People of Etowah – Morgan Cunningham


Name: Morgan Cunningham

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born and raised in Gadsden and, other than college and law school, have always lived here.”

What is your occupation?

“I am an attorney.”   

What made you decide to work in your field?

“My father is an attorney, and some of my fondest memories are of going with him to his office or the courthouse as a child. I always enjoyed watching him work. Attorneys have the opportunity to help someone when they need it the most.”

   Tell us about your family and pets.

“I am married to the lovely Kirkland Back who, despite my best efforts, decided to start law school last year. And our child is our Retriever-ish rescue dog, Slim. Of course, he is offensively spoiled and the furthest thing from slim you could possibly imagine.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“We have a general practice law firm, which means I could be doing anything at any given time. Usually I am in circuit court handling a criminal matter or domestic relations issue. If I am at my office, I am usually on the phone or meeting with a client. I am the Public Defender in municipal courts in Southside and Hokes Bluff, which occupies my Wednesday afternoons. I spend a good bit of time at other municipal courts handling misdemeanor cases. I make jail visits, survey crime scenes and prepare for upcoming trials and hearings.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I went to Westbrook Christian School, then the University of Alabama, and finally Birmingham School of Law.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Play golf, walk the dog, read books.”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“My law practice. I’ve handled very serious criminal cases that deal with life and death, and I only handled those cases because of the respect I have earned at the courthouse and in the community. In the most serious criminal cases, especially our capital murder cases, our judges appoint an attorney to handle the matter. I’ve been appointed to quite a few of these cases because of my ability in the courtroom and the respect I’ve earned through handling other difficult cases.”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“My father. I’ve seen him practice law my whole life and I’m always amazed at how much he enjoys helping clients and talking with people. He constantly reminds me that we are in the practice of law, not the business of law. I became an attorney so I could help people and fight for those who do not have a voice.”

To what do you credit your success?

“Hard work, family support and the ability to connect with people.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“I am a Kiwanis member and board member, Elks Lodge member, Council on Aging board member, Dar-den Rehabilitation board member and a Theatre of Gadsden advisory board member.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“The people. We have wonderful citizens who truly want to help our community grow and prosper. They are volunteering their time and resources, and working to make our community a better place to live. We have been knocking on a lot of doors during my campaign for circuit judge, and we are always struck at how everyone is nice and welcoming.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“More young people becoming involved in our service organizations. We have a lot of young people in our community that are working and helping out in the community. Unfortunately, many of our service organizations have seen their membership dwindle while continuing to get older. It’s important that we keep these organizations strong because they do so much for our community.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Practical, hard-working and optimistic.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“With a recipe, I’m not a half bad cook.”

What is your favorite quote?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

What is on your bucket list?

“Play golf at Augusta National, visit all our national parks, win an Oscar and learn how to iron.”

What is your hidden talent?

“My wife would say it’s my ability to always lose one sock in the laundry.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Gene Hackman.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Read more books.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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