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James Martin takes seat on 21st District bench

The 21st Judicial District has a new judge on the bench after Gov. Phil Bredesen came to Franklin Friday to swear in James G. “Jim” Martin as the newest member of the judiciary.

Martin, a 34-year Franklin resident who left the law firm of Stites & Harbison after being appointed by Bredesen, expressed gratitude to family, friends, the legal profession and the community for allowing him this new chapter in life.

“I am very grateful to the legal profession and the opportunity it has provided me to pursue a career, make a living, support my family, and provide a service to my clients and the community,” said Martin, who previously served as Franklin city attorney and came to Franklin after graduating at the top of his class from Vanderbilt Law School.

“This marks my 34th year of practice,” Martin said. “As I have said to many of you, I have never been bored, I have always been challenged, and I never want to retire. How many jobs can be found where that can be said?”

He specifically mentioned mentors C.D. Berry, Cletus McWilliams and Jim Oglesby, calling Berry “truly a lawyer’s lawyer.” He also thanked former law partners, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark; Charlie Warfield of Stites & Harbison, who he called “model of what it means to be a citizen lawyer;” and well-known local attorney and civic volunteer Julian Bibb.
“Julian is the most unselfish, positive and encouraging person I have every known I wish each of you could have a partner like Julian,” Martin said.

Martin’s swearing in was witnessed by his brother, children and wife Janis, as well as hundreds of friends and associates who tried to squeeze into the courtroom.

“I am grateful to this community. You embraced me and my family in 1974,” said Martin. “When my wife, Janis, and I walk around Franklin, we never cease to say that if we did not live here, this is a place that we would want to visit.

“I am beginning a new career in this Judicial Center, in the same county and in the same judicial district in which my career began 34 years ago. I am no less inspired by the awe and apprehension I feel today than I was by the awe and apprehension I felt in 1974 when I walked through the door of the Williamson County Courthouse on the Public Square here in Franklin.

Martin shared that he had received many letters since news of his appointment, including one from his friend Bill Willis, which said, ”Just remember: God sits in Heaven and not on the trial bench.”

“Sometimes after a lawyer becomes a judge, the lawyer develops a condition known as robitus. In other words, Bill Willis was advising me to be the same person today, tomorrow and the day after that I was yesterday and the day before,” Martin said.
“I now pledge to each and every one of you that I will do my best to deserve the trust that the Governor has placed in me and to serve the Court with honor and distinction.”


Posted on: 12/18/2008


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