Paul Summers

Hon. Paul Summers

Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP

Paul Summers is a partner with Waller Lansden and practices in the area of trial and appellate litigation; regulatory matters; and government affairs. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Attorney General of the State of Tennessee. As Attorney General, he led a staff of 340, including 170 attorneys, in all civil litigation and criminal appellate litigation before state and federal courts. Major accomplishments during his term included the conclusion of a 36-year-old higher education desegregation lawsuit, Geier v. Sundquist. General Summers also successfully argued the death penalty case of Rahman v. Bell (2002) before the United States Supreme Court. While serving as the state's chief legal officer, General Summers was twice named to Business Tennessee's Power 100 list of Tennessee's most powerful people. He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward White, Inc.) for his work in commercial litigation and is listed in the 2009-2010 Edition of Who's Who in American Law.

Before he was appointed Attorney General in 1999 by the Tennessee Supreme Court, General Summers served as Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Ned McWherter in 1990 and elected in statewide retention elections in 1992 and 1998. Prior to this service, General Summers was elected District Attorney General for the multi-county 25th judicial district in West Tennessee. During his nearly nine-year tenure as a DA, General Summers also served as President of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. Prior to state service, he was in private practice in his hometown of Somerville, Tenn.

General Summers served as a JAG officer for more than three decades in both active and reserve duty with the Air Force, Army and National Guard. His last duty assignment was Command Staff Judge Advocate, Tennessee Army National Guard. He retired with the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army. Upon his retirement after 33 years of commissioned military service, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen awarded General Summers the National Guard Distinguished Service Medal. General Summers was awarded the Legion of Merit by President George W. Bush.

General Summers is a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation and the Nashville Bar Foundation. He is the past Chair of the Jason Foundation, Inc., a national nonprofit foundation dedicated to the education and prevention of teenage suicide. He performs regular volunteer work for the Jason Foundation.

  • J.D., with honors, University of Tennessee, 1974
  • U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1982, with honors
  • B.S., with honors, Mississippi State University, 1972


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