Russell Preston was born in Monroe and spent his first ten years on Crestview Drive before his family moved to Walton Street in 1968. They payed $19,000 for that house. His father was a trial lawyer and served on the State Board of Education so there was no question that Russell and his siblings would attended public schools in Monroe. He was among the first white sixth grade students to begin at Carver Middle School in 1969, the first year of integration. He was taught by Olia Pitts. He remembered her fondly as a teacher and laughed when he shared, “She had a big, long ruler and would wear your hand out.” Russell graduated from Monroe Area High School, went on to graduate from UGA in 1979 and completed his law degree at Cumberland Law School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He returned to Monroe (specifically Walton Street) in 1984 to take over his father’s practice, Preston, Benton and Allgood. After this father passed away, Russell formed Benton and Preston with Gene Benton (now a judge) in 1995. Monroe native Mike Malcom joined their practice several years later, forming Benton, Preston and Malcom. The firm continues to thrive on Court Street next the historic Monroe Courthouse.