"It's company versus company litigation," explains partner Lee Benton, a graduate of Auburn University and Cumberland School of Law. "It's about the sanctity of the contract, how strong the contract is, and who stands behind it. The challenge is that there's no true plaintiff or defendant because, inevitably, there's a counter claim involved where both businesses feel like they are right. It revolves around economics rather than emotions."
Since 1982 Benton has practiced with fellow Cumberland graduate Doug Centeno, who also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University. However, it was not until 1998 that the two decided to branch out on their own. "We had worked in larger firms, but when we decided to form this practice it was as if we were rejuvenated. It started being fun again. That's important when you work 12- to 15-hour days," adds Benton.
Benton & Centeno, L.L.P. also view the practice of law as a profession, not a trade. They are members of the American Trial Lawyers Association, the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, the Alabama State Bar and the Birmingham Bar Association. Centeno has served as Chairman and Co-Chairman on the Grievance Committee of the Birmingham Bar Association and served as Co-Chair of the Alabama Committee on Rules of Professional Conduct. Benton has served as President of the Birmingham Bar Association, chairman of the Bankruptcy/Commercial Law Section of the Alabama State Bar and served two years as treasurer of the Birmingham Bar Foundation.
Both are also active in area churches and have been involved with various community organizations, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Alabama, Alabama Goodwill Industries, Birmingham Downtown YMCA and Habitat for Humanity.
Brent Morris is a 1997 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law. After practicing law for four years in the areas of creditor's rights and insurance defense litigation, he joined the firm as an associate in 2001 and became partner in January 2005. His experience includes representing creditors in litigation and bankruptcy matters, representing Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees and representing individuals and businesses in civil trials and appeals in state and federal courts.
Amy Hazelton is a 2003 graduate of Cumberland School of Law. After practicing law for two years in Mobile, Alabama in the area of insurance defense litigation, she moved back to Birmingham and joined the firm as an associate in 2005. She became a partner in 2010. In addition to practicing law, she is also involved in various community organizations including the Junior League of Birmingham.
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