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VOL. 121 | NO. 136 | Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lewis Talks About Becoming Vice President Of Tennessee Bar Association

LESLEY J. GUDEHUS | Special to The Daily News

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"Personally, one of the things I enjoy about bar involvement is that it keeps you on the cutting edge of legal issues and initiatives. That institutional memory serves clients well."
- George T. "Buck" Lewis III
Name: George T. "Buck" Lewis III
Position: Shareholder
Company Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC
Basics: Lewis recently became vice president of the 9,000-member Tennessee Bar Association and will be president-elect in 2007 and president in 2008.

George T. "Buck" Lewis III, a shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, recently became vice president of the 9,000-member Tennessee Bar Association. He will be president-elect in 2007 and president of the organization in 2008.

Lewis leads Baker Donelson's Business Litigation and Appellate practice groups. Born in Memphis in 1955, he graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, and went on to complete a master's degree in business administration and a law degree at UT in 1980. After that, Lewis spent a year as a law clerk for Justice Frank Drowota of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Lewis has written articles on a variety of legal issues and has addressed civic and legal association groups on subjects including rules of civil procedure and the Tennessee judicial selection plan. Among Lewis' many professional honors, he is a fellow of the Tennessee and Memphis Bar foundations and, since 1999, has been a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure. Lewis soon will complete his sixth year as a TBA representative to the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

Q: What led to your leadership role for the TBA?

A: I was on the board of the Memphis Bar Association for two years, and at that time, I was asked to serve on the [TBA's] State Board of Governors. The opportunity was pitched just right for me because there were so many issues I was used to dealing with locally in my practice, and I felt I could have a greater impact on the state - and even a national - level.

Q: How does having an MBA help you in your legal work?

A: It helps you get clients because if they also have that degree, it gives you more credibility with them. They figure you can talk the talk. It also helps in reading and interpreting financial statements. When I was in the law and MBA programs at UT, there were about four of us who came through with those double majors. At the time, the system for scheduling classes at UT [was very complicated], so we used to say if you were smart enough to schedule classes, the course load was no problem!

Q: You've written quite a bit on a range of subjects rather than concentrating on one or two areas. Why is that?

A: I tend to write on things I'm interested in. Usually I write about things I'm working on. I like to write in collaboration with other lawyers because I believe that in writing, as with many other things, two heads are better than one. I try to write about subjects that will interest people. I've been fortunate to have a broad practice at a time when many lawyers specialize. Right now, I'm working on an article on disaster preparedness. I'm on the Disaster Preparedness Committee of the TBA and we're working on the first disaster preparedness plan.

Q: What do you think you bring to clients?

A: As a firm, we have experts in a lot of fields and we have state-of-the-art technical resources. Personally, one of the things I enjoy about bar involvement is that it keeps you on the cutting edge of legal issues and initiatives. That institutional memory serves clients well.

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