players this season.
The coach at the time and now former coach Jim Donnan can likely be located here tonight, calling the National Championship live from his recliner.
Best of all, here’s an audio file I found buried in the 1997 website of Larry Munson’s “Carswell saved our fanny!” call from the 1990 Georgia-Alabama game.
Magnus Management Consultants
After graduating in 1999, I got a job as a management consultant at Magnus Management Consultants, a Dutch firm that had an Atlanta outpost at Tower Place.
I wish there were more links to share, but my former Magnus colleagues will appreciate this screen grab:
For most of us, you were either flying in and out of Atlanta to be in Rochester, New York or Kiel, Germany on the Kodak-Nexpress project (like I was) or to be in Juarez, Mexico on the Philips project, with occasional Friday reunions at Corner Bakery and On the Border in Buckhead. I still remember, long before I was a lawyer, hogging the firm’s printer to print out the 61-page Bush v. Gore decision on one of those rare weeks when we were all in the consultant bullpen at Tower Place (with its signature green lights), with little to do.
Technology Solutions Company
In 2001, I moved over to Technology Solutions Company, a Chicago-based consulting firm:
That’s what brought me and then Jessica to Houston, Texas on a big Exxon Chemical project. There aren’t many links to share, so I’ll post of a picture of TSC’s Atlanta “office” (the “King & Queen). It is at TSC where I first learned about “office hoteling” arrangements where big firms would compete to list as many office locations as they could to bolster their presence, even if the offices were managed by a single receptionist, sparse and barely occupied, and merely available to be “plugged into” when consultants occasionally came off the road.
Wake Forest Law School
When the late 90s tech boom ran its course, I hid out in law school at Wake Forest (pictured here in August 2003):
By the way, I didn’t go to Mercer Law School, but so many of my colleagues and so many attorneys who I’ve worked with did go to Mercer. Here’s the Mercer site in 2000. Click away:
Securities & Exchange Commission
I spent half of my 2L Summer in 2005 working for the Securities & Exchange Commission and living in Potomac, Maryland in Jessica’s parents’ basement.
The SEC in 1996:
The SEC in 2005 when it moved into its eventually-controversial $400 million offices adjacent to Union Station:
Having little supervision that Summer, we’d all hang out in the sort-of-finished office space that would later become SEC Commissioner Christopher Cox’s palatial office. My officemate Tom Leffler, a brilliant 2L from Georgetown Law, would disappear for hours during the afternoon and get his Bloomberg Terminal certifications and other securities certifications in the SEC’s computer lab, a lab that I think was intended for permanent employees!
Government work had few perks, but Bloomberg was one of them. They did “wine and dine” us by flying us all to New York City for the day to tour some Exchanges. They also took a group of us to see “The Smartest Guys in the Room”, a documentary which, appropriately, was all about the Enron scandal, a scandal that will come up again when I cover Alston & Bird.
I spent the second half of my 2L Summer at Tuggle Duggins, a full service business firm in Greensboro, North Carolina that I then joined after law school. Here’s the Tuggle Duggins site as it first appeared in 2001:
(Make fun all you want, but, as you saw in Part 1, Kirkland & Ellis, a world class international law firm, literally had in its main page web logo the phrase “Internet’s World-Wide Web.”)
For all of my Tuggle Duggins buddies, click here for the 10/25/01 attorney roster.
When I joined Tuggle Duggins as a Summer Associate, TDM(as I still call it) had upgraded its website, with the April 2005 attorney roster here:
What a shame that all of the profile picture links are broken, but here’s my profile in 2008. I did, however, promise my colleague Dan “proof of hair,” so here it is:
By the way, back then I did as much ERISA work as I did bankruptcy work, including this 2009 “Client Advisory Bulletin” with Ken Johnson (the firm’s way-too-smart ERISA partner) on how the Stimulus Act changed COBRA. Who knew that, 8 years later, I would file a 239 paragraph ERISA/COBRA complaint in connection with Oconee Regional Medical Center’s § 363 sale to Navicent. It’s a wonder that still I have any friends after that move.
Stone & Baxter
In 2010, we made our way back to Georgia and I joined Stone & Baxter in Macon. Here’s the website, as pictured in 2001 and, for that matter, in 2010.
Back in 2001, our roster (shown below) even included Presiding Judge Stephen Dillard (Georgia Court of Appeals), who was one of S&B’s very first associates in 1996 and who left the firm in September 2001 to clerk on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. And yes, as my clickbait from last week teased, the website developer misspelled His Honor’s name.
At least we got his name right on the website profile itself.
Here’s Judge Dillard in his Stone & Baxter office back when we were on the 11th floor of the Fickling Building. I’d recognize that grass cloth wallpaper and what I like to call the “J.R. Ewing” chair anywhere. And you can’t see all of it, but that’s a picture of Judge Dillard and the late Justice Scalia (who Plan Proponent tributed back in early 2016).
Skipping over the legendary “Ward Stone with a Moustache” picture (that you can still uncover with some Archive sleuthing), here’s the firm in or about 2004 (named partners Ward Stone and Mark Baxter and then, in order of law school graduation, Jerry Kaplan, Ron Thomason, (now Chief Bankruptcy Judge) Jim Smith, (now Bankruptcy Judge) Austin Carter, Mark Watson, Chris Terry, and George McCallum):
By the way, Judge Dillard, Judge Smith, and Judge Carter all worked at Stone & Baxter, but, as traced in my tribute to Jerry Kaplan, we also tend to think of Ret. Bankruptcy Judge Bob Hershner as one of our own. While I’m proud of those connections, I’m mainly mentioning Judge Hershner because we all literally just received a text from Ward telling us the bad news that Judge Hershner died this afternoon (Sunday) from a stroke. Rest in Peace, Judge.
Click here for a link to Judge Hershner’s American College of Bankruptcy profile. He joined the Adams & Hemingway firm in 1972 and then he and Jerry formed Kaplan & Hershner in 1976 where he practiced until he became a Bankruptcy Judge in 1980 and eventually Chief Judge.
Moving back to the post, M&R Marketing took over in 2013 for this Stone & Baxter upgrade:
By that time, I, Matt Cathey, and Ben Wallace had joined in 2010:
Ok, enough about me. Let’s move to my Middle Georgia peers and predecessors.
Looking Back at Middle Georgia
As we saw in Part 1, the larger firms and the Atlanta firms led the pack on websites, with the smaller firms in the smaller towns following behind. I’ll cover a few of the older Middle Georgia business firms and law-related sites.
M&R Marketing, our marketing company since 2013 and Middle Georgia’s go-to website and marketing firm, looked like this in 2012 (the first date that it was indexed).
Due to indexing issues, I couldn’t find any cool screen grabs. In their place then, I always remember their first little office in Macon:
Middle District of Georgia Bankruptcy Court
In Part 1, I looked at the Southern District of New York and the Delaware bankruptcy courts. Here is the Middle District of Georgia Bankruptcy Court in late 1998 (back when the Chapter 7 filing fee was just $175 and the Chapter 11 filing fee was just $830):
In his letter introducing the site, longtime Clerk of Court Bill Tanner said:
[I]t is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the home page of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Georgia. We hope that you find the information published here to be both interesting and useful.
And while the links are no longer active, the new site even posted Judge Hershner, Judge Laney, and Judge Walker’s daily court calendars:
Finally, for our bankruptcy attorneys, you have to check out Judge Walker’s dedicated page. I’ve really never seen anything like it. He provided his resume; copies of his seminar materials; notes about matters he currently had under advisement; and even his personal America Online (Aol) email address if you wanted to comment on his page.
I want to say that Jones Cork, founded in 1872, is the oldest law firm in Macon, although Anderson, Walker & Reichert (who I couldn’t cover due to indexing issues) might take issue with that. Here’s the Jones Cork website in 2002:
Lest there be any doubt, the site made it clear that Jones Cork’s attorneys used “e-mail, desktop faxing, voice mail, and Internet access” and, apparently, had “at their fingertips” the firm’s “in-house CD tower” for research.
Given how much I covered Frank Jones in Part 1 for his time at King & Spalding, I found it interesting that, because of indexing issues, Frank Jones was the only Jones Cork attorney profile that I could get to open between 2002 to 2012.
While I never knew Frank, it’s impossible not to have heard of him. As described in Mercer’s tribute to him, after he graduated from Mercer Law School in 1950, he practiced at Jones Cork (which was founded by his great grandfather) from 1950 to 1977 and then at King & Spalding from 1977 to 2001 where he retired. He returned to Macon and was Of Counsel at Jones Cork.
Martin Snow, another Macon mainstay, was founded in 1890. Here is its website in 2002 when its door still read “Martin Snow Grant & Napier”:
And here’s the firm’s roster of attorneys in October of 2002:
I’m a big Martin Snow fan and wish there was more to share. Unfortunately, the firm had a Flash-based site from 2007 until around 2014 that doesn’t work with the Archive.
Hall Bloch Garland & Meyer
Hall Bloch came to be in 1895, likely making it the third oldest firm in Macon. Until we moved last Summer, Hall Bloch was our longtime neighbor in the Fickling Building. Its website in 2003:
Back in 2003, (now) Sen. John F. Kennedy was still at Hall Bloch and had not made his move over to James Bates (covered below). Its roster in 2003:
The 2003 photos that got indexed (Ben Garland, Kennedy Hall, Ellsworth Hall III, (now Georgia State Senator) John F. Kennedy, Steve Stewart, and Duncan Walker):
Finally, their 2007 upgrade, which persisted through 2011 (when Steve Stewart’s son Walker joined), is worth capturing—they’re particularly known for railroad defense work:
Sell & Melton
Another one of our former neighbors in the Fickling Building, Sell & Melton was formed in 1980 from the merger of Sell, Comer & Popper (from the 30s) and McKenna, House, Lancaster & Green (from the 50s), with legend Buckner F. Melton (from the McKenna firm) joining in 1980 after serving as Macon’s Mayor. Here’s the site as shown in 2001:
And here’s the attorney list in or about 2003. Unfortunately, many of the photos are missing:
These are most of the photos that are still out there—minus Ed (whose photo links were broken)—Mitchel House, John Draughon, Chix Miller, Erick Erickson, Julia Magda, and now (Bibb Superior Court Judge) David Mincey:
I didn’t realize until making this post that Erick Erikson, the well-known radio talk show host and political blogger, got his start at Sell & Melton after graduating from Mercer Law School in 2000.
Moore Clarke DuVall & Rodgers
With David Garland tracing back to our firm via Ward and the Adams & Hemmingway firm and S&B alum Chris Terry having worked there before joining S&B, I’ll reach outside of Macon and mention Moore, Clarke, DuVall, and Rodgers, pictured here in 2001.
Their site was “under construction” from 2001 to 2005, so there isn’t anything to show. But here is a nice partner picture, which includes David Garland on the top right:
Kelley, Lovett & Sanders
I also wanted to include Katz, Flatau & Boyer (now Boyer Terry) and Akin, Webster & Matson, each longtime local bankruptcy firms, but the Archive didn’t cooperate with the indexing. And while Kelley, Lovett & Sanders is the more recent name of Walter Kelley’s firm now that Alex is named, I was able to find its first use of wwww.bankruptcyga.com back in 2009:
James Bates is a particularly tricky archive because its domain name changed when James, Bates, Pope & Spivey, LLP split off into James-Bates-Brannan-Groover, on the one hand, and Spivey, Pope, Green & Greer, on the other hand, in the early 2010s.
With a little digging, here’s what James Bates looked like in 2003. I had forgotten all about its tapestry-looking theme:
I didn’t come to Macon until 2010, so I was fascinated that what is now a 50+ attorney firm in Macon/Atlanta/Athens had a roster of just 9 attorneys 18 years ago. However, with the split and other changes, only two of the 2003 attorneys are still at the firm: James and Bates.
By 2003, Judge Dillard (name spelled correctly this time) had made his way from Stone & Baxter to his Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals clerkship to James Bates where he remained until taking the bench in 2010. Here’s a link to his October 2003 James Bates bio page.
Stay tuned for Part 3 where I’ll wrap-up by covering some large and small Atlanta firms and a few firms outside of Georgia that I’m happy to have a connection to. Go Dawgs!