Mr. DeGaris graduated magna cum laude from Samford University and earned his Juris Doctor at Cumberland School of Law where he graduated magna cum laude in 1988. While at Cumberland he was Casenote Editor of the Cumberland Law Review. After graduating from law school, Mr. DeGaris served as a law clerk to the Honorable E. B. Haltom, Jr., United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. While working for the federal district court, Rotary International awarded Mr. DeGaris a full tuition scholarship, the Rotary Foundation Scholarship for International Understanding. As a Rotary Scholar, Mr. DeGaris attended the University of Melbourne School of Law in Australia, ranked as one of the top 10 law schools in the world. Additionally, he was accepted in residence at Trinity College. During his time at the University of Melbourne he concentrated his legal studies in the area of international law and following the completion of his thesis, received an LL.M.
On his return to the United States, Mr. DeGaris served as a Staff Attorney for the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia and taught legal research and writing as an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law. Later he returned to Birmingham where he taught courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, taught as a professor of Constitutional Law at the Birmingham School of Law, and taught a course in comparative civil litigation at the Cumberland School of Law.
Mr. DeGaris is AV Peer Review rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He has been recognized in Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Rue Ratings, and was named one of Alabama's Top 50 Attorneys in a peer review survey. Mr. DeGaris is certified as a Life Member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He is listed in "Who's Who in American Law," "Who's Who in America," and "Who's Who of Professionals." In 2013 and again in 2016, Best Lawyers selected Mr. DeGaris as Lawyer of the Year for Plaintiff Mass Tort Litigation and Class Actions in Birmingham, Alabama.
Mr. DeGaris has written extensively on cutting edge legal topics, including the role of judges in the settlement process, politics and its influence on the judicial system, and various dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices. His legal writings have been published nationally and internationally in diverse publications ranging from the University of Tasmania Law Review to West's Federal Rules Decisions (F.R.D.), Voir Dire, the Cumberland Law Review, the Australian Dispute Resolution Journal, and the Alabama Association for Justice Journal. In addition to his publications, he is also a frequent lecturer nationally on a variety of litigation topics, including defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices.