September 2019

His and Hers: Bannon Law Group’s two-sided approach brings accessibility to the legal world.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Just a few years ago, Jim and Meredith Bannon found their legal expertise being challenged in the single most unexpected way of their storied careers as attorneys. It began with a pattern of tiny handprints running down the hallway of their Bluffton home. Caught in the middle, with all the evidence pointing to her, was their daughter, then four-year-old Emma Grace (affectionately known as E.G.).

“I’m joking around about evidence collection, while Jim’s telling her to plead the fifth,” Meredith said with a laugh.

Most kids would accept that they’d been caught. Being the daughter of attorneys, however, E.G. knew her rights and her strategy. She first waived a suggestion that she place her hands on the wall to compare hand sizes then suggested that daddy put his hand up to compare since he’d been in the house at the same time. “She’s walking us through this whole thing that exonerated her…. I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m so glad we have thousands of dollars of legal education to be shown up by a 4-year-old,” Jim said.

If any one story encapsulates the spirit of Bannon Law Group, it’s that one. Well, maybe not the being shown up by a four-year-old part, but the spirit behind that story.

On the one hand, you have a pair of lawyers who have experienced every aspect of their profession. After graduating from the University of Miami School of Law where they met, both went on to work as prosecutors in Arizona before Jim moved on to specialize in criminal defense while Meredith began focusing on prosecuting sex crimes against children. They were lured away from Arizona 10 years ago by South Carolina’s Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, who recruited them to launch the career criminal team.

“We focused on major crimes,” Meredith said. “I handled every murder in Beaufort County in 2012.”

In 2013, Jim started Bannon Law Group while Meredith shifted her focus to HOA litigation, a move which eventually drew her toward real estate closings. The latter has since become her bread and butter, making Bannon Law Group something of an oddity among practices. There are law firms that practice criminal defense, and there are law firms that practice real estate closing law. You don’t see many that do both.

“It doesn’t make sense that we’re together as a practice other than that we’re married,” Jim said.

On Jim’s side of the practice, you’ll find criminal defense that ranges from traffic tickets to felony charges as well as representation for those seeking personal injury claims. On Meredith’s side, you’ll find a real estate-focused practice with everything from legal guidance for HOAs and POAs to real estate litigations and closings.

“Our clients are usually very different,” Jim said. “My side of the business is criminal defense, and her side of the business is super happy people who are buying a house. Meredith is sort of the happy side of things.”

This draws laughter from the couple and underscores the other reason that the story of the handprint caper reflects so perfectly what makes Bannon Law Group different. They are responsible, serious, seasoned lawyers, but they are also two of the friendliest people you’re likely to meet.

“That’s kind of our thing,” Meredith said. “We’re approachable … we try to demystify things.”

Indeed, there’s a decidedly more stress-free environment to be found in the Bluffton offices, something that’s at odds with the typical image of a stern, no-nonsense law firm. It’s not that the Bannons don’t take the law seriously—far from it. It’s just that they realize whether their client needs legal protection following an arrest or is just looking to make sure they have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed on their closing papers: they’re all just people.

“People don’t have a great positive mental image of lawyers,” Jim said with a smile. “A lot of lawyers will take a complicated situation and make it sound more complicated. What makes you a good attorney is taking a complicated situation and making it sound simple, whether talking to a jury or explaining the real estate process.”

Obviously, the couple has a real talent for taking the impenetrable jargon and complications of the legal world and finding a way to make it approachable, even understandable. After all, if they can teach a four-year-old to understand her legal rights, just imagine how they can help you.

Bannon Law Group is located at 10 Westbury Pkwy., Unit A, Bluffton. For more information, visit www.bannonlawgroup.com or call (843) 815-4505.

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