Harmon W. Caldwell Jr.

I have practiced in Atlanta for 38 years. I handle Trust and Estate disputes, business litigation, and family law. I have tried several hundred jury trial cases. I have handled over 60 cases in the Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. I have been recognized repeatedly as one of the finest trial lawyers in Georgia.

I have been involved in some of Atlanta’s most interesting cases. I represented Bernice and Martin King in the dispute with their brother Dexter over their mother Coretta Scott King’s Estate. I represented Frances “Tut” Woodruff in contesting her father Coca-Cola magnate George W. Woodruff’s will, David West in his dispute with his father over West Lumber Company, and Anna Stanley in her divorce from her husband TV Evangelist Rev. Charles Stanley. During my career, I have often represented individuals from Atlanta’s wealthiest families, from Rollins, to Candler, Carlos to Bowen, and while the dollars at stake are sometimes large, the issues are usually the same.

I have successfully prosecuted numerous actions against banks such as SunTrust, Wachovia and Regions for breach of their fiduciary duties in the handling of client’s interests in various estates and trusts.

I have represented hundreds of other individuals, many wealthy, many not. However, in almost every situation, someone’s future was significantly impacted by what I did. It is indeed a compliment when a client chooses you to represent them in a time of crisis. Because of this, I try to be creative in my approach to every case.

I was born in Athens, Georgia. My father was at the time President of the University of Georgia.

We moved to Atlanta 4 months after my birth. I attended Atlanta’s Westminster Schools elementary, middle and high schools, graduating in 1966.

While in high school, I became interested in cars and top fuel drag racing. I worked on anybody’s car who would pay me, saved my money, and in the summer of 1966, following high school, went to California in my mother’s station wagon and got everything I needed other than an engine. I tied the race car frame to the top of the station wagon and brought it back home. Several weeks later, I had cobbled enough engine parts together to go racing in Phenix City, Alabama.

In those days, to have an “unlimited” drag racing license, you had to have two other drivers certify they were willing to ride down the track next to you. I remember well the two drivers who vouched for me in 1966: Bob Stewart from Minneapolis and Danny Ongais, who went on to much fame as an Indy car driver.

I spent the next four years driving that top fuel dragster. I raced almost every weekend at different tracks throughout the United States. Most runs would result in a top speed of well over 200 mph. I learned quickly that promoters would pay more for a full bodied car, so in 1967, I went back to California and got a full body to cover the frame. I have attached several photographs of my race car. The first is in Miami (photo 1) and the second and third are in Indianapolis (photo 2 and photo 3). Those were incredible times – the golden age of drag racing – and my experiences in dealing with all kinds of folks “on the road” were invaluable training for my upcoming law practice.

In the fall of 1970, I went to Georgia State University. I majored in sculpture. I am the only lawyer in Georgia who has a Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA) degree. I graduated cum laude from Georgia State University in 1974. At GSU, we were only the second school in the United States to build our own iron furnace to melt iron (3000°F) in order to make sculpture with cast iron. I have attached photographs of our original iron furnace (called a cupola) at one of the early Piedmont Arts Festivals (photo 4, photo 5 and photo 6). I am in the engineer’s hat. One of my roles was loading the cupola with iron and coke from the top and ramming it down (photo 7).

I won a number of awards and prizes for my art, but decided that I could not make a living making art and that I would have to find something more lucrative. Even so, my art training turned out to be a real asset for my trial practice because I use many visuals during my trials, including the use of a pad and marker to sometimes literally draw a picture for a jury.

Upon graduating from GSU, I went to law school at UGA. I received a juris doctor cum laude from the University of Georgia Law School in 1977. I continue to stay very involved with UGA and, among other things, presently serve as Chairman of the University’s Odum School of Ecology’s Board. The Odum School is the only college of its kind which is attached to a major university.

In the mid 90s, I designed and built a commuter electric car (photo 8, photo 9 and photo 10). The car worked extremely well, and there were a number of very favorable articles about the car in the media, magazines and TV shows. Unfortunately, my efforts to raise capital to produce the car went nowhere because the appeal of electric cars was not as favorable then as it is today.

I began practicing law in 1977 with the law firm of Johnson & Montgomery. I knew immediately I wanted to be a trial lawyer, and Johnson & Montgomery gave me that opportunity.

In 1994, I left that firm and began my own firm, now Caldwell, Propst & DeLoach, LLP. I enjoy the practice of law. I enjoy working with clients and the intellectual challenge of presenting a client’s case in the most effective way possible. Over the years, many of my clients have become close personal friends, and that for me is something of which I am very proud.

I am married to the former Cathleen O’Donnell and have three children: Harmon, III and Kimberly, both graduates of UGA; and Reagan, a sophomore at UGA.

My hobbies are many. I run. I have run numerous marathons throughout the United States. Attached is a photograph of the 2008 Disney Goofy Challenge Run (half marathon on Saturday; full marathon on Sunday, photo 11.) My oldest son and I have run 25 consecutive 10K July 4th Peachtree Road races together. My younger son has now run six. I also like to travel. My wife and I have traveled extensively. I bike. I have biked through the Provence, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley regions of France. My daughter and I were at Normandy Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day, which was just an incredible experience.

I also collect toy trains and have a wonderful collection of toys and toy trains. The trains range from a Milton Bradley toy train manufactured in 1881 (photo 12) to some made in 2015, and hundreds in between those years. A number of these trains decorate our law offices. I have attached several photographs which show a small part of the collection (photo 13, photo 14 and photo 15).

I have, with the assistance of my good friend Jay Cain, built a layout for the trains, and while not completed, we have made good progress. The layout is 36 feet long and 12 feet wide.  I have attached several photographs which show our progress (photo 16, photo 17, photo 18 and photo 19).