Born in Holland, the shareholder at Jackson law firm Watkins, Ludlam, Winter & Stennis has focused his legal career on assisting Mississippi businesses grow. In fact, Gov. Haley Barbour recognized Stone last year for his work with the Mississippi Development Authority’s model contractor program, which provides minorities in the construction industry with the tools to become contractors.
Solving the problems of the small businessman is Stone’s forte, and one in which he takes great pride. Stone cites a family-owned Meridian steel company that was struggling with a legal dilemma in 2004 as one of the many small businesses he has helped over the years.
“This company was involved in some very serious litigation that could have been very devastating to the owner and his 40 employees,” he said. “We were able to resolve the matter in a way that allowed the company to recover every penny it was owed, as well as interest and attorney fees.”
However, Stone didn’t halt his efforts once the favorable judgment was rendered. He met with the steel company owner and helped him develop a plan to move the steel company forward.
“With the money we recovered for them, the company was able to expand its operations and create more jobs. It’s been a real Mississippi success story,” Stone said.
Self-discipline and determination have played roles in Stone’s life, both personally and professionally. Training and running in a 26-mile marathon event brought together a new understanding for him.
“I pride myself on finishing what I start,” he said. “Running a marathon for the first time in 2009 taught me a lot about discipline and never giving up.”
A 1996 graduate of the University of Mississippi law school, Stone was selected by legal journal Mid-South Super Lawyers as a 2010 “Rising Star” in the field of construction and surety law.
Stone has some advice for other young corporate professionals.
“Dream big and try not to become jaded,” he said.
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