Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 7, 2020

England decides it’s time to become own boss

Makes move after he ‘agonized’ over decision to leave Warren & Griffin

Personal injury attorney Zack England has left the law firm of Warren & Griffin and joined Best Hayduk Brock, where he plans to continue doing personal injury work. - Photo by David Laprad |Hamilton County Herald

Personal injury attorney Zack England has left the only professional home he’s known to begin building a practice that’s all his.

A Rossville, Georgia, native, England, 37, began practicing with Chattanooga personal injury firm Warren & Griffin in 2008. He’s now with Best Hayduk Brock, where he intends to continue doing personal injury work.

England says he left Warren & Griffin to be his own boss.

“I agonized over whether or not I wanted to start my own practice,” he explains. “I eventually decided I did. I had hit my ceiling at Warren & Griffin and needed to go out on my own.”

England says leaving Warren & Griffin was one of the hardest things he’s done due to his 12-year history with the firm and close relationships with partners C. Mark Warren and John Mark Griffin.

“Those relationships kept me there all that time. We were a family,” England notes. “And they were generous to me in every way. It had been nothing but a positive experience.”

England says having another home waiting for him made the transition easier.

He met attorney Matt Brock three years ago while volunteering as a jury member during a local high school mock trial competition. As the two attorneys talked between matches, Brock mentioned he was launching a new firm with two other lawyers.

This spurred an ongoing conversion about England possibly joining the firm that continued for a couple of years. “It was just small talk in the beginning,” England clarifies. “Then it became serious and I finally pulled the trigger earlier this year.”

England had also laid a foundation of relationships on which he hoped to be able to build his own practice.

“I knew if I ever wanted to be independent, I was going to have to make the phone ring,” he says. “So, I developed a network of people who I believe trust me and will refer me to friends and family members and colleagues who need personal injury help.”

As England enters the next stage of his practice, he says he hopes to serve as a local resource for people who need a personal injury lawyer.

“Many of the firms working in Chattanooga are actually based out of state,” he says. “While they have a bare-bones presence here, they’re not connected to this community. You’re not going to see them at church, or the ballfield or a restaurant.

“I grew up here, and I know this community, so I encourage people to shop local.”

England says he believes people are often misled into an attorney-client relationship that’s “heavy on the client and light on the attorney,” and instead end up working with a case manager or courier.

He says he prefers to be in the trenches with his client. “I believe if you’re going to hire an attorney or a law firm, you should be able to point to someone and say, ‘That’s my attorney.’”

England says he also plans to be intentional about the cases he takes.

“I want to be able to tell my client, ‘I’m going to focus on your case.’ I don’t want volume to overwhelm me because that will detract from the attention my client deserves.”

England began working for Warren & Griffin as a runner in 2003. Although he was taking classes at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he had no career plans. His father suggested law school, and England liked the idea.

“I think he realized I wasn’t going to be an engineer and tried to steer me in another direction,” England notes.

England says the now defunct E.Y. Chapin and Ben F. Thomas Scholarship made it possible for him to attend the University of Cincinnati College of Law. However, he did not intend to become a personal injury lawyer, despite his history with Warren & Griffin.

Instead, he wanted to be a sports agent.

“Everyone who likes sports had seen ‘Jerry Maguire’ and wanted to be a sports agent,” he remembers. “I started to mention that to one of the student liaisons, and hadn’t even finished saying ‘sports agent’ before his eyes were rolling back in his head.”

After setting his dream aside and earning a juris doctor, England returned home and went to work for Warren & Griffin, where he had continued to work during breaks in school.

Although England had considered doing criminal defense work, he soon found himself involved with the firm’s bread-and-butter work. As he developed as a personal injury attorney, he discovered he had a talent for developing relationships.

“I wouldn’t say I had a knack for personal injury work, but I was able to produce,” he points out. “Basically, I was good at shooting the breeze, and that made me an asset to the firm.”

Against his expectations, England discovered he liked doing personal injury work.

“I’m not an organized person, and I thought the voluminous amount of discovery and legal documents and medical records would be a detriment. But, thankfully, I had paralegals who were more organized than me,” he says with a laugh.

During his tenure with Warren & Griffin, England says he learned more than how to practice law; he also learned to be a contributing member of his community.

Drawing on his love of sports, England coaches basketball for Chattanooga Therapeutic Recreation Services, a division of the Chattanooga Youth and Family Development Department of the City of Chattanooga.

England commits the rest of his free time to two endeavors: Spending time with his family and playing golf.

England is married to Megan England, a former nurse practitioner who now works to connect nursing students at UTC to jobs. Together, they have two children – daughter Reagan, 11, and son Charlie Jack, 6.

As for golf, England calls it a bad habit he can’t break. “I started playing midway through law school and never stopped,” he recalls. “I try play a few times a month, but my family tends to dominate my free time.”

Although England has left the only professional home he’s known to begin a new chapter in his career, he says he’ll always be grateful to Warren and Griffin.

“I can’t say enough good things about everything they did for me.”

Contact England at (423) 829-1043.