Lester Tate is a trial lawyer who served as the 48th President of the State Bar of Georgia.  Since 1996, he has practiced as a member of Akin & Tate, Georgia’s oldest continuing  law firm. He has spent his entire professional career as a courtroom lawyer, having tried  over one-hundred civil and criminal cases to verdict and appeared over thirty times in  state and federal appellate courts. 

He currently serves as National Treasurer of the American Board of Trial Advocates and  a member of the Executive Committee. He is the past President of the Southeastern  Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA) and is a member of the  American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.  

Lester is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, an invitation only trial lawyer  honorary society, whose members are rigorously screened by trial lawyers and judges to  determine the member’s ability, experience, accomplishments and ethical standards.  

He is Senior Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society  comprised of less than 1% of American lawyers, and, because of his extensive courtroom  experience, he holds the rank of “Advocate” in the American Board of Trial Advocates  (ABOTA). 

While devoting most of his time to wrongful death and serious personal injury cases,  where he has a number of million and multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements,  Lester’s practice includes many diverse matters. He has successfully defended  individuals charged with a broad array of state and federal crimes at trial, ranging from  murder to conspiracy. He has also handled a wide variety of complex commercial and  political cases involving issues as varied as shareholder rights and ballot access.  

Active in community and public affairs, Lester serves on the board of the Community  Foundation of Northwest Georgia and the Board of Advisors for Georgia Tech’s School  of Literature, Media, and Communications. Lester’s pro bono work includes having  represented Advocates for Children as volunteer legal counsel for over twenty years.  

A native Georgian, Lester was born in Cedartown and was the first person in his family  to go to college. He received his undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of  Technology in 1982 and his Juris Doctorate degree from The University of South  Carolina School of Law in 1987. While in law school, he was selected for membership on  the South Carolina Law Review.  

Following graduation from Georgia Tech, Lester spent almost three years working for the  U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, he served on the staff  of then U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and as Press Secretary and Armed Services Committee  aide to former U.S. Congressman George (Buddy) Darden. More recently, Lester  continued his political involvement as Chairman of the Bartow County Democratic Party  and as a member of the State Democratic Committee. 

He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Lawyer’s Foundation of  Georgia, and a Senior Life Fellow of the ABOTA Foundation. Various publications have  repeatedly recognized him as one of the state’s top lawyers, including Georgia Trend  Magazine, which has named him to its list of “Georgia’s Legal Elite,” and Atlanta  Magazine, which has repeatedly named him as a “Super Lawyer.”  

In addition to having served as President of the State Bar of Georgia, Lester holds or has  held leadership positions in a number of other Bar-related and community organizations.  Those include the following:

CURRENT

  • National Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee of the American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates
  • Board Member, Advisory Board of the Georgia Chapter of the American Constitution Society
  • Board Member, Georgia Civil Justice Foundation Board of Directors Board Member, Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia
  • Board Member, Georgia Tech School of Literature, Media and Communications Advisory Board
  • Board Member, Civil Justice PAC, Inc. (the political arm of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association)

PAST

  • President, Southeast Region American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA) Chair, Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission
  • Chair, General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia Treasurer, State Bar of Georgia
  • President, Federal Defender Board Northern District of Georgia
  • Chair, Investigative Panel of State Bar of Georgia’s Disciplinary Board Chair, Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency
  • Chair, Board of Trustees, Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Member (Representing the Cherokee Judicial Circuit), Board of Governors of State Bar of Georgia
  • Chairman, Bartow United Way Campaign
  • President, Georgia Chapter of ABOTA
  • Member, Federal Magistrate Selection Committee, U.S. Dist. Ct. N.D. of Ga. Member, American Bar Association’s Standing Committee of the American Judicial System

AWARDS

  • Woodland High School Community Volunteer Award (1999-2000)
  • Friend of the New Frontiers Award (2009)
  • Co-recipient (with other members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission) of the 2014 Weltner Award, given by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation

OTHER

  • Leadership Bartow (Class 0f 2012)
  • Gridiron Club

VOLUNTARY BAR MEMBERSHIPS

American Bar Association
American Association of Justice
Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Champion Member) Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Georgia Federal Bar Association
Bartow County Bar Association
Cobb Bar Association
Atlanta Bar Association
Old War Horse Lawyers
Lawyer’s Club of Atlanta