Mark Wortham

Chalmers & Adams LLC

Attorneys | Wortham

Personal Experience & Biography

Mark Wortham has extensive experience as a litigator, and he practices in all state and federal trial courts in Georgia, including appellate courts. Prior to joining Chalmers & Adams, he was a shareholder in a large national litigation firm. He also served as Deputy General Counsel to the Secretary of State of Georgia, where he assisted and advised on a wide range of litigation. He has tried more than forty civil and criminal jury trials in state and federal courts including bench trials and regulatory matters.

Mark has more than 30 published cases in the appellate courts of Georgia on matters that changed the law, also known as first impressions cases. His appellate work included notable matters such as sovereign immunity for first responders; the corporate attorney-client privilege; determining that lead is a “pollutant“ within the meaning of an exclusion in an insurance contract; and that a court has no jurisdiction over a pastor’s salary contract. He has also handled cases about the expert witness rule as to childcare supervision; the physical impact rule; and that a court cannot strike a pleading or answer based on the misconduct of a party’s lawyer. In 2017 and 2018 his peers nominated him to The Judicial Nominating Commission, and the Commission placed him among the first 10 nominees for seats on the Supreme Court of Georgia and Court of Appeals of Georgia.

Mark is a graduate of Augusta University with honors and he earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Georgia State University College of Law. While in law school, he was selected to be an Assistant District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia. In that role, Mark conducted investigations, argued motions, handled arraignments, negotiated pleas, and represented the county in trials.

After law school, Mark became the law clerk for all five Superior Court judges of the Augusta Circuit, including the Honorable Jack Ruffin, who was the first Black judge in that circuit. Mark served as Judge Ruffin’s first law clerk and the Judge became Mark’s first mentor. Mark also assisted and advised the Chief Judge of the Circuit in a death penalty trial under Georgia’s Unified Appeal Procedure, a roadmap for trial and appellate courts. He also obtained a not guilty verdict in an entrapment case, breaking the U.S. District Court’s prosecutor’s record of fourteen straight years of convictions.

Mark’s commitment to advancing the practice of law and supporting the careers of lawyers who are early in their careers has been frequently recognized by contemporaries, and his peers elected him to be the President of the Young Lawyers of the Augusta Bar. Mark was also the Assistant County Attorney of Columbia County, Georgia, the Solicitor of Columbia County, Georgia, and a Special Assistant Attorney General (SAAG) for the Attorney General of the State of Georgia.

Mark has also published numerous articles for national and local organizations, including the Defense Research Institute. He also served as the Chair of the Appellate Practice Committee the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association for many years, and he was a member of the production committee for Georgia’s PBS Television program, The Layman’s Lawyer. He is an active member of the Georgia Bar, a member of the Editorial Board of the State Bar’s Georgia Journal, the Local and Voluntary Bars Committee, and an arbitrator for the Fee Arbitration Program. He was also a member of the Editorial Board of the Atlanta Bar Association, a speaker at ICLE seminars, and a guest of WAIB TV’s Law & Society program.

Over the years, Mark has been active in politics, including assisting candidates in their election campaigns, both Democrats and Republicans, advice on ethics and governmental affairs initiatives. He has been a precinct captain, assisted the Judicial Nominating Commission members (JNC) and represented judges before the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC). He has also assisted governors, a speaker of the house, and secretaries of state. Mark has served as Co-Chair of the campaign for Kenneth Shigley for the Court of Appeals, U.S. House and Senate candidates; Co-Chair for Judge Kelly Lee; Marvin Arrington, Sr. for Mayor of Atlanta; his own campaigns for the Georgia House of Representatives; and he frequently shares advice and guidance to others who are running or considering running for election.

Education:

  • Augusta University, B. A., Political Science and History, 1983
  • Georgia State University, Juris Doctor, 1986

Certifications

  • Certified Mediator by the State of Georgia