Norman Manley began practicing law in Butler County in 1974 and Friday co-workers and friends celebrated his career during a retirement reception.
Attorney Jim Hargrove was the first to speak.
“Norman preceded me into El Dorado by about a year and a half,” he said.
He recalled an early high profile case Manley prosecuted in the murder of a trooper.
“He also was handling civil cases,” Hargrove said.
Hargrove had the idea he would sue the county on behalf of a woman who had driven off the side of a road that was not adequately marked.
“Norman filed a claim and my case was out on the street,” Hargrove said.
“He had a unique and very effective settlement style,” he continued, saying it was, “Here’s our offer or we’ll kick your butt in court.”
He also talked about the legal climate in the county.
“Rusty (Davis) and Norman raised legal civility to a new level,” Hargrove said. “Norman and I have, as has Gene White, litigated, negotiated and advised each other on a number of cases over the years. Never once did Norman tell me something that wasn’t true. What a way to practice law.”
White also spoke about his experiences with Manley.
“A lot of us old lawyers kind of die in the office or the courtroom,” he said. “Norm had the experience of dying in his office and I had the experience to give him a kiss or two. He was resurrected.
“We have been fortunate here in Butler County to have the friendships we have and to remember the disputes are between our clients and not us.”
He encouraged the new, young lawyers to follow that example and respect their fellow lawyers and judges.
“Treat everybody honorably and well,” he said.
He concluded by saying Manley was an asset to the bar in Butler County.
Stephie Hughes, president of the Butler County Bar Association, then presented Manley with a plaque.
“It was a kinder and simpler practice back in 1974,” Manley said. “It is a lot more complicated now.”
He said it was something he was going to miss and he appreciated that the Butler County Bar has kept in mind they are in the business of helping people.
Manley also was legal counsel for Butler County.