Margaret H. Loveman, J.
On any given day, if you walk just down the road from the Etowah County Courthouse, you will find Jack Floyd practicing law like he has been for the last 65 years. Age has made no difference to him.
Born on October 9, 1928, Floyd enrolled at the University of Alabama Law School in 1950, after three years of undergraduate studies. Three and a half weeks into his first semester, he was called away to the Korean War, where he spent the next two and a half years as a platoon leader and infantry officer. Upon his return to law school, Floyd learned that he had been given an entire semester's credit for his prior three and half weeks.
After graduating from law school, Floyd returned to Gadsden to practice law with Col. E.G. Pilcher, in a small office above a men's department store. On that first day, Pilcher and Floyd went to the drugstore to get coffee at 10:00 a.m. All the attorneys in Gadsden enjoyed this ritual as there was no office coffee pot in 1953. At the drugstore, a man abruptly walked in and yelled, "Col. Pilcher, you treated me wrong in court yesterday and I'm gonna beat your backside." Never one to be pushed around, 65-year-old, brass-knuckle-carrying Pilcher stood up, took off his coat and glasses, took out his dentures, undid his tie, put down his cigar and replied, "Let's get at it." The man, thinking better of his threat, turned and walked away. Thus was the beginning of a beautiful legal partnership that lasted several years.
Someone once told Floyd that transforming oneself from a law school graduate into a practicing attorney is not a comfortable process. Floyd learned early on that there is no shortcut to becoming a good lawyer. It takes discipline, hard work and hours long beyond the 9-5. Sixty-five years in, he still shows up at the office every day at 6:30 a.m. and brings work home with him at least two days per week. Floyd says that there is an art to practicing law that is knowing when to answer, which answer to give and how to tactfully say "go to h____." Floyd believes there is no better way to become a real lawyer than to be handed a case and sent to try it. "You'll learn even if you get your rear end kicked." Such was the case with Floyd when he lost his first three jury cases. He learned, though. As he tells it, those three losses...