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Baker Donelson Attorney Takes Office as President of the Tennessee Bar Association


(Memphis, TN / June 4, 2008) George T. "Buck" Lewis, a shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, will assume the presidency of Tennessee Bar Association at the association's annual convention next week in Gatlinburg. The transfer of the gavel will take place at a luncheon on Friday, June 13, at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

Mr. Lewis, who was elected vice president in 2006 and held the position of president-elect for the last year, is chair of Baker Donelson's Appellate Practice Section and former chair of the Business Litigation Group and Litigation Department, and focuses his own practice on complex business, personal injury, health care and class action litigation. He also has extensive experience in the areas of securities and governmental law.

At the lunch, Mr. Lewis also will announce a new access to justice campaign titled "4 ALL," which will educate the legal profession and the public on the severity of the need to find new ways for lawyers to participate in pro bono service. The initiative will involve collaborating with local and county bar organizations and the Tennessee Supreme Court to study access to justice issues and search for legislative initiatives to increase access to justice for the poor. This is the first TBA Presidential access to justice initiative in over a decade, and it comes as the country continues to struggle with economic uncertainty.

From 1980 to 1981, Mr. Lewis served as law clerk for the Honorable Frank Drowota of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Among his many professional distinctions are appointments to the Judicial Selection Commission, the Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission, the Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Rules of Trial and Appellate Procedure and the Tennessee's Lawyers Fund for Client Protection. Mr. Lewis also has served as president of the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Foundations and is a fellow of the Tennessee and Memphis Bar Foundations. He earned his law degree in 1980 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Taking office along with Mr. Lewis will be President-elect Gail Vaughn Ashworth of Nashville, a member in the law firm of Gideon & Wiseman PLC, and Vice President Sam Elliott of Chattanooga, a member in the law firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Lockaby, Cavett & Elliott PLLC.

The 2008 Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention is being held in conjunction with the meetings of three other major Tennessee legal organizations — the Tennessee Judicial Conference, the Tennessee Association for Justice (formerly known as the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association) and the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women (TLAW). This joint meeting structure allows the groups to address common issues and concerns. It offers opportunities for additional education, long-range planning and recognition of attorneys who have performed outstanding legal work and community service.

The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA), with more than 10,000 members, is the largest professional association in Tennessee. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA's dedication to serving the state's legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.

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Johanna Burkett
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