GSB Vol. 17, NO. 1, Pg. 44. End of Year Report.

Authorby S. Lester Tate III

Georgia Bar Journal

Volume 17.

GSB Vol. 17, NO. 1, Pg. 44.

End of Year Report

GSB JournalVol. 17, NO. 1August 2011End of Year Reportby S. Lester Tate III"Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do." - Thomas Carlyle

The bylaws of the State Bar of Georgia specify the duties of the president. One of the responsibilities is to "deliver a report at the Annual Meeting of the members of the activities of the State Bar during his or her term in office and furnish a copy of the report to the Supreme Court of Georgia." Following is the report from 2010-11 President S. Lester Tate III on his year, delivered June 3 at the State Bar's Annual Meeting.

Thank you, Bryan Cavan, it's been great working with you this year. I told Ken Shigley if I could do half as good a job for him as past president as you have done for me, I would be proud of myself. I really appreciate all that you've done for me this year.

Although it says in the program that I am going to give an address, I really don't have an address. I just have a little talk, and it's mainly just some words of thank you that I want to say. Every place I've gone this year, I've started out by thanking the folks for the opportunity I've been given to serve as your Bar president. I truly don't believe that I have ever had anything that honored me as much as being able to represent 42,000 lawyers.

The other thing that I usually did in these talks to local bars was to tell the Smythe Gambrell story. Cliff Brashier asked me a moment ago, "How many of these folks have heard the Smythe Gambrell story?" I said, "I don't know, but I'm going to tell it again." And I'm going to tell it because there's nothing wrong with enjoying things again and again. After all, what if you could only sing a song one time? What if you could only read a book or watch a movie one time?

Cliff kind of baited me into doing that and one of the reasons that I came to like the Smythe Gambrell story so much was because Cliff laughed harder and harder every single time I told the story. I am also mindful that we pay Cliff a lot of money to laugh at the president's jokes. So when he's laughing really hard, Ken, he's earning his money, just remember that.

But the Smythe Gambrell story became sort of a metaphor for my presidency. Some of you may remember Smythe Gambrell. He was known for having mandatory partners' meetings at 7 a.m. on Saturday. He was president of the American Bar Association and was known to tool about Atlanta in his 1955 Cadillac with fins on the back.

One day in the mid-1950s, Smythe Gambrell was driving through Five Points one day with an associate sitting in the front seat. They came up to a red light, and he pulled a little bit too far up into the crosswalk. So he had to put the car in reverse and back up, then put his foot on the brake and wait for the light to change. Meanwhile, a car pulled up behind him. The light turned green and, always in a hurry, Mr. Gambrell floored the car, which was still in reverse, and "wham!" it hit the car behind him. Because he was ever the diplomat and expected a lot out of his associates, he reached in his pocket and took out a $100 bill and told the associate, "Go back there and see if you can settle this case," he said. "They might be mad at me."

So the associate hopped out and went to the other car, which was an old jalopy driven by a student from Georgia Tech. The student got out and saw that there wasn't a whole lot of damage to his jalopy and that there was a guy looking to give him a $100 bill. Needless to say, the associate was able to settle the case pretty quickly. Meanwhile, Mr. Gambrell had sat there with his foot on the brake, looking in the rearview mirror at the ongoing negotiations. The associate came back...

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