Letters of the Law

He Was Always Willing to Help

Ramsay A. Leathers was appointed Tennessee Supreme Court Clerk, a position that included serving as clerk to all Tennessee appellate courts, as well as Clerk to the Court of the Judiciary and Clerk to the Board of Professional Responsibility. He retired in 1987 after more than 20 years of service. He died March 28 at the age of 93. Read his obituary here.

From my appearance before the Tennessee Supreme Court at my swearing-in ceremony in 1965, and for the next 22 years, I had the honor and pleasure of interacting regularly with the high court’s clerk, Ramsey Leathers. He was always willing to help lawyers, especially young ones, when they needed help in complying with appellate rules.  If we had a decent reason to ask, he gave whatever assistance he could when we needed extensions of time for filing briefs. (In my early years of practice the clerk could grant extensions.)  Some of my brother and sister practitioners abused the privilege, and would sometimes even fail to file their briefs before oral argument.  So Ramsey and the court had to require all requests for more time to be presented to a member of the court.

Since Ramsey’s retirement in 1982 several excellent clerks have served the appellate courts and the entire bar very well.  But Ramsey stands out in the memory of all of us who worked with him until his retirement in 1987.  He was always friendly and accessible.  A true gentleman, he was what every public servant should be.
— Landis Turner, Hohenwald, Tennessee Bar Association president 1988-89

Eating (Nonpoisonous) Crow

I received the April 2014 volume of the Tennessee Bar Journal. You do an excellent job! However, I am constrained to point out that the picture on the cover is of a relatively harmless boa constrictor and certainly not a “Poisonous Serpent.” Best to you.
— Hoyt O. Samples, Chattanooga