S. Lester Tate, III

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Lester Tate is a trial lawyer who served as the 48th President of the State Bar of Georgia.  Since 1996, he has practiced as a shareholder in Akin & Tate, P.C., Georgia’s oldest continuing law firm.  He has spent his entire professional career as a courtroom lawyer, having tried over 100 civil and criminal cases to verdict and is listed by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. While devoting most of his time to serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, where he has won a number of million and multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements, his practice is unusually broad and includes such diverse matters as state and federal criminal cases, complex commercial disputes, and worker’s compensation cases. Because of his extensive courtroom experience, Lester was inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), one of the nation’s most prestigious trial lawyer organizations, with the rank of “Advocate.” He is also a Fellow in Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society comprised of less than 1% of American lawyers. He currently serves as a Member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and as President of the Georgia Chapter of ABOTA, and Treasurer of ABOTA’s Southeastern Chapter.

It’s something that I’m very proud of because, being a trial lawyer, I believe that the public ought to have access to what goes on in courtrooms...I think it is important to the public. It builds confidence on behalf of the public to see what goes on in courtrooms and not just see, but be able to get accurate reports from media outlets, too, who are there to actually observe the proceedings.
— Tate wins Freedom of Information Award as part of JQC, The Daily Tribune News

Lester has also appeared over 30 times in Georgia’s state and federal appellate courts. He is a Champion Member of the Georgia Trial Lawyer’s Association (GTLA) and a Member of the GTLA’s Political Action Committee Board of Directors, as well as the American Justice Association, and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Active in community and public affairs, Lester serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia and the Board of Advisors for Georgia Tech’s School of Literature, Media, and Communications.  He is also a graduate of Leadership Bartow’s 2012 class.  Lester’s pro bono work includes having represented Advocates for Children as volunteer legal counsel for over twenty years. 

A native Georgian, Lester was born in Cedartown and was the first person in his family to go to college.  He received his undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982 and his Juris Doctorate degree from The University of South Carolina School of Law in 1987. While in law school, he was selected for membership on the South Carolina Law Review. 

Following graduation from Georgia Tech, Lester spent almost three years working for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.  Specifically, he served on the staff of then U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and as Press Secretary to former U.S. Congressman George (Buddy) Darden.  More recently, Lester continued his political involvement by having been Chairman of the Bartow County Democratic Party and served as a member of the State Democratic Committee. 

He is a member of Gridiron Secret Society, Old War Horse Lawyers and a Fellow of the American Bar Association and the Lawyer's Foundation of Georgia. Lester has also been repeatedly recognized as one of the state's top lawyers by various publications, including Georgia Trend Magazine, which has named him to its list of "Georgia's Legal Elite," and Atlanta Magazine, which has repeatedly named him as a "Super Lawyer." 


In addition to having served as President of the State Bar of Georgia, Lester holds or has held leadership positions in a number of other Bar-related and community organizations.  Those include the following:

CURRENT:

  • Treasurer, Southeast American Board of Trial Advocate (SEABOTA)
  • Member, Advisory Board of the Georgia Chapter of the American Constitution Society
  • Member, Federal Magistrate Selection Committee, U.S. Dist. Ct. N.D. of Ga.
  • Member, Georgia Civil Justice Foundation Board of Directors
  • Member, American Bar Association’s Standing Committee of the American Judicial System



PAST:

  • Chair, Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission
  • Chair, General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia
  • Treasurer, State Bar of Georgia
  • President, Federal Defender Board Northern District of Georgia
  • Chair, Investigative Panel of State Bar of Georgia’s Disciplinary Board
  • Chair, Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency
  • Chair, Board of Trustees, Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Member (Cherokee Judicial Circuit), Board of Governors of State Bar of Georgia
  • Chairman, Bartow United Way Campaign

Bar Admissions:

  • State Bar of Georgia, 1987
  • Supreme Court of Georgia, 1988
  • Court of Appeals of Georgia, 1988
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, 1988
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1988
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2000

Education:

  • J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, 1987
    University of South Carolina Law Review
  • B.S., Industrial Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1982







Honors and Awards:

  • Named one of "Georgia's Legal Elite" by Georgia Trend magazine, 2006
  • Named a "Georgia Super Lawyer" by Atlanta Magazine and the Journal of Law & Politics
  • AV-Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, since 1996
  • Woodland High School Community Volunteer Award (1999-2000)
  • Friend of the New Frontiers Award (2009) 
  • Co-recipient (with other members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission) of the 2014 Weltner Award, given by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation