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Joe has represented hundreds of accountants and lawyers in cases alleging malpractice, racketeering, securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. He has represented directors and officers in claims involving finance, real estate, and corporate governance. Joe has particular experience in real estate issues including: RESPA; TILA; title insurance, real estate fraud, and secured lending. He is occasionally asked to try cases outside the state of Georgia usually in matters involving audit or complex attorney malpractice. He also assists insurers in drafting insurance applications, in risk management, and as monitoring counsel.

Joe was honored on the Georgia Super Lawyers® list in Atlanta Magazine/Law and Politics Magazine for 2005-2012. In 2012, he was also honored on the Georgia Super Lawyers list as one of the top 100 attorneys in the state. Joe is listed in "The Best Lawyers in America"® for 2009-2012 and is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He is a founding and current member of Carlock Copeland’s Management Committee.

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

  • Managing Partners Roundtable, BDO Alliance Conference Green Group, Las Vegas, NV, May 4, 2022
  • Louisville law firm announces big growth in Atlanta, by Jason Thomas, Louisville Business First, January 27, 2022
  • Stites & Harbison Continues Expansion in Atlanta: Lands Commercial Litigation Team of 12 from Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell LLP, FranklinIs, January 25, 2022
  • 19 Attorneys Move to Stites & Harbison, Rapidly Growing Atlanta Team, by Jacob Polacheck, Daily Report, January 25, 2022
  • Stites & Harbison Adds 19 To Atlanta Team From 2 Firms, by Jack Rodgers, Law360, January 24, 2022

Recent Assignments

  • Damage Claims Shot down on Summary Judgement (February 2022). Dan Millman and Joe Kingma prevailed for a Georgia municipality which had denied a liquor license. While the court found that the applicant was entitled to the license it agreed that damages were not available.
  • Joe Kingma and Billy Newcomb prevail for their attorney clients on a motion to dismiss in the State Court of Muscogee County. The case arose from a receivership action filed after a real estate partnership fell apart beset by allegations of fraud and self-dealing. The receivership was hotly contested and the original receiver was replaced. Plaintiff alleged the attorney defendants filed the receivership to wrongfully strip him of his interests in 8-figure real estate developments. The original judge withdrew after hearing the motion. But after several years, extensive briefing and multiple hearings, all the claims against the clients including fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence were dismissed in February 2022.
  • Unanimous Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals and Finds Waiver of Attorney Privilege (February 2020). The case arose from a battle for control of a California aerospace company that had spawned litigation in California and Georgia. One group of litigants brought malpractice claims against Joe's law firm client. Joe sought discovery from another law firm that had also advised the plaintiffs. The trial court granted discovery of the plaintiff's communication with the second firm but the Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court agreed that the privilege was waived by the filing of the malpractice suit.
  • Joe Kingma Prevails for Bankruptcy Trustee in 66 Page Order (April 2019). Joe represented a bankruptcy trustee in an adversary action relating to three bankruptcy estates. Claims were asserted against the trustee by debtors. The underlying case involved several appeals to the U.S. District Court and had lingered for five years due to the complex bankruptcy issues. After a year and a half of litigation, a motion to dismiss was granted in its entirety. The case presented complexities including: issue preclusion, claim preclusion, liability of a bonding company, finality of orders, failure to state a claim under Twombly, absolute immunity, and the statute of limitations. When the dust settled at the end of 66 pages, all claims against the client were dismissed in their entirety.
  • Summary Judgment in Legal Malpractice Claim Arising From a Prominent Divorce (September 2018). Joe won summary judgment for a lawyer in a malpractice suit arising from a mid-8 figure divorce which had been extensively covered in the national media. The claim involved the division of appreciated assets, capital gains, and the margin debt tax ramifications of paying off. Joe sought summary judgment, arguing that (1) plaintiff failed to show a casual relationship between the claimed misconduct and any resulting damages, (2) plaintiff failed to show that she would have obtained a better result at trial, and (3) plaintiff failed to show that she could have obtained a better settlement of her claim. The Court granted the motion and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Contact & Links
  • 303 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 2800
    Atlanta, GA 30308
  • English
  • University of Pennsylvania, J.D., graduated 1983
  • Grinnell College, BA, graduated 1978
Bar Admissions
  • New York, New York State Bar Association
  • Georgia, State Bar of Georgia
  • American College of Trial Lawyers - Fellow
  • American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability - 2014-18
  • American Bar Foundation - Fellow
  • Atlanta Bar Association - Member
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society - Member
  • State Bar of Georgia - Professional Liability Section, Founding and Current Board Member

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:
  • Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants, Atlanta (2023)
  • Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants, Atlanta (2021)
Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for work in:
  • Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
  • Georgia Legal Malpractice Defense, Lawyer of the Year (2021)
  • Georgia Top 100 Lawyers, five years including 2022
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated
  • Georgia Super Lawyers® (2005-present)
  • Georgia Super Lawyers® list "Top 100" Honoree (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2022)
Additional Areas of Practice:
  • Legal Malpractice Law


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