Attorney Profile

- Thomas J. Hough Jr. has been practicing law since November 14, 1972.
- Graduate of Woodrow Wilson Law School on June 16, 1972 was awarded the degree of JD (Jurist Doctor).
- 1973 was awarded the degree of LLM (Masters in Law).
- Admitted to the bar November 14, 1972 and was employed in the law office of George Carreker, in Smyrna, GA.
- Private practice began January 1, 1973 when the firm of Brown & Hough was organized in Marietta, GA.
- The Law Offices of Thomas J. Hough, Jr., PC, I have been continuously in practice since November 14, 1972.
- Successfully represented a wide variety of clients in several significant cases.
Author of weekly article in the Bartow Trader entitled "Jim Hough - It's the Law"
I was born at a very early age... I’ve always wanted to begin a piece with that line. Until several weeks ago, however, no one ever expressed an interest in learning anything of my background. Then along came Mr. Rick Richardson, suggesting that it might be of some interest to do just that for the issue of the Bartow Trader coming out this week. I’m not sure he correctly perceives readership interest in learning of my background, but this is my opportunity and so...
I was born at a very early age, of goodly parents who taught me well. It just never quite took a firm hold. Born in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, I spent most of my youth in Greensboro, which along with Winston Salem and High Point is known as the “Golden Triangle.” Four years in Raleigh, NC, at North Carolina State, home of the Wolfpack, was followed by a one year, all expense paid vacation to the then “Sandbag Capital” of the World, Vietnam.
One small incident probably bears mention, and that was the tremendous good fortune I had to make the acquaintance in the Summer of 1964 of a young lady named Donna Ruth Shreve. From that day to this she has been and remains the light of my life. Owing to the tremendous first impression I make on people, it took me only slightly less than four years to convince her that it was love at first sight. We married in June of 1968, believing my duty assignment at Fort Polk, LA was secure and likely to keep me stateside for the duration of my tour of duty.
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Within weeks of taking my bride to Leesville, LA, I learned of my assignment for duty in Vietnam. Also willing to admit to being lucky in love and war, I made it back to the United States without injury, physical or mental (some say). Now is where it gets real interesting. Maybe not for you the reader, but it sure did for me.
Donna had to face the reality that she was married to a former military man/student with no visible means of support and not quite a complete education. Her father, also took note of her extreme good fortune, and suggested, that he knew of a place where one with less than a degree could go to law school. I was soon introduced to Dean Joseph B. Kilbride, of the Woodrow Wilson School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. I at first thought with fondness of the faith it showed for Donna’s dad to believe in me enough to think I could successfully negotiate the halls of law school. I soon learned that he had far more faith in his daughter’s ability to “encourage” me to the level of effort necessary to finish law school and pass the bar. Suffice it to say, my TV and casual reading time were severely curtailed for the three years of law school.
Donna would tell you differently (although I can’t be certain if she is blinded by love or just does not know how to evaluate raw talent), she has expressed the opinion that I show flashes of intelligence. I can assure you, however, it is more a tribute to her “encouragement” than to my intelligence, that I graduated magna cum laude and passed the bar exam. The fact that I passed on my first try was a blessing to me, but I’m not sure that even Donna expected such early and good news. In fact she had a newspaper printed especially for me with the headline, “Jim Hough passes bar on 48th try!”
While in law school and taking the bar, Donna busied herself with various jobs to support her budding lawyer. She grew up in a law office, and so it was not long before she was working at law firms in Atlanta, Georgia, and developing a portfolio of useful forms and law office management materials. What she had in mind I was not certain, but it was not long after I passed the bar that the firm of Brown & Hough was formed in Marietta, GA, and incredibly we were able to lure her as secretary/office manager to the fledgling firm.
And the rest is history, would be an easy but very shortsighted way to close this article. As much as I love the law, and my practice, it would miss entirely the most precious part of my life with Donna, who I am as a person and who we are as a couple. Beginning in 1974, we were blessed with the first of four daughters, Elizabeth Candace. In 1976 Scarlet Marie joined our little family. 1979 welcomed Shannan Leigh to the Hough clan. God saw fit to bless us one final time in 1986 with Mary Beth.
Elizabeth and husband, Jay Ketner, both graduates of UGA, they are candidates for doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota. She hopes to earn a Ph.D. in English Literature, and he a Ph.D. in French. In this way they hope to both be able to teach at the same college. Join with us in prayer that their college is a member of the SEC.
Scarlet and husband, Jeff Buckley, reside in Athens, GA, where following her graduation from the University of Georgia, she became a Montessori teacher. Jeff is a State 4-H Specialist with the University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia 4-H.
Shannan did what any recent graduate of UGA would do. She put her degrees in French and Journalism to work by agreeing to serve as an au pere in Paris for the next year or so. Mom and I will be seeing her off at the Atlanta Airport today so she may return to finish her assignment. We were so blessed to have her with the family this Christmas, if only for a few days.
Miss Mary Beth is the Hough family lifeline to youth and vitality. A junior at Cartersville High School, she hopes to follow her older sisters to UGA to make it four for four at UGA. Her activity at school, her involvement in Church and missionary activities have already made her parents certain that we are wealthy in the most important aspect of life and that is we are a most blessed family.
One of our great blessings as a family was finding a home in Cartersville, GA. All who move here know what I mean. If you were born here and are not too excited about your hometown, just move away for a while, then move back. This is a special place and we are proud to be a part of it.
Finally, Mr. Richardson, gave me the chance to write an article for his paper. An old dog not only can learn new tricks, but he might just find a pleasant outlet for expressing ideas that are not quite appropriate to say in Court or write in a brief.
In June of 1972 I was awarded the degree of Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude. I passed the bar exam and in 1973 I was awarded the degree of LLM. Both degrees were from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. However, this only entitled me to practice my profession.
Far more important has been the example of those whose paths I have been privileged to cross in my profession. Early, was the relationship I forged with Dean Joseph B. Kilbride. The founder of the school in 1932 and Dean of the law school until his death, he was dean during my tenure there as a student from 1969 through 1973. Anyone who read my first article may recall a reference to Dean Kilbride and his considerable influence on his then student lawyer. His mantra, “rule, argument and conclusion” is indelibly engraved in my mind to the point that more than thirty years later, I never read a case without rehearsing it in my mind as I analyze the holding of the case I am reading and apply it to the facts of the case on which I am working.
My father-in-law was another such person. It so happened that he was one of the graduates of the Woodrow Wilson College of Law, Class of 1933. In fact, while living in Raleigh, NC, reading and studying the law, he had heard of the Dean’s law review course, and was attracted to Atlanta, Georgia in order to prepare himself to stand the bar examination in North Carolina. When he learned the Dean had founded a law school, he enrolled for the academic year of 1932-33. Separated by 36 years, we both were able to study at the feet of the same mentor.
Both Dean Kilbride and my father-in-law, Clyde A. Shreve, had uncommon love for the law and were students of the law for all of their lives. It was few conversations I had with either of them, that didn’t eventually get around to some aspect of the law. Mr. Shreve was a trial lawyer, but in all the years that I knew him, he never began a day without reading a case or two in the advance sheets, cases freshly decided. He would say, “The law is a jealous mistress, and ever changing.” He meant it was necessary to devote time to the study of the law, and study of the law to remain current on the state of the law.
I’ve also had a varied practice. Initially, I was fortunate to have a partner very well connected with a real estate developer. For the first years of our practice, we did almost exclusively real estate closings and business practice. An occasional contract, corporation, partnership, will, divorce or criminal matter rounded out the case load of the fledgling firm. What had been our large real estate client, became a very large and complicated filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court in what was a sharp downturn in the real estate market in the Metropolitan Atlanta area in 1973.
Gradually and over the next several years, I personally handled more civil and criminal litigation, with quite a large domestic clientele. After about ten years in a very general practice, I began to be privileged to represent some injured parties in automobile cases, work place injury cases, and an occasional medical malpractice claim. After 10 years, the form of my practice changed to a solo practice, when my partner wanted to move our offices to East Marietta. Not able to look with favor on crossing Highway 41 every day to go to work, I opted to stay in the First National Bank Building in Marietta, and to pursue my increasingly injury claim dominated practice.
What always appealed to me, even in law school, was the notion of championing the claim or defending the position of the wrongly injured or accused client. I never have represented the big corporation or insurance company seeking to deny the claim of someone negligently injured by their insured. I’m sure my early ideas in this regard are largely the product of those two men who first influenced by view of the law, but what has sustained this point of view and love for representing the little man have been those times when it was me against the system, standing up for those who couldn’t or didn’t know how to get their voices heard.
A few notable cases come to mind when I think back on more than 30 years. Not always the most financially rewarding cases, they are the ones in which I was able to really commit my heart and soul to the challenge. In one appointed juvenile case, I was told to come over and “stand in” in behalf of the young man who was going to be sent to Milledgeville. I spoke to the Judge and asked if she really had already made her decision before the hearing had begun. I spoke to the young man who was defiant, angry and didn’t care what happened. I spoke to his parents, frustrated, angry and hostile toward a system they did not understand and which had been totally ineffective in helping them reclaim their child. Somewhere in the middle of what was going to be a five minute hearing and rubber stamp to the pre-determined outcome, I saw a family break through to communication. I saw a young man cry upon learning that he did matter to his parents and in particular to his father. More importantly, I saw a Judge go from denying the apparent, to admitting that her years on the bench may have made her somewhat jaded about some aspects of her job. I can’t tell you if everything worked out, but I can tell you that on that day, I was privileged to see that my caring intensely about not wanting to be part of a rubber stamp procedure made a difference, if only on that day.
Several years later, I was privileged to represent a man, reduced to a life as a paraplegic due to the negligence of some fellow employees, regain his sense of manhood, notwithstanding the spinal injury which had forever altered his life and the quality of his life. We were able to convince the employer that his claim was not covered by worker’s compensation but rather by the rules of negligence. The difference to his family can be stated in money. As a compensation claim, his maximum weekly benefit would have been $375.00 per week. His structured settlement pays him $6,000.00 per month for a minimum of 30 years and for his life, if he lives longer. Lump sum payments beginning at $100,000.00 and increasing to $600,000.00, every fifth year, help in providing specially equipped vehicles, and handicap equipment for his home. But it is not about money. It is about regaining the say-so in how one lives his life, even if it has been vastly altered. He regained the right in his mind to call himself a man.
It is in final analysis my love of the law, and the many cases over the years in which I could champion the cause of people like you and me which makes me dare to feel I have something to say about the law and the right to say it.
Feel free to contact our offices and schedule a free initial consultation. We’ll get you started in the right direction.