Morris “Mo” Wiltshire
Former prosecutor Mo Wiltshire is widely recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in the State of Georgia. Mo Wiltshire holds a rating of AV Preeminent from Martindale-Hubbell. This rating is the highest possible peer review rating. It reflects anonymous opinions gathered from judges, prosecutors and private practice lawyers in surveys administered by Martindale-Hubbell, the oldest attorney peer review rating organization in the United States. Mo has also been selected for membership in the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, an organization limited to the top one percent of practicing attorneys in the United States.
Mo is one of the few lawyers in Georgia to have earned the Avvo.com rating “Superb” scoring a perfect “10.0” on their 10 point scale. AVVO.com, the world’s largest online attorney rating and review organization, has awarded Mo Wiltshire their highest rating in Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Domestic Violence Defense and in Wrongful Death Litigation.
In the Southeastern United States (GA, FL, MS, LA, TN, AL, SC, NC, VA) under 5% of practicing lawyers hold the top Avvo.com rating in even a single area of practice. In the State of Georgia, less than 1% of all lawyers are top rated “Superb” earning the top score of “10.0” in all three categories of practice simultaneously. Mo Wiltshire is one of these very few highly rated lawyers in Criminal Defense and DUI Defense along with serious injury or Wrongful Death Litigation.
Mo Wiltshire has been formally recognized by numerous national organizations for outstanding achievement and overall excellence as a trial attorney and advocate for his clients. Mo Wiltshire has earned his reputation as one of the very best trial attorneys in the State.
Mo Wiltshire is rated AV Preeminent by his peers for possessing both the “highest level of professional excellence” and “Very High Ethical Standards” according to Martindale-Hubbell the peer review attorney ethics rating guide. Mo holds a ranking as a “Top 10 Defense Attorney” in the State of Georgia by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Mo Wiltshire holds a membership in The National Association of Distinguished Counsel, designating him in the “Top One Percent” of practicing attorneys in the United States. Mo is a Life Member of Trial Masters the organization open only to attorneys who have certified very substantial jury trial experience.
Mo was also selected as one of the “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers” in the State of Georgia by The American Society of Legal Advocates and as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” in the area of Criminal Defense by the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Lawyers group. Mo has also been recognized as one of the “Best DUI Attorneys in the Nation” by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense. Mo was honored as one of the 10 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Georgia for Client Satisfaction for 2014 and again in 2015 by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. Mo has been selected for a Client’s Choice Award from AVVO for 2012, 2013, 2014 and again in 2015 as a result of outstanding client service.
As a former felony prosecutor and a former DUI prosecutor in practice for over 20 years Mo Wiltshire has seen every type of criminal case in the court system. His prosecution insider background, along with having tried several hundred jury trials, establishes that Mo Wiltshire possesses a breadth and depth of experience that is very difficult to find elsewhere. During his service as Solicitor-General he was commissioned by leading the office charged with the prosecution of DUI offenses in Athens. When his term as Solicitor-General expired, he joined the law firm that became Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire and resumed the private practice of law.
Mo Wiltshire maintains a heavy focus on jury trials in this law practice, including regular and extensive criminal jury trial work in courts throughout Georgia and the Southeast. The practice is limited to criminal trial work and select serious personal injury litigation. Mo enjoys getting to meet so many good people in his practice and as the government aggressively enforces often overbroad laws he seems to meet more and more every year. Mo has learned to a certainty that the right lawyer can make all the difference. He takes to heart the guiding principle of his practice “helping good people in big trouble all over Georgia.”
If he agrees to represent you, Mo will be personally responsible for your case. Your case is no place for on the job training for newly minted lawyers. Unlike at some law firms, when it comes time for your day in court you will not be handed off to a junior associate. While our staff is very talented and capable we know you are hiring Mo Wiltshire for his help. You should expect and will receive the benefit of his many years of quality experience, unique insight and skill set. While his services are in high demand and Mo stays very busy, because Mo does not take on every case he is offered, he has the time and resources necessary to provide the level of help you need and deserve for your case.
Mo was blessed to be born into a hardworking, joyous and loving family of cotton and soybean farmers in the Mississippi Delta in the fall of 1968. Immediate and extended family lived closer. Early in life he learned firsthand the pride of accomplishment from hard work and careful planning that successful agriculture naturally engenders. He also learned the hard lessons of the results of challenging circumstances as his family faced the fiscal realities of farming in those times.
His family gave up farming and moved two counties north to Desoto County, Mississippi, where Mo spent his teenage years. His Mother, a dedicated career public school teacher, impressed upon him the vital importance of learning. His father taught Mo respect for others, self-reliance and many other useful skills. The immediate family along with uncles, aunts and grandparents actively provided love, guidance and encouragement for which he will forever be grateful. Both his grandfathers served in World War II and were strong positive influences.
Growing up Mo learned the value of cultivating friendship and celebrating family. He developed a love of reading and learning, an earnest desire to succeed in all endeavors and a strong will to compete effectively both in sports and academics. There were no lawyers in the family, farmers and truck drivers and school teachers but no lawyers. As a kid and a teenager Mo did all kinds of work in all kinds of jobs from farm chores, cutting firewood, roofing houses and unloading container trucks to washing dishes, waiting tables, and tending bar while in college. This background served as the seed that grew to become a career as a dedicated jury trial litigator.
Mo graduated cum laude from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi in 1991 becoming the first Wiltshire male to earn a college degree in living memory. College days at this academically focused liberal arts institution included much learning, growth and maturing. Mo was active on campus in academic, athletic and social life. As a member of the Alpha Mu Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order he was surrounded by students who had strong records of achievement and whose parents and grandparents were doctors, lawyers and leaders in their communities. It was during college at Millsaps that he realized that the profession that suited his aptitude, temperament, and competitive spirit was to be found in the courtroom.
As he began to seriously consider law school Mo was honored to receive a partial academic scholarship to enroll at the University of Georgia School of Law. He visited Athens and fell in love with our town and our school. Mo received his J.D. Degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1994. His law school honors include being named to the Order of Barristers.
Practice, Politics and Prosecution
Mo was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1994 and began his legal career serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Cherokee and Forsyth counties in the North Metro Atlanta area. His duties involved a heavy caseload of felony jury trial work. After several years as a prosecutor, he had learned all he could in that post and felt the need to expand his horizons beyond government service. Mo was offered a timely chance to return to Athens, which he gladly accepted. He began the private practice of law focusing on civil and criminal cases requiring litigation.
After roughly a decade of successful private law practice, Mo Wiltshire was appointed by then Chief Judge Joseph E. Gaines to a high profile murder case. Even though that case resulted in a famous win for me and an acquittal for the accused, Mo was not at all pleased with several aspects of the government’s approach to the prosecution of that case. Based upon what he saw in that case Mo felt compelled to challenge the status quo and run against the sitting District Attorney. Mo Wiltshire ran for election to the post of District Attorney and was selected as the Republican Party Nominee for District Attorney for Athens-Clarke and Oconee County in 2004. Mo was endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association of Georgia, Inc., the Athens-Banner Herald, and the Athens Daily News during the election. Although Mo carried one of the two counties in our judicial circuit, he was unsuccessful in the effort unseat the incumbent Democrat. After the election Mo resumed his service as a prosecutor when he was appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue as Solicitor-General for Athens-Clarke County and served in that post until 2007.
As Solicitor-General Mo Wiltshire was the head DUI and Domestic Violence Prosecutor in Athens and oversaw the office charged with prosecuting all misdemeanor offenses in the State Court. In 2007, when his term as Solicitor-General expired, Mo resumed the private practice of law. During his years in service as a prosecutor Mo Wiltshire sought not merely to convict the guilty, but to do justice in each case. This philosophy ought to guide all lawyers and especially our prosecutors.
Service in the Community
Mo currently serves in many leadership roles in the community, including as the Special Prosecutor to both the Athens-Clarke County Coroner’s Office and the Oconee County Coroner’s Office in Inquests and Death Investigations. He serves as an Instructor for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in the department’s New Officer Investigation Courses. He also serves as a Faculty Member for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education in the Gary Christy Memorial Georgia Trial Skills Clinic training and mentoring other lawyers to improve their courtroom ability. Mo is a member of the Georgia Bar Association, The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The National Criminal Trial Lawyers Association and the Western Circuit Bar Association.
Mo is often called upon to provide expert commentary and analysis for local and regional news media and has been featured in the Athens Banner-Herald, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Flagpole Magazine, Scout.com, WGAU, WSB and others. Mo frequently meets with civic groups and social organizations helping them avoid legal trouble regarding Underage Alcohol Consumption, DUI and Liability Issues. He has served as the Co-Chair of the Athens-Oconee Domestic Violence Task Force, with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, as a Judge for many Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions sponsored by the Georgia Bar Association, and as the lawyer’s chair of the United Way of Northeast Georgia, Doctors v. Lawyers Basketball Challenge. Mo has served as a panelist for Safe Campuses Now and as a board member for UGA Designated Dawgs (a DUI prevention charity).
Mo Wiltshire loves Blues music and good fiction. He is a huge Georgia and SEC sports fan as well as an avid hunter and fisherman. He enjoys a good story told around a campfire of an evening. Mo is a life member of the NRA and a committed advocate for the rights of citizens to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion. Mo Wiltshire has represented people from all walks of life. For each of his clients from business owners and executives, law enforcement officers, doctors, lawyers, farmers, bankers, judges, truck drivers and elected officials to ESPN analysts, NFL players, musicians, students and paupers Mo believes our court system can and must work for everyone. He knows the system works especially well if you have the right lawyer.
Mo is married to the lovely former Hope Vance of Athens and has three daughters, Mia, Lila and Charlotte. He and his family reside in Athens.
The right lawyer can make all the difference. Call Mo Wiltshire today at (706) 543-0002.
“My daughter was arrested for underage drinking, a fake ID and DUI. I think we made a great decision when we hired Mo Wiltshire. From the first phone consultation, both my daughter and I had a good feeling about him. He helped us through all of the steps from the initial license hearing to the courtroom appearances. Ultimately we did get a favorable plea agreement and the DUI was reduced to reckless driving.”
– Mom of a 2015 client-a college student
“Mr. Wiltshire has definitely stepped up for me. I decided to hire his service 7 days after being stopped by the police in Athens Clarke County and having consulted with other 3 lawyers. My knowledge about DUI laws and regulations was 0 and I needed someone experienced and trustworthy to take care of my case. Mr.Wiltshire never made any promises because in my point of view that would unethical, he simply stated” I will do my best to take you out of this situation.”
– Mom of a 2015 client-a college student