The Alabama Middle district is implementing a policy change regarding the juror list and juror profiles that are provided to the parties pre-trial. Currently, these items are made available the Friday afternoon before the trial term begins. Effective immediately, these will now be available on the Read more
Oakley Webster Melton Jr.
Oakley Webster Melton
Due to his work representing other attorneys and judges, Melton was often known as the "Lawyer's lawyer." In 1971, he was appointed as Chairman of the Alabama Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Civil Practice and Procedure and was thereafter instrumental in the writing and adoption by the Alabama Supreme Court of the current Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. In 1974, he was elected President of the Montgomery County Bar; and in 1979, he was elected President of the Alabama State Bar. During his tenure as State Bar President, Melton proposed, and was successful in obtaining the approval of, the mandatory continuing legal education program for Alabama lawyers which is still in place today.
Oakley Webster Melton Jr was born in Tallassee, Alabama, and moved to Wetumpka, Alabama when he was two years old. His father, Oakley Webster Melton Sr. was an attorney, and then later became a judge in Wetumpka for the County Court. Melton Sr. would eventually become a circuit judge for the 19th Judicial Circuit and would remain there for almost three decades. Melton’s mother was a first-grade teacher.
Melton attended public schools in Wetumpka. At the age of 16, when his high school basketball coach was drafted into World War II, Melton became the youngest basketball coach in the United States. Graduating in 1944, having skipped his 11th Grade Year, he went to the University of Alabama where he enrolled in the Specialized Officer Training Program and later trained to become a Navy Pilot. After a semester of study, he entered the Navy; he received an honorable discharge as the war ended, and his patriotism never waned.
Melton would return to the University of Alabama and was president of the Student Government Association and Kappa Alpha fraternity. He received a B.S. Degree in Accounting and his law degree from the University's School of Law in 1951. Athletics remained true to his heart as he helped negotiate the successful resumption of the "Iron Bowl" game between Auburn and Alabama, which had been cancelled in 1907. Once this famous match-up resumed in 1948, Melton attended 63 consecutive Iron Bowls, during which time he founded the AAPAC (Alabama-Auburn Perfect Attendance Club.)
In 1951, Melton began practicing law in Montgomery, Alabama with the law firm of Rushton, Stakely and Johnston. To supplement his income, he obtained a second job as the reading clerk for the Alabama House of Representatives, working there on a part-time and seasonal basis for the next six years. He later was elected by the House of Representatives as Clerk of the Alabama House and served from 1957 to 1962.
In 1964, Melton opened the doors of his solo law practice, which ultimately led to the founding of the present law firm of Melton, Espy & Williams, P.C. Due to his work representing other attorneys and judges, Melton was often known as the "Lawyer's lawyer." In 1971, he was appointed as Chairman of the Alabama Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Civil Practice and Procedure and was thereafter instrumental in the writing and adoption by the Alabama Supreme Court of the current Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. In 1974, he was elected President of the Montgomery County Bar; and in 1979, he was elected President of the Alabama State Bar. During his tenure as State Bar President, Melton proposed, and was successful in obtaining the approval of, the mandatory continuing legal education program for Alabama lawyers which is still in place today. Throughout his legal career, Melton was the attorney for the Montgomery Housing Authority and numerous local and national businesses, state agencies, commissions, and public officials. He was a confidant and advisor to five Alabama governors, as well as lieutenant governors, legislators, and members of the trial and appellate courts. Melton became legal counsel for the Alabama Soft Drink Association in 1962; and for the next forty years, he was instrumental in building a trade Association so innovative it was long recognized as a model for state soft drink associations across the nation. In 1978, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Alabama Soft Drink Association; and in 1985, he was inducted into the Beverage World Hall of Fame.
Numerous professional honors were bestowed upon Melton which included Fellow of the International Society of Barristers and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 1983, he received the first Annual “Boss of the Year” award of the Montgomery Association of Legal Secretaries. Throughout his career, Melton held many prestigious professional positions including, President of the Alabama Law Institute from 1985-1992; Chairman of the Character and Fitness Committee of the Alabama State Bar; Chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Alabama State Bar Task Force; Alabama State Chairman of the American College of Trial Lawyers; Charter Master Bencher of the Montgomery County Inn of Court; Charter Member of the Farrah Law Society; Charter Member of the Alabama Law Foundation; Professor at Jones School of Law; member of the Montgomery County, Alabama State and American Bar Associations, Alabama and American Trial Lawyers Associations, Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, and American Judicature Society. He was a member and Chairman of the United States Middle District Court Historical Committee. When he first became eligible by age and experience, he received the highest legal designation, an “av” rating, by the nationally recognized Martindale-Hubbell legal directory. He was the first, and long-time, attorney of the Alabama High School Athletic Association; and as such attorney, he handled the historic merger in 1968 of the AHSAA and the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Not only was Melton a servant of the law, he was also a civic servant of his community. Through the years, he actively worked with and supported the Montgomery YMCA, serving as a Chairman of the YMCA Youth Legislature, Vice President of the Montgomery YMCA, and Life Member of the Montgomery YMCA Board of Directors. For his many years of service, the youth of Montgomery awarded him the Montgomery YMCA “Man of the Year” award in 1972. He served as a member of the City of Montgomery Planning Commission and was a member of the Montgomery Lions Club. Through the years, he enjoyed many friendships as a member of The American Legion. He was a Charter Member of The Krewe of the Phantom Host and was a former President and Junior Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year.”
Melton was a devoted and beloved member of the First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. He was a Chairman of the Official Administrative Board of the Church, and a Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Melton passed away in 2013, at the age of 86.