John Cleveland Hill, Esq .(“Cleve”)
John Cleveland (“Cleve”) Hill is an experienced estate planning and probate lawyer who has been recognized by his peers as one of the top trust and estate lawyers in Georgia. He has spoken throughout metropolitan Atlanta at numerous seminars on the topic of wills, trusts, and estates. Cleve has been selected by fellow attorneys statewide for Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Legal Elite” in the area of Wills/Estates/Taxes and was selected for inclusion in 2017 and 2018 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” in the area of Estate Planning. Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. In June 2013, Cleve was recognized by the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce as one of their “10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch”.
Cleve began his law practice in 2004 in the bankruptcy and financial restructuring practice at Powell Goldstein, LLP (now Bryan Cave), one of Atlanta’s oldest and largest law firms. In joining the then-solo practice of Phill Bettis, Esq. in 2007, Cleve followed his passion for helping others by focusing his practice exclusively in estate planning (Wills, Trusts, charitable planning), probate, guardianship/conservatorships, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and small business planning and transactions. In 2010, he was joined by Caroline Munroe, Esq. in establishing Bettis, Hill, & Vann, LLC (now Hill & Watchko, LLC) as a premiere wills, trusts, and estates boutique practice in north metro Atlanta.
He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Fiduciary Law Section and the Estate Planning Council of North Georgia.
A native of Cherokee County, Georgia, Mr. Hill graduated from Sequoyah High School as Salutatorian in 1997. He attended Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating magna cum laude in 2001. At Oglethorpe, Cleve served two terms as student body president and received the prestigious James Edward Oglethorpe Cup at graduation, recognition by the faculty of his outstanding performance. He also received the Patillo Leadership Prize, the Charles Longstreet Weltner Award, and was an inaugural recipient of the President’s Community Service Award. He remains active at his alma mater where he serves as Trustee on the Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees.
Cleve graduated cum laude from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law in Macon, Georgia, in 2004. At Mercer, he served on the Editorial Board of the Mercer Law Review and graduated in the top 10% of his class.
Cleve has served on the Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees since 2011, having previously served from 2007 to 2009 as the young alumni member of the Board. Mr. Hill chaired the Trustee’s Campus Life Committee for the 2008-2009 and 2011-2013 academic terms. He proudly serves on the Campaign Steering Committee for the University’s I.W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation, scheduled to break ground in spring 2018 and open in 2019.
In addition to his service on Oglethorpe University’s Board of Trustees, Cleve served as the President of Oglethorpe’s Alumni Association from 2011 to 2013.
Beginning in 2014, Cleve was appointed and began service as a member of the Forsyth County, Georgia Tripartite Committee which governs the County’s indigent criminal defense system.
He also serves on the Board of Directors for Act Together Ministries, a nonprofit organization focused on serving needy children in the North Metro area.
Cleve has proudly given time to prepare estate plans for the Milton Fire and Police first responders and their spouses, and has helped numerous rural clients receive pro bono estate planning services through the Georgia Appleseed program.
Cleve resides in Canton, Georgia with his wife, Allie, daughter, Olivia, son, Benjamin, and dog, Reagan. The Hills attend Canton First United Methodist Church.