The Prowler

David Ballard

Former Panther follows family’s footsteps

Panther+alumnus+David+Ballard+graduated+from+the+Mill+in+2003+with+hopes+of+becoming+an+attorney+like+his+father+and+grandfather+before+him.+Ballard+now+runs+his+family%E2%80%99s+law+firm%2C+Ballard+Law+Office%2C+in+Fayetteville%2C+Georgia.
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David Ballard

Panther alumnus David Ballard graduated from the Mill in 2003 with hopes of becoming an attorney like his father and grandfather before him. Ballard now runs his family’s law firm, Ballard Law Office, in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Panther alumnus David Ballard graduated from the Mill in 2003 with hopes of becoming an attorney like his father and grandfather before him. Ballard now runs his family’s law firm, Ballard Law Office, in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Katie Linkner

Panther alumnus David Ballard graduated from the Mill in 2003 with hopes of becoming an attorney like his father and grandfather before him. Ballard now runs his family’s law firm, Ballard Law Office, in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Katie Linkner

Katie Linkner

Panther alumnus David Ballard graduated from the Mill in 2003 with hopes of becoming an attorney like his father and grandfather before him. Ballard now runs his family’s law firm, Ballard Law Office, in Fayetteville, Georgia.

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Since his time at the Mill, Panther grad David Ballard knew he wanted to go into law like his father and grandfather before him. Although his ambition wasn’t set in stone just yet, his experiences along the way, especially at the Mill, continuously reassured him that law was the way to go.

I kind of knew [I’d become a lawyer] but some things I did at Starr’s Mill convinced that it was what I wanted to do.”

— Panther alumnus David Ballard

“I was pretty sure I wanted to be a lawyer because I liked the idea of helping people and through debate and other activities including a mock trial that Dan Gant organized at the school back in the day it kind of just confirmed that I wanted to be a lawyer,” Ballard said. “So, yeah, I kind of knew [I’d become a lawyer] but some things I did at Starr’s Mill convinced that it was what I wanted to do.”

After graduating from the Mill in 2003, Ballard attended the University of Georgia in Athens where he worked to achieve his undergraduate and master’s degree at the same time over just a three-year span. Ballard majored in public administration, history, and political science.

Following working at the governor’s office for a couple of months, Ballard returned to law school at UGA and graduated in 2011. Securing a job with Kelley, Lovelett, and Blakely in Albany, Georgia, shortly after, Ballard focused on bankruptcy cases, a practice he didn’t initially see himself being interested in.

“I never would have seen myself [in high school] doing bankruptcy law. I thought I only wanted to do criminal defense,” Ballard said. “I didn’t hate math when I was in high school, but I didn’t really envision myself going into a career which involved a lot of math and numbers and business. I guess kind of the surprise, career-wise, for me is not only did I end up doing a lot of bankruptcy work but really enjoyed it.”

Although it may not have sounded as exciting as criminal defense or other types of cases, Ballard found bankruptcy cases just as fulfilling. Helping others was the reason Ballard decided to be a lawyer, and protecting clients from foreclosure and repossession couldn’t be more satisfying.

It was very rewarding to have people who thought they were about to lose everything and they were on the verge of losing everything, their house, their money, their possessions, their cars, and then to be able to help those people keep all their stuff.”

— Starr's Mill grad David Ballard

“It was very rewarding to have people who thought they were about to lose everything and they were on the verge of losing everything, their house, their money, their possessions, their cars, and then to be able to help those people keep all their stuff,” Ballard. “I didn’t really know what type of law I wanted to do in high school and I guess fate and destiny and just sort of the need at the time dictated that I went into bankruptcy law and I’m glad I did.”

Even though Ballard enjoyed his time in Albany, he knew he wanted to return to his roots in Fayette County. After all, that’s where both his father and grandfather practiced. In 2014, Ballard moved back to Fayette County and soon after took over his family’s business.

“Right now, I’m something of a general practice lawyer. Most of the cases, probably ninety-nine percent of them at this point, maybe ninety-five percent, are either bankruptcy, criminal defense, or divorce,” Ballard said. “It’s a lot of being on the telephone, a lot of legal research, a lot of drafting pleading, and a lot of going to court on just about everything.”

Meeting with about three clients every afternoon and going to court a couple of times a week, Ballard stays busy assisting those who need his expertise, whatever their case might be. Whether he’s settling a divorce or seeking criminal justice, Ballard attempts to resolve the dispute through lots of research as well as other techniques such as mediation and analyzing testimonies.

Courtesy of David Ballard
Starr’s Mill grad, David Ballard (right), poses with Judge Christopher C. Edwards (left), the Chief Judge of Fayette County of Superior Court. Since graduating from the Mill in 2003, Ballard has become a lawyer and heads his family’s law firm, Ballard Law Office, in Fayetteville, Georgia.

“My favorite part of the job, is definitely when you can help somebody solve a problem that’s been weighing on them,” Ballard said. “So, really if you want to be a lawyer, the reason you should do it is because you enjoy helping people. If you don’t get a sort of a rush from that or a feeling of great satisfaction when somebody gets relieved after their problems get resolved, you’re probably in the wrong line of work.”

Ballard credits his success to all those around him who have guided him along the way. This includes his grandfather, Charles Ballard, who founded the Ballard Law Office, where the family has practiced.

“My grandfather has been here in the square [in Fayetteville] since 1960 and had done a lot of good work for many people,” Ballard said. “And that probably advanced my career by at least five years when I came up here because he was able to show me just through past experience how things were done.”

Ballard’s father, Scott Ballard, also played a major role in influencing his son’s career. Scott Ballard worked in the family office until 2004, when he became the District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit.

“My dad, growing up here, was someone that I just always looked up to as a kid and now that I’m actually practicing law I can realize what a good job he did,” Ballard said. “He would always win these trials and I just thought that was fairly normal when I was a kid and then I got up here and realized how much work that was and what an accomplishment that was for what he did.”

It wasn’t just Ballard’s family that advised him along the way though. Ballard received plenty of words of wisdom from both attorneys he worked with in Albany and those he works with now in Fayette County. The vast support the local lawyers have of each other is a phenomenon that Ballard’s has found special.

It’s a wonderful idea to explore as much as you can and learn as much as you can through real-world experiences before you sort of set course of what you want to do in school.”

— class of 2003 alumnus David Ballard

“One thing I really like about the legal profession is at its best, there are people who will mentor you and provide guidance,” Ballard said.  It’s a profession in where even though technically we’re sort of competitors in terms of getting business, a lot of times you’ll see professional courtesies extended and people trying to help younger lawyers especially trying to get on their feet. It’s one of the nice aspects of the profession.”

In the past, Ballard has advised high school interns himself working at his Fayetteville office and is willing to continue to provide internship opportunities to local students going into the future. Ballard explained that exploring the field of law through internships before committing to law school was the best way to get started.

“I think if somebody’s interested in going to law school, they should see what it’s like at the small firm level, they might try to see if they can work for a bigger law firm in Atlanta, maybe a government office, but really see can of what’s out there because going to law school is a lot of time and it’s a lot of effort and if you’re going to go through all that you should make sure you’re ultimately going to enter a career you want to be a part of,” Ballard said. “It’s a wonderful idea to explore as much as you can and learn as much as you can through real-world experiences before you sort of set course of what you want to do in school.”

Through his dedication in law school, building connections, and taking advice, along his path to becoming an attorney, Ballard is able to keep his family tradition alive as well as find joy in defending his clients on a daily basis.

Current students of the Mill looking to going into to law can contact Ballard’s office or other local firms to intern in the profession and follow the in the footsteps Ballard has left for the Panther family.

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