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Falcons star Vick relies on legal eagles for defense

By Tim McGlone

The Virginian-Pilot

Michael Vick this week added a fifth attorney to his defense team, creating a powerhouse legal bloc that appears poised to take the dogfighting case all the way to trial.

The attorneys are linked not only by Vick, but by other professional athletes embroiled in criminal and civil court cases.

Virginia Beach attorney Lawrence H. "Woody" Woodward Jr. has been Vick's long time legal representative, helping the Newport News native maneuver through sports agents, NFL contracts and endorsement deals since Vick joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2001.

"Obviously, I try to keep all my clients happy, not just the ones you read about in the newspaper," Woodward said in an interview Tuesday.

This week, Woodward added to the case his partner, Thomas Shuttleworth, who founded their Beach law firm Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock.

"I'm just helping him," Shuttleworth said. "We're working together. It's the natural thing to happen."

The two partnered in the 1990s to overturn assault convictions against NBA star and Hampton native Allen Iverson. College and professional athletes began lining up outside their door after that win.

Vick also has hired three other high-profile attorneys:

  • Atlanta lawyer Daniel R. Meachum. He has a client list that includes actor Denzel Washington, Atlanta Hawks guard Josh Smith, the Minnesota Vikings' Kelly Campbell and BET founder Bob Johnson. He's also representing actor Wesley Snipes, who faces tax fraud and tax evasion charges in a federal court in Florida.

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