About Ryals Law

will-III

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. After high school and a couple of years working for the local newspaper and a television station, I saved enough money to get through a semester at the University of Florida. (Almost spent the money on a hot rod but that’s another story.)

Enrolled in the school of journalism with a major in radio and TV. Worked my way through undergraduate school, switched majors and ended up with a degree in advertising.

By the time I graduated, having begun to think more seriously about what I wanted out of a career and having been influenced by Atticus Finch and Perry Mason, I decided to attend law school. Got married and worked a year while my wife finished her degree.

To my surprise I was accepted into law school and to my even bigger surprise, graduated. By this time, I loved living in Gainesville and was thrilled to go to work for a local firm. There I was extremely fortunate to have been mentored by and worked with some of the best lawyers I have known in my now lengthy legal career.

After some years of general practice and business transactional work, I began to realize I needed more in-depth knowledge of tax law. That realization coincided with the beginning of the graduate tax program at the University of Florida. At the urging of one of the tax program professors who was a client, I applied and was accepted.

With some not unwarranted trepidation, given that I was working full time and had a wife and two boys (my daughter would come along later), I enrolled in what turned out to be an even more challenging, rigorous and intellectually demanding academic program than I had imagined. The subject matter was complex and the volume of work nearly overwhelming but the professors were second to none. With some hard work, support from fellow students and professors and perhaps some luck or divine intervention, I was able to get the graduate degree in taxation.

With the graduate degree in hand and perhaps a little case of being “too big for my britches” as my mother had frequently cautioned me against, I began to wonder about the challenge of practicing law in a big city. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was sitting for the Georgia Bar exam. I ended up practicing in Atlanta for over twenty years and had the good fortune to work on cases with lawyers who were some of the smartest people I’ve ever known.

I enjoyed practicing law in Atlanta. It was challenging and I learned a lot. Never thinking I would come back to Florida, I let my Florida Bar license lapse after several years of inactive status. (Big,

Will competing in a Triathalon

Bill competing in a Triathalon

big, mistake!)

One of my best friends who I had known in Gainesville and who moved to Atlanta a couple of years before I did, moved from Atlanta to Amelia Island. He invited me to come down for a July 4th weekend as some of our old friends would be there. I went and had a great time with old friends. After that weekend, I drove to Gainesville to visit my son and his family.

Being of a somewhat contemplative and deliberate nature, I am not given to hasty decision making. However, as I approached the Georgia state line on I-75 on my return to Atlanta, I suddenly and without consideration of any kind decided, “I am moving back to Gainesville”. By September, I was here.

Of course, there was that pesky issue of not being allowed to practice law in Florida due to the aforementioned bone-headed decision to drop my Florida law license. Reinstatement was not an option so there I was, surrounded by forty plus pounds of bar exam review course materials. I alternated between kicking myself and studying but made it through the exam and now here I am, practicing law in Florida and loving life in Gainesville once again.