Q&A with Drew Tuggle: WBW's Newest Attorney
Q: Let's start with a good old-fashioned introduction. Tell us who you are and what your role is at Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren.
A: Sure, my name is Drew Tuggle, and I am an Attorney at WBW. In fact, I just passed the Georgia Bar exam last month.
Q: That’s awesome. Congratulations! How did you prepare for the Bar?
A: They recommend that you study eight hours a day for three months leading up to the test, but I have bills and I was working at WBW full-time, so that wasn’t an option for me. I decided to take two weeks off right before the test, and I studied 16 hours a day.
I never had test anxiety before, but this test meant so much so I did experience anxious feelings.
Q: How long do you have to wait to find out whether or not you passed the exam?
A: You have to wait three months to get your results from the test.
Q: How did you feel about your performance on the exam before you found out you passed?
A: I felt good about it, but I didn’t want to tell people that I felt like I did well and then not pass.
Q: Do you have to take the Bar exam again to be licensed in other states?
A: Yes and no. Every exam in all 50 states has the same multiple-choice questions, but the essay questions are state specific. I have the option to keep my score from the multiple-choice section and just take the essay portion for a different state.
That is what I plan to do when I take the Florida Bar in February 2022. Because we are so close to Tallahassee, it makes sense for me to be licensed in Florida. I don’t want to turn business away.
Q: So, how long have you worked at WBW?
A: I have been at WBW for just over one year. I started in late May 2020.
Q: And why did you choose to seek out a career in the legal field?
A: I was trying to find a way to get back down to South Georgia where I grew up. I wanted a career that would allow me to help my community, if possible. Law was a great fit for me.
Q: You mention South Georgia is home. Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Cairo/Thomasville, and I graduated from Cairo High School.
Q: Well, we’re glad to have you back! As a new attorney, do you plan to specialize in a specific area?
A: Our office is more so general practice, but I am interested in estate planning – helping people get their ducks in row about finances and keeping their assets and property protected.
I am also interested in divorce and family law. I like getting to know people and trying to help them and figure out what is best when dividing assets and time with children.
Q: What education did you receive before securing your position at WBW?
A: I attended John Marshall in Atlanta for law school, and before that, I attended the University of Georgia for Marketing and Management for my undergraduate degree.
Q: Are there any special requirements to be accepted to law school?
A: In addition to taking the LSAT, the application process is pretty standard. They do dig into your background with an FBI-level background check. They also review your driving record.
Q: What was your work experience before WBW?
A: After graduation from UGA, I worked for a year at Vida-Flo, running three IV Hydration and Vitamin Infusion offices. I also worked around the clock, 40 hours a week, to pay for law school.
Q: Did you complete any intern or externships while in law school?
A: Some of the legal experience that I gained in law school, in addition to coursework, was in a civil practice class. In Georgia, when a student is expelled from a school, other schools can choose whether they want to admit the student after a previous expulsion. For this course, I was able to work with lower income parents who couldn’t afford legal representation to advocate for their child returning to school.
It was very rewarding helping these families and getting students back on their educational journey.
Q: What a great way to give back and learn at the same time! So, what are your lobger-term career goals?
A: I plan stay here and grow myself and this practice. I want to be the best attorney I can be. I will continually take steps to improve myself until I feel comfortable and confident in this role. There is a lot that goes into being a good attorney. I will never run into the same problem twice. While law school does a great job getting you accustomed to the workload, there is a learning curve and eventually I will be more comfortable with the research, writing, and everything that goes into preparing for a case.
This job is mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging, but when I get to the other side and see the results I want, it is well worth it.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job and WBW?
A: This is a very family-oriented environment. Everyone here is supportive and positive. I can call anyone who works here, and they will help me.
I enjoy receiving support from my three supervising attorneys. They give me the autonomy to govern myself and approach certain issues my way, but I can also go to them for their input and expertise. All the people here are special.
Q: Outside of the office, what are your hobbies and interests?
A: I enjoy sports and outdoors. I loved living in Atlanta, going to Braves, Hawks, and Falcons games. My family has a river house, and I enjoy hiking there on the nature reserve.
I want to say I like cooking, but I never cook. I love watching cooking shows.
I love to read, especially by the water, both fiction and nonfiction. I really enjoy spending time around friends and family. That’s why I moved back to South Georgia – so I could do more of that.
Q: We love a good book, too. What are your reading recommendations?
A: Mostly my reading is geared toward how to be a good attorney, but I am also rereading Harry Potter books.
Q: To close it out, what is your advice to a new attorney or someone considering this field?
A: I would say it’s important to understand the purpose of law school. It is to there teach you how to research and find answers. Unlike law school, facts are never neat. They are always changing. You never hear the same story twice, even when you are talking to the same person. Keep an open mind, and think on your feet. The people you are working with and on the opposing side are going through the most challenging times of their lives.
Of course, this job is emotionally taxing, but it is so rewarding when you help someone who deserves it in the end. Make sure you really want to help people and your heart is in it. And use everything as a learning experience. You will learn quickly. Mistakes are necessary. I have honestly learned more from the things I’ve done wrong.