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Ken Shigley

Picture of Ken Shigley 

Ken Shigley, senior counsel at Johnson & Ward, is a former president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12). He was the first Georgia lawyer to earn three board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy (Civil Trial Advocacy, Civil Pretrial Advocacy, and Truck Accident Law). In 2019, he received the Traditions of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Shigley was the lead author of eleven editions of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice (Thomson Reuters, 2010-21). He graduated from Furman University and Emory University Law School, and completed certificate courses in trial practice, negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School.

As president of the State Bar of Georgia, Mr. Shigley laid the foundations for a statewide system of electronic court filing, which after a couple years more work became a reality. He is also a former chair of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, and lead author of eleven annual editions of a leading book on personal injury law practice in Georgia. 

In 2019, he was the plaintiffs' lawyer recipient of the "Tradition of Excellence Award" from the State Bar of Georgia General Practice and Trial Section. This lifetime achievement award is presented annually to one plaintiffs' lawyer, one defense lawyer, one general practice lawyer and one judge.

Also in 2019, he was lead or co-counsel in cases in which plaintiffs recovered a gross amount of $25.8 million. At the end of 2019, he merged his practice into the law firm of Johnson & Ward which was established in 1949.  A senior counsel at Johnson & Ward, he is the only attorney in Georgia with this unique combination of credentials:

Professional leadership

  • Past President, State Bar of Georgia
  • Past Chair of largest practice area section of national organization of trial lawyers.
  • “Short list” of nominees for appointment to Georgia Court of Appeals (2012)
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, based on numerous verdicts and settlements in the millions of dollars
Three board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy:
  • Civil Trial Advocacy (1995)
  • Civil Pretrial Advocacy (2012)
  • Truck Accident law (2019)
Diplomate, National College of AdvocacyHighest peer ratings:
  • “AV”
  • “Super Lawyer”
  • “Legal Elite”
  • Avvo 10.0
Author & Teacher
  • Lead author – Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice
  • Chapter author – Handling Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
  • Numerous articles in legal periodicals
  • Has taught law students at Emory and other lawyers in continuing legal education programs throughout the US
If not the “right lawyer” for your case, we have access to a broad network of legal talent across Georgia and the United States, and may be able to find the right fit for you.

In 2018, Mr. Shigley competed in the statewide nonpartisan judicial primary for a seat on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Though he came in second in that election, he won more votes on that primary election day than did Brian Kemp, who went on to win a primary runoff and general election for Governor.

An Atlanta-based trial attorney, Mr. Shigley has been trying cases in Georgia courts for over four decades, and representing individuals, families and small businesses in cases of serious personal injury, wrongful death and insurance disputes statewide in Georgia since 1991.

Representative Cases: All cases are different, and past performance does not guarantee future results, but here are a few representative cases.

  • $20 million recovery for occupants of a college baseball team bus that crashed in Georgia. Mr. Shigley led in organization the joint prosecution groups and represented 10 of 20 team members on the bus, whose individual recoveries were determined by an agreed formula.
  • $11 million confidential settlement for two family members who lost limbs in a car crash. Mr. Shigley organized the joint prosecution team and represented one of the family members individually.
  • $9.3 million recovery apportioned among 13 plaintiffs on an agreed formula, for a van load of cheerleaders in a crash caused by failure of a tire. Mr. Shigley led in organization of the joint prosecution group and  represented one of the families with a wrongful death claim. 
  • $6 million confidential settlement in a legally complex truck crash case. Mr. Shigley organized the joint prosecution group, and was lead counsel for two wrongful death cases and one head injury case. 
  • $5.7 million confidential settlement of a medical malpractice case. Mr. Shigley was co-counsel for the decedent's family.  
  • $3 million confidential settlement of truck crash case in Southwest Georgia. 
  • $2.3 million jury for client who suffered complex leg fracture in head on collision with truck operated for interstate motor carrier.. This was at the time the largest jury verdict in history of Gordon County, GA. 
  • $1.25 million policy limits settlement for a young man who was t-boned in an intersection in Cobb County suffering a brain injury, despite evidence that he was talking on the phone with his gay partner while turning left in an intersection.
  •  $1.3 million settlement in Rome, Georgia – $300,000 above insurance policy limits -- for family of young man killed when rear-ended by tractor trailer on interstate at night.
  •  $1.2 million jury verdict in Fulton County for woman with head and neck injuries who had consumed cocaine and tequila with the driver of sports car in which she was a passenger.
  • Confidential settlement of logging truck wrongful death case for 12 times the amount of insurance coverage on the truck itself after litigating insurance coverage, bankruptcy and wrongful death issues in three separate courts.
  • Obtained confidential multi-million dollar settlement against auto manufacturer where defective design of anti-lock brake system led to crash of minivan, resulting in quadriplegia and death.
  • Obtained confidential seven figure settlement against manufacturer of sports utility vehicle where defective design of passenger restraint system and roof led to quadriplegia.
  • Served as co-counsel in automotive products liability case resulting in $6 million jury verdict for defect that led to passenger ejection in rollover.
  • Secured confidential settlement for 6 1/2 times the amount of insurance coverage on the car in a car-motorcycle collision in south Georgia.
  • $1 million policy limit in wrongful death case against small trucking company for Georgia family for death of a wife and mother killed in a crash in Tennessee.
  • $850,000 settlement during jury deliberation at end of a trial in Macon for neck fusion injury for man struck by dump truck.
  • $750,000 for airline passenger who suffered ankle fracture when struck by motorized cart in airport terminal concourse.

A graduate of Furman University and Emory University Law School (where he has been an adjunct instructor in trial techniques and small firm practice), Mr. Shigley also completed the Ultimate Trial Advocacy course at Harvard Law School, an executive education program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and several regional programs of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College.

Mr. Shigley has served in numerous professional leadership roles including:

  • President, State Bar of Georgia (2011-12). The State Bar includes over 45,000 attorneys and judges licensed in Georgia. The State Bar presidency was a virtually full-time volunteer commitment for a year while still practicing law full-time. It involved intense interaction the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government and all classes and levels of judges statewide, a 150-member board of governors, 16-member executive committee and staff of 75 in three offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Tifton.
  • Chair, Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia Board of Trustees (2012-13). ICLE sponsors hundreds of continuing education seminars for lawyers in Georgia every year.
  • Chair, American Association for Justice (AAJ) Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section (2015-16), which includes over 2,500 trial lawyers in all 50 states and specialized litigation groups on:
    • Trucking Litigation
    • Bus Litigation
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Spinal Cord Injury
    • Motorcycle Litigation
    • Bicycle Litigation
    • Resort Torts Litigation and
    • Inadequate Security Litigation.

During Mr. Shigley's chairmanship, the section sponsored high quality national continuing legal education programs in Montreal, Boca Raton, New Orleans and Los Angeles.

In addition to these professional leadership roles, Mr. Shigley has received many professional honors including:

  • In 2012, the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission included him in the "short list" of nominees submitted to the Governor to consider for appointment to the Court of Appeals of Georgia. In 2018, he ran for an open seat on the Court of Appeals, received more votes than the person who was elected Governor, but still came in second in the nonpartisan primary for Judge of the Court of Appeals.
  • First Georgia lawyer to earn three board certifications in his practice area -- Truck Accident Law, Civil Trial Practice and Civil Pretrial Practice -- from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
  • Lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice (Thomson Reuters West, 2010-19), which has been quoted as an authority several times by the Supreme Court of Georgia and federal courts.
  • Diplomate of National College of Advocacy, based on 400 hours of high level national continuing legal education in trial advocacy
  • Chapter author for the 2016 edition of Handling Motor Vehicle Accident Cases, also published by Thomson Reuters.
  • “AV” (highest) rating in the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory (since 1989)
  • “Super Lawyer” rating in Atlanta Magazine (since inception in 2004)
  • “Legal Elite” ranking in Georgia Trend magazine (since inception in 2005)
  • “Who’s Who in Law” listing in Atlanta Business Chronicle
  • Listed in the Bar Register or Preeminent Lawyers (since 1995)
  • Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys Board of Regents (2015-2021)
  • Board member of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group.
  • Chair of the board of trustees of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia (2012-13); Trustee (2007-2021)
  • Trustee of the Institute for Continuing Judicial Education in Georgia (2013-14).
  • Member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates (2013).
  • Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, appointed by Governor Nathan Deal (2011-13).
  • Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency (2012-13)
  • Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism (2011-12).
  • Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution (2011-12).
  • Georgia Courts Automation Commission (2008-10)
  • Judicial Council of Georgia Standing Committee on Technology(2015-present).
  • National Conference of Bar Presidents (2010-13).
  • Southern Conference of Bar Presidents (2010-13).
  • Chair, State Bar of Georgia Tort & Insurance Practice Section (1994-95).
  • Chair, Georgia Insurance Law Institute (1994)

Mr. Shigley has published numerous articles in legal journals and made scores of continuing legal education presentations at both state and national levels. Among other places outside Georgia, he has been a presenter, program chair or moderator at continuing legal education programs in his practice area in Montreal, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boca Raton, Las Vegas, Nashville.

A "lawyer's lawyer" and "judge's lawyer," he has represented lawyers and judges in sensitive personal and professional matters. He has been chosen by opposing lawyers to serve as a neutral mediator in hundreds of cases. See reviews from clients and colleagues.

Often on the leading edge in new developments, he launched the first law firm website in the Southeast in 1996 and one of the first lawyer blogs in the Southeast in 2005.

After graduation from Emory Law School, Mr. Shigley went home to begin his career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit, which then included the counties of Douglas, Haralson, Paulding and Polk. Then, after a few years of hometown general practice in Douglas County, he joined an insurance defense firm in Atlanta with a statewide practice. He has successfully handled litigation of cases in the following 93 of Georgia's 159 counties, stretching from the mountains to the sea: Bacon, Baldwin, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Berrien, Bibb, Bulloch, Burke, Butts, Camden, Carroll, Catoosa, Chatham, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Clinch, Cobb, Coffee, Columbia, Coweta, Crisp, Dade, DeKalb, Dodge, Dougherty, Douglas, Elbert, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Glynn, Grady, Greene, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jeff Davis, Lamar, Laurens, Liberty, Lowndes, Lumpkin, McIntosh, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Pulaski, Rabun, Richmond, Rockdale, Schley, Spalding, Stephens, Sumter, Tattnall, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Towns, Treutlen, Toombs, Troup, Turner, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, Ware, Washington, Wayne, White, Whitfield, Wilkinson, Worth.

Mr. Shigley is admitted to practice in:

  • Georgia (all trial and appellate courts)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia
  • U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of the United States

He has been admitted pro hac vice for individual cases in Florida, Alabama and Nevada, and handles cases elsewhere in strict compliance with the applicable bar rules on multijurisdictional practice.

Mr. Shigley is currently an active elder at Peachtree Presbyterian Church. Over the years, he has been a Trustee of the Peachtree Trust, assistant scoutmaster of the Boy Scout troop where his son became an Eagle Scout, YMCA youth soccer coach, board chair of a church-based (now independent) child development center, board member of Lifegate counseling center, secretary of the Bill Maness Good Samaritan Scholarship Fund, Inc. For several years, he was also on the national advisory board of the Children's Tumor Foundation Endurance Team with which he completed the Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon and half marathons in Savannah, Las Vegas, Columbia and Atlanta.

Ken and Sally Shigley were married almost 34 years before her death due to a brain tumor in June 2017. Their two children are now young adults. Anne, 34, lives in New Hampshire, is a hospice nurse and runs several marathons per year. Her husband is a network administrator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. Ken Jr., 32, owns Pick Your Fitness, LLC while is works for a California-based biotech company.

Ken enjoys reading, camping, hiking, biking, scuba diving and travel.

Client Reviews
"Goes above and beyond and is a mountain of knowledge on spine and brain injuries. He does his research and represents you with a level of excellence. Remains a friend after representing me." Dee M., Woodstock, GA
"I have collaborated with Mr. Shigley on several initiatives within Georgia’s Judiciary over the past few years and found him to be a persistent and attentive individual. Ken has taken great pride in his involvement with the projects that I have worked on and he is good at influencing success. Despite his hectic schedule, Ken has always made time to discuss, research and review ideas for the best way to accomplish goals. I look forward to a continued working relationship in this and future roles." Jorge B., CIO, Judicial Council of Georgia
"After having to have a hole drilled in an automobile part at a machine shop 10 years ago, I told my uncle I could have done that. My uncle replied, "You are doing this once these guys do it every day" That simply means if you don't know where to turn, get help and get an expert. Ken was that help when I was severely injured during a fatal accident. Ken and his team at Shigley Law are experts, and are here to help you during your crisis. Ken will be there during the injury, recovery, and trial. He and his firm will work hard to see that you are represented fairly!" Jeremy R.
"Ken is a very kind man. He has a wealth of knowledge and is going above and beyond to help us while representing our case." Candy F., spouse of catastrophic injury client, Plains, GA
"I know Ken as trial lawyer of highest standards. Ken is knowledgeable and innovative and that translates to success in the courtroom. He is outgoing, compassionate and personable which makes him a pleasure to work with in any setting." Eric B., Attorney, Canton, GA