Like Lawyer, Like Daughter
Jere and Julie Beasley work together, argue together
Published in 2017 Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine on November 7, 2017
Fresh out of college, Julie Beasley was confident she’d snagged a job at a power company, particularly after the interviewer asked about her father, Jere. “Of course, I got on my high horse and I was talking about how great he was,” she says. Soon after, she ran into one of her father’s law partners, who told her, “Well, you know we’ve sued them several times.”
“Obviously, I did not get the job,” Julie, 55, says, laughing.
It’s now been 25 years since she joined her father’s Montgomery civil litigation firm, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, where she mostly handles personal injury lawsuits resulting from automobile accidents. She wrangled substantial settlements for the family of a driver killed in a collision that ripped the car in half and for the parents of a toddler who died after being left unattended in a high chair at a day-care facility. Jere, 82, who has been practicing since 1962, primarily works in the products liability, insurance fraud and personal injury fields. More than 15 of his cases have settled in excess of $10 million, while his wins have, among other things, forced a major automaker to recall unsafe vehicles and a tractor manufacturer to add rollover protection.
As Alabama’s lieutenant governor, Jere was returning from giving a speech at Disney World in May 1972 when he heard that Gov. George Wallace was shot in an assassination attempt in Laurel, Maryland. “We flew back that afternoon,” he recalls. “As soon as we landed in Montgomery is when the word came. I started toward the Capitol; Julie and the rest of the family headed to our residence.”
Julie, who was in sixth grade, was too young to grasp the magnitude of what was happening. “I remember it being a scary situation,” she says. Of his 32-day stint as acting governor, Jere says, “I was more cut out to be a lawyer than a politician.”
But he didn’t foresee a future for his daughter in his profession. It was his colleague Sharon Yates who nudged Julie toward the law. “I thought she’d be more inclined to do something connected with athletics—horses or tennis,” he says.
In the early 1990s, two years after Julie joined the firm, father and daughter worked on their first case together in Bullock County on behalf of a woman in a car wreck. The $115,000 verdict, the Beasleys agree, was a big one back then for a non-life-threatening injury. This year, representing the victim of another car accident, their teamwork resulted in, Jere says, “one of the better settlements we’ve had.” Over the years, Julie estimates they’ve worked on 25 to 30 cases together.
“We’re both pretty stubborn, and I think we’re both fighters,” says Julie. “Daddy, how would you describe it?”
“Hard-headed, opinionated and generally argue a lot,” he says. “She generally makes me the law clerk on the case. I can truthfully say I’ve never won an argument with her.”
An accomplished equestrian competitor and Alabama director for the National Cutting Horse Association, Julie currently owns 16 horses and in 2013 made the world finals with Duallin in the Snow, whom she affectionately calls Vern. When his daughter is away, Jere cares for the horses: feeding them, cleaning stalls, and forking hay in the barn at Julie’s house on the back of his property, about an acre away from his house.
Such close proximity at work and home hasn’t tarnished their affection for one another. “It’s always an honor and a treat to go into the courtroom with him,” says Julie. “My dad has always been about doing the right thing for the right reason, and in today’s world that’s a real valuable trait.”
Adds Jere, “Julie is totally honest to a fault. She probably has more compassion for clients than most of the lawyers that we deal with. Tenacity is a strong point—and the fact that she’s always right.”