By Chip Mellor
A rock doesn’t know that the river is wearing it down. But, over time, the outcome is inevitable. That same observation could apply to Bert Gall’s opponents in litigation. Bert’s southern charm, calm demeanor and infinite patience consistently overcome the most resolute of opponents, often leaving them wondering just when the momentum shifted in Bert’s favor.
Bert arrived at IJ five years ago after spending almost two years at the Charlotte, N.C., law firm of Helms, Mulliss and Wicker. Prior to that he clerked for Judge Karen Williams on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his law degree from Duke University and his bachelor’s degree from Rice, where he majored in history and political science.
From the start, Bert demonstrated a remarkable ability to jump into any issue and quickly master the substance at a very deep level. It is a great asset to the Institute to be able to deploy Bert’s talents in an array of pressing matters.
The fact that he is a consummate team player makes his transition into ongoing cases or issues a pleasure for all involved. During his time here, Bert has been in the thick of major litigation involving school choice, eminent domain and, most recently, campaign finance. In every instance, he took on complex and vital challenges under tough deadlines. His gracious manner and resolute work ethic inevitably earned the admiration of his colleagues and defeated strong adversaries.
When IJ launched our “Hands Off My Home” campaign to stop eminent domain abuse at the state level, we needed someone to lead the effort. This was to be a challenge of unprecedented scope and complexity for us. It required not only organizing and mobilizing in dozens of states, but also ensuring that our legislative activity remained consistent with our tax-exempt status. Bert took charge of the campaign, and one year later, 25 states had passed laws reforming eminent domain. (That number has now risen to 42.) This was no small undertaking considering the well-ensconced forces aligned against us.
Amidst all of this, Bert somehow finds time to be the office expert on college basketball and all things having to do with pop culture and television. He breathed a notable sigh of relief when the Hollywood writers’ strike ended, although not in time to ensure that his favorite show, “24,” would make it back this year.
All of this makes Bert a vital part of IJ’s ability to take on and beat tough adversaries. And it makes his colleagues eager to have him involved in the latest challenge that confronts us.
Chip Mellor is IJ’s president and general counsel.