Only in Louisville:
Winton & Hiestand, PLLC

 Profile by Eve Lee

You’ve seen the commercial: Two buttoned-down types hanging out with hip-hop legend Master P, the latter praising his favorite law firm and then groaning: “Ughhhhhhhh.” And you may have laughed, wondering what was that about.

The spot is for Winton & Hiestand Law Group, which includes attorneys Jeremy Winton, Chauncey Hiestand and Patricia “Tish” Morris. The firm handles life insurance disputes, personal injury and worker’s compensation--and while it has only existed in its present form for less than a year, it has made quite a mark.

Winton, who grew up in Madisonville as the son of a coal miner, dreamed of becoming an attorney. After clerking for Larry Franklin, who successfully pursued Ford following the 1988 Carrollton bus crash, Winton says he was inspired to fight the big companies that put profit over safety on behalf of the working class. After all, he says, “That’s the fiber I’m cut from.”

And he fought--literally. A National Collegiate Boxing Association Boxer of the Year title opened new doors, forcing Winton to choose between defending himself and defending clients. You could say that he fought the law and the law won, taking him to the University of Louisville’s law school. Today, although he no longer sees the inside of a ring, continues to battle for clients running the pre-litigation matters. Law partner Hiestand and associate Morris, daughter of retired Jefferson County Circuit Judge Geoffrey Morris, do the actual litigation, from filing suit to going to trial, if needed.

Hiestand loves to travel but keeps his roots deep. “Of all the places I’ve lived, Louisville has the most opportunities,” says the Crescent Hill native, who attended college in Colorado and law school in San Diego. “One thing about the many ‘local’ firms is that they’re actually not from here. We’re Louisville lawyers doing Louisville work. That’s part of our campaign in the commercial.”

Ah yes, the commercial. Loved and hated, the ad may not air as frequently as those from other attorneys with extra weight to throw around, but it’s memorable; not only has it gotten lots of local attention, but it has become a bona fide viral sensation even garnishing articles from, TMZ, MSN Entertainment, SB Nation, New York based Complex Magazine and England's own Digital Journal. 

Which is where Master P comes in. The firm is very involved in community events, such as charity walks and school book drives. It was at one of these grassroots events two years ago that they met the rap star born Percy Miller in New Orleans, when he appeared at an event for his organization, Let the Kids Grow. “When Katrina hit, Louisville took in lots of residents, including many of Percy’s family and friends,” Winton says, “and he was floored what an open community Louisville was. He also witnessed a lot of inner-city troubled youth who didn’t have opportunities.” Over the next two years, the friendship and collaborations between the three grew. What happened next…well, just call it “Winton & Hiestand feat. Master P.”

The commercial features Master P’s trademark “Ughhhhhhh,” from his 1998 single, “Make ‘Em Say Ughh!” Winton likes the buzz. “People 45 and younger tend to know who he is. They either remember it or think it’s funny. Older than that, they don’t appreciate that we’re using a ‘thug,’ or they ask what that noise is.”

That novelty aside, though, Hiestand notes that the firm itself is unique. “We are all in-house. We don’t sign you up and refer you out like a lot of firms. You will know your attorney from the day you walk in the door to the day we settle it or go to trial.” And, despite the reputation of injury lawyers, they say the big paydays are a double-edged sword: “I tell people, ‘It may sound nice, but you really don’t want a million-dollar case.’ That means you’re very seriously injured,” Winton says, “and the money won’t give you your life back.”

At home in Jeffersonville, retired boxer Winton still works out; Hiestand recently took a one-month around-the-world trip with his bride Carrie, an local elementary school teacher--but Louisville is still home. Says Hiestand: “I’ve always loved the local aspect,” he says. “We love--love--our local basketball, we love our local restaurants, we love our local bourbons. And we love our local companies.” 

To learn more about  Winton & Hiestand and their upcoming charity events, visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter, @WintonHiestand.

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