Albritton to be inducted in HOF today

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Edgar Thomas Albritton, who founded what would become the state’s oldest law firm in Andalusia in 1887, is among five attorneys who’ll be inducted in the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame today.

Albritton began the practice of law in Snow Hill, N.C., after being graduated from Judge Strong Law School in Raleigh in 1878. Six years later, his 24-year-old wife died of typhoid fever, leaving him devastated and with two young children.

In search of a new life, he ended up in Andalusia, a small town that had been described to him as one in need of a lawyer. He was admitted to practice law in Alabama on Jan. 12, 1887, and hung out his shingle here. In 1888, Ed T. Albritton became Andalusia’s first elected mayor, an office he held until 1899. He served later as city attorney, and as judge of the Andalusia City Court of Law and Equity. His practice grew throughout South Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, a general practice ranging from the organization of new business enterprises to the defense of alleged felons.

In 1903, his son, William Harold Albritton, joined him in practice.

On June 1, 1925, while being driven home from a short stay at his cottage in Florida Town, he died quietly in his sleep.

His son continued to expand the practice, but died of pneumonia four years after his father, at the age of 47.

His grandsons, all of whom continued the firm’s practice, were Robert Bynum Albritton, who served for many years as Andalusia city attorney and was president of the Alabama State Bar; William Harold Albritton, Jr., one of the state’s earliest tax law specialists, and an organizer and chairman of the Alabama Federal Tax Clinic for Lawyers and Accountants; and James Marvin Albritton, who, in addition to his heavy trial practice, served three terms on the State Board of Bar Commissioners and two terms as a state bar delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates.His great-grandson, William Harold Albritton, III, served as Alabama State Bar president 20 years after his father, Robert, and is now a U.S. District Judge.

His great-great grandsons also practice law. William Harold Albritton IV, while practicing with the Andalusia firm served as a municipal court judge and as an active member of several state bar committees, is now a partner in Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Birmingham; Benjamin Howard Albritton is a trial attorney in the Alabama Attorney General’s office; and Thomas Bynum Albritton, who continues the Andalusia firm as its fifth generation Albritton, and who served as Andalusia city attorney for a number of years, as president of the young lawyers section of the Alabama Bar, and for two terms on the State Board of Bar Commissioners.

A special ceremony will be held at the Alabama Supreme Court at 11:30 a.m. when the state bar will unveil the plaques which will be placed in the Hall of Fame located on the lower level of the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building.

The Hall of Fame was established eight years ago to spotlight significant contributions lawyers have made to the state throughout its history.

Other 2010 honorees are Henry Hitchcock (1792 – 1839); James E. Horton (1878 – 1973); Lawrence Drew Redden (1922 – 2007); and Harry Seale (1895 – 1989)

This year’s group of inductees will join such notable legal figures as: Judge Frank M. Johnson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Ala. Supreme Court Chief Justice and U.S. Sen. Howell Heflin, attorneys Arthur Davis Shores and Vernon C. Crawford, among others.