myself included, what it means to serve
Two things stand out to me about
him and always have. One is that he
is extremely responsive to his clients.
You know that he really has his clients’
best interests at heart. He’s not there
simply to do the one task that they’ve
asked him to do. He looks after the
interests of the client as a whole. That’s
something to me that differentiates
a good lawyer from a great lawyer. A
good lawyer can close the loan or file
the lawsuit, but the great lawyer is the
one who is out there thinking about the
industry that the client is in, thinking
about potential risks that the client
needs to be thinking about that maybe
the client is not thinking about. That’s
something that Hamp does really well.
The other thing that stands out is that
to this day, when Hamp's children,
who are now adults, call him—and
they often do just to touch base with
him—he answers the call. I’ve been in
meetings with him before where he’ll
answer the phone and say, “Hey, I’m in
a meeting. I’ll call you back,” but when
his children call, he answers the phone.
As a young dad, that stands out to me.
Q He keeps his priorities straight.
Q What advice would you have for someone who was new to the
industry or was thinking about getting
into the industry?
importance of relationships. Regardless of
whether you’re a workout lawyer or a
turnaround expert in accounting or
whatever it may be, we’re in the service
industry. Servicing our clients and
forming relationships with our colleagues
are the core of what we do. You can be the
best technical lawyer, but if you don’t pay
attention to relationships, you’re not
going to get very far.
Q It’s a relationship business, which is one of the reasons TMA was
formed. Were you one of the founding
members of the Alabama Chapter?
I was not. One of the
partners in our firm, who now is retired
from private practice, was one of the
founding members so I have been
involved for a while.
Q How did you hear about TMA, and what made you decide to join?
There were two
reasons. One, Clark Watson, the partner
who was a founding member of the
chapter, encouraged me to get
involved. Then, with the bankruptcy/
turnaround community in Alabama
being what it is, you look at the
membership and realize it’s where the
players are, where the movers and
shakers are, so it’s a group of people
that you want to be around.
Our president this year is Eric Pruitt.
He’s doing a great job of putting
together meetings that really are
substantive and informative in nature.
You have the dual benefit of being
able to network while at the same time
being able to actually learn something.
We had a meeting today at lunch
where there was a presentation and
then there was good discussion about
asset-based lending between an
asset-based lender and a lawyer. A lot
of presentations that you go to, you
listen, you clap at the end and then you
leave. Today, there was question after
question after question at the end of
the presentation, which is always a sign
to me that it was a good presentation.
People have questions. People actually
paid attention. Even though it was a
room full of people, it turned into a
discussion of some issues that had
clearly been on some people’s minds.
I think the biggest benefit of TMA is
just in having a calendared series of
events, knowing that I’ll be able to see
people I see at the courthouse. Without
TMA, I wouldn’t see these people on a
regular basis in a nonbilling situation.
I’ve been on the board of directors for a
number of years, and I’m the president-elect of our Alabama Chapter. I’ll be
president next year, so I’m a big fan.
Q What do you do outside the office? With three youngsters, I
know where a majority of your time
The best part of my day
is when I get home and I have three kids
running up to me, screaming, “Daddy’s
home!” Whatever’s happened that day, it
makes it worth coming home, and it’s
hard not to be passionate about that.
One thing that I do in terms of
"hobbies," if you can call it that, is
that I’m a member of a competition
barbecue cooking team. I’m always
looking at new recipes and getting
together with other members of
the team. We’ve been doing that
off and on for 11 years now. When
people started having kids, we
had to slow down a little bit. But
we’re still doing it, and the next
competition is the first week in May.
Q How many competitions do you typically enter each year?
Not too many
anymore, just two or three a year, all local.
Q What’s been your biggest win?
We don’t have as
many wins as we'd like, but we took
home Grand Reserve Champion a few
years back at a competition here in
Birmingham called Stokin' the Fire, so
that was a pretty big win. Each member
of the team takes the lead on one
cooking category. I do ribs. There’s a
little internal competition about whose
meat does the best at a particular
competition. That keeps it interesting.
Q Is your sauce and rub constantly evolving?
Yes, we’re always
tinkering. That’s the fun part of it. We’re
always adding something, taking
something away, just trying something
out. The good thing about that kind of
practice is that you have a big plate of
barbecue at the end!
Q And a cooler nearby, too? I know how these things work.
We all took our wives to one
competition, and the next one,
we asked, “Would you all like to go
back?” And they said, “No, we’re
fine. That can be your thing.”
Q What items are on your bucket list?
I run a little bit. A few
years back, I did a full marathon. One
thing on the bucket list is to do a second
marathon but to take the training much
more seriously than the first time
around. I’ve always heard that you’re
ready to do your second marathon after
you forget how bad the first one hurt,
and frankly I’ve not forgotten how bad
the first one hurt yet! J