Morton & Gettys reached out to community in celebrating 20th year.


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In 2021, Morton & Gettys marked two decades 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 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 resonated with the people of Rock Hill, who are the main reason the practice grew.

So it is appropriate that Morton & Gettys decided to share 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.

In celebration of its 20th year, the firm donated $20,000 to community non-profits.

Everyone at Morton & Gettys was involved in picking the charities that received the $2,000 donations. Associate attorneys made the decision for one month, staff did the same for another. Each of the other eight recipients were chosen by one of the eight partners.

Month by month, here are the recipients:

February: York County Free Clinic, selected by firm founding partner Jim Morton. Click here to read more.

March: Palmetto Council of the Boy Scouts of America, selected by firm partner Joshua Vann. Click here to read more.

April: Early Learning Partnership of York County, selected by the attorneys of Morton & Gettys. Click here to read more.

May: NAMI Piedmont Tri-County, selected by firm partner Dan Ballou. Click here to read more.

June: Gray-Corkerell VFW Post 3746, selected by firm founding partner John Gettys. Click here to read more.

July: Safe Passage, selected by the staff of Morton & Gettys. Click here to read more.

August: Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra, selected by firm partner Michael Smith. Click here to read more.

September: Children’s Attention Home, selected by firm partner Richards McCrae. Click here to read more.

October: York School District One Education Foundation, selected by firm partner Elizabeth Smith Owen. Click here to read more.

November: Affinity Health Center, selected by firm partner Melissa Cassell. Click here to read more.

The list above represents the groups selected as part of our 20th anniversary celebration.  To see a full list of organizations we support visit this link.

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® during this year, the firm itself was again acknowledged as a Best Law Firm.

The attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. 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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