Long-time Memphis lawyer Lewis Donelson III has died

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A long-time Memphis lawyer and the co-founder of one of the largest law firms in the country has died.

Lewis Donelson III of Baker Donelson died on Thursday at 100 years of age.

A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Donelson helped create the Memphis law firm of Donelson & Adams back in 1954. Decades later, the firm continues to excel. With more than 750 attorneys in 23 offices, it’s the nation’s 55th largest law firm.

That success was built on the legacy Donelson helped create.

“Lewie Donelson dedicated his life and career to outstanding service to the legal profession and his community,” said Ben C. Adams Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Baker Donelson. “In a career that spanned more than 70 years, Lewie’s leadership and activism had a lasting and far-reaching impact. While we’re extremely saddened by his passing, we’re proud to be a part of Lewie’s legacy and are committed to carrying on the spirit of dedication and community that he exemplified and that is at the core of the culture and personality of Baker Donelson.”

Donelson leaves behind his children, several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“Mr. Donelson was the standard for many of us who serve the public,” Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said. “His experience at the state and local level led him to become one of our more knowledgeable and influential leaders. His sharp intellect, wisdom and insight into civic affairs will be missed.”

State Sen. Brian Kelsey described Donelson as a highly respected man, legal scholar and public servant. “Mr. Donelson was a founding member of the Republican Party in Shelby County. I always appreciated his wisdom and advice, even on issues over which we disagreed. He will be greatly missed.”