Small Law Lifestyle: Ann Willard Fiddler

August 17, 2011

If you passed our featured attorney, Ann Willard Fiddler, on the street, you probably wouldn’t guess that she spends her weekends canning jams, jellies, pickles, preserves, and baking other home goods. Not to mention that she plays the organ at local churches from time to time. Check out Ann’s surprising Small Law Lifestyle and how she uses WestlawNext.


Our practice is two attorneys – me and my father. He has been practicing over 30 years here is Rossville, Georgia, just a baseball throw away from Tennessee. I have been practiting law for just over 3 years, and every day I learn something new.We consider ourselves general practice firm; we do everything from bankruptcy to estates to family law.


Home preservation, in my mind, is an old southern lady hobby. My friends all make fun of me and my husband calls me a hoarder of canned goods. But how it started, was kind of a joke. About four years ago, my parents had a huge garden with about 60 tomato plants.  My mom and I said to each other, “We should get really smart and start canning this stuff.” Two years and one trip to the store later, we had a giant pot, canning utensils, jars, and a cookbook.  Unfortunately, the tomato crop was horrible. Luckily, my 90 year old neighbor had two fig trees and she said I could pick as much as I wanted. I consider myself a pretty skilled baker and haven’t found much that I couldn’t make so I pulled out the cookbook and decided to make jam. 20 pounds of figs later, I found myself looking at 20 beautiful jars of fig jam. Since then, I have been hooked.  I have made everything from pickled okra (a southern favorite) to rhubarb rosemary jam to barbeque sauce and everything in between. This year, my garden consisted of two things: herbs and cucumbers.  I have made 20 jars of pickles this year with more on the way. Home preservation a great way to provide my husband and daughter with healthy, wholesome food. I know home preservation is growing in popularity all across the nation but for me, it’s a passion for cooking, baking, and creating something. 


About a year ago, we made the decision to get rid of all of our books in “real book” form, with the exception of a few favorite titles.  Instead, we get all of our books through WestlawNext. This has been a tremendous help for our firm. I saved the books that I use daily in my Favorites, so now I can run searches directly in them with a simple click. I can find everything that I need without having to search through an index or pages of a book. In addition, I am able to print chapters or copy/paste (with references) directly from the books into documents, which has consistently made preparing briefs or memos for my dad quicker and easier to follow.


I do not know how WestlawNext knows it, but the results from each search are spot-on with what I am looking for in every area of law.  I cannot think of one instance where I was not able to find what I was looking for. Plus, I can narrow the results to my jurisdiction, and it will organize the results by date. I do not have to spend a lot of time digging to find the case that is really on point.

I love being able to organize my specific research areas in Folders. I have written multiple appellate briefs since subscribing to WestlawNext. Having the folders allows me to organize my case law and other research where I can readily go back to it, edit it, or delete it altogether.  In addition, you can have folders within folders. I organize obsessively and the folders allow me to keep all of my research without filling my office with files that aren’t searchable. 

I found that a lot of other solo and small firms here in town do not subscribe to WestlawNext.  WestlawNext is always up to date in every way. We have a leg up on them in that we have access to the latest cases, law, and other information.

You can follow Ann on Twitter @organistatlaw. Also, be sure to visit her firm’s website and friend her firm on Facebook.

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