Profile: Bill Hunter, Partner at Oliver Maner

Charlotte Nauert

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Bill Hunter has just one word to describe how he feels about being named among the prestigious recipients of The Daily Report’s 40 under 40: “Humbled.” 

The recent designation is just one of a long list of Bill’s accolades. As a partner at Oliver Maner LLP, he has been named a Georgia Rising Star by Atlanta Magazine for several years, in addition to being “Lawyer of the Year” for Savannah in the area of medical malpractice law. Bill was also named in the 2013 “Best Lawyers in America” for both personal injury litigation defendants and plaintiffs.

“I credit my success primarily to Greg Hodges, my mentor,” Bill says, ever humble. “He has pushed me and helped me every step of the way. I can say confidently that one of the most important moments in my life was going to work for him. He taught me that if you are honest and work hard, then the rest of it sort of takes care of itself. That has been true for me.” 

As part of a long legacy of excellence at Oliver Maner, the outstanding lawyers in Bill’s life who serve as role models don’t stop there. “Bill Franklin and Pat O’Connor have also helped me for the past eleven years. Like Greg, they demonstrated to me early on that hard work and looking out for your client’s interest above all else is the way to get results.”

These friendships have been elemental for Bill on every level. In fact, coming to Savannah wasn’t even on his radar—until he came to Oliver Maner. “I’m from Arkansas and attended law school there. I had friends from Savannah, and I was fortunate enough to have been offered a summer law clerk position at Oliver Maner after my second year of law school,” Bill explains. “I took the position with the idea of having a great summer, never thinking I would take a job in Savannah.” His plan was to take a job at a large firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, and stay closer to his home, but that was never in the cards. “My experience here was so good that it changed my mind,” Bill says. “I saw Bill Franklin and Greg Hodges both try big cases that summer and decided that was what I wanted to do. I also knew having lawyers like these to teach me would grant the opportunities I wanted.” 

The rest, as they say, is history. With an expertise in litigating and trying complex personal injury cases for both plaintiffs and defendants, Bill has an impressive list of cases under his belt already. From his present work as co-counsel with Ed Tolley, defending the only federal death penalty case in the Southern District of Georgia, to monumental wins for the community as a whole, Bill has had his hands full at Oliver Maner. 

“Greg Hodges and I defended a doctor in a case involving a very nice and relatively young quadriplegic man,” Bill remembers.“The potential damages in that case could have ruined the life of my client. I remember the case because my heart rate was about 200 when the judge was reading the verdict. Fortunately, we won.”

In another recent case, Bill defended a young farmer who suffered a devastating injury while his wife was pregnant with twins. “The case was very complicated with eight or nine experts all over the country,” Bill says. “We were able to obtain a settlement in the case within one year of it being filed, and, hopefully, relieved some of the burden on that family.”

Cases like these are an integral part of what Bill loves most about his work here in Savannah. “At Oliver Maner, we have very talented and unique lawyers who can prosecute or defend all kinds of cases,” Bill says. “There are not many firms who try cases with millions of dollars at stake for both the plaintiff and defendant. We do so regularly.”

In the midst of all this important work, Bill doesn’t hesitate to identify his greatest accomplishment: “Dallas Hunter, my son. 

From his successes at a prestigious law firm to his love for his family, Bill’s recent designation on The Daily Report’s 40 under 40 is the logical next step in the astral progression of his life. It just goes to show: honesty and hard work will indeed take you far.