Dees and Fuller
Millard Fuller and Morris Dees opened the law partnership of Dees and
Fuller in 1958. No one knew Millard and people barely ever heard of
Dees. So what they decided to do was to go around all the local big
firms and ask for little cases that they didn't want. Their plan worked
out fine and they made a nice profit from doing such little cases. In
that first year of business, they each earned themselves 12,000 dollars
which is more than what they would have made at a giant law firm.
Morris' father still had some prominent friends and connections in
Montgomery. But if they had a legal problem, they went to the big lawyers
at the big firms. But if they had a problem, they thought they could
never solve, they went to Dees.
Taken for Granted
Earl Thornton was a clerk at the Alabama Cotton Warehouse. The Alabama
Cotton Warehouse was the creditor of the Dees for many years. There
was another tenant farmer who owed the Warehouse about ten thousand
dollars. The farmer never paid and took off. When came back, he was
sued and he lost. But still, the debt was never paid. Earl Thornton
located 20 bales of cotton of that farmer and he wanted the cotton.
When Earl had sued, he had been awarded judgment but the judgment was
over ten years old and under Alabama law, it would be 'presumed satisfied.'
Morris tracked the old man farmer down. He told the farmer that if
he paid the full ten thousand dollars right then and there, all the
interest would be forgotten. To Morris' surprise, the farmer wrote out
a check to the Warehouse for ten thousand dollars. When Morris brought
the check back however, he received only two one-hundred dollar bills.
He had planned to send a bill to the Warehouse for twenty five percent
of the amount collected as any lawyer would. Morris tore the money and
left. Later that day, Morris received a call from his father. His father
scolded him for not taking the money. Morris however, felt different.
He didn't like being used as the Warehouse had just used him. Those
kinds of people had used his father a long time ago, and he wasn't going
to let them do that to him.