Attorneys and Staff

We are a small firm priding ourselves on personal and exemplary service.  Get to know us better, and see if we would be a comfortable addition to your team.

William F. Bratt



Focusing his practice does not mean that Bill comes to the table without the breadth of legal or life experience necessary to provide his clients with practical and "real world" counsel. Over 30+ years, Bill has practiced in a variety of areas, including: Business acquisitions and sales, including medical practices, retail establishments, food wholesaler, construction companies; real estate transactions; contract law, including Leases, Non-compete Agreements, Employment Agreements and a wide variety of other business agreements; and of course estate planning, elder law, guardianships and conservatorships, estate and trust administration, estate and gift tax planning.





Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Concentration in Finance

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Valedictorian; Class Rank 1
  • Beta Gamma Sigma member (Business Honorary) 



Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey

Juris Doctor

  • Cum Laude
  • Class Rank 3
  • American Jurisprudence Awards: Evidence, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Commercial Law and Corporate Taxation 





Bratt and Bratt, Westwood, New Jersey




W. Paul Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University

Adjunct Professor, Business Law, UCC and Secured Transactions



Wilson & Bratt, P.A., Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Vice President



Bratt & Bratt, LC, HIlton Head Island, South Carolina





Bill has lived in Hilton Head for over thirty years. He is married to Kim, a principal for the Beaufort County School District and has two children. Stephanie is an Operational Risk Manager for Wells Fargo, while Laurel is a Nurse Practitioner Hospitalist. Bill is a past Director and past President of the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club, a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and an avid pet lover. Luci is his current canine "child", a mini goldendoodle. Bill and Kim have two granddaughters, Emmalyn and Ellison.

Sarah Southerland

Associate Attorney,

Office Manager


Sarah has served as a legal intern and paralegal in Texas, Florida and South Carolina prior to taking the South Carolina bar exam.  She first joined the firm as a paralegal, learning the "nuts and bolts" of estate planning and estate administration law from the ground up. Her prior exposure to law and additional areas of involvement have included real estate, foreclosures, non-profit entities and contracts.  Prior employers have included the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts; the University of Miami Landlord/Tenant Clinic; Hughes, Watters, Askanase and others. Sarah works exceptionally well with our older clients, but also brings a fresh perspective to our understanding of the unique needs, motivations and concerns of our younger clients. She holds degrees in Sociology and Political Science from the College of Charleston, and a law degree from the University of Miami. She is married to Carson, who works for Gulfstream, and their four-legged child, Rollins, is a fixture in our office.





College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina

Bachelor of Science in Political Science

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology



University of Miami School of Law, Miami, Florida

Juris Doctor




Born and raised in South Carolina, Sarah's small town sensibilities combine with her professional skills to make our clients feel immediately "at home" and well represented.  She lives in Bluffton with her husband, Carson Southerland, dog (and part time greeter at Bratt & Bratt) Rollins, and cats Gabby and Charley.   


Carson Southerland

Office Assistant


Carson is assisting us during the continuing Covid pandemic with witnessing of document executions, file preservation and scanning, and general organization of the office and files.  He is available to us at often unpredictable hours to allow us to accommodate client needs in scheduling document signings, whether at the office, a medical facility or a client's home.

Emmalyn Avery Elliott

IT Specialist


Emmalyn trains older staff members on the use of the latest digital devices.  On a very part time basis, she also currently heads our "Pre-law Intern Division".  She is not above sacrificing her dignity to elicit a smile.

Rollins Southerland

Greeter, Director of Security


Rollins has never met a stranger, and often sits in- or lays in- on conferences, asleep at our client's feet. Consequently, his value as Director of Security is somewhat limited, but he needed the position for health insurance. 

Attorneys of Predecessor Firm

Jos. Frederick Bratt (Deceased 1964)

Founding Attorney


Born November 5, 1892, the youngest of 18 children, to Judge James and Ann Bratt in Hackensack, New Jersey. Self-educated, "Fred" began his practice in 1919 in Hackensack, ultimately moving it to Westwood, New Jersey where he practiced until his death in 1964.  Fred was known as a "lawyer's lawyer", to whom other attorneys went for advice and counsel.  His parents, after raising 18 children of their own, began taking orphaned children into their home, and in 1898 founded an Orphan's home, which eventually became the Bergen County Children's Home.

J. Howard Bratt (Deceased 1983)



Howard, Sr. joined his father in the firm in 1952, first giving rise to the "Bratt & Bratt" name. He attended the John Marshall School of Law, which became Seton Hall University School of Law. Howard was an active litigator early on in his career, versed in school law, family law and probate. The firm also developed a sizeable real estate and estate planning practice.  Howard served as a prosecutor for five different municipalities as well, appearing in a different Court five nights per week.

J. Howard Bratt, Jr.



Howard's eldest son joined the family firm in 1977.  He attended Fordham University undergraduate, and holds a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law. Howard, Jr. assumed responsibility for the firm's real estate practice, as well as practicing in the areas of business law, contracts and probate.  He also introduced the use of computers into the law office environment for document drafting and assembly long before the process became commonplace.  Howard, Jr. continued the use of the firm name after Bill moved South, but has since retired and assigned his rights to the Bratt & Bratt firm name to Bill for it to live on in Hilton Head.