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Jeremiah M. Hodges

Hodges Trial Lawyers PC
200 West Side Square, Suite 309
Huntsville, AL 35801
(256)539-3110 / jmhodges@notanaccident.com

Jeremiah graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2004. He also graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama in 2001, receiving his B.S. degree in Commerce and Business Administration in 2001. Jeremiah is the owner of Hodges Trial Lawyers PC and primarily represents persons injured by the negligent conduct of corporations and other individuals. Although he is typically on the plaintiff’s side, he has been retained numerous times to defend individuals and entities as well, in civil and criminal cases. He is also admitted to the Tennessee Bar Association.

Jeremiah was selected as one of the National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 under 40” for Alabama in 2012, as well as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” in 2011 and 2012. He is on the board for Athens-Limestone Library Foundation and the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, where he serves as president. He is past chair for the Alabama Association of Justice Emerging Leaders and past president of the Huntsville-Madison County Young Lawyers. While at the University of Alabama, Jeremiah received the Outstanding Finance Student Award, National Collegiate Student Governance Award and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society as well as Who’s Who Among American College and University Students. During his years at the School of Law, he received the George Peach Taylor Award for Trial Advocacy and American Judicature Society Award. Jeremiah was president of Future Trial Lawyers of America and on the Public Interest Institute Board, as well as a member of the National Civil Trial Competition Team and the Christian Legal Society. His memberships currently include American Association of Justice, Alabama Association of Justice, Southern Trial Lawyers Association, the National Trial Lawyers, Alabama State Bar, Huntsville-Madison County Bar.

The attorney who recommended Jeremiah said, “Thank you for taking on the difficult task of serving on the Selection Committee. The Leadership Forum was a wonderful experience for me, as I gained both knowledge of leadership skills and several new friends. So, I very much appreciate the efforts of your Committee which help allow for this important leadership training program to continue. I first met Jeremiah when he was a law student at the University of Alabama. I was impressed with him at that time. Over the past eight years, I have had the opportunity to work with him both on cases and on various local bar and Alabama Association for Justice committees. I have also had an opportunity to spend some time with Jeremiah and his wife in social settings. So I have seen first hand that Jeremiah is a very fine lawyer, a good family man, and a dedicated servant leader. Any time that I have ever worked with Jeremiah on a case or served with him on a committee, he has worked hard, worked well with others, and has provided important insight. For these reasons, I am extremely confident that he will be a wonderful addition to Leadership Forum Class 9.”

In his own words, Jeremiah says, “I feel very blessed and proud to be a lawyer. Not many are fortunate enough to wake up in the morning excited to get to work. I spent a summer in college working at a steel mill in Birmingham, so I have experienced the prospect of dreading showing up for work each day. Each day, I interact with other lawyers, judges, and all types of interesting people. Although I am primarily a personal injury lawyer, I am also a small practice lawyer. This means that we are often hired to work in civil litigation, domestic, and criminal matters. Certainly we work in the hopes of making a good living. But seldom is any amount of money earned more gratifying than an opportunity to truly impact someone’s life or change the world. It would be foolish to believe that every time we represent someone in a routine care accident case we changed the world. But sometimes, what seems like a small situation to us, is a much bigger circumstance to someone else. One of my proudest moments as a lawyer came from meeting with a new client. Her husband had been involved in a horrific car wreck and was in intensive care with devastating injuries. His doctors warned his wife that he might not survive the night. A family member called and asked that we meet with her. I did as I was asked even though I despise going to the hospital to meet with clients. I hate the old stereotype of the ambulance chaser and I certainly do not want to be mistaken for that type of lawyer. In any event, I met with her and had the always unpleasant job of explaining to a soon to be widow that certain claims expire upon death if a lawsuit is not filed. As I was trying to be sympathetic and gentle, while trying to give her the understanding I felt was important, she suddenly stopped me. We had been talking for probably an hour and she said, ‘Jeremiah, I worked in finance for thirty years. I can tell when I can trust someone and when I can’t. I can trust you. You will take care of us. You do what you need to do.’ There is not a single significant monetary result, hard fought ruling, or peer reviewed award that meant more to me as a lawyer than that simple moment where I impacted that client in a tiny positive way while she was dealing with so much tragedy and sadness. A good lawyer must be a great listener. This was never more concrete to me than when I handled my first criminal case. When I first started practicing law, I never fancied myself a criminal lawyer. I thought I only wanted to do civil work and help hurt people. Ask anyone I went to law school with and, if they remember me, they will describe me as the guy who would not shut up about representing hurt people. However, as a ‘baby’ lawyer, I saw criminal work as an opportunity to sharpen my trial skills. My first case was a young lady that had been wrongly accused of stealing a former acquaintance’s checks. My client was adamant that she was innocent. We were able to get the case dismissed after hearing the testimony of the investigating officer. It was readily apparent to everyone in the courtroom that this lady was truly innocent as she said she was. I will never forget her comments to me after the matter was over. She told me that she had been in trouble once before and that they lawyer would not listen and shoved the paperwork to sign admitting guilt under her nose. As she explained this to me and how grateful she was for the work we did for her, she began to cry. It broke my heart. Lawyers cannot cure every ill in society, but if we listen and zealously advocate for every client from ‘the least of these’ to those that can pay big retainers, we can have an impact and make a difference. There are small examples of the types of small contributions I feel like I have made as a lawyer. Like many others, I have been active in my community since I was fairly young. My first real memory of service involved pocket change and a coffee can. A boy in my class in third grade was badly burned when a family member was pouring gas on a trash fire near his home. The flames ran up the steam of fuel and when the fire reached the inside of the can, it exploded. He had severe burns all over his body. I thought maybe if we had some money, we could do something nice for him. I took one of my father’s coffee cans and circulated it amongst my class and school. It was not much money.  I no longer even remember the amount. I do remember that it was appreciated by the boy’s family. It felt good to help, even if in such a small way. I share this story because it is similar to the opportunities we often get as lawyers. We get to help; we get to make an impact. I am very excited about my present involvement with the Athens-Limestone Library Foundation Board. When I was approached about taking a position on this board, my first reaction was ‘why do we even need a library in 2012?’ My thought was in today’s world of computers, iPads, and Amazon.com that a bricks and mortar library had outlived its usefulness. I have now come to a different perspective having been exposed to research and data relative to how people across the socio-economic spectrum use and benefit from the library. I now understand how critical the library is to school children learning the gift of reading. I now understand how important the library is to someone trying to start their own business or better themselves through learning. I now understand how those that cannot afford computers or access to the internet if they had a computer consume and use the library. I now understand how major industries look at a local community and that Fortune 500 companies like Volkswagen think it is critically important to build plants in communities with strong, state of the art libraries. I now have the perspective that a library is truly a major component of growth and enjoyment of life in a small town like Athens, Alabama where I have resided since 2005. I think growth and evolution of thought is critical to being a leader. It was once said, ‘Wise men change, fools never do.’ I feel that my efforts to help raise the millions of dollars to build a new library for the citizens of Athens and Limestone County may be my greatest contribution to date. But if I had been unwilling to change my perspective and kept my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, I never would have had the opportunity. If selected as a participant in Class 9 of the Leadership Forum, I would hope to gain insight and perspective. I think we are all a little guilty of being myopic in our day-to-day lives. Though unintended, I am most concerned about what happens in my house, my office, and my community. It is not that I do not care for others outside my bubble, but the issues in the bubble are most important to me. I would hope that being a participant in Class 9 would help give me insight and perspective into issues facing lawyers that are not litigators. I think it is important as a leader to be able to empathize with those not like you. I would like to sharpen my leadership skills and learn how to help. I am quite certain that the practice of law is going to significantly change over the course of my career. I would like to be able to look back on the end of my career and believe that I truly made a difference for many of my clients and my community. I want to be able to look back and be certain that my career mattered. I believe the skills I would hone in Class 9 will aid in this effort.”