Cary Ichter’s is a story of the American Dream come true, with hard work, tenacity, and determination at its core. Cary’s family settled in Douglasville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, where he attended high school. Cary began debating as a high school junior, and upon graduation, he was offered a full debate scholarship at the University of West Georgia (then known as West Georgia College). West Georgia has historically had one of the best debate programs in the United States. With tuition and books covered, Cary funded the balance of his college and living expenses by working at Kroger, where he unloaded trucks and stocked shelves at night.
While at the University of West Georgia, Cary participated in debate for four years, maintained a rigorous class schedule during the day, and, at night, drove from Carrollton to Douglasville to work at Kroger.
In his final year of school, Cary accomplished two impressive feats. First, Cary ran for President of the West Georgia Student Government Association, making the campaign promise that he would quit his job at Kroger and dedicate that time to running Student Government and tending to the interests of his fellow students. Cary won that election, and true to form, he resigned from Kroger so that he could devote his time to tending to his duties as President of Student Government.
Additionally, as a college senior, Cary and his partner were ranked number seven (#7) in the country and received a first round bid to the National Debate Tournament. That same year, Cary received the Southern Debater of the Year from Samford University.
Cary moved on to great success at the University of Georgia Law School where in 1984 he graduated magna cum laude, became a member of the Order of the Coif, was a member of the Georgia Law Review, and was published in Volume 18 of the Georgia Law Review.
Cary’s dedication and tenacity landed him a coveted position in the litigation department of Powell Goldstein, then considered to be the finest litigation law firm in Atlanta under one of the most revered trial attorneys in the southeast, Jerry Blackstock.
Mr. Blackstock saw something in young Ichter. While most young lawyers rarely saw the interior of a courtroom, Cary was trying cases, initially second chair, and eventually as lead counsel. Mr. Blackstock had Cary work alongside him representing Delta Air Lines, State Farm Insurance Company, international real estate investment and technology companies.
Cary had been at Powell Goldstein little more than seven years when he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and started his own firm, founding Meadows, Ichter & Trigg with Dart Meadows and Mark Trigg. While they started the firm with a secretary and a part-time paralegal, the firm grew rather rapidly. In 2000, when Mark Trigg left the firm, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers became a name partner in the firm, creating Meadows, Ichter & Bowers.
The firm grew to be as large as the litigation departments of Atlanta’s largest law firms and every bit as formidable. Meadows, Ichter & Bowers handled business litigation, representing corporate entities and individuals, enjoying tremendous success in and out of the courtroom. By 2003, Meadows, Ichter & Bowers had grown to over 30 lawyers and more than 50 employees. That same year, the partners were persuaded to merge with Balch & Bingham, a prominent Birmingham, Alabama law firm.
While at Balch & Bingham, Cary handled business litigation throughout the country and was a rising star in the Atlanta legal community. In 2003, Cary acted as lead trial counsel for EarthLink in a three week jury trial in Columbus, Ohio. Cary’s local counsel in that case was Thompson Hine, a firm that had recently opened an office in Atlanta. Thompson Hine recruited Cary to join its Atlanta office as its lead litigator.
As Ichter was contemplating an offer of partnership with Thompson Hine, he was approached by Adorno Yoss of Miami, Florida, then the largest minority-owned law firm in the country, and offered a partnership. Unfortunately, with the financial crisis that followed, Adorno was unable to pay its producers. So, Cary decided to leave with colleague, Jim Thomas (formerly of McKenna Long) and a two other lawyers to establish Ichter Thomas in 2009.
Although the firm was formed at the beginning of the financial crisis, Ichter Thomas flourished, representing large and small businesses and individuals. Cary quickly became high profile for his handling of cases other lawyers would not touch. In particular, Cary represented guarantors in collection cases–an area of considerable demand after the financial crisis. In what was virtually unprecedented performance, Ichter beat back motions for summary judgment in those cases, took the cases to jury trials, and obtained results for his clients that resulted in their having to pay nothing to the plaintiff banks .
Ichter also successfully represented a number of franchisees in litigation seeking to rescind their franchise relationships with various franchisors, obtaining awards worth millions of dollars to his clients.
Cary has represented the Development Authority of Fulton County in litigation since 2009. In particular, Cary prevailed in a case in which individual taxpayers challenged and sought to unravel $5 billion of development bond transactions. Cary won that $5 billion case by way of summary judgment, which the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed in SJN Properties, LLC v. Fulton County Board of Assessors, 296 Ga. 793 (2015).
In connection with his development bond work, Cary was able to persuade the Georgia Court of Appeals to overrule a fourteen year-old precedent. Additionally, Cary has been lead counsel in bond validation hearings in which over $10 billion of development bonds have been validated, financing projects that have brought thousands of jobs to Fulton County.
When Jim Thomas decided to return to McKenna Long, Cary formed Ichter Kresky, LLC with Caroline Kresky, a family law practitioner. Together they tried divorce cases involving a multi-million dollar marital estate in a bench trial; they successfully handled a dispute involving the removal of the trustee from a family trust worth more than $70 million; and Cary succesfully tried a divorce case to a jury–quite an unusual occurrence. As a consequence of this experience, today Cary has the expertise to handle family law matters and issues related to trusts and estates.
In 2016, Ichter Davis, a boutique litigation firm in Atlanta, was formed to handle commercial litigation, trust and estate disputes, and family law litigation for high net worth individuals. Cary Ichter, as Managing Partner, coupled with William Daniel Davis have extensive experience in the courtroom, in corporate settings and in championing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. This expertise sets them apart from other litigation firms. They work tirelessly to deliver results for their clients and are fiercely dedicated advocates both in and outside of the courtroom.
Cary has also been active acting as a court-appointed Special Master in various matters since 2005. Cary is typically appointed to act as a Special Master in complex commercial matters and mass tort and class action cases. In 2005, Cary joined the Academy of Court Appointed Masters (ACAM), the only national organization dedicated to educating the bench and bar on the appointment and use of Special Masters. In 2011, Cary was elected to the Board of ACAM. In 2014, he was elected President of the Academy, and in 2016 he became the first ACAM President ever to be re-elected.
As a consequence of his interest in the use of Special Masters by the courts, Cary took it upon himself to draft and to shepherd through the approval process Georgia’s Uniform Superior Court Rule governing the appointment and use of special masters in Georgia courts.
In his prestigious career, Cary has tried over fifty jury trials on a wide range of issues, including franchise relationships, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, real estate disputes, personal injuries, fraud, partnership break-ups, collections, UCC sales issues, and other commercial disputes. Cary has also successfully handled cases involving software licensing, municipal bond financing, fraud, professional wrestling, employment disputes, restrictive covenants ancillary to employment agreements, trade secrets, misappropriation of business opportunities, and intellectual property disputes. Cary is widely recognized as one of the best and most active commercial litigation lawyers in the State of Georgia. His cases include:
- Handling of over $10 billion of contested bond validation proceedings for various Georgia development authorities;
- Handling bond validations for the largest development project in Georgia history;
- Successfully defending a local development authority in $5 billion dispute concerning legality of bond financing transactions;
- Successfully defending guarantors in matters relating to over $7 million in real estate loan transactions;
- Successfully defending employer against pregnancy discrimination, and FMLA claims in federal jury trial;
- Representing employers and employees in federal discrimination cases;
- Representing several international franchise brands on a national basis, including quick serve restaurants, athletic footwear and apparel stores, and hotel chains;
- Obtaining and collecting a $850,000 award against an area developer on behalf of a regional child care franchisor;
- Arbitrating a commercial products liability claim on behalf of a furniture company that received defective coating products and sustained a substantial commercial injury;
- Defending and prosecuting the claims of minority shareholders in closely-corporations and members of LLC’s in arbitration and jury trials;
- Defending and prosecuting claims made under the Uniform Commercial Code related to the purchase and sale of ISP customer base;
- Prosecuting claims on behalf of the owners of intellectual property for copyright infringement and for the breach of licensing agreements;
- Representing franchisees in pursuing fraud claims against franchisors, resulting in millions of dollars in awards; and
- Representing franchisors in collection of royalty, advertising and other fees.
More recently, Cary represented the Savannah Harbor Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority in connection with the validation of $5.5 billion in development funds for Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, LLC. The Hyundai project is the largest development project in Georgia history.
- Supreme Court of the United States of America
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- Supreme Court of Georgia
- Georgia Court of Appeals
- State Bar of Georgia
- Board and President, Academy of Court Appointed Masters (2011-present)
- Georgia Bar, Future of the Courts Committee (2003-2004)
- Trustee, University of West Georgia Foundation (2004-2010)
- Committee, Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation (2006)
- Committee, 18th & 19th Annual Hospice Atlanta Gala (2005-2006)
- Committee, The Atlanta Committee for CARE (1998-2008)
- Southeastern Council, MedShare (2010-2014)
University of Georgia, J.D., magna cum laude
- Editorial Board and Managing Board, Georgia Law Review
- Order of the Coif
- Published: Note, “Beyond Judicial Scrutiny”: Military Compliance with NEPA, 18 Ga. L. Rev. 639 (1984)
University of West Georgia, B.A.
- Southern Debater of the Year, 1981
- President, Student Government Association
Awards and Honors:
- Best Lawyers in America (2002 – present)
- Georgia Trend Legal Elite (2002 – present)
- Georgia Super Lawyers (2004 – present)