Celebrating 20 years

Morton & Gettys reaches out to share the celebration as it marks 20 years in practice.



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This year, Morton & Gettys is celebrating 20 years
of practicing law here in the community it loves.

The odyssey started in 2001. Jim Morton was a Rock Hill native, who had returned to private practice to do criminal defense after years as a prosecutor. John Gettys’ family had been in Rock Hill for five generations. At 32, he was a partner in a local firm and Jim’s Rock Hill office was next door, separated by one, thin wall.

“I had always wanted to do my own thing,” John remembers. Finally, “I went up to Jim and said, let’s do it!”

Humble Beginnings

They rented their first office, which had formerly been a coffee shop. With them were a paralegal and a part-time receptionist.

“When we started out, we were just looking for a well-rounded general practice to help people with all their problems, or most of them,” Jim says. “Looking to make a living, too.”

Branching Out

“Jim did criminal law; I did mostly residential real estate,” says John. As people came to them wanting other things, they branched out – setting up businesses, doing some personal injury, wills and more.

And they had a certain approach, which Jim describes as “Being hard-working, diligent and honest.” He explains, “Our families, who had been here so long, had a good reputation. We wanted to preserve that.”

Since that beginning, they have tried to hire attorneys and staff that had the same attitude. “We have succeeded, I think,” says Jim.

John agrees: “So many of us have been together for so long. Many have never practiced anywhere else.”

The firm’s approach has resonated with the people of Rock Hill, who have been the main reason the practice has grown.

So it is appropriate that Morton & Gettys is sharing its celebration with the community, by reaching out to its neighbors. Located now in the heart of the Rock Hill Cultural District, the firm has always put the whole community first.

Over 10 months – February to November –
the firm will donate a total of $20,000
to community non-profits.

Everyone at Morton & Gettys will be involved in picking the charities that receive the $2,000 donations. Associate attorneys will make the decision for one month, staff will do the same for another. Each of the other eight recipients will be picked by one of the eight partners.

Growing in Rock Hill

Thanks to Rock Hill, the firm has now grown to 15 attorneys and more than twice that in total staff. Now there are six more partners – Dan Ballou, Melissa Cassell, Richards McCrae, Elizabeth Smith Owen, Michael Smith and Josh Vann – and a wide range of practice areas, including business and corporate law, commercial and residential real estate, civil litigation, education law, employment law, family law, estate planning and probate law, personal injury and more.

Honors and Awards

The firm continues to be honored for the quality of its practice: For instance, among other recognitions, after four attorneys were cited by Best Lawyers in America® this past year, the firm itself was again acknowledged as a Best Law Firm.

The attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Florida. The wide scope of practice areas helps businesses and individuals address their respective legal issues, and the whole community to move forward.


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