Thanks for coming to this page to find out more about me. First, here is where I am at and how to contact me.
I’m in our main office in Birmingham on Tuesdays and I’m in my Madison (Huntsville) office rest of the week.
My phone number is (205) 879-2447 which will be answered by a human being.
If you need to fax me anything, the fax number is(888) 522-7167.
You can also Email Me here.
Thank you for visiting our site. You can find out all of the “normal lawyer” stuff way below but I figure you probably don’t care where I went to law school, what grades I made in law school back in the 1990s, etc.
I suspect you are more interested in the following:
I’m annoyed when I can’t get straight answers from people that I need to hire — doctors, plumbers, whoever.
So I do my best in this website — and when I meet with clients — to help you make sure you understand the answers to your legal questions. When I fail at this, let me know and I’ll do everything I can to fix it.
I know one frustrating things people feel about lawyers is not being able to have their calls returned on time — or ever.
So here is my communication policy which is different than 99.9% of all lawyers:
I don’t take any incoming phone calls.
If you call, the receptionist will answer.
If you are a new client, you can describe what type of matter it is (“I’ve been sued” or “I have a debt collector harassing me” or “foreclosure” etc) and the receptionist will get you to Carolyn or Randi.
They will find out what is going on with you and will schedule you a call or meeting with me.
If you are an existing client, simply tell the receptionist you need to talk to me and she will get you to Carolyn or Randi to set up a call.
Why do I do it this way?
My wife tells me I can’t multi-task. She’s right, I’m sure.
So when I’m working on your case, I don’t take calls that interrupt me and cause me to lose my focus on your case. When you call, I don’t want to answer the phone and then try to figure out what is going on with your case.
Instead we have a scheduled phone call so I know exactly what is happening and I’m completely focused on you. It annoys me when I’m talking with someone and they are only half paying attention. Maybe I’m “old school” but that is just rude.
When we talk, you’ll have my full attention — whether we are in person, on the phone, or doing a video chat.
My staff — Melissia, Randi and Carolyn — will often be able to give you an immediate answer but, if not, they have complete access and authority over my calendar to set up a call without asking me.
So we avoid the typical “I’m a lawyer with 78 unheard voicemails that I’m now scared to listen to and I won’t return anyone’s call” which happens so often. I literally do not have voicemail and the phone on my desk does not ring. It is for making outbound calls only and I do that so I don’t waste your time when we talk.
If you want to see my social media/networking sites, you are welcome to do so as they may give you a flavor of who I am as a person.
Here they are:
- Facebook (personal — if you send a friend request tell me who you are)
- Facebook (business — Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys)
- Twitter (I don’t use this much as I really don’t understand it….ha!)
- YouTube (I have hundreds of videos which will give you a flavor of who I am)
In general here is what you will find:
- On my personal Facebook will be motivational quotes, funny stories, pictures of my kids, and religious thoughts. I rarely put up any legal articles.
- Business Facebook will have more legal articles, news stories, and motivational quotes.
- Twitter has quotes, stories, legal articles, and religious thoughts when I use it — which is not very often.
- Linkedin is primarily legal articles and quotes. I need to use this more — it’s on my ever growing to do list. 🙂
- Finally my YouTube channel has hundreds of videos on legal matters.
What do my clients think of me?
You can go to my Avvo profile and read reviews or you can read those and some additional ones here on my website. You can also Google “John Watts Birmingham Alabama Lawyer” and you should see our Google page which lists our Google reviews.
Most of our business comes from referrals — lawyers who send us their clients year after year and clients who come back or send us their friends and family.
We are not perfect but it tells me we are doing at least some things right and we always continue to improve our level of service — it is the right thing to do; I want this when I hire someone; and if we don’t treat people right then we won’t be in business any longer.
How to tell if a lawyer is a great lawyer.
Here’s the dirty secret of the law — and really any type of professional practice. My fellow lawyers refuse to believe this and hate it when I tell any client or potential client.
But it is the truth so here it tis….
You have no way of knowing if I am a great lawyer. Or if the lady down the street is a good lawyer.
Think about it this way.
To really know if I know what I’m doing, you would have to know the law and watch me over and over in court, out of court, with clients, with defense lawyers, etc.
Same thing for your doctor. Is he really a great doctor or do you simply know, like, and trust him? Do you know when he is operating that he makes every cut the right way or do you know that he answers your questions, spends time with you, and you seem to have good results?
Same with my firm.
The question is “Do you know, like, and trust me?”
How do you do this? How do you answer this question?
- I put out all of this free information so you can have at least a sense of whether we know what we are talking about;
- One reason I have done hundreds of videos is so you can not only read my articles but also “see” me — and for better or worse, how I am in my videos is how I am in “real life” so you can decide if you like me or not from the videos;
- You can read our testimonials to see what other clients (and lawyers) say about us;
- Or you can evaluate whether my staff (Randi, Carolyn, and Melissia) is helpful, answer your questions, do what they say, etc.;
- You can see if I do what I say — do I call you on time; do I send you free information you request; if we make a mistake do we fix it?; and
- Ultimately you need to decide if you feel comfortable with me and confident in my abilities and the abilities of my law firm. If you do, consider hiring us. If you don’t, then don’t.
What do I enjoy about practicing law?
I enjoy explaining the law in ways that my clients understand. I could give code citations and discuss minute details of case opinions but rarely is that appropriate. Instead, however, I enjoy breaking complex things down into simple steps.
My philosophy is to help you understand your rights and legal options.
“Knowledge is power, right?”
Nope. Not even close.
Mere knowledge is worthless.
Worthless until you put it into action.
So we have to add one thing to knowledge — we add encouraging you to make a decision and take action.
Here are a few quotes for you that represent my views on this — one from a man and one from the Bible.
“Never leave the site of a decision without taking immediate action towards accomplishing it.” Tony Robbins.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22.
Without action, nothing happens. If I know all about exercise but never get off the couch, my knowledge is worthless and I have “deceived” myself — thinking and knowledge without action is just as bad or maybe worse than lacking knowledge.
So . . . I say all of that to make this point . . . you have to be willing to learn and to take action. If you are not willing to do both, there is no point contacting us. Let’s go ahead and talk about who I do not want and will not accept as a client.
Who is not a good client for my law firm?
Since my name is on the firm I get to decide who I do not want as a client:
- People who are rude to my staff — that’s an automatic ban from my firm;
- Those who believe they know it all and are going to tell me how to practice law and what the law says;
- People who prefer to wallow in self pity and do nothing;
- Folks who for whatever reason refuse to take any action to help themselves even after someone helps them see the way to “get out of the road before the truck hits them;” and
- People who are not honest or want to “game the system.”
- Those who don’t care about their problem they hire me for — you see, I’m not a social worker. I cannot and will not care more for your problem than you do….
If any of these describe you — and I doubt you would still be reading this if any did — then please call someone else. You and I won’t get along and we would not work together for very long at all.
Who is a good client and who do I want as clients for my law firm?
Let me tell you who we like to represent:
- Honest people;
- Nice people;
- People who are willing to do what it takes to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families;
- People who are humble — I don’t want arrogance in my own life and I don’t want it in anyone I choose to work with; and
- People who are sincerely looking for answers and information to help themselves.
“Hey John — what are some of the things you do when you are not being a lawyer?”
This is a question I get asked. I understand why as owning your own business of any type can be very time consuming.
Sometimes when we do something that takes up a lot of time, this is all we do and think about. But for folks that know me, while I do work hard at the business of law, I do make time for other things. Here are a few of them — hope this helps to get a little better sense of who I am when I’m not at my day job. 🙂
Married with kids
So I have three kids — Katelyn who is 23 (and married), Mary Ellen who is 20 and Tommy is 13. They keep us busy with big things (trips etc) and little things (errands etc).
Katelyn and her husband live in the area and our other two kids live with us.
While sometimes everything gets a little too busy, it is pretty odd having the house quiet if the kiddos are gone. 🙂
Oh and we have a miniature schnauzer named “Rosie” who we adopted a few years ago. We think she is about seven.
We know she is crazy and maybe we are also, but we treat her like another child…. a somewhat spoiled child but she is cute. 🙂
Involved at church in Athens, Alabama
My oldest Katelyn and her husband Nate are members of a church in Madison, Alabama and we attend there also (Gooch church of Christ).
We moved here from Birmingham (where our main office is) a couple of years ago and love it.
Losing to my thirteen year old in video games (unless old school like Galaga)
I used to be awesome at video games.
No brag — only fact.
Well that was then (80s and 90s).
Fact is now my thirteen year old (Tommy) kills me in any video games that were invented this century. But if we find an old Galaga game at a pizza joint or a cabin in Gatlinburg, then I must confess I show no mercy.
Otherwise, he humiliates me in Halo, etc. on the Xbox.
Reading books while I drive — wait that’s not what I mean!
Ok so here’s the deal.
I love to read books.
But time is a problem.
So I used to do “Books on Tape” — for those of you who are under 30 that means on cassette tapes. Funny little things that had music (and books) on them. 🙂
Now I’ve moved onto to “Audible” which is an Amazon company and have way too many books to listen to.
I have fiction (fantasy and science fiction), business, self help (I need it!), and even a book on this shy, humble businessman from NY named Donald Trump. Fascinating and disturbing book all at the same time!
Here’s a current list:
- “Never enough” (Donald Trump)
- “A Crucible of Souls” (fantasy book — its decent but I’m not sold on it yet)
- “Success Mastery” (good book by Charles Faulkner and Robert McDonald)
- “Shaky Ground” (fascinating book on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac)
- “Dust of Dreams” (fantasy book — maybe number 8 in great Malazan series)
- And basically whatever Jack Reacher novel I haven’t finished — I tend to get through those very quickly. For fans, you’ll get this reference — “I said nothing.” 🙂
So I do a lot of reading while driving but keep my eyes on the road. 🙂
Experiencing Netflix binge watching (“I Blame Davis Nelson for telling me about Blacklist!”)
I’ve had Netflix for quite a while but never thought much of it. I heard about “binge watching” on Netflix and didn’t get it.
Who would do something so silly?
Then my good friend (and great VA lawyer) Davis Nelson in Atlanta told me I needed to watch “Blacklist” with James Spader. I watched the first show with very modest expectations. Then in about 48 hours had watched like 10 shows. My body hurt from being in one position too long. So I blame Davis for this!!! 🙂
But I do thank him for showing me the best show on TV.
Exercise so even though my hair is turning grey hopefully the rest of me is feeling young
Some people love to exercise.
They get a “runner’s high” — yeah I never have!
I exercise as it makes me feel better while I’m not exercising. I do something every day (when I’m smart) called “Joint Mobility” — this takes about 5-10 minutes and makes all of my joints feel better.
When I skip this I start to hurt in my shoulders, back, knees, etc. Ah, the joys of being 46. 🙂
Seems pretty obvious right? Do the joint mobility!! Sometimes we don’t do what we know we should do, right? I’m working on it though…. 🙂
I do yoga, pilates, lift weights, walk, etc. Nothing too intense but it keeps me moving.
I never learned “moderation” like the Greeks suggested so I abstain from a lot
I would love to be able to eat a little bit of candy or dessert every day.
Yeah that ain’t happening.
Either I abstain or I eat a ton.
Nothing in between sadly. 🙁
But where did I go to law-school and was I on law-review, etc?
If you really want to know, and I honestly don’t know why you would want to know what I did in school over 20 years ago, it is below. By the way did you know the only people who still talk about what they did in school are:
- Former high school athletes who talk about the “glory days” (think Bruce Springsteen song) and
- Lawyers. Amazing that a 65 year old lawyer will make sure you know he got the best grade in class when he was 23. Who cares?!?!?!
Anyway, in case you are a lawyer and really want to know my educational credentials and other lawyerly stuff related to consumer law — have fun reading below…. 🙂
What type of trainings do I conduct in the area of consumer law?
Starting March 2017, I will do a weekly (Fridays) question and answer (Q&A) webinar on any type of financial protection issue whether consumer protection related or elder law/estate planning related.
I will also do a Friday webinar on a substantive area of the law — we will cover lots of consumer issues and also elder law/estate planning from time to time as these areas of the law fit together nicely for our clients. We’ll have an easy way for you to sign up for these webinars shortly.
As far as consumer protection seminars/webinars (CLE classes) I’ve given to lawyers in Alabama and the nation, I average about 4-6 a year total in these areas:
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act
- Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Foreclosure and RESPA
- Debt Buyer Defense
I’ll update this with the actual names and dates when I get time.
Oh and for those who like rankings, etc. (again I’m not sure why), my Avvo score is 10.0 (highest) and I’ve been AV rated (highest) by Martindale Hubbell for over a decade.
If you want to contact me, here’s how.
Call 205-879-2447 or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch with you asap. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site and thanks for coming by!
John G. Watts
Areas of Practice:
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Foreclosures and RESPA
Debt Collection Lawsuits
U.S. District Court Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama
U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Cumberland School of Law,
Law Review: Cumberland Law Review, 1993 – 1995
Major: Business Administration