Family: Megan Usher Manly (B.A. 2005; A.B.J. 2005; J.D. 2008); Thornton (Age 9); Margaret (Age 5)
Hometown: Marietta (May-rhett-uh), Georgia
Current Town: Savannah, Georgia
What Years at UGA: 2001-2008; and every fall since then
School/Degree: Franklin College (Religion), A.B., 2004; SPIA (Political Science), A.B., 2004; School of Law, J.D., 2008
Profession: Partner with the law firm Manly Shipley, LLP
Accolades: Thornton and Margaret’s dad; State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors; Gridiron; 4th Grade Co-Ed Flag Football Coach (Go Hancock Eagles!)
What life lessons did you learn from working with Sonny Seiler?
The great Russian Physician Dr. Smirnoff will cure just about anything that ails you. Football games are meant to be watched with chili (even in hot weather), cold Budweiser, hot dogs, and good friends. For the last few years, Sonny would watch most away games at my house and would serenade us with the opposing team’s fight song – so the lesson there is to know thy enemy!
What professor did you most admire?
I admired the professors that gave me As (there weren’t many of them, so you know who you are!).
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Starting my own law firm. I started my practice after leaving a big(ger) firm and had 12 cases (that isn’t very many). Now I have a great law partner (Jim Shipley) and the best staff around. I don’t ever regret taking that leap of faith and hanging my shingle.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Most people in my position say Thomas Carlyle, but I like to think of myself as similar (in some respects) to Jimmy Carter. We are both native Georgians, devoted to church and family, and think America’s best days lie ahead.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandfathers – John C. Bell, Sr., and Clarence H. Manly. Both were great family men who served their country in every respect. If I can be half the man they each were, I’ll die a happy and prosperous man.
Quote to live by:
“Keep the faith!” – Frank Wilkins “Sonny” Seiler. Sonny used to write this on the Uga autographs he signed for fans. Despite being simple, it can apply in most situations you find yourself in – professional or personal.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I experienced it in Sofi Stadium on January 9, 2023 as the Dawgs dismantled TCU. That was the easiest game I’ve watched, and I was with my beautiful wife and surrounded by friends. Pure bliss.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Other than the obvious (my hair), I think it’s my loyalty.
What did you most value in your friendship with Sonny?
His ability to not take himself too seriously. As an example, last Christmas, my wife was the director of the children’s play at church and we didn’t have enough kids to play all of the wisemen, so Sonny (aged 89 at the time) announced that he had never been allowed to be a wiseman when doing the same play as a child, so he would gladly fill-in. He walked down the church aisle with kids and proudly played the role of Wiseman #2 with great poise.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would love to be able to hit a golf ball with some sort of consistency. My golf game is non-existent these days and I’d like that to change, but only if I can knock it around and not be too embarrassed.
Who are your favorite writers?
Emily St. John Mandel. Her novels are thought provoking and great stories that leave you wanting a sequel.
Fave social media and who to follow?
@TheQualifiedCaptain. The shockingly bad boat skills of the folks featured can make even the most novice boater feel like Horatio Hornblower.