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David R. Willingham

Over the last decade, Mr. Willingham has risen to become one of the best and most successful trial lawyers in the State of Georgia, with broad experience in criminal defense, felony prosecution and complex civil litigation.


In 2016, Mr. Willingham scored a tremendous victory in the Georgia Supreme Court in Zilke v. State, 299 Ga. 232 (2016), effectively overturning over 30 years of bad Georgia precedent that unlawfully expanded the scope of a police officer’s territorial jurisdiction.  Mr. Willingham took the case pro bono, because of how important the issue was to finally settle.  The case received extensive media coverage. 


In 2008, Mr. Willingham’s law school faculty awarded him the Harold R. Banke Advocacy Award, for displaying the best potential in his entire graduating class to develop into an accomplished litigator. 


The faculty’s foresight proved to be accurate.  Within a few years of becoming a lawyer, Mr. Willingham caught the attention of the entire Cobb County legal community when he went on an unprecedented winning streak of a dozen “Not Guilty” jury trial verdicts, mostly in DUI cases.  At that time, Mr. Willingham was employed as a criminal defense associate at a Marietta firm whose lead partner, Robert D. Leonard, II, would go on to be appointed judge of the Cobb County Superior Court.  While in private practice, Mr. Willingham also completed the Georgia State Bar’s Young Lawyers Leadership Academy and served as an adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, teaching mock trial. 


In 2011, Mr. Willingham answered a call to serve, as an Assistant District Attorney for the Cobb Judicial Circuit for then District Attorney Patrick H. Head.  Mr. Willingham would go on to also serve for the current elected District Attorney, D. Victor Reynolds.  At the DA’s office, Mr. Willingham prosecuted every type of felony case – including murder, armed robbery and complex financial racketeering cases.  Assigned to the courtroom of now retired Honorable James G. Bodiford, Mr. Willingham fought tirelessly to bring justice to crime victims, all the while gaining invaluable, inside experience in the criminal justice system. 


In 2013, with a bundle of joy on the way (and two more that would come later), Mr. Willingham opened Willingham Law Firm, P.C., with a singular vision – to provide the absolute best representation to people in a time of need and produce excellent results.  Since that time, Mr. Willingham has helped thousands of people navigate the legal system towards a just result for their legal matter.  He takes great pride in helping people who may have made a bad decision, may be wrongfully accused, or who are going through a season of change in their family lives and need sound legal counsel and advice. 

Mr. Willingham’s successes since opening the firm are too many to list, including handling several high profile cases, but what is most important is achieving success for you in your legal latter.  Mr. Willingham’s mission of keeping the focus on the needs of each individual client has made the firm grow to what it is today. 


In 2017, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. swore in Mr. Willingham to practice before the United States Supreme Court.


In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, church, playing guitar in a rock band and riding the golf course with friends. 




Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Juris Doctor, 2008

Georgia State University, Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Economics, 2005

Bar Memberships


United States Supreme Court

U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia – Atlanta Division

Georgia Supreme Court

Georgia Court of Appeals

State Bar of Georgia


Community Involvement/Associations


Cobb County Bar Association

Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Alumni Advisor – Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Kennesaw State University

Frequent speaker to fraternities and sororities on alcohol and drug Risk Awareness


Awards and Recognitions


Georgia Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, 2018

Certified in NHTSA’s DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, 2010

Reported Decisions

Zilke v. State, 299 Ga. 232 (2016)

State v. Peabody, A17A1258 (Ga. Ct. of Appeals, October 25, 2017)

Marchman v. State, 299 Ga. 534 (2016) (Double murder case Mr. Willingham assisted in trying for the DA’s office which resulted in affirmation on appeal)

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