Don’t let his quiet, almost shy, demeanor fool you.
Ridgeland resident, attorney and business owner Bobby Gill is a go-getter–not afraid to take action, whether in the courtroom or the boardroom.
A tireless defender of clients who need legal help–and not legalese–Mr. Gill has long been known as a leader in the Mississippi law community. Since moving his firm from downtown Jackson to Ridgeland a couple of years ago, Gill has always developed a new name for himself as an entrepreneur.
Having opened CC’s Coffee House, the first such Baton Rouge-based franchise in the state, and always developing and opening various hotels in Mississippi as well as owning many home rental properties in the area, Mr. Gill has proved to be as savvy and smart as a businessman as he has as an attorney. Because of that, both client and consumer benefit.
Born and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana ,Mr. Gill moved to Gillsburg, MS (so named due to distant family connections, he says) when he was about to enter the seventh grade. His father worked as a lab tech worked for the-then Allied Chemical (now Honeywell) in Baton Rouge and his mother was a housewife raising Bobby and his young brother.
Mr. Gill says after getting into college he decided to pass on his initial dream of entering medicine to become an attorney the first, he says, in his family to ever enter law school. An Ole Miss alum, after spending two years at Southwest Community College, Mr. Gill graduated in 1991 and went on obtain his JD in 1994.
“Law school is a means to an end,” Mr. Gill says. “It’s extremely stressful and an ‘interesting’ environment. When I received the degree I went into plaintiffs’ work which has been extremely rewarding for me; I’m allowed to help people who otherwise could never help themselves and it’s very gratifying.”
But would he still advise a young person today to obtain a law degree? Mr. Gill pauses before answering.
“You know, the field has changed dramatically since I starting practicing,” he says. “Certainly you can still get a law degree and not practice; it can be useful to open other doors. But now, there is such a glut of attorneys and the demand is not as high. Having said that, if your’re dedicated, hardworking and believe in what you do, I think that still, even today, you can be successful and enjoy a good career.”
Mr. Gill made his way to Jackson to start his career out after leaving school, noting that, as the state capital, it was the most advantageous place to do so. After working for another firm for a number of years, Gill Ladner and Priest, LLC opened its’ doors in 2005 in downtown Jackson. “Both Jamie Priest and Kirk Ladner have worked with me at the previous firm and we made the decision to go into practice together,” Mr. Gill says.
“Bobby and I have been partners in GLP for 12 years, but we practiced together at another firm for five years before that,” says Jamie Priest, one of Mr. Gill’s partners in the firm. “Bobby and I went to the same high school. His younger brother and I were good friends.
“I enjoy working with Bobby because e helps us maintain a relaxed almost family-like atmosphere around the office,” Mr. Priest continues. “Bobby is fiercely loyal to his friends, partners, colleagues, and employees. Particularly regarding our practice, Bobby has always been willing to take big (but smart) risks in our work. This allows us to work on the cases we want to work on and cases we believe to be important. When we were in our (very) early thirties, Bobby put together a team of lawyers from across the country to take on a piece of litigation against one of world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and its army of lawyers. Over the next five years or so we represented over 10,000 clients in the litigation,” notes Mr. Priest. “Because of Bobby’s leadership, the case was successful and allowed us to launch our firm.”
“We worked very hard to develop and build our practice,” Mr. Gill says. “And I’m pleased to say that I’ve had the chance to really help a lot of people who needed it. You see a lot of sad and disturbing things in this field,” Mr. Gill says, “but when you can make a tangible difference in the lives of those who have been hurt or injured, it’s good to know that you can alleviate at least some of your clients’ suffering.”
It is hard to be objective and not get too emotionally involved in such cases?
“Yeah, it is,” Mr. Gill candidly admits. “It can be hard to not get pulled in but you have to–you have to. If you’re not totally honest and objective with what a case really is you can end up doing more harm than good, I think.”
Having moved his office to Ridgeland two years ago, Mr. Gill says he feels much more a part of the community here and can contribute more to his hometown. “I enjoyed working downtown,” he says, “but here we, for instance, host events at the coffee shop downstairs, CC’s, like “Coffee With A Cop,” host Bible study and other groups, hold charity drives and things like that in our community room–I just feel more connected here in Ridgeland.”
CC’s was a great fit, Mr. Gill says. “It’s Community Coffee’s version of a coffee house,” he explains, “and we were very pleased to bring the first one to Mississippi. I’m proud to say we’ve done well, also,” he adds with a smile.
Married to Hilda Margaret, Mr. Gill and his wife are the proud parents of two children, Liam and Lexie, and Mrs. Gill can often be seen helping out around CC’s on any given day. “It’s a true family affair!” Mr. Gill laughs.
Having been so successful in his law career, Mr. Gill has turned some of his attention into real estate, both through his rental properties and in hotel development.
“It interests me and I enjoy it,” Mr. Gill says. “I try not to spread myself too thin,” he laughs, “but, so far, I’ve loved every minute of all I’m doing.”
You won’t see Bobby Gill doing goofy commercials on television as other attorneys in his field do. His approach is more of a quiet, behind-the-scenes, word of mouth approach. “We are proudly Mississippians and are not out of state like so many of these firms who see on TV,” Mr. Gill notes. “Plus, you work directly with us, in person and in our office, not over the phone from another state. We know the law here and we genuinely care what happens to our clients. I personally try to go out of my way to make the legal process as easy on our clients as possible.”
Ridgeland is certainly fortunate to not only have an attorney and entrepreneur–but also a man and a citizen–like Bobby Gill working here.