Lightfoot, Franklin & White mourns the loss of our dear friend and founding partner, Jere F. White, Jr., who passed away on October 3, 2011. Jere persistently maintained his positive attitude and unshakeable faith to the very end. Jere was an inspiration to us all, and his enduring gift to us is the courageous example he set and the lessons he taught in both life and death. We were blessed to have him in our lives.
For over 30 years, Jere White handled significant civil cases of all types in state and federal courts in Alabama and throughout the United States. He tried over 100 jury trials to verdict, and was lead counsel in approximately two-thirds of those. Most of his cases were devoted to representing major corporations in products liability, class actions, business torts and multi-plaintiff mass tort matters. Much of Jere's practice consisted of overseeing, managing and, if necessary, trying high stakes, multi-faceted lawsuits. Very few lawyers in the South had the breadth of his experience. In addition, Jere developed a significant practice representing business plaintiffs in commercial disputes, one of which resulted in a jury verdict of $62 million after a three week trial. He also had a significant appellate practice and was frequently retained in cases which he did not try to handle post-verdict proceedings and appeals.
Jere was called upon numerous times to try very high exposure cases in difficult forums. He was lead counsel in a mass tort environmental matter which is the longest jury trial in the history of the State of Alabama. He successfully tried cases in high-verdict counties, including three jury trials in Lowndes County, Alabama, which is considered by many to be one of the more challenging venues in the country for corporate defendants.
Jere was one of the founding members of the firm. One of his proudest professional accomplishments was his role in creating and developing a firm of dedicated lawyers which under his leadership gained the reputation it enjoys today.
Jere was one of the few lawyers in Alabama inducted in the American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Each of these organizations is limited to a very small percentage of active lawyers and is by invitation only after extreme state-wide and nationwide peer and judicial scrutiny of the candidates courtroom skills and ethics. Jere was also a Fellow in the Alabama Law Foundation. He was listed consistently as a top trial lawyer in practically all peer reviewed publications, including Chambers Guide to American Business Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation, Who's Who Legal and Alabama Super Lawyers.
Jere was born and raised in a small town in north Georgia and his father was a trial lawyer and judge. He was married to his childhood girlfriend and had three adult children, one of whom is a fourth-generation lawyer. He was an Elder of Independent Presbyterian Church, a former trustee of the board of Hampden-Sydney College, member of the Board of Advisors of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University and former board member of the Birmingham YMCA.