611 East Glenn Avenue
P.O. Box 3310
Auburn, AL 36830
334-821-3892

Attorney Profiles

James Haygood JAMES KERN HAYGOOD, JR. was born in Union Springs, Alabama, April 19, 1933 and educated in the public schools there. He attended and graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University and was active in campus organizations including holding offices in the Interfraternity Council and the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. In 1954, he entered the School of Law at the University of Alabama and graduated in June 1957 when he was admitted to the Alabama Bar. Active in the U.S. Army Reserve, he then served a tour of active duty and in January, 1958, joined the staff of Third District Congressman George W. Andrews. In January, 1959 he returned to Auburn, Alabama and formed the law firm of Nixon and Haygood, the predecessor to the present firm. Active in civic organizations, in 1964 he was selected by the Alabama Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of its four outstanding young men. He was appointed to the Auburn City Council in 1963, and was elected to a full term in 1964. Two years later he was appointed as City Attorney of Auburn and served in that capacity until his election as Mayor of Auburn in August, 1968 where he served two four year terms. In 1965-1966, he served as an Adjunct Professor of Business Law at Auburn University. He continued to serve in positions of civic responsibility as a member and Chairman of the East Alabama Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board, as member and President of the Auburn City Board of Education from 1982-1991 and is a Life Member of the Civitan Club of Auburn. He is a member of the American and Alabama State Bar Associations and the Lee County Bar Association where he served as President in 1986. He has served as as general counsel to the Industrial Development Board of the City of Auburn and the Water Works Board of the City of Auburn for more than 30 years.

Jim is married to Martha Sue Hinton, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and they are the parents of three children, Russell, Grant and Susan and the grandparents of Brian Haygood, Charles Jamie and John McCurry.

Areas of Practice:

  • Business & Corporate Law
  • Commercial Property Development and Financing
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Real Estate Property Law
  • Real Estate Closings
  • Probate Law
  • Property Management
  • Wills, Estates & Trusts

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William Cleveland WILLIAM A. CLEVELAND was born in Lafayette, Alabama, and grew up in Wadley, Alabama. Upon graduation from Wadley High School, he attended Auburn University, from which he graduated in 1975 with a BS degree in Accounting. Billy entered law school at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and graduated in 1978.

Billy has been a partner in the firm since 1986. His bar memberships include the Alabama Bar and the Georgia Bar.

Areas of Practice:

  • Business & Corporate Law
  • Commercial Property Development and Financing
  • Estate Planning
  • Real Estate Closings
  • Probate Law
  • Property Management
  • Wills, Estates & Trusts






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Roger Pierce ROGER W. PIERCE was born in Auburn, Alabama and grew up primarily in Tallahasee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. Roger graduated from Hugenot High School in Richmond, VA and attended the University of South Carolina as well as Virginia Commonwealth University, ultimately graduating from Auburn University in 1976 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration.

Upon graduation from Auburn, Roger entered Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated in May of 1979.

Following graduation from law school, Roger took the Texas bar examination and began practice in November of 1979, Houston, Texas. He ultimately practiced in a small partnership known as Kerr and Pierce, which was a general litigation and business practice. In 1987, Roger and his wife, Dawn, decided to return to Auburn, Where Dawn was raised.

Roger is licensed in the state and federal courts of Alabama as well as Texas, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States District Court of the Southern and Northern Districts of Texas.

Roger and Dawn have been married for thirty years and are the proud parents of six children.

Roger is a former President of the Lee County Bar Association and taught Business Law at Auburn University. He is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association and the Texas State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and serves as an Alabama State Bar Commissioner.

Areas of Practice:

  • Business Litigation
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Juvenile Law
  • Personal Injury Law
  • Social Security Disability Law
  • Worker's Compensation Law

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Philip Thompson PHILIP ALLEN THOMPSON was born in Auburn, Alabama and grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. Phil graduated from Huntsville High School in 1978 and attended Auburn University where he earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice/Political Science. While at Auburn, Phil was a member of Sigma Nu social fraternity.

Phil enlisted in the United State Army Reserves Corp of Engineers in 1980 and in 1986, after six years of service, he received an honorable discharge.

Upon graduation from Auburn, Phil began a career in the construction industry working for several large commercial and utility contractors as a field engineer, job superintendent and project manager.

In 1994, Phil entered law school at Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Alabama attending law school full time in the evenings while maintaining full time employment in the construction industry. He received his law degree in 1997. While in law school, he was a member of the Law Review, was on the Dean's List numerous times and received the Best Paper Award in Wills and Trusts.

Phil is licensed to practice in all the state courts of Alabama and the United States Middle District of Alabama and United States Northern District of Alabama. Phil is a member the Lee County Bar Association (President 2010, Vice President 2009 and Secretary/Treasurer 2008). He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Alabama State Bar, Alabama State Court Mediators Roster and the Alabama Appellate Court Mediators Roster. From 2001 to 2008, Phil held a contract for Indigent Criminal Defense in Lee County, Alabama. Since 2003, he has also held a contract with the City of Auburn to provide indigent defense on all city appeal cases. He serves as Prosecutor for the Town of Notasulga, Alabama and has served as Special Prosecutor for both the City of Auburn and the City of Opelika. He also served as the Lee County Child Support Referee from 2008 until 2010.

Phil was a member of the Boards of Zoning Adjustments for the City of Auburn from 2001 until 2009, serving as its Chairman from 2004 to 2009.

Among his hobbies are: Fishing, scuba diving (he has held instructor status since 1989), water skiing, snowboarding and basketball.

Areas of Practice:

  • Commercial Collections
  • Construction Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Juvenile Law
  • Real Estate Closings
  • Personal Injury Law
  • Real Property Law

Phil is registered on the Alabama Roster of Mediators & on the Alabama Roster of Appeals Mediators.

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Philip Tyler PHILIP OLEN TYLER was born in Dothan, Alabama and grew up there. Philip graduated from Dothan High School and attended Samford University where he was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. He graduated with a BS degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama in 1975 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Alabama in 1977. Upon graduation in 1977, Philip started a 25-year career with the State of Alabama, primarily with the Department of Human Resources. In 1986, while working for the Department of Human Resources, Philip completed his Doctor of Social Work degree from the University of Alabama. In 1988, Philip moved to Auburn, Alabama to become the Director of the Lee County Department of Human Resources.

Later, while working as a Deputy Commissioner for the State Department of Human Resources in Montgomery, Alabama, Philip graduated from the Jones School of Law in 1998. In May of 2002, Philip retired from the State of Alabama after 25 years of service and began his full time career as an attorney with Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Mattson & Thompson, LLP.

Philip is licensed to practice in all the state courts of Alabama and in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. He also is a member of the Lee County Bar Association, and served as President in 2008.

Philip is married to Kathy Tyler who is originally from Tallahassee, Florida. Philip and Kathy have two daughters. Emily , born in 1984 and Laura, born in 1987. Philip and Kathy are members of the Auburn United Methodist Church in Auburn, Alabama.

Philip's hobbies are listening to rock 'n roll oldies and reading Alabama history.

Areas of Practice:

  • Administrative Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Commercial Collections
  • Criminal Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Juvenile Law
  • Personal Injury Law
  • Probate Law
  • Real Estate Closings
  • Social Security Law
  • Wills, Estates & Trusts

Philip is registered on the Alabama State Court Mediator Roster.

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Van Gholston VAN C. GHOLSTON was raised in Bullock County, Alabama, obtained his BS from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, in 1970, his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1973 and his LL.M. in Taxation from New York University, School of Law New York City, New York in 1974. Van's thirty years of legal experience includes serving as Tax Counsel for the Arabian American Oil Company in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for several years, serving as District Attorney for Butler, Crenshaw and Lowndes Counties in Alabama for eighteen years and being engaged in the general practice of law for the balance of his legal career.

Van works mainly in the areas of elder law, wills, trusts, probate, estate planning, real estate. corporations and limited liability companies. He is a member of the Lee County Bar Association and the Alabama State Bar Association.

Areas of Practice:

  • Business & Corporate Law
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Real Property Law
  • Real Estate Closings
  • Probate Law
  • Tax Law
  • Wills, Estates & Trusts

Contact Van Gholston




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James Kern Haygood, Jr.
William A. Cleveland
Roger W. Pierce
Philip Allen Thompson
Philip Olen Tyler
Van C. Gholston