My father, Ralph Hornsby, Sr. and his friend S.A. “Bud” Watson, Jr., formed this law firm in 1988. Of course, I wanted to practice law with my dad, but no small part of that desire came from the fact that just before I graduated from college he and Bud Watson became partners. The firm was Hornsby, Watson, and Meginniss then. They took me on as a law clerk and, when I graduated from law school, as an associate.
My father thought it would work better if Bud was more active in his son’s training. So Bud, early on, became my mentor.
In my first jury trial with Bud Watson, shortly after I joined the firm, we recovered 2.7 million dollars. It was no fluke. In the time since then, Bud has had juries award seven figure verdicts in the majority of cases he’s tried. I have been proud to have been with him in most of those. He has achieved many more million plus results in cases settled. Bud Watson firmly believes good settlements don’t come unless the lawyer proves himself in court. Ask any lawyer in north Alabama, they will tell you, as I do, Bud has proved himself in court.
Bud worked his way through college and law school. I think working as a farm laborer, working in a poultry processing plant, working in a grocery warehouse, working as night watchman – gave Bud a connection with the people who make up juries that has resulted in success. Bud insists on the pure truth in everyone and juries believe him.
It’s been easy to accept what Bud has suggested. He had a wide range of experience and he’s been successful from early in his career. Bud attended undergraduate school at Harding University in Arkansas and the University of Louisiana, Monroe. He graduated from the University of Alabama, School of Law in 1966. He clerked for a Circuit Judge. After his clerkship he became an Assistant District Attorney and, less than one year later, at the age of twenty-six, he was promoted to Chief Assistant District Attorney. Because of success in that role he was elected without opposition as a District Judge at age 29. Two years later at age 31, he was promoted to Circuit Judge. Judge Watson served until retirement in good standing at age 45. He has served by special appointment as Judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. He also served as a Special Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and authored the Court’s opinion. Bud is a graduate of the National Judicial College and was later a Faculty Adviser there.
Following retirement from the bench, Bud again distinguished himself as a trial attorney. Because Bud has participated in over 650 jury trials as a judge, prosecutor, and civil trial attorney, he has been able to give me insights into trial strategies I could never have obtained elsewhere. He is called on regularly by lawyers all across the nation for consultation on trial strategies. Since 1997, Bud has been on the Trial Advocacy Training Faculty at Louisiana State University Law School where he teaches court room skills to senior law students. Bud makes it his business to stay abreast of the latest research on the decision making process of jurors and evidence presentation.
Bud is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Bud is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association; the Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association; the Alabama Association for Justice; the Federal Bar Association; the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the American Judges Association. He has been selected an “Alabama Super Lawyer,” and is listed as one of Alabama’s Top attorneys by Business Alabama. He has, for over twenty years, been given Martindale Hubbell’s highest peer rating – A. V. Bud remains a senior status Circuit Judge and periodically hears cases in Alabama courts.
Bud has been married to Wanda for 43 years. They have two children and four grandchildren.
I am proud to be a member of this outstanding law firm and of my years of association with my partner and friend, Bud Watson.