Jerry Summers: Carter Schoolfield Was A True Warrior In Support Of His Clients

Thursday, April 29, 2021 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

Carter H. Schoolfield was born on June 16, 1936 and died on September 23, 2020 at his home on Signal Mountain, Tennessee.

He was the son of Julia McReynolds Schoolfield of Pikeville, Tn., and Scott Raulston Schoolfield of Chattanooga. His mother was a descendant of one of the early settlers of Bledsoe County in Pikeville, Tennessee in a family which included lawyers, judges, and a Congressman as one of the most respected families in the Sequatchie Valley.

His father, Judge S. Raulston Schoolfield was one of the most talented trial lawyers in the Chattanooga area and also was one of the most controversial and colorful members of the Bar and Judiciary.

Carter and his father were never members of the Chattanooga Bar Association and it would be a misrepresentation to ignore the conflicts that arose during both of their careers as attorneys and Raulston’s career as a judge in Criminal Court and General Sessions Court.

The history of those conflicts is duly written and recorded in the annals of Hamilton County and need not be further discussed except to state that Carter fully loved and respected his father throughout his life.

Carter was a graduate of Chattanooga City High School, the University of Chattanooga and the Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon, Tennessee.

He married Jo Anne Simpson Schoolfield in December 1958 and they would come to Chattanooga in December 1959 where Carter started a law practice with his father and future Chattanooga City Court judge, John Boone Taylor, who had previously served as Carter’s father’s court officer in criminal court.

Carter inherited a large quantity of cases because of the reputation and loyalty of Schoolfield clients of his dad, his grandfather, William A. Schoolfield, and his uncle Henson W. Schoolfield, who were successful, talented, and respected trial lawyers who were known as fiery protectors of their clients in all legal matters.

Carter followed in that tradition and quickly earned an equally excellent reputation for trying and winning difficult cases in the courtroom before jurors.

Seeking justice for his clients and not the pursuit of money or collection of attorney’s fees was his goal and in that way he was extremely successful.

When he left the practice of law, he also was part owner of Nichols Marine with John Nichols which provided boats, equipment, and services to many boaters and fishermen.

He was also an avid outdoorsman as a hunter and fisherman.

When he died at the age of eighty-four, he was survived by his wife of 62 years, two sons, Carter Henson Schoolfield, Jr. and William Scott Schoolfield and his brother, Colonel Scott McReynolds Schoolfield.

Carter led a turbulent life as a lawyer and son of a controversial father.

He was my colleague and friend.  There is one final tribute that I can make to those of you who did not know him and have missed the opportunity to watch him weave his magic with a trial jury.  I asked him to come back into the practice of law and help me jointly try more cases which we had successfully done on several prior occasions,

Carter Schoolfield was a true warrior in support of his clients in a bygone era.

* * *

Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)

Carter Schoolfield
Carter Schoolfield

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