Alabama State Bar
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Nathan Philip Wilson

Administrative Office of Courts
300 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334)954-5075 / nathan.wilson@alacourt.gov

Nathan received his Juris Doctorate from University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2003. He received a B.A. in History in 2000 from Birmingham Southern College. He clerked for Circuit Judge Tennant M. Smallwood before becoming a staff attorney for the Administrative Office of Courts where he practices in Government Law, Budgeting and Finance, Legislative and Rule Drafting, Judicial Education and Training, Electronic Filing and Technology, Contracts, and Construction Management.

Nathan’s duties include General Counsel to the Finance Division, liaison to Committees on Rules of Criminal Procedures, Rules of Judicial Administration, Pattern Jury Instructions, providing legal assistance to judges, circuit clerks, and court officials, as well as an advisor to the Alabama Judicial College Faculty Association. Nathan is an Eagle Scout. He received the honor of Best Oral Argument in Moot Court 2001, and has been published in the Bar’s online publication, The Addendum. He has been a member of The Hugh Maddox American Inns of Court since 2007.

The presiding judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit who recommended Nathan said, “I have been interested in the Forum since its inception and have addressed classes several times in the past. I have reviewed your mission statement and stated goals and believe that never has it been more important to develop the potential leadership in the legal profession and ultimately to our State. At each of my contacts with your program, I have been very impressed with the quality of your selections. Nathan Wilson would fit in well with your group. I first came to know Mr. Wilson almost ten years ago, in 2003, when he was serving as a law clerk to one of my colleagues on the Birmingham bench. Mr. Wilson’s talent at organizing juries and in managing the judge’s trial docket made him a favorite among our judges. After his service here, he went to work as a Staff Attorney at the AOC. During those years, there have been many changes in the leadership of the Courts and the AOC, but each new administration has seen fit to retain his services. Those have been wise decisions. As the Presiding Judge of Jefferson County, I work with Mr. Wilson on a regular basis. I often ask for his opinion in addressing unique legal issues and especially about case management questions. These are not routine questions of law which can be found through legal research, but involve the thoughtful resolution of serious policy issues. The importance of his service to the Courts has increased during our transition from paper to electronic files. Nathan Wilson is also a good student of the law and each Friday he circulates to the trial courts the weekly Alabama appellate opinions. This is a service we did not have previously and is an important service to the judges of Alabama. I believe Nathan will be a future leader of our profession and hope he will be given the opportunity to participate in your important program.”

In his own words, Nathan said, “‘Leave it better than you found it.’ This mantra constantly repeated by my Boy Scoutmaster is one I grew tired of hearing during my teenage years. In those days, it typically meant that I and my fellow Scouts needed to do a better job cleaning the campsite. But as I matured and with each new stage of life I entered, this old axiom began to have actual meaning. It turns out to have real-life application beyond the world of camping. The way I view it, I must take advantage of my skills, including my legal education and training, along with my strong sense of compassion for others to make a difference. To put it plainly, the status quo is not an option especially when there is room for improvement. The theory of ‘leaving it better than you found it’ is applicable in virtually every aspect of my life, whether it is through community service projects I get involved with through church or in my professional life as an attorney. My legal practice is atypical in that my single client happens to be a branch of government. As an attorney for the Administrative Office of Courts my primary role is to advise the Chief Justice, the Administrative Director of Courts, trial court judges, and circuit clerks on an assortment of matters. However, it is the people of Alabama, including members of the Bar, who I ultimately serve. As a public servant, it is my fiduciary duty to the people to be an advocate for an adequately funded and efficiently run court system that possesses the necessary tools to function for the benefit of the communities around the state. I have been fortunate to have been one of the leaders of a team that has restructured the fundamental operations of the trial courts in Alabama. Alabama’s electronic filing system has become a national model. As of this writing, Alabama’s courts are on the cusp of going completely paperless. The budget crisis of 2003 in which Alabama’s courts suffered significant cutbacks in many critical areas came with one silver lining. The courts had to look for new ways to improve operations. The strategy was to better the judicial branch by embracing technology. The team of attorneys, programmers, and technical staff at AOC has held firm to the vision with the support and encouragement from Chief Justices, Administrative Directors, trial court judges, and circuit clerks. We amended the Rules of Court, petitioned our Supreme Court for enabling orders, and asked our Legislature to change a few laws, all for the purpose of bettering the system. The savings to the people in the community have been substantial, including significant reductions in paper cost, man hours, and postage. Bar members have benefited from the convenience of filing documents and pleadings anytime and anywhere and by having a means to officially exchanging information on the record with adversaries by a click of a mouse. Ten years ago, attorneys may not have known the outcome of a judicial decision for several days; now that information is transmitted to the attorney through cyberspace in less than ten seconds. Law enforcement and clerk staff have benefited by elimination of duplicate data entry. Ultimately, it is the people of this state who demand and deserve good government. I feel that through my service and leadership, I am doing my part to adhere to those demands. Simply stated, the team I am a part of is leaving it better than we found it. I am proud to be a part of it. The courts, once again, are facing the possibility of further budget cuts. Given the economic climate and the budgetary forecast, the goal to keep the courts running efficiently and effectively has become more difficult. Each fiscal quarter seems to start with a bleak economic report. It seems that each new Legislative Session begins with more ominous budgetary new than the last. The lack of funding for the courts is a direct threat to justice and freedom, and by extension poses grave danger not just to the legal community but to the community as a whole. With such an ominous outlook, we cannot stop building on what we have already accomplished. As an attorney for the judicial branch, I know that there is more to be done and still more we can do to improve our courts. This is why I seek selection into the Leadership Forum, Class 9. Strong voices are needed from within the judiciary. Likewise, the courts need strong advocates from attorneys engaged in private practice. Further, by attending the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Alabama State Bar, I learned that there is a benefit to having an open line of communication between the courts and the Bar so that the two can work together to fortify the judicial branch. I view the Leadership Forum not only as an opportunity to fine-tune my own leadership skills, but to also encourage others within the Bar to advocate for the same cause. I further welcome the opportunity to establish a network of leaders within the Bar to keep that open line of communication as a way to exchange ideas for preserving and strengthening our courts. For attorneys of my generation, we must maintain the resolve to keep justice available to those in our community who need it. After all, we have to leave it better than we found it.”