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130 North Court Ave
Memphis TN 38103
Fax: 901.524.5024

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Charles Newman graduated from Yale College in 1959 Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.  In 1959-1960 he did graduate work in philosophy at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn, Germany, under an Adenauer Fellowship.  He graduated from Yale Law School in 1963, clerked for Federal Judge Bailey Brown in 1963-4, and joined Burch, Porter, and Johnson in 1965.  He has practiced in virtually every area, representing businesses, educational institutions, news organizations, and environmental and conservation organizations. 

He is and has for many years been listed in Best Lawyers in America in seven areas: Appellate Practice, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Environmental Law, First Amendment Law, Litigation - Environmental, and Litigation - First Amendment. 

He is a former President of the Memphis Bar Association and the Yale Club of Memphis, Chair of the Rhodes College President’s Council, and recipient of the Rhodes College Distinguished Service Medal.  He is a former Member of the Boards of the Memphis Bar Association, National Civil Rights Museum Foundation, Memphis College of Art, LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis Public Library Foundation, Memphis Metropolitan Interfaith Association, Memphis Rotary Club, Memphis Landmarks Commission, Tennessee Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Conservation League, and Wolf River Conservancy, and of the Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association and the Class Council, Class of 1959 of Yale College.   He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Tennessee Bar Foundation, former Associate Examiner on Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, and former Master of the Bench in the American Inns of Court.

He is a frequent speaker on numerous subjects, including serving as one of the attorneys representing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1968 Sanitation Workers strike and representing the plaintiffs in the successful effort to block the construction of Interstate 40 through Overton Park in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s.  

He was heavily involved in the efforts to protect Shelby Farms, including the creation of the Shelby Farms Conservancy, the creation of the Overton Park Conservancy, the Greenline Trail, the Big River Crossing trail across the Mississippi River, the Arkansas Levee Trail, and other recreational trails, and the lighting of the two bridges across the River.   

Among the awards he has received are the 2018 William M. Leech Jr. Public Service Award from the Fellows of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the 2019 Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the National Society of Landscape Architects. 

In 2016 he was selected as Memphian of the Year by the Memphis Magazine.  

His wife, Kay, is an interior designer who has been active in many civic activities and is a former President of Memphis Heritage.

Education

  • Yale Law School (LL.B. / J.D., 1963)
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universitat, Bonn, Germany (1960)
  • Yale University (B.A., 1959), magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Recipient, 2018 William M. Leech Public Service Award From the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
  • Selected as Memphian of the YearMemphis Magazine (2016)
  • Recipient, Pillar of Excellence Award, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter (2014)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers® in America for over 25 years in the areas of Appellate Practice, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Environmental Law, First Amendment Law, Litigation- Environmental and Litigation- First Amendment (1991-2019)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in TennesseeBusiness Tennessee Magazine
  • Named Best Lawyers® in America "Lawyer of the Year" in Appellate Practice in the Memphis area (2011, 2012 and 2013)
  • Named to the Mid-South Super Lawyers list in the area of Business Litigation (2006-2017)
  • Master of the Bench, American Inns of Court (1997)
  • Member, Memphis Bar Association (Board of Directors, 1990-1996; Executive Committee, 1989-1992; Secretary, 1992; Treasurer, 1993; Vice President, 1994-1995; President, 1996)
  • Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation and Memphis Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Associate Examiner, Tennessee Board of Law Examiners (1983-1984)
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Memphis School of Law (1976)
  • Judicial Clerk to U.S. District Judge Bailey Brown (1963-1964)
  • Former Member: Executive Committee, Yale Law School Association and Class Council, Class of 1959
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Environmental Law Institute

News & Publication Highlights

Publications and Presentations of Note

  • Frequent speaker on numerous subjects, including his involvement as one of the attorneys representing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just before his death in 1968 and representing the plaintiffs in the landmark case blocking the construction of Interstate 40 through Overton Park in the 1970's and 1980's.

Community Involvement

  • Chair, Rhodes College President’s Council (1994- 1995)
  • Recipient, Distinguished Service Medal, Rhodes College (1990)
  • Commissioner, Memphis Landmarks Commission (1983- 1987)
  • Former Member, Board of Directors/Trustees, Environmental Action Fund; LeMoyne-Owen College; Memphis College of Art; Memphis Metropolitan Interfaith Association (MIFA); Memphis Public Library Foundation; Memphis Rotary Club; National Civil Rights Museum Foundation; Tennessee Nature Conservancy; Tennessee Conservation League; and Wolf River Conservancy
  • Former President, Yale Club of Memphis