Originally created 08/11/98

Augusta attorney works long hours in fight for justice

Injured in an accident? George Bush wants to help. No, not that George Bush. George D. Bush the Augusta personal injury and criminal attorney.

People have a low opinion of attorneys who bring personal injury and workers' compensation cases to court, says Mr. Bush, 31, but those cases are part of a rewarding job helping people who have been treated unfairly.

"There's public sentiment against damage cases, yeah, but people don't always want to pay when they hurt someone else," he says. "I help people who need representation when they've been wronged. I guess TV commercials showing lawyers spontaneously turning into checks don't really help the public impression of the profession."

Mr. Bush, a former member of the debate team at Augusta Preparatory Day School, didn't expect to return to Augusta after graduating from Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia. But he says he was drawn back to Augusta's small-town law community. He opened his own practice on Fourth Street in 1994.

He spends almost all of his time on the job -- 70 hours a week, 28 days a month. He's currently working on about 200 open cases, ranging from criminal and DUI defenses to divorce and adoption cases. Mr. Bush sees 12 or 13 walk-ins every Saturday in his office, and he goes to court about 10 times a week.

Before going to law school, he says, people should consider the long hours involved.

"It's a tough road. It can be a very difficult way to make a living."

One of the hardest things about his job, he says, is representing people going through serious personal setbacks and legal disputes.

"You have to feel compassionate and realize the emotional seriousness of what people are going through. But you also have to be detached so that you can act vigorous when representing them in court."

His most interesting case came a few years ago, when he won a $100,000 settlement for a Jenkins County employee who had been "treated terribly" by a manager but had no physical injury.

"I had to prove emotional damages," he says. "We couldn't just go in and say, 'Look, here's the actual injury.' We had to convince a jury that this person had really been treated wrongly. It was tough, but it was really interesting."

It's also interesting to be a lawyer when your name is, well, George Bush. Mr. Bush was 13 when the other George Bush became vice president in 1980. It wasn't a big deal, he says -- until he was a college student working as an intern in Washington.

"I got so sick of it sometimes I'd make up another name when I was on the phone doing something little, like ordering stuff. I just didn't have time to talk about it with every person I came into contact with all day long. Obviously, it's been a situation I've had deal with most of my life.

"But it's really not too bad. It's unique, and hey, I could use all the name recognition I can get."

Job profile

•  Subject: George deVallon Bush, attorney

•  Time in field: Four years

•  Training: Bachelor's degree in English, juris doctorate degree

•  Best thing about the job: "I like the adversarial system we have. And I like the opportunity to help people that are treated unfairly."

•  Worst thing about the job: "Scheduling conflicts can be a real nightmare. And there's stress involved from the time limitations. It's rough sometimes."


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