Kirby Farris always wanted to be a lawyer. Growing up in rural Winston County, Alabama, he never thought his dream could come true. After graduating from the University of North Alabama, he realized he couldn’t afford to attend a traditional law school.
“Fortunately, the clerk of the courts in Winston County told me about Birmingham School of Law, and I looked into it. It was the only opportunity I had to become a lawyer,” Farris says. “I am so grateful to the law school and the late Dean Locke for how he worked to keep the school open when so many people wanted it closed.”
After graduating law school in 1994, Farris served at Birmingham School of Law as an associate professor of Torts, Civil Procedure, and Agency and Partnership law. In 1996, he established his law firm, currently Farris, Riley and Pitt, LLP. “I owe a lot to the professors for the excellent education I received. Bibb Allen taught Torts and was one of the best trial lawyers in our state. Dean Hugh Locke, Jr., taught Constitutional Law. He had a rich history, and that is where I learned the trials and tribulations the law school had experienced. His father worked hard to ensure the school survived to make it available to people like me,” he says. “Leo Costello was a wonderful character, and I enjoyed his classes. We had great instructors and a lot of them had historic significance in Birmingham.”
Farris is the managing partner of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. His areas of practice include Railroad Litigation (FELA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Personal Injury, and Wrongful Death. He is an avid believer in pursuing justice for those injured and killed as a result of personal injury. A distinguished, long-term employee of the Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation, Farris saw first-hand the devastating and life-altering impact of workplace injuries to railroad workers. For more than 20 years, he has dedicated his practice to representing these victims. He is recognized as a Distinguished FELA counsel for the Transportation Communications Union, a long-time goal for him.
In an effort to give back to the Birmingham community, the staff of Farris, Riley & Pitt works with Children’s Hospital of Alabama as a sponsor for the hospital’s Children’s Medical Network radiothon. “We have been honored to team with them for many years to help raise money for Children’s Hospital. Over the years, we have had a lot of minor children as clients who were involved in accidents. We have seen how important that hospital is to our community,” Farris says.
In his spare time, Farris enjoys spending time with his wife, Tammy, his three children and his 2-year-old granddaughter. He likes to fish and hunt on his Lake Mitchell property.
Farris says he often thinks about how graduating from Birmingham School of Law changed his life. “If it weren’t for Birmingham School of Law, my life would have been much different for me and my family. Ken Riley, my law partner for 25 years, is one of my best friends and I would not have met him otherwise,” Farris says. “I have had the opportunity to help many injured people which is important and fulfilling to me as I work with my staff. They are some of the brightest, hard-working people I’ve ever known. My life and the fantastic career I have had are directly attributable to Birmingham School of Law. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to that school.”