It may not seem that the U.S. Marine Corps and a law firm have anything in common. But, there is a new law firm in the Jackson metro area that is espousing the Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment.
Deaton & Guthrie, P.A,. opened its professional offices March 1 and is located directly behind the Flowood City Hall and Police Department. The partners are Joe Deaton and Clarence Guthrie, and associates are Collin Maley, Chris Daniel and Shannon Collins.
Guthrie, an active Marine until recently who remains in the Reserves, is proud to align the new law firm with the same values and commitment of that branch of the U.S. military.
“Joe and I both live by that creed, and we’re extremely excited about starting the law firm,” he said. “The Corps sent me to law school, and I got a lot of experience with them all over the world. I’ve been everywhere.”
‘Speed, agility and efficiency’
He’s says the Marine way of doing things naturally rubbed off on him and the way he practices law. “The Marine Corps is not known for what it does, but for how it does things,” he said. “There are a lot of law firms in the area, and we want to distinguish ours.”
Both partners are graduates of the University of Mississippi School of Law, and the associates graduated from the Mississippi College School of Law. Deaton is 40 years of age, and Guthrie is 39.
“The area needs a firm like ours,” Guthrie said. “We focus on client services, our litigation experience and use of the latest technology with speed, agility and efficiency.”
Members of the group interacted in the legal community and discussed starting the firm for quite a while before deciding that Jackson needed another law firm. All of them were practicing with other firms in the area but everything came together to launch the new professional association.
‘Business is great’
“We will be a litigation firm for the most part,” Guthrie said. “We’re getting our name out there, bringing in new clients and business is great.”
The partners do a lot of insurance work, lender liability and mortgage litigation. They would like to expand into real estate appellate practice, contracts and construction law.
The group is involved in small litigation and is not currently doing big Katrina cases. Guthrie says the firm would like to help bring people needing coverage together with the insurance companies providing it.
“We are defense attorneys, not trial lawyers,” Guthrie said. “We are the other side of the people who advertise on billboards. Joe and I both have a lot of trial experience and we negotiate from a seasoned perspective.”
The new firm is also integrating the latest computer software systems for better communication with clients through PDF files. It won’t be a paperless office but hope to use less paper than traditional offices.
“The practice of law is rapidly moving in that direction. More and more businesses have document management systems,” he said. “The Federal courts are on it, and the state courts are moving in that direction, too. People want this system, and we’re ready for that. We have the necessary tools.”
The Deaton & Guthrie firm will use a team approach. “I call it a locker room mentality,” Guthrie said. “All our offices are close together. We’ve built a good team and are working together to get it going. We have a strong work ethic, and results and performance are the bottom line.”
Although there is sometimes bad blood when attorneys leave law firms to start new practices, the partners are quick to point out that’s not the case with them and the firms they left.
“We wanted our practice to be self-directed, and we’re excited about what we’re doing,” Guthrie said.
As for all those lawyer jokes that make the rounds, this lawyer and Marine thinks they’re hilarious and that everyone should just laugh and let them roll over.