Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston, P.C. traces its beginnings to the year 1904, when a young lawyer named John Donelson Martin, a graduate of the law department of the University of Virginia, began his distinguished career working with United States Senator Thomas B. Turley. After working with Senator Turley, John D. Martin began practicing law in Memphis, later forming a partnership, Martin & Martin, with his son and fellow alumnus of the University of Virginia law department, John D. Martin, Jr., in 1932. On May 3, 1935, John D. Martin, Sr. was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. While serving on the district court bench, Judge Martin decided a number of important cases, including upholding the constitutionality of several pieces of New Deal legislation, including the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the legislation authorizing the Tennessee Valley Authority. In recognition of his ability and experience, Judge Martin was appointed by President Roosevelt to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on September 4, 1940, where he served until soon before his death in 1962.
While his father was on the bench, John Martin, Jr. continued to strengthen his law practice, interrupted briefly by his tour of duty as a naval officer during World War II. In 1948-49, John Martin, Jr. served as the President of the Memphis Bar Association. Like his father, Judge Martin, John Martin, Jr., had a long and notable legal career, remaining with the Firm until his death in 1984.
In 1947, John Martin, Jr. joined forces with S. Shepherd Tate who was completing a judicial clerkship with Judge Martin at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Tate was a fellow University of Virginia alumnus and had also served as a naval officer during World War II. In 1950, John Martin, Jr. and Mr. Tate formed a partnership, changing the name of the Firm to Martin & Tate. Mr. Tate has many career distinctions, including being president of the Memphis (1959-1960), Tennessee (1963-1964), and American (1978-1979) Bar Associations.
When the Firmís name was changed to Martin & Tate in 1950, it had recently hired George Everett Morrow as an associate. Mr. Morrow was also a World War II veteran, an alumnus of the University of Virginia law school, and a former clerk to Judge Martin, Sr. By 1958, Mr. Morrow became a partner of the Firm, and the name of the Firm was changed to Martin, Tate & Morrow. Mr. Morrow served for many years as counsel to Memphis Light Gas & Water Division, the cityís unified utility provider. He handled numerous significant utility cases before the Federal Power Commission and federal courts, including utility rate cases before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Morrow practiced with the Firm until his death in 1982.
In 1955, W. Emmett Marston joined Martin & Tate as an associate, after having served as a law clerk to the late Judge Edwin R. Holmes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Marston also had many career distinctions, including serving as president of the Memphis (1977-1978) and Tennessee (1984-1985) Bar Associations. Mr. Marston practiced with the Firm until his death in 2010.
In 1970, the Tennessee Secretary of State issued the charter for Martin, Tate, Morrow and Marston, P.C. Since that time, the Firm has steadily grown. The Firm, however, has resisted the trend toward merging or growing into a mega-sized firm. Martin Tate has chosen to maintain its strong culture of professional service to its clients, which include national companies, small and medium-sized business and individuals. In keeping with the Firmís distinguished heritage, todayís Martin Tate attorneys are exceptionally talented and experienced in a wide array of practice areas. Furthermore, the Firmís lawyers continue the tradition of being active community leaders.