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Next Lawyer Up Podcast

I, Ron Sykstus, am a fan of a number of podcasts that are done by comedians where they talk to other comedians. These podcasts mostly feature comedian friends and acquaintances that have known one another over the years. It is interesting to me since they are in the same world and the discussion centers more around their lives and history, rather than what they do. Many of the lawyers that I know have interesting backgrounds and lives. Rarely does that information get divulged since most lawyers spend a majority of their time engaged in what is pretty often the stressful practice of law. It occurred to me to reach out to some of these lawyers to try and have a one-on-one discussion with them about how they got to where they are now. These lawyers are well-respected in their communities, both professionally and socially.

These Next Lawyer Up podcasts are also available for free at iTunes , Stitcher, and at PlayerFM



Ep. 1 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes is the “Botes” of Bond and Botes. Makes sense, right? A fellow Chicagoan and life-long suffering Cubs’ fan (or was!), Brad is the leader of all of the Bond and Botes affiliated law firms. I met Brad initially due to our Chicago roots and we both have now been in Alabama for over two decades. I can’t say enough good things about Brad – those of you who know him know exactly what a good guy he is.

Ep. 2 – Amy Tanner

Amy has been my law practice partner, friend, and colleague since 1999. Originally from Montgomery, AL where she was born and raised. Since the work of being a lawyer is mostly about the grind, meaning putting in a great deal of time and effort, is why I focus on and give a great deal of deference and awe to her work ethic.

Ep. 3 – Tommy Siniard 

North Alabama is fortunate to be the home to many fine lawyers. Whenever the discussion revolves around the top lawyers throughout the state of Alabama, attorney Tommy Siniard is always on the list. His credentials, background and the work he has done for his clients over the years is impressive and well-respected throughout the state of Alabama.

Ep. 4 – Dave Philipps 

In the fourth installment of the Next Lawyer Up podcast Ron Sykstus talks with Illinois attorney Dave Philipps. Dave is a consumer law attorney with significant experience related to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Ep. 5 – Allen and John Brinkley

In the fifth installment of the Next Lawyer Up podcast Ron Sykstus talks with the family owned and operated Huntsville attorneys of Brinkley and Brinkley.

Ep. 6 – Derek Simpson

Ron speaks with Huntsville trial attorney and budding sports agent Derek Simpson about growing up in a law family and transitioning to sports agent.

Ep. 7 – Taze Shepard

Ron speaks with Huntsville business attorney and Taze Shepard about his families deep ties to Huntsville and Northern Alabama.

Ep. 8 – Doug Martinson

Ron speaks with Huntsville attorney and Doug Martinson about coming from a long line of Alabama attorneys and his involvement in the community.

Ep. 9 – Scott Berry

Scott and Ron discuss Scott’s occupational arc from musician to teacher and now lawyer, as well as Scott’s family and how they have handled a number of health scares.

Ep. 10 – Amber James

The very nature of family law makes it an emotional and tumultuous area of law and Amber is a soothing presence for her clients in these most trying of times.

Ep. 11 – Gary Conchin

Gary practices throughout Alabama and surrounds himself with other well-respected partners, associates and staff at the law firm of Conchin, Cloud and Cole.

Ep. 12 – Pete Barry

On this episode we talk to Pete Berry, who is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota but he has a nationwide consumer law practice, Barry & Helwig, LLC.

Ep. 13 – Joan-Marie Sullivan

If you have ever read the Alabama Law Weekly and picked up useful information to use for your own cases, you have Joan-Marie Sullivan to thank.

Ep. 14 – Honorable (Ret.) Martha Lynn Sherrod

Judge (Ret.) Martha Lynn Sherrod has given a great deal back to both our North Alabama community and the legal profession itself.

Ep. 15 – Cary Flitter

When I first had the idea to do this podcast, I had in the back of my mind to do a segment with attorney Cary Flitter who practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and throughout the country with the law firm Flitter Milz.

Ep. 16 – Jere Beasley

I can’t imagine a lawyer in the state of Alabama who doesn’t know the name of attorney Jere Beasley. In fact, it is probably the same way for at least 90% (if not all!) of the lawyers in the entire United States. Jere Beasley is that universally well-known and respected.

Ep. 17 – Max Gardner

Max is a fountain of knowledge who counsels, advises and encourages consumer bankruptcy lawyers nationwide on a daily and, oftentimes, hourly basis.

Ep. 18 – Doug Jones

On this episode of Next Lawyer Up, Doug Jones. Jones is a candidate for the US Senate, Alabama native and former US Attorney.

Ep. 19 – Larry Heinkel

I was recently in Tampa Bay, Florida for a hearing and I thought I would catch up with attorney Larry Heinkel. Larry’s office is nearby, in St. Pete, and he represents taxpayers nationwide on their federal tax problems.

Ep. 20 – Steven N. Peskind

This podcast, as you’ll hear, is very personal to me. Steve Peskind is a great lawyer with many accolades. He practices throughout Illinois and his office is located in the far western suburbs of Chicago in the Fox River area.

Ep. 21 – Tom Ryan

If you believe that estate planning is a straight forward and simple area of the law, you’ll think differently after listening to L. Thomas “Tom” Ryan, Jr.

Ep. 22 – Harvey Morris

I won’t say that Harvey Morris is a legal legend here in North Alabama but, just by me making that disclaimer, you know that it is pretty much the case.

Ep. 23 – Bill Baxley

I was recently able to spend some time speaking with Bill Baxley at his long-time law firm’s office in Mountain Brook. I found him to be engaging, thoughtful and quite humble.

Ep. 24 – Greg Reeves

Greg Reeves is a Decatur, Alabama native, a good guy and a very talented lawyer. I have known Greg for a number of years through his legal work

Ep. 25 – Colonel (R) Greg Gunter

For this 25th episode of the Next Lawyer Up podcast, you’ll note that I have changed the title to the “Next Soldier Up” podcast. Colonel (R) Greg Gunter is a 30-year Army veteran who has given his blood, sweat and tears to our country.

Ep. 26 – Clint Butler

This is an interesting podcast to me because I first met Clint Butler several years ago through his oldest son, Hunter. Hunter played football for me in a youth football league along with my middle son, Tom. Hunter was a tough, confident, smart and perceptive kid as a 7 year old as was his little brother Alec.

Ep. 27 – Teri Mastando

It seems that abhorrent workplace discrimination and sexual harassment is in the news literally every day as of late. In that light, I thought that there would be no better and more timely guest on the Next Lawyer Up podcast than Teri Mastando.

Ep. 28 – Dan Aldridge

I have known Dan Aldridge for several years as a talented and respected personal injury lawyer who practices throughout Alabama with his main office in Huntsville. Dan practices with Jimmy Sandlin here in North Alabama.

Ep. 29 – Morris Lilienthal

I recently sat down and talked to attorney Morris Lilienthal. Morris is a talented and respected lawyer with the long-established Huntsville firm, Martinson and Beason.

Ep. 30 – Robert Bailey

If you are a fan of the books by author – attorney Robert Bailey, then here is some good news! Bob’s latest book, The Last Trial, will be available on May 8, 2018 at bookstores everywhere. Here is the Amazon link to all three of the books in the McMurtrie & Drake series.

Ep. 31 – Stan Miller

Stan Miller has spent most of his working professional life in the security arena and has had a security clearance supporting collateral, sensitive and special programs that entire time.

Ep. 32 – Joel Robbins

I was in Phoenix, Arizona recently for a security clearance hearing. While there, I thought I would re-connect with an old fraternity brother, attorney Joel Robbins who practices throughout Arizona with the law firm of Robbins and Curtin.

Ep. 33 – Andy Segal

The last thing that anyone wants to deal with is being charged with a crime. Although we are innocent until proven guilty in our country, simply being accused of wrongdoing comes with a great deal of dread and trepidation. Your first call should thus be to an attorney like Andy Segal.

Ep. 34 – Frank Caprio

In the world of intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights, infringement cases, etc.), it is not an overstatement to say that Frank Caprio is the gold standard.

Ep. 35 – Mike Brodowski

If you are searching for a real estate expert (or real estate wizard!), then Mike Brodowski is it! In fact, I have so much confidence in him that he has handled all of the real estate matters for me and my family since the 1990’s.

Ep. 36- Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray practices in the areas of banking and real-estate transactional work along with complicated bankruptcy matters.

Ep. 37 – Alexander Shunnarah

Alexander has built a powerful law firm with a very well-respected team of lawyers. I had never met nor spoken with Alexander before I sat down with him for this podcast and I found him to be gracious, humble and just a nice guy with a tremendous work ethic and drive to succeed.

Ep. 38- Michael J. McCormick

Those of us who practice law know that certain exceptionally bright lawyer who always has a relevant holding and a case name to go along with it, no matter what the topic may be. Mike McCormick is one of those lawyers. I know this not only from practicing on the other side of him but, more to the point, from practicing with him.

Ep. 39- Judge Bob Vance

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Judge Bob Vance last week. The discussion we had is timely since Judge Vance is the Democratic candidate for the position of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. I cover a good bit of ground here with Judge Vance and I think you will enjoy hearing his story.

Ep. 40- Judge Dennis O’Dell

I think I have heard the phrase “judicial temperament” more in the last couple of months than I have throughout my entire life. For me, a way to describe and define judicial temperament is to simply say the name of Judge Dennis O’Dell.

Ep. 41- Chris Attig

I attended a recent NOVA conference where I was able to sit down with attorney Chris Attig. Chris has a law practice devoted solely to helping veterans. Chris is focused, driven and very intelligent, and he is also has the ability to crystalize concepts down to a pretty basic and understandable level.

Ep. 42- Nicole Schroer

I enjoyed getting to know Nicole and learning more about her background and passion for serving others in this podcast. Our community is a better place as a result of Nicole’s many contributions. We are fortunate to have her amongst us.

Ep. 43- Joe Ritch

Joe is a talented, smart and driven attorney who has contributed greatly to the growth and positive development of North Alabama and I think you will enjoy hearing his story.

Ep. 44 – Frank Ward

Frank Ward is a highly respected and well regarded lawyer who handles cases throughout North Alabama. He is best known for representing individuals who find themselves in the unenviable position of having been charged with Driving Under the Influence (or “DUI”).

Ep. 45 – Melissa Wetzel

Our newest Bond and Botes’ law office, Bond, Botes & Wetzel, P.C., is now open in Mobile, Alabama! We are fortunate to have our former law partner, Melissa Wetzel, back with us. Even better, our prospective clients on the Gulf Coast will be very fortunate to have Melissa on their side!

Ep. 46 – William “Matt” Hancock

I was fortunate to be able to sit down recently and catch up with attorney Matt Hancock. Matt has been on my list to talk to for a long time and I am glad that we were both able to finally schedule this podcast. Matt practices with the highly regarded law firm of Wolfe Jones. Their offices are located in Huntsville and Athens but their law practice reaches throughout the state of Alabama.

Ep. 47 – Sarah Taggart

I know one thing:  If I owned rental property anywhere in the State of Alabama, and had any concerns at all about getting paid, I would have Sarah Taggart on my speed dial!  I enjoyed getting to know her on this podcast and I think you will like getting to learn about her story.

Ep. 48 – Jake Watson

Jake Watson is a well-known and highly respected lawyer. Though he is based in Huntsville, he practices throughout the State of Alabama.  Jake represents folks facing complicated criminal defense matters. He handles the defense of clients charged with murder, manslaughter, white collar criminal offenses, DUI, and other serious matters.

Ep. 49 – Russ Crumbley

For anyone who travels on South Memorial Parkway/231 in Huntsville, you can’t miss attorney Russ Crumbley’s building.  Talk about location, especially now that the Parkway construction has been completed!   Russ is a highly respected and well known attorney. He and his lawyers handle cases that cover a wide range of law.

Ep. 50 – Henry “Hank” Hildebrand

Nashville is now considered the “Bachelorette Capital” of the United States.  In that same vein, if there is a “national” hub of bankruptcy in our country, Nashville would have to be considered one of the front runners in this field as well. It also turns out that, with respect to bankruptcy filings, Tennessee usually leads the nation, year after year, in chapter 13 cases. At the center of this bankruptcy hub stands Henry E. “Hank” Hildebrand III.

Ep. 51 – Cliff Hill

I can’t imagine that there are many people in North Alabama who aren’t familiar with attorney Cliff Hill.  Cliff was a network news anchor for several years prior to attending law school and his law school journey was not an easy one.   He would leave the news station immediately after the evening newscast and then go to law school in Birmingham five days per week.

Ep. 52 – Jeff Bennett

In this episode of “Next Security Clearance Expert Up”*, I was fortunate to be able to discuss security clearance issues with Jeffrey W. Bennett who is very well respected in this field. In addition to having a combined 25 years of experience in the National Industrial Security Program, Jeff is a former Army officer with military intelligence experience and he also speaks three languages!

Ep. 53 – Rebekah McKinney

Rebekah McKinney is a talented and tenacious lawyer and is always listed in the various published lists of the top lawyers in the State of Alabama.  She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama School of Law.  Her law firm is Watson McKinney, LLP and she has been involved in many different type cases throughout the State of Alabama.

Ep. 54 – Andy Sieja

Attorney Andy Sieja is one of those people that has never met a stranger.  As we discuss in this podcast, he grew up in a military family and as the son of a Navy Pilot.  His family moved multiple times during his formative years and, with constantly being required to meet new people, he was virtually forced to become an extrovert.  Even after initially arriving in Huntsville, Alabama, Andy would not stay for long.

Ep. 55 – Chris Hinson

Chris Hinson is considered one of the top estate planning attorneys in the state of Alabama.  Originally from Texas, Chris is also a Certified Public Accountant (“C.P.A.”). She obtained her Juris Doctor (JD) degree at St. Mary’s School of Law and then made a pitstop in New York City to get a LLM degree (Master of Law) in tax from New York University.

Ep. 56 – Connie Glass

This past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the aging of our population.  Additionally, with our bankruptcy and consumer practice, we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of our senior citizens struggling with debt.  Against that backdrop, attorney Connie Glass has devoted the majority of her professional life helping and assisting our elder citizens.

Ep. 57 – John Steinkamp

I spent some time recently in Indianapolis, Indiana at the 54th Annual Seminar of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT) where I spoke on the topic of Security Clearances and Bankruptcy.  While there, I was fortunate to meet John Steinkamp, an attorney who practices bankruptcy and consumer law there in Indianapolis. 

Ep. 58 – Judge (Ret.) William Houston Brown

I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Judge (Ret.) William Houston Brown.  Judge Brown served for many years as a Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee. He is a preeminent expert in the field of bankruptcy law and continues to regularly write and speak on this topic throughout the country.

Ep. 59 – David Puckett

David Puckett is a highly respected attorney in his hometown of Athens, Alabama.  He practices extensively in all counties in North Alabama.  Over the years, as you will hear, David has re-invented his law practice a number of times.  He has served as legal counsel for the UAW Legal Services and as a Deputy District Attorney with the Limestone County District Attorney’s Office.

Ep. 60 – Tyler Mann

I enjoyed getting to know attorney Tyler Mann on this podcast.  Tyler is a former insurance adjuster who now practices plaintiff’s personal injury law with his law firm, Tyler Mann Injury Law, LLC.  As a benefit of his background, Tyler really learned the ins and outs of the insurance industry so he has keen insight as he represents his clients, mostly against the insurance companies that he knows so well.

Ep. 61 – Robert “Bernard” Harwood

Any attorney who has practiced law in the State of Alabama for any length of time knows of the law firm of Rosen Harwood. It is well known and highly respected throughout the state.  While in Tuscaloosa recently, I was able to sit down and spend some time talking to Bernard Harwood, one of the founders of this law firm. 

Ep. 62 – Rebekah Graham

This podcast features Huntsville, Alabama family law attorney Rebekah Graham.  Rebekah is a very talented lawyer who has spent pretty much her entire legal career focusing on family law and divorce.  Her law firm, Rebekah L. Graham and Associates, is conveniently located just off Memorial Parkway near Huntsville High School.

Ep. 63 – Mary Scott Hunter

Mary Scott Hunter has a bachelor’s degree (1995), a law degree (1998) and a MBA (2017), all from the University of Alabama.  She didn’t stray far from her roots as her father, Scott Hunter, played quarterback for the Crimson Tide under the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant before embarking on an NFL career.  Mary Scott began her career as a lawyer in 1998 as an active-duty Air Force Judge Advocate officer and, while in the service, met her husband, Jon Shultz, who served as an Air Force fighter pilot. Mary Scott now works at Intuitive Research and Technology mixing her legal and business skills in the areas of governance, compliance, ethics, and risk.

Ep. 64 – 104.3 WZYP’s Mojo

If you have lived in North Alabama for any length of time, you certainly know the name “Mojo!”  Mojo is an institution in our community and he has done the 104.3 WZYP morning show with Ricky and Dee Dee for almost 20 years.  Mojo does a lot of work for our community on the side as well.  For instance, he will soon do his 100 hours plus charity event, Bikes or Bust, part of the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots, on South Parkway the week before Thanksgiving.  During the event, Mojo is outside hoisted up on a scissor lift. And when I say “100 hours,” I mean 100 straight hours! 

Ep. 65 – Bernard Nomberg

A unique combination of brains and brawn, attorney Bernard Nomberg played division one college football before going on to become an accomplished attorney. It was a pleasure to welcome him to Next Lawyer Up and learn about his background and current practice. Bernard received his undergraduate degree from the prestigious Vanderbilt University where he also played football on a full athletic scholarship.  After college, he attended Faulkner University’s  Jones School of Law and carried on the family legacy by becoming an attorney.

Ep. 66 – Stuart Maples

Brad, a Chicago boy by birth, found himself at the University of North Alabama and serving as the SGA president.  At the same time, Brad had to contend with a hard driving reporter and political gadfly named Stuart Maples, who served as the editor in chief of the UNA student newspaper. He and I discuss this on the podcast along with his history. 

Ep. 67 – Chris Keith

Chris Keith is the co-founder and managing partner of Wettermark Keith, a powerful and highly respected personal injury law firm with offices throughout Alabama, Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle. He is a great example of how someone can succeed at the highest levels of his chosen profession once he locks in on a passion.

Ep. 68 – Nesha Wright

I was happy to be able to sit down with Nesha Wright on this podcast and to get to know more about her history. She attended Cumberland Law School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and has practiced law in the State of Alabama ever since.

Ep. 69 – Stephen Williams

Foxtrot Family Law is synonymous with attorney Stephen Williams.  That is because he is the founder and principal of the firm.  His offices are located in Guntersville and Huntsville, Alabama.   As I learned after the podcast, the naming of his law firm was a very bright idea.  Now, knowing Stephen’s background, it makes a lot of sense to me. 

Ep. 70 – David Martin

This is a podcast where we end up talking a lot of law!  That makes sense since attorney David Martin practices in the complicated and nuanced area of ERISA law.  David and his firm are one of the few attorneys in the state of Alabama who practice in this specialized and, as I discovered, much needed area of law. 

Ep. 71 – Henry (Hank) Sherrod III

If you read or hear about a case alleging a violation of civil rights or civil liberties anywhere in the State of Alabama, chances are good that attorney Hank Sherrod is involved with the lawsuit.  Hank’s office is located in Florence, Alabama but he handles civil rights, employment law and jail death cases throughout Alabama. 

Ep. 72 – John Strohm

John Strohm was a co-founder and guitarist in Blake Babies.  He also was a member of Antenna and the Lemonheads, in addition to having a solo career.  So why is John featured on the Next Lawyer Up podcast?  Taking his musical career as far as he cared to, John migrated to Birmingham, Alabama and finished college at UAB and then, looking for a career path, he attended Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.  He did well there and served as Editor in Chief of the Cumberland Law Review

Ep. 73 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes and I cover various topics as they relate to our clients and other consumers and small business owners facing financial challenges related to the COVID – 19 global pandemic.  We hope that this weekly update will help our clients and prospective clients stay on top of their financial health during these troubling times. Please take care of yourselves and your families and God bless during this turbulent and uncertain time.

Ep. 74 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes and I continue with the latest news in regards to the COVID-19 global pandemic in the next continuing segment of this ongoing series of podcasts.

Ep. 75 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes and I discuss the latest in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications in this weekly installment.

Ep. 76 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes and I discuss the latest in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications in this ongoing series of podcast.

Ep. 77 – Joe King

Attorney Joe King is the managing partner of the highly regarded and long-standing law firm of Morris, King and Hodge.  By the way, you can also hear about Joe’s partner, Harvey Morris, at the Next Lawyer Up podcast, episode 22.   Joe also happens to by my “neighbor,” as his office is located across the street from mine on Pratt Avenue in Huntsville’s historic “Five Points” district. I hadn’t talked to Joe in awhile (our close proximity notwithstanding!) so it was good to catch up with him on this episode.

Ep. 78 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes and I discuss the latest in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications in this weekly installment.

Ep. 79 – Brad Botes

Brad Botes and I discuss the latest in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications in this weekly installment.

Ep. 80 – Will League

I can’t think of a more up-tempo, gracious and good-humored person than attorney Will League.  On top of that, Will is a talented, tenacious and highly respected partner with the law firm of Siniard, Timberlake and League.  Will and his firm practice personal injury law throughout the state of Alabama and have been doing so for many, many years.

Ep. 81 – Laurence (Larry) Guggino, Jr.

I have known Larry Guggino since both of us were about 19 years old. Larry and I were Sigma Chi Fraternity brothers at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Talk about a great place to get educated, plus having some fun along the way! Once he graduated from Arizona, Larry attended law school at St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, and then moved back to his hometown of Los Lunas, New Mexico where he has practiced law ever since.

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bankruptcy book

Bankruptcy - We Wrote the Book on It - written by Ronald C. Sykstus and the Bond and Botes team of lawyers who have over 150 years of collective experience in this area of law. Retail price of this book is $14.95 and available at Amazon. A free copy of the book is provided to all prospective clients who retain us for representation. If you would prefer to do your own initial research, this book will serve as a perfect first step for someone who is concerned and worried about their debt situation and wants to know all of their options in the privacy of their home prior to discussing their situation with a bankruptcy lawyer or anyone else.



in the Bible

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