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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 member of Akin & Tate, Georgia’s oldest continuing  law firm. He has spent his entire professional career as a courtroom lawyer, having tried  over one-hundred civil and criminal cases to verdict and appeared over thirty times in  state and federal appellate courts. 

He currently serves as National Treasurer of the American Board of Trial Advocates and  a member of the Executive Committee. He is the past President of the Southeastern  Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA) and is a member of the  American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.  

Lester is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, an invitation only trial lawyer  honorary society, whose members are rigorously screened by trial lawyers and judges to  determine the member’s ability, experience, accomplishments and ethical standards.  

He is Senior Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society  comprised of less than 1% of American lawyers, and, because of his extensive courtroom  experience, he holds the rank of “Advocate” in the American Board of Trial Advocates  (ABOTA). 

While devoting most of his time to wrongful death and serious personal injury cases,  where he has a number of million and multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements,  Lester’s practice includes many diverse matters. He has successfully defended  individuals charged with a broad array of state and federal crimes at trial, ranging from  murder to conspiracy. He has also handled a wide variety of complex commercial and  political cases involving issues as varied as shareholder rights and ballot access.  

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. 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 and Armed Services Committee  aide to former U.S. Congressman George (Buddy) Darden. More recently, Lester  continued his political involvement as Chairman of the Bartow County Democratic Party  and as a member of the State Democratic Committee. 

He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Lawyer’s Foundation of  Georgia, and a Senior Life Fellow of the ABOTA Foundation. Various publications have  repeatedly recognized him as one of the state’s top lawyers, 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

Past


Awards

  • 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

Other

  • Leadership Bartow (Class 0f 2012)
  • Gridiron Club

Voluntary Bar Memberships

American Bar Association
American Association of Justice
Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Champion Member) Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Georgia Federal Bar Association
Bartow County Bar Association
Cobb Bar Association
Atlanta Bar Association
Old War Horse Lawyers
Lawyer’s Club of Atlanta

Morgan Akin is a veteran trial lawyer and is co-owner of Akin & Tate, one of the oldest continuous family practices in the United States. The firm was established in 1836 by Morgan’s great grandfather. Morgan and his five ancestors have provided legal advice and counsel to citizens of Cartersville, Bartow County, and northwest Georgia for almost two centuries. Morgan and his father, Warren Akin, joined with Lester Tate to form Akin & Tate, P.C. in 1996.

Morgan practices primarily in the areas of plaintiff’s personal injury, business and commercial litigation, estate litigation, and real estate litigation. A former special assistant Attorney General representing the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), Morgan now represents landowners against the DOT and other condemning authorities in eminent domain cases.

After graduating from college, Morgan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force and was named a distinguished military graduate. He served in the Air Force reserve following law school, attaining the rank of captain. After graduating from law school, and following a brief tour in the Air Force, Morgan returned to Cartersville in 1974, where he has since been in the active practice of law.


Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of Georgia, 1974
  • U.S. District Court Northern and Middle District of Georgia, 1974
  • Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • Court of Appeals of Georgia
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • J.D., Magna Cum Laude, University of Georgia School of Law, 1974
    University of Georgia Law Review
  • B.A., English, Emory University, 1971
    Phi Beta Kappa
  • Cartersville High School, High Honors, 1967

Civic Involvement

  • Cartersville/Bartow County Chamber of Commerce, President, 1988
  • United Way of Bartow County, Campaign Chairman
  • American Heart Association, Campaign Chairman
  • Jaycee’s Young Man of the Year
  • Northwest Georgia Daylily Society

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors
    Member, 1994 – 1996
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
    Member, 1996 – Present

Bethany was raised in Cedartown, Georgia, and attended Cedartown High School, graduating with honors. Following high school, she became a “Georgia Bulldog” attending The University of Georgia, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Mass Communications. Bethany’s professional career began at St. Mary’s Hospital, where she worked for over 12 years. While working full-time at the hospital, Bethany worked after hours to earn her Master’s Degree in Health Administration with a specialty in geriatrics. Public service has always been important to Bethany, so she put her extensive experience to good use when elected to serve on the city council in Comer, Georgia. Serving the people was an honor for Bethany, passionately working to do the most good for the people of her community. That same passion led Bethany to pursue her dream of attending law school. Bethany graduated from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, receiving awards for her work as a Peer Mentor Director and a distinguished CALI Award in health care law. After law school, Bethany, her husband Brent, and their two children, Logan and Rileigh, moved to Jefferson to become a valued member of the Akin & Tate law team. Bethany enjoys watching Logan play football and coaching Rileigh’s cheerleading team. The entire Johnston family loves the Georgia Bulldogs!

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of Georgia, 2021
  • Supreme Court of Georgia, 2021

Education

  • J.D., John Marshall Law School, 2020
  • B.S., Sociology, University of Georgia, 2005
  • M.H.A., Health Administration, 2010