Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 13, NO. 1, Pg. 56.
Gerald M. Edenfield: A Reputation Builton Service
GSB JournalVol. 13, NO. 1August 2007Gerald M. Edenfield: A Reputation Builton ServiceJoel AlvaradoGerald Edenfield laughs when recalling his shaky beginning as an attorney in Atlanta. His client was scheduled for a deposition with Edgar Neely, a great trial lawyer with years of experience.
"Mr. Neely was extremely prepared and thoroughly questioned my client, who was a doctor," Edenfield said. The doctor, totally exasperated from the grilling, requested a break to consult with Edenfield. He wanted to exercise his doctor-patient privilege and refuse to answer any more questions. Edenfield, wanting to satisfy the interest of his client, was more than willing to comply with his request and advised Neely of his client's desire.
Unfortunately, Edenfield did not study or research doctor-patient privilege and relied on the knowledge of his client. Edenfield now chuckles, for in retrospect he realized "it was a bad move on my part." Neely, fully aware that such a privilege was not applicable to the case in question, asked for him to research if the doctor-patient privilege was an appropriate request.
The next day, after staying up all night to research the issue, Edenfield came to realize the doctor was wrong and he became a little more humble. Fortunately, Neely was willing to tutor the young aspirant and served as a mentor for years afterward. Although an inglorious beginning, one can argue that Edenfield has spent the next 37 years of his life making amends by providing his clients excellent legal service.
The 45th president of the State Bar of Georgia was born on July 6, 1945. He grew up on a farm in Bulloch County, where his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic and an appreciation for education. His parents were obviously very successful in rearing their children for both he and his brother became attorneys and his sister retired after working as a hearing administrator for the Social Security Administration.
Edenfield, for his part, graduated in 1968 from the University of Georgia with an A.B. in political science and philosophy. By 1970 he graduated from Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law in Macon. Throughout his matriculation in both undergraduate and law school, Edenfield worked numerous jobs...