Charles Lane Drew (“Charlie”), 86, the founding name partner of Drew, Eckl & Farnham, passed away on January 6, 2018.
Mr. Drew was revered for his unyielding professionalism, extraordinary advocacy skills, and above all, as a Southern gentleman whose integrity was beyond reproach. As a major long-term participant in our adversarial litigation system, Mr. Drew remained universally respected and admired on both sides of the bench and bar because of his character and charm.
Mr. Drew lead the way in the practice of law, and his service to the Bar and to his community was nothing less than extraordinary. After his service as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Drew was admitted to the Bar in 1954, and his career spanned in excess of four decades. He spent much of his career riding circuits with judges and pioneering the Workers’ Compensation system. He traveled back roads throughout Georgia in his early career, largely without the benefit of the Interstate Highway System, air-conditioning or cell phones.
An active participant, Mr. Drew was a member of the Atlanta, American and Georgia Bar Associations. He served as a member of the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators and the International Association of Insurance Counsel. He was also a member of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Legal Advisory Committee, the Defense Research Institute and the Lawyer’s Club of Atlanta.
Perhaps Mr. Drew’s most enduring accomplishment came from his role as the Chairman of the Governor’s Legal Advisory Committee on Workers’ Compensation from 1973 to 1975. In 1976, the Legislature adopted the recommendations of Mr. Drew’s committee, which were the most fundamental and far-reaching changes in the history of the workers’ compensation system. Those changes remain in place as the framework for the system today.
Mr. Drew’s influence permeated case law in the area of workers’ compensation like no other practitioner before or since. A review of appellate cases in Georgia will reveal more than 100 appellate decision involving workers’ compensation where Mr. Drew was counsel for one of the litigants.
A multi-dimensional man, Mr. Drew was an avid outdoorsman, a gourmet cook, extremely well-read, a bible scholar, a medical expert, and a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.
Charlie Drew was simply an extraordinary man who will be profoundly missed but never forgotten.