Barrow County attorney Wayne D. McLocklin has been appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve as the fourth superior court judge of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit. The appointment was announced Nov. 28.
Practicing law for 28 years, McLocklin has spent the last nine years managing his own firm. Much of his law practice in recent years has involved real estate and estate law – “that’s the direction the practice went” — so he was able to be a part of people’s lives during those “times when clients are glad to see you because you have a happy buyer and a happy seller.”
McLocklin’s practice has been one in which he represented and worked with people of all walks of life. “We were the kind of practice that served a diverse clientele,” he said.
During the past 10-15 years, McLocklin said he has seen a shift in the priorities of many in the legal profession. Rather than taking care of the best interest of the client, the focus was more on playing a game with other attorneys to rack up more billable hours.
For a man of principles who saw becoming a lawyer as a way to help people solve their problems and resolve issues,
McLocklin said it can be frustrating to see those games being played.
In one way, McLocklin said the judgeship may provide a way to get back to being better able to help people address their issues at hand.
McLocklin said his wife, Melanie, is excited about the appointment. “Everything we’ve done has been a partnership,” he said. “She worked along with me every step of the way during this process.” They have a daughter, Rachel, and a son, John. They were the 2005 Barrow County Farm Family of the Year.
Not only does McLocklin have the backing and support of family, he said he has also been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement he has received from across the circuit – from fellow attorneys of the Piedmont Bar Association, judges, including Judge Bob Adamson and Judge Penn McWhorter, and community members and friends.
“And their support has been not just in this process but from the very beginning of my practice and even back to when I first passed the Bar,” said McLocklin.
McLocklin, managing partner of the Winder law firm of McLocklin & Murphy LLP, earned his bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Georgia. He was admitted to the Bar in 1984 and first worked as an associate attorney with Nathaniel David Wages handling domestic, criminal and general practice matters before joining the firm of Russell, Adamson and Stell. From 1992 through 2003, he was a partner with Russell, Stell, Smith and McLocklin and handled general practice matters and served as attorney for the City of Statham, City of Hoschton, Town of Carl, the Barrow County Board of Education and the Barrow County Water & Sewerage Authority.
He then began his own firm and was joined by partners in McLocklin, Murphy and Dishman LLP, the following year, and the general practice law firm handled personal injury, real estate, wills, estates, education law and local government law. He was attorney for the Town of Carl and the Barrow County Board of Education.
With his own firm, McLocklin said he determined his dress code would no longer include a tie unless he was to appear in court. Through competency and integrity and a more relaxed atmosphere with almost an open door policy, the law practice grew.
Even before the new office furniture arrived at the West Athens Street office back in October of 2003, the firm had a big closing that took place with folding chairs around the conference table. “We’ve been blessed since the work started quicker than we thought and took off,” he said.
In addition to his law practice, McLocklin also remains involved in his family’s agriculture endeavors on their Statham area farm. “It keeps you grounded,” said the man, who worked in a saw mill during high school and college alongside those who had to work to get by so he appreciates the struggles that may find defendants before him when he takes the bench.
He is also involved in the community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Barrow County Farm Bureau and as a board member of the Oconee River Soil and Water Conservation District. He is also a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, the Barrow County Cattlemen’s Association and the Barrow County Republican Party.
McLocklin currently serves on the Board of Trustees of First Baptist Church of Winder. He said he will have to forego some of his involvement due to the judgeship and his changing schedule.
McLocklin will be joining Superior Court Judges David Motes, Joseph H. Booth and Currie Mingledorff. “They tell me they are looking forward to working with me and this is a good experience I will enjoy,” said McLocklin, who has a challenge ahead in wrapping up cases and turning over the practice to his partner while also readying to establish his judicial office. He will be bringing onboard a secretary for his judicial office. The judges will be determining how offices will be placed in the circuit and McLocklin will have a court calendar beginning in the new year after his official swearing-in ceremony.
McLocklin said he will miss out on the personal contact with clients since, as a judge, he will be more removed, however, he says he is hopeful he can bring wisdom and experience from his legal practice and his life to the bench for the betterment of the Piedmont Circuit.