LAURINBURG — The city’s newest law firm may have just opened its doors last month, but the young attorney behind it got his first taste of the field 15 years ago as a Scotland High School student.
As a junior with ample class time under his belt, Tim Snead channeled his interest in the law through an internship with magistrate John Blue — who he still sees on a weekly basis at the county courthouse.
“He let me sit through and watch what happens in the magistrate’s office and the criminal justice system,” said Snead. “He really got into it, too. On Fridays he would make a test for me. He would give me scenarios and say is there a crime here? What would you charge if you were the magistrate? What is this statute?”
After completing his undergraduate degree at The University of North Carolina and his law degree at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, Snead returned to Scotland County each time.
After college, he taught civics, U.S. history, and criminal justice at Scotland High School. The skills he acquired connecting with teenage audiences, he said, came in handy when he decided to pursue a law degree.
“Going back to Scotland and teaching was a really good experience for me: I had some time to grow and mature as an individual, have some responsibility, be in front of a classroom.”
In 2010, Snead found his first job as a newly-minted lawyer close to home, with the law office of Moser, Garner and Bruner. While he was initially surprised to find such an opportunity in Laurinburg, the experience has given Snead greater versatility and confidence as an attorney than he might have found in a large urban firm.
“I’m thankful to Mr. Moser, Bruner, and Garner that gave me the opportunity over at the office — I had some great years with them,” Snead said. “I never thought I wanted to be someone that spends a lot of time in the courtroom, or in front of people talking. “I’ve found that, since I started practicing, I do much more of that than anything else.”
In April, Snead opened for business under his own name in Suite C of The Oaks Professional Building at 915 South Main Street. He made the move with the full moral — and even physical — support of his wife, parents, and grandparents, all of whom reside in Scotland County.
“Everyone’s been very supportive of everything I’ve done,” he said. “They’re elated that I came back here in the first place, but they’re very happy and supportive of me opening my own practice — from advice to moving furniture.”
Snead operates a general practice, with criminal defense and domestic law comprising most of his caseload. While his daily activities are a far cry from the image he held in law school of poring over contracts in a corner office, he has discovered a niche he wouldn’t trade for the world.
“Many of my clients since I’ve been here have been good repeat clients,” said Snead. “That’s the good thing about being in a small town I think, not being in a Charlotte or big city firm dealing with a microscopic piece of the law: you handle so many things that you can become that person’s or that family’s lawyer.
“You’re constantly trying to do good work and establish yourself as a credible and honest person. Your relationship with the clients means a lot, and I don’t think that’s ever going to stop whether you’re starting your practice or you’ve been there for 50 years.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.