We are featuring one of our lawyers this month who, at a very young age, has already enjoyed a diverse and most meaningful career. To say that Leigh O’Dell’s life has been interesting is an understatement.
Growing up and thinking about her future career Leigh O’Dell always figured she’d play a role in her family’s business. Her father, Billy O’Dell, was a small business owner in the field of mining. When she began college, Leigh chose accounting as her major. After graduation from Auburn University in 1990, she enrolled in the University of Alabama School of Law. While at the University of Alabama School of Law, Leigh served as Managing Editor of the Alabama Law Review. Her plans were to practice tax and transactional law for her family’s company. But then, her father unexpectedly passed away during Leigh’s third year of law school.
Originally from Prattville and feeling a need to return home following her father’s death, Leigh took a position as a law clerk for the Honorable Ira DeMent, a federal judge in the Middle District of Alabama, and worked there from 1993-1994. It was with Judge DeMent, a great judge, that Leigh gained more exposure to litigation, and decided that she wanted to be in the courtroom.
Leigh accepted a position at our firm, working in the areas of commercial litigation and appellate law. She enjoyed the work, but she couldn’t shake a nagging feeling that the Lord had other plans for her besides practicing law. So, in September of 1997, Leigh attended a large women’s Bible study conference. Among 20,000 women of faith, she felt a dynamic teaching experience she had never before encountered. When Leigh returned from the meeting, she felt led to pray about her next steps. Leigh says:
I asked the Lord to teach me how to practice law and still have time for people, or make a change in my life.
God opened a most unexpected door, when Leigh was asked to take a position with Focus on the Family, as Director of Women’s Ministries. She would be tasked with organizing and implementing the Renewing the Heart program, a series of one-day arena events designed to encourage and refresh women through worship and the Word of God. She accepted on January 22, 1998 and left the firm to pursue a new challenge. Leigh observed:
I had been to two women’s retreats in my life. I had no experience. As Director, I was tasked with organizing meetings for women in 18,000-seat arenas. The Lord must have a sense of humor.
After working in the ministry for two years, Leigh came back to the firm for a short time in 2000, before joining AnGeL Ministries, the ministry of Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Dr. Billy Graham. As Director of Events, Leigh was responsible for developing and directing the operational aspects of Just Give Me Jesus, a series of free, two-day revivals. Leigh says:
Through my experience at Focus and particularly, as I worked with Anne, I realized more than ever that in my own strength, I can do nothing but where the Lord calls you to something, He promises to equip and empower you with His strength. And throughout the process, you experience His grace, mercy, and love in a way that you never have before.
Since the year 2000, 34 revivals have taken place throughout the United States and the world, including South Korea, Paraguay, Ukraine, Moldova, and the United Kingdom. Just Give Me Jesus is devoted to the exaltation of Jesus Christ and is designed to draw God’s people into a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ through the preaching of God’s Word, prayer and worship.
At the end of 2000, Leigh came back to the practice of law full time when she accepted a position in the Mass Torts section in our firm, to work on the ongoing Vioxx litigation. She says she felt the Lord clearly called her back to the law, just as He directed her into the full-time ministry at other times in her life. Though Leigh admits she was a “little scared” to answer the call, she says the transition was made easier by knowing the type of firm Beasley Allen is from having worked here previously. Leigh says:
I believe the firm’s commitment not only to espouse Christian values but to actively live those values out on the daily anvil of practice sets the firm apart. As I considered returning to practice, this core value was paramount in my decision-making process.
Leigh participates regularly as a guest speaker in the firm’s weekly Bible study luncheon, to which all employees are invited. She also recently helped start a Bible study for women lawyers who work in Mass Torts. The weekly session is conducted over the telephone. “We have conference calls for business all the time, so why not a Bible study?,” Leigh observed with a chuckle. Currently, as many as nine women participate in the worship program each week, from all over the country, including three who live in California. Leigh says:
What I have learned is that our mission field is between our own two feet – life is ministry. Serving God to the fullest wherever He has called you — whether in vocational ministry or in law practice — is the greatest adventure, the greatest joy, a person can experience.
Leigh is the daughter of the late Billy O’Dell and Beverly O’Dell Malone. She enjoys spending time with her sixteen nieces and nephews as well as playing tennis, participating in other sporting activities, and cheering on the Auburn Tigers. She is a member of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and Christian Legal Society.
December 1, 2009
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.