Joel O. Wooten

Joel O. Wooten is a founding partner at the Atlanta personal injury law firm of Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, with offices in Columbus, Atlanta and Savannah. He has served as lead counsel in numerous cases including class action, trucking, product liability and motor vehicle cases. He has significant experience handling commercial litigation as well as asbestos, medical, pharmaceutical, toxic tort and environmental cases.

Joel’s extensive litigation practice required him to acquire proficiency in a number of specialized and technical areas of science, medicine and engineering as well as law. He started his legal practice in 1975 in Columbus, doing insurance defense, corporate litigation and handling cases for such companies as Coca Cola, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Power, St. Paul Insurance Company, Travelers and Aetna. Since 1988, when the Butler Wooten firm was founded, he has successfully represented individuals and injured parties in numerous cases against major corporations, insurance companies, drug and chemical companies, automobile manufacturers and many others.

Joel graduated from the University of Georgia in 1972 with a B.B.A. degree, magna cum laude, where he was President of the Student Senate and a member of Grid iron and Sphinx. In 1975, he received his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Joel currently serves as Vice-chair of the Georgia Ports Authority and a board member and vice-chair of the Jasper Ocean Terminal Board. He was Chair of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in 2004-05 and was a board member from 1999-2006. He also serves as Chair of the Business Court Committee of the State Bar of Georgia and is a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Law at the University of Georgia. He has served as Chair of the State Bar’s Judicial Evaluation Committee (1999-2007), Vice-chair of the State Bar Federal Courts Liaison Committee, and was a member of the State Bar Committee on Legislation and the State Bar Center Taskforce. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice, Federal Bar Association and has served on the Board of Directors of Georgia Legal Services.

Joel served as Chair of the Georgia State Bar’s General Practice and Trial Section and, in 2000, received the Tradition of Excellence Award. He is past Chair of the ABA Conference of State and Local Bar Leaders, recipient of the ABA CONSTABAR National Leader of the Year award; past President of the Columbus Bar Association and the Columbus Younger Lawyers Club, a member of Who’s Who and Who’s Who in American Law and a founding board member of the Ga Center for Law in the Public Interest, now GreenLaw.  He received the Ogden Doremus Award for Excellence in Environmental Law in 2007. In 2012, he received the UGA Law School’s Distinguished Service Scroll. He has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians and repeatedly selected as a Georgia Super Lawyer. Joel has been a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated attorney for over 25 years and continues to receive the “Preeminent—5.0 out of 5.0 rating” by, the leading national legal rating agency.

Honors and Awards

  • Georgia Supreme Court Amicus Curiae Award, 2018
  • Georgia Legal History Foundation, The Nestor Award, 2017
  • Recipient, 2012 University of Georgia Law School Distinguished Service Scroll
  • Georgia Trend – 100 Most Influential Georgians, 2005
  • James Magazine – Most Influential Georgians, 2005
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, 2007 – 2014
  • Recipient, Tradition of Excellence Award, State Bar of Georgia, 2000
  • Fellow, Lawyers Foundation of Georgia
  • Fellow, American Bar Association
  • National Constabar Leader of the Year Award, American Bar Association, 1993
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in American Law

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Inaugural Member, Georgia Business Court Rules Commission
  • Georgia Ports Authority, Vice-chair, 2020 (Board of Directors, 2013 – Present)
  • Jasper Ocean Terminal Board, 2016 – Present
  • Jasper Ocean Terminal Board Chair, 2018
  • Jasper Ocean Terminal Board Vice-Chair, 2019
  • University of Georgia Law School, Board of Visitors, 2011 – Present
  • University of Georgia, Athletic Association, Board of Directors, 2012 – Present
  • University System Georgia Board of Regents, Chair, 2004 – 2005
  • University System Georgia Board of Regents, Vice Chair, 2003 – 2004
  • University System Georgia Board of Regents, 1999 – 2006
  • Georgia Legal Foundation Trustee. 2014 – Present
  • Columbus Lawyers Club, President, 1988 – 1989
  • Columbus Lawyers Club, Executive Committee, 1984 – 1993
  • Columbus Younger Lawyers Club, President, 1984 – 1985
  • Columbus Younger Lawyers Club, Executive Council, 1980 – 1983
  • State Bar of Georgia, Younger Lawyers Section, Executive Council, 1983 – 1997
  • State Bar of Georgia, Younger Lawyers Section, Chair, Executive Council, 1990 – 1991
  • State Bar of Georgia, General Practice & Trial Section, Chair 1990-1991, Executive Council 1983-1998
  • State Bar of Georgia, Business Court Committee, 2008 – Present
  • State Bar of Georgia, Business Court Committee, Co-Vice Chair, 2008 – 2012
  • State Bar of Georgia, Business Court Committee, Chair, 2013 – Present
  • State Bar of Georgia, Member, Statewide Judicial Evaluation Committee, 1993 – 2007
  • State Bar of Georgia, Co-Chair, Statewide Judicial Evaluation Committee, 1997 – 1999
  • State Bar of Georgia, Chair, Statewide Judicial Evaluation Committee, 1999 – 2007
  • State Bar of Georgia, Vice Chair, State Bar Federal Courts Liaison Committee, 1999 – 2007
  • State Bar of Georgia, Bar Center Committee, 1995 – Present
  • State Bar of Georgia, Advisory Committee on Legislation, 1999 – 2010
  • ABA Conference of State and Local Bar Leaders, Chair, 1991 – 1992
  • American Bar Association, General Practice Section
  • University of Georgia Young Alumni Council, Vice-President, 1981 – 1983
  • University of Georgia Alumni Society, Board of Managers, 1981-1983 and 1989-1991
  • University of Georgia Law, School Association Council, 1997 – 1999
  • Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest, Board of Directors, Founding Member, 1992 – 1993
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Vice President, 1994 – 1997
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • American Association for Justice (AAJ)
  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • Roscoe Pound Foundation
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
  • Columbus Trial Lawyers Association

Founding Partner


University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia

  • J.D. – 1975
  • Honors: Chairman, Russell Moot Court Competition
  • Honors: Executive Committee, Moot Court Board

University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

  • B.B.A. magna cum laude – 1972
  • Major: Banking & Finance

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Class Actions
  • Trucking Cases
  • Environmental

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia, 1975
  • Georgia Court of Appeals, 1975
  • Supreme Court of Georgia, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia, 1976
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1981
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia, 1990

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