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 of 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:
- National Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee of the American Board of Trial Advocates
- International Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates
- Board Member, Advisory Board of the Georgia Chapter of the American Constitution Society
- Board Member, Georgia Civil Justice Foundation Board of Directors Board Member, Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia
- Board Member, Georgia Tech School of Literature, Media and Communications Advisory Board
- Board Member, Civil Justice PAC, Inc. (the political arm of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association)
- President, Southeast Region American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA) 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 (Representing the Cherokee Judicial Circuit), Board of Governors of State Bar of Georgia
- Chairman, Bartow United Way Campaign
- President, Georgia Chapter of ABOTA
- Member, Federal Magistrate Selection Committee, U.S. Dist. Ct. N.D. of Ga. Member, American Bar Association’s Standing Committee of the American Judicial System
- 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
- 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