(Memphis, TN/December 20, 2012) Lewis Donelson III of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC has been recognized for his lifetime of service to the Memphis community and the legal profession.
On December 13, Mr. Donelson was honored with the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer's Lawyer Award, presented each year to a member of the Memphis Bar Association who has practiced law for more than 15 years and has exemplified the aims and aspirations embodied in the Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct.
Mr. Donelson was also presented with the nineteenth annual Memphis City Council Humanitarian Award on December 18. The award commemorates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by recognizing a Memphian who has dedicated his or her life to the betterment of their fellow man and the promotion of racial harmony among all men.
A founding partner of Baker Donelson, Mr. Donelson concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate and tax law. Known by many as a dedicated consensus builder, he was a charter member of the Memphis City Council and worked tirelessly during the critical period that included the Sanitation Workers strike in 1968. Mr. Donelson has spent many years lending skill and support to his industry and his community, including service as a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention in 1971, as Tennessee Commissioner of Finance from 1979 to 1981, as delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964, 1968 and 1988, and as Chair of the Med from 1996 to 2003. He has served as Chairman of the National Advisory Council for The Hermitage and is currently on the board of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Mr. Donelson's contributions to the legal profession continue alongside his dedication to the community. He played a key role in increasing funding for rural schools when he represented a group of 77 rural school systems in a lawsuit filed against the State of Tennessee arguing that the small school districts did not receive adequate funding. The case eventually reached the Tennessee Supreme Court, which in 1993 unanimously ruled that the state's education funding system was unconstitutional. As a result of the case, state lawmakers created the Basic Education Program (BEP), an education funding formula designed to be more fair to counties with smaller tax bases.
Since 1983, Mr. Donelson has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Corporate Law and Tax Law and in 2009 he was named Memphis "Lawyer of the Year" (Corporate Law) by The Best Lawyers in America.