Skip to main content

‘One of the Greats’: Page Pate, Legendary Atlanta Trial Attorney, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate, and Legal Commentator Known for Deft Analysis, Dies at 55

Attorney Page Pate appears on CNN

Attorney Page Pate appears on CNN to discuss the Labor Day granting of Trump’s request for a special master.

Page Pate, a renowned Atlanta attorney, criminal justice advocate, nationally-in-demand legal commentator, and friend to Law&Crime, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. He was 55 years old.

His untimely death was first reported by The Brunswick News. Pate drowned after being caught in a strong outgoing tide from the beach Gould’s Inlet on St. Simons Island in Glynn County, Georgia.

The newspaper cited county fire officials and did not originally contain the attorney’s name. The report did note, however, that the drowning victim’s “teenaged son” was also caught up in the fatal riptide but managed to pull himself to shore by the time rescue teams arrived. First responders pulled Pate out of the water sometime after 2 p.m. that day and performed CPR, but he succumbed to his injuries.

“Some of the best things about Page won’t be in the news but will live on in the memories of the people whose lives he touched,” the late attorney’s law firm, Pate, Johnson & Church, said in a statement provided to Law&Crime. “Though he was a formidable, sometimes intimidating, attorney in the courtroom, Page had an easy smile, an earnest laugh, and a great sense of humor. He was guided by his faith and his creator, but he had an open heart and an open mind to all.”

Born in Dublin, Georgia on May 3, 1967, Pate graduated from Georgia State University, and then the University of Georgia School of Law. In law school, his talent shined early and he was recognized as a top-notch advocate in mock trial and moot court. He worked for a handful of Atlanta-based law firms before hanging out his own shingle for what would become his massively successful namesake practice.

“For over 25 years, Page represented people in courts across the state of Georgia and the United States,” the firm’s farewell statement continues. “Page won countless awards and recognition for his outstanding advocacy on behalf of others, including recognition as a ‘Super Lawyer’ since 2008.”

The attorney would go on to distinguish himself as a trusted legal analyst. Pate’s sharp legal acumen, unrivaled insight, and well-crafted turns of phrase were often featured in several Atlanta-based news outlets, Georgia Public Broadcasting, this website, where he occasionally spoke with this reporter, and CNN, among others.

Pate frequently discussed the topics of the day in a both erudite and easy-to-understand fashion. On Sept. 5, 2022, he spoke at length about the special master situation involving ex-president Donald Trump.

Along with his respect for the law, Pate also had a sense of the state’s immense power being prone to misuse and abuse.

“Page was also a founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to seeking justice for the wrongfully convicted,” the firm’s statement explains. “He was a member of the Federal and Atlanta Bar Associations, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and numerous other organizations dedicated to advancing justice and the legal profession. Page gave back to countless other causes as part of a broader effort to leave the world a better place than he found it.”

He is remembered throughout the legal and media communities who knew and adored him, his commitment, and his approach to law.

“Absolutely stunned to hear about the passing of @pagepate,” Georgia State Law Professor Anthony Michel Kreis tweeted. “Kind and generous— a real gem of a lawyer. I will miss our conversations about all things Georgia law. A huge and tragic loss for the Georgia legal community.”

The accolades and eulogies continued on throughout the day his passing was announced to a world shocked by the loss:

“This is terrible news,” Atlanta-area newscaster Joe Henke said via Twitter. “Page Pate was a great friend of @11AliveNews . He was a terrific person and attorney. He would always take my call or do a quick Zoom interview to help me understand a court case or legal issue I was putting a story together on. He will be missed.”

“I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of my friend and colleague @pagepate who died saving his son this weekend,” attorney Esther Panitch tweeted. “He was bright, kind, and generous with his time when he helped me prep for a trial last year. He will be missed by the Georgia criminal defense legal community.”

The number of people eulogizing the lawyer on Twitter alone is too voluminous to be published in full and stands as a testament to how he revered he was in the profession he made his life’s work.

“Page Pate was many things to many people—a husband, a father, a son, a mentor, a colleague, a friend, and most prominently, a trial lawyer, one who poured himself into his practice and fought hard for his clients,” the firm’s statement remembered. “Above all, he was a true gentleman who embodied service and grace.”

[image via screengrab/CNN]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: