- December 1, 2017
Gary A. Bryant
Willcox & Savage PC
Title: Member, head of litigation
Other legal specialties: Commercial and environmental litigation
Birthplace: Goldsboro, N.C.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Bob Jones University; law degree, Washington & Lee University
Spouse: Joy Yost
Children: Kelly and Madeline
Hobbies or pastimes: Hiking, biking
First job as a lawyer: Clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Walter Hoffman
Fan of: Baylor University Bears
Favorite vacation spot: Carova Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
Recently read books: “Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter” by Randall Balmer; “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis (I read this book every couple of years.)
Career mentors: Conrad Shumadine and Randy Singer, both excellent appellate lawyers.
How is appellate law different from other legal specialties? Appellate law is tidy. All of the trial decisions have been made. You have a record of the testimony, exhibits and rulings. The focus is on specific issues, and appellate advocates pick those issues very carefully. It is difficult to overturn a trial court ruling or verdict with “1,000 pin pricks.” It takes a good ax blow or two. This is not a lesson you want to learn as your argument time is expiring.
What has been your most memorable case? In Mest v. Cabot, our clients were claiming damage from nearby factory emission. The trial court granted summary judgment on the basis that the clients should have known of the contamination, which had been reported in a document found in a local government office. We knew things were going well on appeal when one of the 3rd Circuit judges noted that he didn’t even know what documents were in his own office.