Former state AG moving back to bench from Waller

Tennessee Supreme Court appoints veteran legal official to senior judge

The Tennessee Supreme Court has appointed former Tennessee Attorney General Paul G. Summers, most recently a partner at Nashville law firm Waller, to a four-year term as a senior judge.

Summers, who will end his tenure at Waller (read more here) after an approximately six-year run, will replace Walter C. Kurtz on Jan. 1, 2013.

Only four state-appointed senior judges — who are former trial and appellate court judges that have reached retirement status — serve the state at any one time. Senior judges are assigned on a temporary basis to any state court as needed.

This will not be Summers’ first effort behind the bench. He also was a judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals for more than eight years and served as the district attorney general for the 25th Judicial District in West Tennessee.

“As a former district attorney, appellate judge, and, of course, our immediate past State Attorney General and Reporter, Judge Summers has spent the greater part of his career in public service,” Gary R. Wade, chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, said in a release. “He possesses the skill and versatility which uniquely qualify him for the challenge.

“While Paul brings stature and prestige to his new job, he has earned my respect for his ‘countryfied’ good judgment and his connection with everyday people,” Wade added. “That will place him in good stead as he travels from the courtrooms of Memphis to Bristol, stopping at all the places in between and presiding over every manner of litigation.”

Summers said serving as a senior judge will be the “ultimate professional challenge.”

“Working at Waller has been an absolute pleasure, both academically and professionally,” Summers said. “However, I couldn’t resist the urge to return to public service and complete the circle of my legal career.”