Mr. Ware earned a J.D. in 1979 from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he excelled in national Moot Court competition, a precursor to his work as a trial lawyer. He earned a B.A. in English 1976 from The University of West Georgia, where he attended on an academic and athletic scholarship. He was elected to the Blue Key National Honor society and Phi Eta Sigma (the small school counterpart of Phi Beta Kappa) was an honor student, a nationally ranked NCAA Division II track and field athlete –he set the school record for the high jump- and was on the basketball team.
Mr. Ware is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. During his multi-faceted, 36-year career, Mr. Ware has represented clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies and large governmental entities to high-profile professional athletes and other high net worth individuals in complex litigation matters and multimillion-dollar negotiations and transactions. Mr. Ware has extensive executive management experience and has played an active and prominent role in numerous professional organizations, civic groups and on legal advisory panels. He also is an ordained minister.
Prior to Hall Booth Smith, Mr. Ware chose to work in public service and served as the Fulton County Attorney for 7 years, serving Georgia's largest county. In that role, Mr. Ware led a team of 25 staff attorneys and managed numerous outside counsel who provided legal advice to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and 40 departments and agencies on a range of complex matters including labor and employment actions, catastrophic personal injury suits, wrongful death claims, government contract disputes, taxation controversies, zoning law interpretations, environmental issues, construction litigation, constitutional challenges, First Amendment questions and Section 1983 cases. Mr. Ware’s most noteworthy achievements included defeating a 2014 suit of first impression brought by a group of state legislators to prevent the County from raising property taxes, persuading a Federal District Court to end nine years of federal oversight of the County jail and representing the County in the protracted series of cases arising from the 2005 Atlanta courthouse shootings that killed four people. But Mr. Ware’s greatest asset is his ability to try cases of all complexities. Mr. Ware’s trial skills have earned him numerous accolades.
Mr. Ware’s litigation work in private practice for corporate clients, insurers, municipalities and counties has covered matters ranging from alleged employment discrimination under Title VII and the ADA to general business disputes and tort defense, as well as issues arising under Section 1983. A former magistrate court judge who sat by designation in Superior and State Court, Mr. Ware is particularly adept at helping clients resolve complex disputes and provides clients with advice to avoid protracted litigation.
Widely known for his pioneering work as a sports attorney, Mr. Ware has advised and represented professional athletes in negotiations that resulted in record-setting salaries and lucrative rights agreements for his clients. Notably, Mr. Ware became the first African American to represent a Heisman Trophy winner when Oklahoma State running back and eventual NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders hired him after turning professional. Mr. Ware also prepared the groundbreaking petition that forced the NFL to admit college juniors into the draft. He has won Agent of the Year honors and has been featured in and interviewed by numerous national and local print and broadcast media outlets. Additionally, Mr. Ware has provided legal advice and counsel to entertainers and those involved in intellectual property endeavors, including serving as the legal advisor on the award winning movie, Sunday Morning Rapture.
Mr. Ware’s executive management experience includes serving as the Interim County Manager for Fulton County where he successfully balanced a $1Billion budget and saved the county $24million.
• Successfully defeated an unprecedented suit by state legislators against Fulton County to prevent the County from collecting $680 million in taxes, which would have shut down County operations;
• Presented the legal arguments that ended the nine-year federal oversight of Fulton County’s jail which had lasted 10 years and cost over $1billion;
• Successfully challenged the National Football League’s player eligibility rules on antitrust grounds, leading to the inclusion of college juniors in the NFL draft;
• Defeated multiple wrongful death and personal injury claims against the County stemming from the 2005 Atlanta courthouse shootings where four people were killed;
• Established an 11th Circuit precedent regarding the ability of the County to fire an employee who criticized the Sheriff;
• Established Georgia precedent establishing immunity for police officers engaged in high-speed pursuits;
• Successfully represented a small municipality in one of the first environmental justice cases ever filed which lead to a $24 million settlement;
• Successfully defended the County in a suit involving an inmate who was held almost two years past his release date;
• Devised legal strategies that led to summary judgment in many employment litigation matters and won numerous jury trials brought under Title VII and related employment discrimination laws;
• Successfully defended a Fortune 500 company in a multimillion-dollar racial discrimination suit;
• Won a rare federal bench trial in a Fair Housing case brought by a real estate developer related to a multimillion-dollar project;
• Successfully defended two sheriffs in federal employment cases;
• Served as counsel to a major insurer in numerous personal injury matters that ended in verdicts for the defendants;
• Negotiated the largest contract at the time for an NFL running back and was considered one of the top sports agents in the country