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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, January 5, 2018

Summers closes book on Schoolfield




Jerry Summers of the Chattanooga firm Summer, Rufolo and Rodgers displays his latest book, which wraps up the story of Raulston Schoolfield. - Photograph by David Laprad

With the publication of “Schoolfield: Out of the Ashes,” attorney Jerry Summers completes the tale of Raulston Schoolfield, which he began in “Rush to Justice – Tennessee’s Forgotten Trial of the Century.”

Summers covers the years of 1958-1982 with his new book, walking the reader through Schoolfield’s disbarment, his efforts to regain his law license and his post-impeachment political career.

Summers’ book has found favor with legal professionals in Chattanooga and elsewhere.

“Like any trial lawyer would, Summers presents the facts, witness by witness, detail by detail, all corroborated by documentary evidence,” writes Penny White, University of Tennessee law professor and former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice. “However, Jerry relinquishes his closing argument and allows readers to reach their own judgements about the enigmatic Schoolfield.

“Students of Tennessee justice and history can rest easy that the full story of Schoolfield is archived for future generations, who also will reach their own verdicts about the lawyer, judge, politician and man.”

William “Muecke” Barker, retired Tennessee Supreme Court justice, says, “Out of the Ashes” provides “a wealth of intriguing details on Schoolfield’s disbarment and gives both credit and criticism to the colorful and complex political and legal force in the Chattanooga community.”

“While the focus is on a controversial and extraordinary individual,” Barker adds, “the backdrop of myriad personalities provides depth and delightful anecdotes for this must-read book.”

Mickey Robbins, investment advisor at Patten & Patten in Chattanooga, says Summers has written a lively exploration of one of the most colorful members of the bar. “Schoolfield was always controversial, and Summers’ second book on him continues to capture the many nuances of this fascinating character in the latter part of his life,” Robbins says.

Mark Curriden, legal writer for the Dallas Morning News, was equally impressed. “To successfully write books on legal history, authors need to identify great stories involving fascinating characters involved in conflicts and disputes that teach lessons that resonate today,” Curriden explains.

“Summers has done just that. One of the great trial lawyers in Tennessee history, he meticulously documents the life and battles of Judge Schoolfield. Equally important, he turns those details into an amazing story.”

Summers is a practicing attorney in Chattanooga. He has served as an assistant district attorney and municipal judge since he began the practice of law in 1966.

Throughout his professional career, Summers has been president of the Chattanooga Bar Association and chairman of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation. He’s also been state president of both the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and the Tennessee Association of Criminal Lawyers and a member of the national board of directors of both groups.

Summers has argued cases before the United States and Tennessee Supreme courts and been involved in numerous landmark decisions in both civil and criminal law.

His peers in the legal profession have elected him to membership in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Society of Barristers, American Board of Trial Advocates and American Board of Criminal Lawyers.

In addition, Summers has been selected every year since 1983 as one of the Best Lawyers in America, in both personal injury and criminal law. By an unsolicited vote of lawyers in Tennessee, he has consistently been selected as one of the “Best 100 Lawyers in Tennessee” and a “Mid-South Super Lawyer.”

Summers has served as legal pro bono counsel to Orange Grove Center and Area IV Special Olympics in Chattanooga.

A member of the Development Council and Dean’s Circle at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Law, he was co-chairperson of the law school’s portion of the One Billion Dollar Capital Campaign.

Orange Grove Center and the Chattanooga Bar Association have both honored Summers as Philanthropist of the Year for his community work. In 2014, his alma mater, the University of the South at Sewanee, selected him as the Distinguished Alumnus for that year, and in 2016, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville picked him as one of four Distinguished Alumni from that institution.

Schoolfield: Out of the Ashes” is published by Waldenhouse Publishers. To purchase a copy, contact Summers (423 265-2385, jsummers@ssummersfirm.com).

Other books by Summers include “The Turtle and the Lawyer” and “Stanley J. Farmer: We Called Him Coach.”

Source: Jerry Summers