The founding partners first became good friends while attending law school at the University of South Carolina over 25 years ago. In addition to drinking beer and learning legal principles, Art taught Robert how to sail a Hobie sailboat on Lake Murray. Art is from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and grew up on the water in Charleston. Bea was raised in Aiken, South Carolina. Both of their fathers were physicians. Robert was raised in Valdosta, Georgia. Our shared backgrounds of living in small towns gives us a common foundation and appreciation for hard work and “small town” values.
After law school, Art and Robert worked at the same law firm in Columbia and practiced insurance defense law. Those early years of representing insurance companies were very helpful in making us the trial lawyers we are today. As defense attorneys, we were in court a great deal which helped us develop trial skills. We also learned how to investigate and prepare cases for meaningful negotiations with adjusters as well as “what to watch out for.” By comparison, plaintiff’s lawyers do not get to trial as often because most cases tend to settle. Cases that do go to trial are generally those where liability is contested or there is a substantial difference in value estimations.
Subsequently, Art and Robert went to different firms, but both became plaintiff’s advocates for injured individuals. Philosophically, both men determined they did not enjoy defeating otherwise meritorious claims on legal technicalities or poor lawyering by opposing lawyers. Their experiences were very similar in that most plaintiff’s lawyers simply were not litigators often and settled cases “too fast and too cheaply.” We both knew there was a better way to represent injured people and their families.
Art and Bea got married after law school, had two children, and ultimately left positions with other firms to form their own practice. Bea focused on DSS and Guardian ad Litem cases while Art practiced criminal and serious injury law. Robert also became a plaintiff’s atttorney and ultimately went out on his own . Art and Robert began working together on a number of complex, serious injury cases and concluded it would be extremely advantageous to both us and our mutual clients to form a limited liability partnership (LLP).
Reeves Aiken & Hightower LLP is a collaboration between the two firms of Robert J Reeves PC (Fort Mill/Charlotte) and Aiken & Hightower PA (Columbia). While we maintain separate practices for more routine matters, we join forces and pool our resources on very serious injury and/or wrongful death cases. Together, we have successfully litigated nursing home abuse cases, motorcycle accidents, serious automobile accidents, premises liability, brain injury, and wrongful death cases. Complex litigation lawsuits are always aggressively defended by insurance companies, and oftentimes, two or more defense lawyers are assigned. There are voluminous records and trial exhibits which can literally take up many boxes. These type of cases are simply too overwhelming for a single lawyer and require the combined experiences and efforts of at least two attorneys. In some lawsuits, all three partners work together to get a case ready.
It is a sincere pleasure to practice law with long-time, good friends. The interaction and prior experiences often prove invaluable in forming trial strategies and getting a case prepared for trial. We know from past dealings, from both the plaintiff’s and insurance company’s perspective, that the best offer only comes after all of the work has been done, and you are ready to go into court and actually try your case.
Any case can be settled quickly, but for substantially less money. Only those lawyers who are willing to really work a case will see meaningful offers worthy of serious consideration. If our client does choose to go to trial after consultation, we will be ready and will know what to do when we get there.