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Baker Donelson’s Bearman Honored for Pro Bono Work

David Bearman Profiled in Memphis Daily News

Pro bono work is a key component of David L. Bearman’s law practice. His first trial as a professional attorney was pro bono, and this year he clocked more than 200 hours representing clients free of charge.

For donating so much of his time and legal expertise, Bearman received the 2011 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award for the Memphis chapter of his firm.

Bearman has worked for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC for 15 years since that first trial. He has heard cases from child custody matters to an interstate water rights battle that was appealed up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I like the variety,” he said, referring to the wide breadth of his work. “It keeps it more interesting, more challenging.”

But he said people are his real business.

Bearman followed his father, prominent Memphis litigator Leo Bearman, into law, but that wasn’t originally his intention. After college, he was in the furniture business for 11 years, a business that made him realize he wanted to pursue another career path.

But the sales and customer service part of the furniture business did teach him a valuable lesson for attorneys as well: dealing with people.

Having that experience outside of law made it easier to engage with different types of people, he said, and it gave him a more familiar perspective when representing companies.

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