Hamilton Herald Masthead Hamilton Herald


Front Page - Friday, June 29, 2018

Summers elected to Academy of Appellate Lawyers


Jerry H. Summers was elected to be a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers at the academy’s recent meeting.

The American Academy of Appellate Lawyers was founded in 1990 to recognize outstanding appellate lawyers and promote the improvement of appellate advocacy and the administration of the appellate courts.

Academy membership is open only to a person who possesses a reputation of distinction as an appellate lawyer.

To be eligible for membership, a nominee’s practice must have focused substantially on appeals during at least the last 15 years. Academy membership is limited to 500 members in the U.S.

Membership in the academy is by invitation only. Candidates for membership must be nominated by a present academy member, reviewed and approved by a membership evaluation committee and elected at a regular meeting.

“This achievement is important to me because only three attorneys in Tennessee have been recognized in this manner and they’re all high-quality lawyers,” Summers says. “To be included in their company is an honor.”

Summers estimates he has appealed over 200 cases during his 52-year career as an attorney. This includes three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

His first visit, which took place in 1973, resulted in the Supreme Court overturning a Tennessee law requiring a defendant to be the first witness if he intends to testify in his own defense.

Summers lost the case before the trial judge, before the Court of Appeals (3-0) and before the Tennessee Supreme Court (5-0) but won it in the U.S. Supreme Court (9-0).

“That was a big honor for a kid who made a D in constitutional law,” Summers says. “I’m proud of the fact that I changed the law.”

Source: Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers