If you met Shannon Sneed on the street, you might not realize he’s a lawyer. He’s an intelligent man but has an affable, easygoing nature. Even when you visit his office, you may be thrown off.
Despite the fact his sign on Lee Street clearly says lawyer, his colorfully painted house of an office looks more like a museum. Filled with antiques of every nature, from 1860s money to 1920s toys, and a variety of Civil War paraphernalia, Sneed’s office has a unique atmosphere.
But when you see Sneed work, there’s little question about his true nature. He moves fast and speaks faster. He works days, nights and weekends. He doesn’t necessarily work non-stop, but he work whenever he needs to — and he enjoys it.
"It’s not ever a job; it’s really a lifestyle," Sneed said.
Sneed has been in Covington for more than 10 years and is entering his 20th year overall, including a 5-year stint in Mansfield.
His four main areas of legal expertise are residential real estate, personal bankruptcy, adoptions and wills. He’s good in these areas, plus it’s all that he and his wife Donna can handle.
In real estate, Sneed does deed preparations and title searches. If he can’t do something, he’ll refer customers to other lawyers, and also receives a lot of his business through referrals.
Sneed puts an emphasis on treating all of his clients the same, and all of them well.
"That’s the key in a small town. You have to work hard to build up a reputation. And you have to work hard to keep it and build it," he said.
As far as bankruptcy, Sneed focuses on Ch. 7 personal bankruptcies. He has more than 30 years of experience in this area, because he worked in his father’s office even before he became a member of the bar.
One of the other things that sets Sneed’s office apart is that when you call, either he or Donna will always pick up the phone if they’re there. Also, whenever you get to see a lawyer, you get to see Sneed, never anyone else.
"I’m actively and heavily involved in everything we do. Every time you come in you see me. The way I look at it, you met me and you’re paying me, so I’m with you all the way through the end of your case," Sneed said.
Sneed is also an expert in using technology to make his life, and his clients’ lives, easier. He uses about 20 different software programs on a regular basis and has created a large digital database, which can be easily searched. Time, effort and costs are all reduced.
Sneed also helps people create wills; something he encourage everyone to look into. He said it’s important to create documents assigning the financial powers of attorney, and advanced directives, or living wills, so that in the case of incapacitation, they and their families remain in control.
Sneed also specializes in adoptions, what he calls happy law. He typically focuses on private, step-parent adoptions.
Besides bringing families together, Sneed just enjoys meeting a variety of different people in his life.
"There are a lot of good, decent people here; that’s why I like Covington so much," he said. "You find so many gems along the way and get to meet people you never would have been able to meet."
In addition to his practice, Sneed is a member of Kiwanis and the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce. He and his son also participated in the recent mock trials, a collaborative project between the Georgia Bar Association and the Newton County School System. He’s trying to become more involved in the community, so he can stay more involved with his 14-year-old son Andrew as he grows up — and possibly, grows into his father’s shoes.