VOL. 126 | NO. 156 | Thursday, August 11, 2011
Memphis Law Talk
Morrison Settles in After Joining Ogletree Deakins
By Houston Cofield
Labor and employment law caught Carl Morrison’s attention immediately after graduating from the University Of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School Of Law.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
“I really liked it because I like the company side of things,” said Morrison, a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart PC. “And I know I am probably biased, but I feel like my clients are usually right in the positions they take in a dispute.”
Morrison attended the University of Alabama for his undergraduate degree and was part of the last class to graduate from the law school at what was then Memphis State University before the school changed its name to the University of Memphis in 1994.
He began doing clerk work for McKnight, Hudson, Lewis & Henderson PLLC after his second year of law school.
“I knew the firm represented companies in employment law issues, and I took to it almost immediately because I just liked what the firm did,” Morrison said.
He went on to litigation work for FedEx Corp., a job for which he traveled all over the U.S., working primarily on employment lawsuits.
After Morrison moved around for three years, Fred Lewis, Morrison’s close friend and mentor, recommended him for a newly created position at First Tennessee Bank in Memphis, where he worked for seven years.
Along with encouragement from Lewis and a desire to directly handle lawsuits, Morrison joined Ogletree Deakins in July.
“I just missed sort of being in the game that law-firm life provides when you’re handling cases,” Morrison said. “I like the handling role much more than the monitoring role.”
Morrison said Lewis mentored him when Morrison was a young lawyer and was influential in Morrison’s move from First Tennessee to Ogletree Deakins.
“When someone like Fred comes calling, you know you probably want to come back,” Morrison said.
Another aspect Morrison enjoys that was a motivating factor for his transfer to Ogletree Deakins was the opportunity to sort through arguments between businesses and employees.
“I enjoy getting to the bottom of what happened in a dispute and seeing if the company did everything right,” he said.
If the company has done everything right in a dispute, Morrison said it is rewarding because he knows he is representing all the employees of that company that do things the correct way.
In today’s bad economy, Morrison said he has noticed recurring issues in lawsuits brought against financial service companies. Prior to the crisis, Morrison said financial advisory companies encouraged their employees to invest in company stock.
“I just missed sort of being in the game that law-firm life provides when you’re handling cases. I like the handling role much more than the monitoring role.”
Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart PC
“These lawsuits usually were alleging that these companies were not informing their employees of the high risk of loading up on too much company stock,” Morrison said.
When Morrison isn’t solving a problem for a business dispute, he is usually reading, exercising or watching University of Alabama sports on television.
“Anyone who goes or has gone to Alabama is usually a ‘freakish’ Alabama fan,” he said.
Morrison also has been highly involved with the West Tennessee Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization devoted to supporting research for a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
“My son Knox has Type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed at the age of 2, so that has become a huge cause for my wife and me,” he said.
Morrison, who has been involved with the organization for years, was nominated in May to serve on the board of the West Tennessee Chapter of JDRF.