Mr. Samples was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1976. Having established his career as a trial lawyer with another prominent firm, he came to Hare Wynn as a full partner in 1994. He is a native of Alexander City, Alabama. He is married to Colleen (a Master’s level R.N. and attorney), and they have been blessed with two children, Courtney and Connor.
Shay worked his way through college and law school. He attended Alexander City Junior College where he was elected President of the Student Government Association and was named the Most Outstanding Student. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1973 and received his law degree in 1976 from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
During more than forty years of practice, Shay has tried hundreds of complex jury trials throughout Alabama, both in state and federal courts. Although he has handled cases involving most areas of civil trial litigation and tort liability, he has dedicated his practice primarily to the representation of victims and victims’ families of medical malpractice and healthcare negligence. Shay is deeply dedicated to serving the Birmingham community. For years, he has volunteered alongside his wife at The Red Barn, which provides equestrian therapy for special needs children as well as military veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Shay has been the recipient of numerous record million/multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements throughout Alabama.
He is licensed to practice in the State and Federal Courts of Alabama, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals (5th and 11th Circuits), the U. S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U. S. Supreme Court.
Shay has been an active member in numerous Bar associations. He has served the Birmingham Bar Association as a member of the following committees: Grievance and Disciplinary, Executive, Civil Courts, Judicial Liaison, Nominating, Public Relations, and Medical Liaison. He was elected President of the BBA in 2000. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society and the Birmingham Bar Foundation. In 2012, he was inducted as a Fellow in the inaugural class of Fellows of the BBF. He has also been inducted as a Fellow in the Alabama Law Foundation, where membership is restricted to only 1% of the lawyers in the State. In 2015, Shay was inducted as a LIFE Fellow of the Birmingham Bar Foundation.
He is a member of the Alabama Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice and the American Bar Association. He is also a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a select invitation-only, group of trial lawyers limited to the top 1% of trial lawyers in the United States. He served on the state committee of the ACTL in 2015-2016. Shay has also been inducted as a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (limited to 500 members worldwide). He has been selected by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America® since 1999. In 2011, Best Lawyers® named him Birmingham “Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year” and, in 2013, he was named Birmingham “Lawyer of the Year – Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.” In 2015, Best Lawyers® named him Birmingham “Lawyer of the Year – Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs” for an unprecedented third time in five years. Shay has also been named Best Lawyers® 2016 – Birmingham Personal Injury Litigation Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year.” He is listed in Best Lawyers® in the categories of personal injury, litigation, medical malpractice law- plaintiffs and bet-the-company litigation. He has been included in Alabama Super Lawyers as one of the top attorneys in Alabama since it’s inception in 2008 and every year thereafter. For more than 20 years, he has received an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating obtainable, based on recognition of an attorney’s legal ability and ethics. He has also been selected as an Advocate in the American Board of Trial Advocates, having served as President of the Alabama Chapter in 2003. He is also a Fellow of the Roscoe Pound Institute and Fellow in the International Society of Lawyers for Public Service. He was recently selected by LawDragon as one of the top litigators in America. In addition, Shay has been recognized by Benchmark as one of the leading litigators in America. He is also a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the National Trial Lawyers Association (both top 100 trial lawyers). Shay is listed in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who among Executives and Professionals, and Who’s Who in the World. He is also a Senior Counsel Member of The College of Master Advocates & Barristers.
He and Colleen have been actively involved in numerous charities including Red Barn – Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch, Humane Society, United Way, Big Oak Ranch and others. They are members of Independent Presbyterian Church.