Sarah R. Jett joined Gary Martin Hays & Associates in November 2013. She's a member and former president of the Forsyth County Bar Association, as well as a member of the 2018 Young Lawyers Division Leadership Academy of the State Bar of Georgia.
Recently, Sarah was selected as one of The National Trial Lawyers' Top 40 Under 40.
You used to practice corporate and family law. What made you switch to personal injury and social security disability?
I wanted to practice without billable hours! I also wanted to practice an area of law where I knew I would be helping people rebuild their lives rather than what felt like tearing it apart.
In your bio, it says you enjoy traveling. What place is your favorite? Where do you want to go next?
My favorite places I have been would either be the Redwood Forest in California or Ephesus, Turkey. I want to travel to London, England next! I also love New York City and go at least once a year.
You also volunteer for various non-profits. Which ones and why are they special to you?
I love kids and volunteer at my church with kindergartners every Sunday; they are so sweet and funny. I love being able to be a positive and consistent influence in their lives each week that they can depend on. I also really like the work done at the Gwinnett Children's Shelter because they help moms with kids get back on their feet when they need it and really try to provide them the tools to be successful long term.
What did you learn during your time at the 2018 Young Lawyers Division Leadership Academy?
We traveled around the state of Georgia and visited different courts, judges, and attorneys. I learned that our state is very diverse and getting to know how a local court or circuit operates is very valuable. I also had classmates who were not personal injury attorneys, so I also learned about other areas of law and made some great connections along the way.
Leadership seems to be a key theme in your life. Why is it so important to you and how has it inspired you as a lawyer?
I am the oldest of seven children, so I think I have been a boss my entire life. I guess you can say I was "born" into it. Leaders in business and in the community are the backbone of how the operation runs, the founders of the mission, and the driving force on success moving forward, so being a great leader is important to success and to do great things in the world.
As far as being a lawyer, being around people who are smarter than me and who I consider to be leaders in the legal community lead me to learn each and every time, and that to me is invaluable.
What's been your most memorable case so far at Gary Martin Hays & Associates?
A case where a client was pregnant and lost her baby in the crash. It was a hard case to handle, but we were able to get the client a settlement that was the maximum insurance available and she was grateful. We can never change circumstances in the past, but I am glad we were able to get the client compensation.
In addition to personal injury claims, you also help people with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases. If someone needs assistance or is denied benefits, what sort of legal advice would you give them?
I would advise them to call an attorney who specialized in Social Security Disability claims. The social security laws have specific deadlines that must be met and specific evidence to be produced, so having a specialist on your team to help you is important.
Did you always want to be a lawyer?
No, I didn't even think about being a lawyer until my sophomore year of college when I missed registration (because of dial-up internet) and got registered for an Intro to Law class. In that class, I learned about the law, was able to work on appeals with the local public defender's office, and knew from there that this is what I wanted to do. My professor, Jennifer Hammack, really inspired me to pursue this career.
What should people know about personal injury lawyers?
People should know that we are hard workers, want to do the best job for our clients, and really care about helping people when they need it. Insurance companies do not have people's best interest at heart, but we do!