Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2012-11-27

Samford University's Cumberland School of Law and the Alabama Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) will honor the memory of one of their own with the inaugural Jere White, Jr., Trial Advocacy Institute Friday, Nov. 30.

White, a Birmingham attorney who died at age 56 in October, 2011, was a graduate of Cumberland and a member of the state and national trial lawyers groups.

Proceeds from the Institute will help fund the Jere F. White, Jr., Fellows Program, which White and his wife, Lyda, established at Cumberland before his death. The Fellows Program offers a unique learning experience to a law student who demonstrates strong academic credentials, a strong record of service, and exceptional potential for professional and personal leadership, all qualities held by White, according to Cumberland dean John L. Carroll.

The law school is honored, said Carroll, to have the ACTL as co-sponsor of the Institute.  "It is a fitting way to honor Jere, who was a superb lawyer and an even better human being who dearly loved our law school," said Carroll.

The Institute, which has been approved for Continuing Legal Education credit in Alabama and Georgia, will include presentations by top lawyers from throughout the southeast. Speakers include ACTL president Chilton D. Varner of Atlanta, Ga., a partner in King & Spalding LLP law firm.  General topic themes include preparing for trial, ethical dilemmas during discovery, when to attack on cross-examination and related subjects.

Veteran defense attorney Bobby Lee Cook of Summerville, Ga., who shares north Georgia roots with White's family, will give the luncheon address. Cook is a founding member of Cook & Connelly law firm.

White, a Georgia native and University of Georgia graduate, graduated cum laude from Cumberland in 1980. A founding member of Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC in Birmingham, he handled significant civil cases in state and federal courts in Alabama and throughout the United States. He was named Cumberland's 2012 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, an honor that was awarded posthumously during Law Week activities at the school in April.

About 250 participants are expected to attend the Institute, to be held at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham. Planning chairs for the event are Birmingham attorneys Robert P. MacKenzie III of Starnes Davis Florie LLP and Samuel H. Franklin and Harlan I. Prater IV, both of Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC.

Organizers note that the Institute is a unique event designed to bring the legal community together, offer CLE credit, honor the memory of a respected colleague and raise funds for a scholarship. For registration information, call the Cumberland CLE office at (205) 726-2391.



Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.