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A Colleague, Mentor and Friend

Trial Spotlight Newsletter

Leo Bearman Jr.'s storied career left an indelible mark on the legal community not soon to be forgotten. "A Lawyer's Lawyer" and an incredible mentor and friend to many, we mourn his loss and look to his legacy, which lives on, not only at Baker Donelson, but in the hearts and minds of all who knew Leo.

"When I was clerking one summer, I went down to the courthouse because I heard [Leo] was trying a case. I spent the afternoon watching him; it was a pleasure to learn from watching him. We do not have that, and won't have it again – someone with that level of experience and who is viewed that way by all of his contemporaries. It's just an era that's passing. Leo was a professional. He treated the law as a profession. He treated his adversaries with courtesy and respect. His ethics were above reproach. You would never see him even contemplate going into a grey area in any case because he thought that would demean the profession. Leo Bearman tried every kind of case you could try throughout his long, illustrious career. He could do it all and was a 'lawyer's lawyer'." 

Buck Wellford, Advocacy Department Chair

"Leo Bearman was remarkable for his love of the law, his ability to advocate, his wit and his integrity. He taught me and so many others about professionalism, excellence and how to tell a good story. He tried cases that could only be won by the sheer brilliance of trial counsel, and so of course, he always won. I will always think of him with a twinkle in his eye as he was making a particularly compelling point or reaching the punchline of a good joke. I know I am a better lawyer, and a better person, for having worked with, learned from and known him."

Kristine Roberts, Shareholder

"I was extremely fond of Leo on a personal level. The stories you'll hear about him, his practice of law and skills as a lawyer are stuff of legend. I've lost a friend. I've lost a mentor. I've lost a teacher. That's going to be something that's irreplaceable. Words aren't adequate. There's not anything that could be said about Leo that adequately captures his importance, brilliance and humanity. I want to say this on behalf of everyone who has known him like I have for more than 40 years: He was someone whose advice you sought not just because of his legal expertise, but he was someone who, after my father died 20 years ago, I found myself beating the same path to Leo's door to talk to him as a dad. His advice came from such a pure place. He was such a gentleman, scholar and brilliant man. I think all of us just soaked things up from him like a sponge. We are all diminished by Leo's passing, but he lived an amazing, great life. Those who knew him are going to take a lot away from that experience that we will carry forward in the future. It's a very sorrowful day, but I think we will soon be celebrating his life once we finish our grieving because he gave us so much."

– Mark Glover, Shareholder

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