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Cotten saluted for 48 years practicing law

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By CHELSEA BURNETTThe Wilson PostMembers of the 15th Judicial District Bar Association honored one member’s esteemed career during a luncheon meeting Wednesday at the Lebanon Golf & Country Club.Ernest Cotten, 85, was recognized and presented with an award for his distinguished professionalism in the practice of law for 48 years and for his unwavering involvement in the community.Byron M. Gill, president of the Bar Association, said members were glad to honor Cotten for his excellent commitment to the practice of law and his community. Throughout the luncheon, many entertaining stories were told about Cotten’s extensive career, some of which caught many attendees by surprise. Cotten, a native of White County, grew up as the youngest of 12 children. He attended the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and then ventured to Tennessee Technological University where he studied education. After his college career, Cotten served in the U.S. Coast Guard where he participated in extracurricular boxing matches, earning him the nickname “King Cotten.” He later went on to serve as the superintendent for Wilson County Schools, until deciding to acquire his license to practice law in 1962. Speakers at the luncheon commented on Cotten’s ability to “read people” and commended his “colorful practice.” Judge Bob Hamilton, who practiced with Cotten in years past, praised him for his courtroom conduct. He noted, “Mr. Cotten always researched his cases very well and would be very orderly in the courtroom.” Hamilton added that he “so respected Ernest for his professionalism and it was an honor to practice with him.” There was no shortage of admiration in the room as others touted Cotten as a “beloved lawyer” and agreed that one of his many strengths was that he was “always fair, not only to his fellow lawyers, but to the judges as well.” Staff Writer Chelsea Burnett may be contacted at
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