Austin Law Firm was founded in January 1977 by William H. (Bill) Austin, Jr, in Hernando Mississippi, with a small office in the back of the First National Bank Building on busy Holly Springs Street. Bill started his law career in 1972 with the law firm of Garner, Whitten & Garner in Hernando, Mississippi where their primary focus was criminal law.
Realizing early on the potential of business and real estate law in thriving DeSoto County, Bill decided to open his own practice with an emphasis in those two areas. This move proved to be very successful, and several young lawyers in DeSoto County worked at one time or another for the firm and did their Aapprenticeship with Bill Austin. Some of them have gone on to have successful practices of their own including D. Pace Branan, Billy Myers, Judge Bobby Chamberlin, and certainly last but not least, Bill's own daughter, Mary Austin Monteith. Mary joined the firm in 1985, where she quickly made a name for herself. In June, 2001 upon Bill's retirement, Mary continued the tradition of running the law firm and is now the President and owner of Austin Law Firm.
In 1982, Austin Law Firm was chosen to represent the city of Horn Lake, Mississippi as their city attorney, giving the firm an introduction into municipal law. Then in 1984 Austin Law Firm was chosen to represent the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors as Board Attorney, a position Bill held until his retirement in July, 2001. Realizing the need to be closer to the County Courthouse in Hernando, the firm purchased two historic buildings on the square in Hernando, and proceeded to renovate one to be used as the offices of the firm.
While Bill was working for the county with the heavy concentration in municipal law, Mary was developing her own niche in the field of real estate law, opening a second branch office of Austin Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi in 1988. Upon Bill=s retirement in 2001 and the closing of the Hernando office, Mary saw the need for a larger and more conveniently located office in Southaven, and built the building currently occupied by Austin Law Firm at 6982 Cobblestone in Southaven. The practice now has four attorneys, Bill Austin (Of Counsel), Mary Austin Monteith, Kelly Hagan Smith, and Kimberly S. Jones, as well as an efficient staff of five paralegals and administrative assistants.
Austin Law Firm has long had a fine reputation in DeSoto County, and has for four consecutive years, been voted the best law firm in DeSoto County by a people's survey The Best of the Best done by the local newspaper, DeSoto Times Today. Bill Austin, Mary Monteith, Billy Myers, and Bobby Chamberlin have all been named as some of DeSoto County's most influential people in various surveys done by the local papers. Kelly Smith has served as president of the DeSoto County Bar association, a position voted on by the members of the local bar and on the Board of Bar Commissioners with the Mississippi Bar Association.