Joseph Oaks, Alabama Licensed Associate


  • University of Cincinnati College of Law – Cincinnati, Ohio, JD
  • • Dean’s List

    • Student Bar Association Third Year Representative

    • Goldman Prize Committee Representative

    • College of Law Scholarship

    • Christian Legal Society Representative

  • University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, Alabama, BA – Journalism
  • • Dean’s List

    • Graduate with Honors

    • Presidential Scholarship for Academic Achievement

    • Communication and Information Sciences Scholarship

    • Club Sport Captain


  • Alabama
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama


  • ALEXANDER SHUNNARAH GULF COAST, LLP – Gulf Coast, United States of America
  • Associate

  • Legal Intern

    Represented entrepreneurs owned and operated small businesses under supervision of two attorneys. Drafted copyright assignment for company websites. Researched and drafted memos to clients regarding trademarking brand names. Counseled clients on applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Helped draft and edit website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

  • Legal Intern

    Interviewed and examined witnesses, prepared briefings and memoranda for prosecuting attorneys. Drafted and responded to discovery requests. Observed all aspects of pre-trial and trial proceedings, including plea hearings, client negotiations, and sentencing conferences. Researched and wrote on complex criminal topics and briefed staff on various issues.

  • Street Law Extern

  • SOUTHERN COMPANY SERVICES – Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama
  • Legal Intern for General Counsel

    Drafted memoranda and researched transactional legal issues. Extracted and reviewed complex contract clauses, including a new contract for the Atlanta Falcons. Originated and drafted agreement on lease of vehicles, which was later executed. Oversaw complicated research issues, including advertising laws with the FCC and sufficiency of claims standards for patent prosecutions. Garnered significant transactional experience in employment topics, including insurance regulation, small business size classifications, and the special employee doctrine.

  • UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Resident Advisor

    Provided advising for forty undergraduates each semester. Confronted and resolved issues of diversity, alcohol abuse, and academic performance. Served as a liaison with parents, prospective students, and emergency personnel. Encouraged and participated in community-wide service projects each semester.


Joseph M. Oaks (Joe) was born the fifth of seven children to Michael and Sue Ann Oaks in Pensacola, Florida. Growing up among such a crowd of two brothers and four sisters cultivated in Joe a boisterous personality and a strong sense of self-identity. He often found himself arguing stubbornly with older siblings about perceived instances of injustices and unfairness. Joe’s parents raised he and his siblings in a stoutly religious household. They attended church every Sunday and had family devotion time every evening after the communal meal. This strong moral and religious background instilled in Joe a strong sense of right and wrong from an early age. And while he grew and learned and adapted his sense of right and wrong as he aged, his parents helped tend the roots that would one day flourish into a strong trunk and broad branches of understanding.

As a child, Joe spent most of his time outdoors – romping through the woods and up and down the creek that abutted his home. He, his friends, and siblings would play all the different permutations of tag and “hide and go seek” imaginable, and would catch frogs, minnows, and crawfish in the creek when they tired of games. Joe also began playing organized baseball at a young age, as well as participating in various other sports recreationally. However, some of Joe’s earliest and fondest memories are of evenings laying on his living room floor with his older sister and two younger siblings while his Dad read stories to them. These experiences and stories impressed young Joe and this grew into a true and personal love for stories and books that continues to this day. By the time he was ten Joe had read such works as Robinson Crusoe and The Lord of the Rings, and had begun discovering new genres and stories for himself.

Joe was homeschooled and attended various private schools and public schools up until the seventh grade. He always excelled with grades, being an inquisitive youngster and a quick learner. He quickly found that he had a natural penchant for words and writing, probably influenced somewhat by his passion for books and reading. In the seventh grade Joe began to attend the Pensacola Christian Academy and joined the Junior Varsity baseball team. He played catcher and shortstop and continued to play through his eighth grade year before switching schools to attend J.M. Tate High School. Joe decided to cease playing baseball because he found that it was becoming less and less of a fun pastime and more and more of a lifestyle and job. He began to play basketball and ran cross-country.

However, upon finishing his ninth grade year, Joe’s dad’s job was transferred to Birmingham, Alabama, and he and his siblings who were still living at home pulled up deep roots and transplanted. He began the tenth grade at Oak Mountain High School in the southern suburbs of Birmingham. Joe played one additional year of basketball and began to play the sports of ultimate Frisbee and disc golf recreationally. Through his high school years, Joe participated in various mission trips. He travelled three separate times to the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf in Knockpatrick, Jamaica. Here, Joe spent time with the deaf students at the school and labored with other mission teams on construction projects to aid the school. He also spent five days in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with a relief team from his church in Birmingham. Additionally, Joe spent ten days in London, England witnessing and ministering to teenagers in the neighborhood of a local church and teaching vacation Bible school lessons for younger children. This mission work and other various service projects introduced Joe to the joys and gratification of helping others, of lending a helping hand when available to aid others in need. This desire and love for sharing himself with others played a major part in Joe’s eventual decision to attend law school.

Upon graduating high school, Joe attended The University of Alabama on an academic scholarship and studied Journalism and Spanish. In undergrad, Joe cultivated his reading and writing skills with his journalism classes as well as with creative writing and literature electives. He also joined the club ultimate Frisbee team and was voted as captain of the team in his third year. In his second year, Joe became a Resident Advisor for the Housing and Residential Communities office and mentored young students for his remaining three years of undergrad. Junior year, Joe finally decided that he did indeed want to go to law school. He wanted to use his natural abilities and talents, and his strong sense of fairness and right and wrong to aid others. He felt the skills and knowledge he would learn at law school would be great assets and also felt he could do a lot of good as an attorney.

Upon graduation from the University of Alabama, Joe enrolled at the University of Cincinnati College of Law in Cincinnati, Ohio. In law school, Joe involved himself in the Community Service Committee of the Student Bar Association and participated in biannual community service projects. Joe spent a summer interning with Southern Company Services General Counsel, a subsidiary of Southern Company. Joe also spent a summer interning with the Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office. These two very diverse summer internships helped open up Joe’s horizons with respect to what types of law he was interested in. Joe also spent a semester teaching basic legal concepts at Schroder High School in Cincinnati. Additionally, Joe spent a semester working for a clinic that offered free legal services to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Joe finished law school in May of 2013 and moved home to Birmingham to take the Alabama Bar Exam. Upon passage of the bar exam and while pursuing full time employment, Joe was given the opportunity to meet with James T. Laura, Jr. (Jay), the Managing Partner of Alexander Shunnarah & Associates. Joe was at once struck by the passion Jay had for the firm and the work they did, as well as the unique structure of the firm, and the incomparable services they provide to clients. When offered the chance to join under Jay’s leadership, Joe jumped at the chance and moved to Mobile to begin his practice with Alexander Shunnarah & Associates. Here, Joe continues to further his goals of helping and providing services for others, with the stubborn zeal he cultivated throughout his life, and with his moral vision of what is right and wrong.