Hal Wright is the founder and managing member of Hal Wright, Attorney at Law, LLC. Hal brings an extensive background and training in real estate and environmental policy and law to the benefit of his clients.
Hal advises clients on business development strategies, corporate structuring, environmental policy, and litigation with a major focus on regulatory, land use, and real estate matters. In addition to his extensive work in land use and environmental matters, he offers a depth of experience in litigating matters relating to breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Mr. Wright is experienced in negotiating contracts and agreements. He is a trained mediator.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Wright helped to create and lead an Atlanta multi-service commercial real estate development company’s construction division to a position of long-term profitability. Mr. Wright has also served as Executive Director/Legal Counsel for an environmental non-profit organization (Defenders of Wild Cumberland) and Chief Operating Officer/Legal Counsel of a technical start up company (Activate Worldwide, LLC).
Hal received his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1994 and was awarded the Ossabaw Award for Environmental Law. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agriculture and Resource Economics from the University of Georgia, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Mr. Wright graduated from the University of Georgia, Franklin College of Art and Sciences in1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Magna Cum Laude; Honors Program. Hal is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Mr. Wright was a Rhodes Scholar Candidate.
Mr. Wright is admitted to practice before all federal and state courts in Georgia.
Hal Wright Q & A
Why did you become a lawyer?
Most people do not know this, but I attended law school twice; Emory Law School right after I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1980 and the Law School at the University of Georgia in 1992. In 1980, I had just married Linda. I simply was not ready to attend law school. I had no real focus for doing so. That would change over the next decade as I worked and continued both my formal and informal education. I soon became aware that our society as we know it, and the natural systems upon which it depends, faced increasing stress by human activities. More importantly, I realized that law and economic activity are interdependent. The law seemed an avenue to better understand the disputes arising over the use of resources and to advocate for change. While I did not know exactly how to phrase it at the time, I returned to law school with a purpose, to become an effective advocate for the sustainable use of society’s natural resources.
How have your own life experiences influenced your practice as an attorney?
Several come to mind but one in particular is probably the most significant. I suffered a traumatic brain injury in college. It changed my life. The details are not that important. There were multiple well-healed potential defendants and it was no accident. Understandably, my parents chose not to pursue legal action because I seemed to be fully recovered and they had an ongoing allegiance to the potential defendants. Subsequently, roughly ten years later, I developed a seizure disorder. Thanks to the timely and targeted care of my neurologists and to wonderful medications, I have have been seizure free for over fifteen years.
The injury and resultant seizure disorder have made me a better lawyer. I am empathetic to injured clients to a degree I never would have been had I not struggled to overcome the difficulties from the my brain injury incident. The insights I received both as a recovering traumatic brain injury patient and as one suffering from epilepsy are invaluable in my relationships with my clients. Having experienced the frustration of a brain injury and a seizure disorder, I am much better able to understand and to discuss with clients the various aspects of their struggles with injuries of all types and how they might think in different time horizons about the scope of their recovery. I have unfortunately experienced the discrimination from employers, work associates, and even educational institutions from having a seizure disorder. I also believe experiencing this discrimination has been a valuable experience. It has made me a better lawyer, a more attuned listener, and a more effective advocate.
How has your practice philosophy changed over the years?
I have been a general proponent of the concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution from the early stages of the legal profession’s embracing of that movement, receiving my first certified ADR training in law school. ADR is simply using a means other than litigation to resolve a dispute between parties.
As a young attorney I acknowledged ADR as a viable means to resolve my client’s issues, yet I still relied heavily on the courts (litigation) to address many of these matters. My practice philosophy was to take legal action in court and then await developments to consider if settlement discussions were warranted.
My practice approach has evolved. Today, I endeavor to identify the issue confronting my client. The client’s interests are determined and explored. Finally, I seek the most expedient means to resolve the issue consistent with the client’s best interests. This evolution in my practice philosophy has proved a benefit to my clients.
Tell us about your background and your life today.
I am what they call “a triple DAWG”, having three degrees from the University of Georgia: an AB in Economics; a MS in Resource Economics; and a Juris Doctor. My son was born in Athens my final year of law school. I currently live, along with my beautiful wife, Linda, in Athens, Georgia, having moved here five years ago from Atlanta where I was born and raised.
I have lived and worked as a lawyer throughout the State of Georgia from Athens to the coast. I have been actively involved with non-profit work and advocacy efforts related to public lands and wildlife issues, including the Cumberland Island National Seashore. Prior to attending law school, I developed and led a multi-service commercial real estate development company’s construction division to a position of long-term profitability.
I currently stay busy keeping up with my two Labrador retrievers. I enjoy hunting (especially wing shooting) and fishing (salt water flats), and go hiking whenever possible. I am a reader, especially of history, and enjoy increasing my knowledge of resiliency and climate change issues. I enjoy SEC Football (Go DAWGs).