I am from Gastonia, North Carolina. After high school, my family moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina. I began college at York Technical College. I later transferred as a junior to The University of South Carolina where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management. I worked a variety of jobs throughout my high school and college years. I spent time in several manufacturing facilities, sold sports equipment, worked for a commercial lawn maintenance company, etc. I worked to offset the cost of my education. However, I gained a lot of practical experience many other lawyers simply do not have.
I often see other attorneys who were fortunate enough that they never had to work while attending school. Many lawyers' first real job is the one they get after law school. The down side of this is it commonly leads to a lack of perspective and an inability to really deal with people on a personal level. It's simply a lack of life experience. I enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds in different situations. I learned how different people approach their every day lives. Those experiences have helped me so many times to identify with clients, understand something in court, develop a better strategy, etc. So much of my job is about how you and I can connect to work as a team. It helps to see things in a similar way.
I also went to law school at The University of South Carolina. I tried to get as much practical experience as possible. I worked for firms that provided a chance to really learn something I might someday use to help a client. After graduating, I passed both the North Carolina and South Carolina state bar exams so I could represent individuals throughout the Carolinas. That process is very long and difficult. However, I did not want to face limitations when working for a client.
I started my career at one of Charlotte's largest defense firms. I spent several years really learning the specifics of workers' compensation law. Just as important, I learned how insurance companies operate. I saw how adjusters evaluate claims; why they accept or deny claims; how they evaluate claims; what their decisions are based on, etc. I paid careful attention, as I knew I wanted to eventually represent individuals like you. The information I learned during these years is priceless for my clients. I use this knowledge in every single personal injury claim I handle.
I later moved to a small general practice firm also located in Charlotte. I began to represent injured people just like you in personal injury and workers' compensation cases. I helped clients injured in car wrecks, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, boat accidents, etc. I helped people hurt in every possible way at work. I think I've helped someone who has injured practically every body part. I also had the chance to work on other types of civil cases where I learned various things I still use in my firm today.
My last job was working for a large firm that advertises on TV a lot. That experience made a big impression on me. I realized the clients almost never spoke with their lawyer. I would often meet my client for the first time near the end of his / her case (how crazy is that?). The large majority of the work on every clients' case was done by hourly employees with little or no legal training. Employee moral and turnover was incredibly high, so new people were constantly working on my clients' files. A large portion of my clients were frustrated, unhappy, or worse when I arrived. It was painfully clear: a bunch of TV ads get people to sign up, but it does not lead to happy clients. The answer was obvious to me.
So, we parted ways and I started The Shumate Law Offices with a simple goal: efficiently provide you the best legal service I possibly can, while providing you great customer service. I don't make this harder than it needs to be.
I really care about your case.
I work really hard.
I use my resources / technology for your benefit.
I've failed in the past to make this very clear to potential clients, because it's so engrained in my approach. It's just obvious. However, I realized one day that so many people do not feel this way about their lawyer. They don't feel like he / she really cares. They wonder whether their lawyer really gave 100%, or maybe a little less. Have you found yourself in this uncomfortable position before? Are you concerned about it now?
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your situation, please contact my office.
J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law (2003)
B.S., University of South Carolina (2000)
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
North Carolina State Bar
South Carolina State Bar
U.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
North Carolina Bar
N.C. Bar Association
South Carolina Bar
Mecklenburg County Bar
N.C. Advocates For Justice
American Association For Justice