Wade H. Watson III

Wade Watson is an Atlanta litigation attorney who represents clients in disputes over the control and transfer of business and family wealth. He has nearly 35 years of experience in trial and appellate law focusing on the complex world of trusts, estates, guardianships, conservatorships, powers of attorney and closely held businesses, including partnerships, LLCs and corporations. Wade has tried cases throughout the state of Georgia and has argued or briefed more than 35 appeals. What he finds most satisfying about practicing law is helping his clients resolve their legal and financial disputes so they can move on to the next chapter of their personal or professional lives.

A recognized legal leader, Wade is a past president of the Atlanta Bar Association. He has authored numerous articles on fiduciary law and litigation, and is a frequent speaker at professional seminars on these subjects. 

Education

  • University of Georgia School of Law, Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, 1982

  • Emory University, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1979
    – Phi Beta Kappa
    – Omicron Delta Kappa
    – Mortar Board
    – Pi Sigma Alpha

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of Georgia

  • Supreme Court of Georgia

  • Court of Appeals of Georgia

  • United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia

  •  Eleventh Circuit, United States Court of Appeals

  • United States Supreme Court

Professional Leadership and Associations

  • Atlanta Bar Association
    President 2013-2014; Secretary 2011-2012; Treasurer 2010-2011; Board of Directors, Member-at-Large 2004-2009; Long-Range Planning Committee 2008; Board of Directors, Litigation Section 2004-2009; Chair, Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Section 2002-2003; Member, Estate Planning and Probate Section

  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

  • Fellow, American Bar Association

  • Board of Directors, Atlanta Bar Foundation

  • Master, The Lamar American Inn of Court 

  • Editorial Board Chair, The Atlanta Lawyer 2003-2008

  • Atlanta Lawyers Club

  • Old Warhorse Lawyers Club

  • Board of Advisors, Meridian Herald, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the celebration of music, culture and The Atlanta Music Festival

Awards and Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating – AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 of 5.0

  • Georgia Super Lawyers 2005-2017

  • Georgia Trend Legal Elite – 2010, 2013-2014

  • Distinguished Service Award, Atlanta Bar Association 2008

Seminars, Lectures and Presentations

  • The Case for Going to Court: How Declaratory Judgment Actions Can Help Fiduciaries (and Beneficiaries), Estate Planning & Probate Section Breakfast and CLE, Atlanta Bar Association

  • “Compromised Claims of Minors/Wards,” Probate Court Judges Fall Training, COAG Conference

  • “Lifetime Transfers to a Second Spouse: Hard Issues and Their Resolution Through Mediation,” Fiduciary Law Institute

  • “Update on Georgia Fiduciary Law,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Update on Georgia Law Seminar

  • “Update on Georgia Fiduciary Law,” Financial Planning Association of Georgia Regional Conference

  • “Avoiding or Engaging in Fiduciary and Probate Litigation,” Estate Planning Conference, Georgia Society of CPAs 

  • Guest Faculty, Emory University School of Law, Trial Techniques Program

  • “Tips On Making It Work, etc.,” Atlanta Bar Association Continuing Legal Education, Transitioning to Solo or Small Firm Practice 

  • “Engagement Letters,” Atlanta Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section

Publications

  • “Fiduciary Litigation:  Your Top Ten Questions Answered,” The Litigator (October 2016), Litigation Section of the Atlanta Bar Association

  • “Georgia Court of Appeals Saves Direct Action Remedy and Extends it to Limited Liability Companies,” The Litigator (Fall, 2007), Litigation Section of the Atlanta Bar Association

  • “Will Contests: Litigating the Trillion Dollar Inheritance of the Baby Boomers,” Verdict, The Journal of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Fall 1997) (with Melissa S. Price, Esq.)

  • “The Development of the Shareholder’s Direct Action Damage Remedy,” 28 Ga. Bar J. 195 (May 1992) (with J. Bertram Levy, Esq.), cited in Dunaway v. Parker, 215

  • Business Litigation, “Litigating a Breach of Majority Owner Fiduciary Duty in a Closely Held Corporation,” paper presented August 21, 2002, Atlanta

  • “Lessons from a Troubled Estate: The Story of Otwell v. Regions Bank,” 45th Estate Planning Institute, Institute of Continuing Legal Education of Georgia (February 2000) 

  • “How Do You Know If Your Case Is Settled? A Practical Discussion of Georgia Law of Settlement,” State Bar of Georgia, Family Law Section Newsletter (September 1993) (with A. Paul Cadenhead, Esq.)

Notable Cases