Historical lawyer named to Hall of Fame

Published 5:09 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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A Lowndes County native and a historical figure in the realm of law was one of five new members that the Alabama State Bar inducted into the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame.

Walter Lawrence Bragg (1835-1891) joined four other notable lawyers in the state’s storied past to be commemorated in the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building.

“The lawyers we recognize today include heroes of our state, lawyers that paved the way for many others and lawyers who literally gave their lives to improve Alabama,” said Alabama State Bar president Richard J.R. Raleigh Jr. of Huntsville (Wilmer & Lee, P.A.).

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“Each of these honorees improved the communities in which they lived, had a profound influence on the rule of law and improved society by pursuing justice.”

Bragg received an early education in county schools and attended Harvard Law School afterward.

He also served as chair of the state Democratic party in 1874, and helped post-Reconstruction Democrats regain control of state politics.

Bragg was chosen in 1876 to serve as National Democratic Executive Committee member, and he also served as a primary organizer of the Alabama State Bar Association and served as its first president in 1879.

In addition to those achievements, Bragg was an early member of the Alabama Railroad Commission and later was appointed by President Grover Cleveland as the first chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1884.

The Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame inducted its first class more than a decade ago in 2004, and has since inducted 50 Alabama lawyers including this year’s inductees.

Inductees must have a distinguished career in law and each inductee must be deceased at least two years at the time of their selection.

In addition, at least one of the inductees must be deceased a minimum of 100 years.

The newly unveiled plaques honoring each of the five inductees are on display in the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame, located on the lower level of the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building.