Gimme Shelter

Carol Stewart finds homes for canines and humansJudy Crittenden doesn't take no for an answer        

Published in 2008 Alabama Super Lawyers — May 2008

Carol Stewart estimates she's been a foster parent some 300 times in the past 10 years.

"They usually come in groups of eight or 10 at a time, so it's not as bad as it sounds," Stewart says with a chuckle. The basement of the Burr & Forman attorney's Birmingham home is a haven for dogs awaiting adoption. Stewart and her husband take litters in whenever they have room and, through Alabama Animal Rescue, place them with deserving families. "It's hard to let them go sometimes—it's always a little like they are going into first grade."

Stewart insists it is the least she can do. "If I love animals and I won't take them in, who will?"

She also offers legal advice to Hand-in-Paw, a nonprofit that provides animal-assisted therapy for disabled and at-risk children and the elderly. "She is open and willing to help in any capacity that we need her to," says Beth Franklin, the organization's executive director. "She is a great advocate for animals."

Stewart began her career as a litigator, spending about 20 percent of her time on condominium law. With the recent demand for condos in downtown Birmingham, her practice has exploded. The most senior woman in her firm, she devotes almost all of her time to condominium law. Stewart represents developers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee throughout the entire process, from planning the proposals to drafting the paperwork. She has added about 1,000 units to the Birmingham landscape. "It's very exciting work," she says. "I feel like we are playing a big part in the revitalization of downtown."

And maybe providing even more homes for pups along the way? "At night I leave the office downtown and see people out walking their dogs," Stewart says. "That is a great thing to see."        


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