T. G. Pappas tribute

It is with great sadness that Bass, Berry & Sims announces the passing of our friend, partner and peer, T.G. Pappas (1924-2017). Our sincerest thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.

Following is a brief history his legal career and his impact at our firm and in the Nashville legal community. Mr. Pappas was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1943, while a student at the University of North Carolina, he entered military service and served as a Master Sergeant in Military Intelligence with the 99th Infantry Division in the ETO. He was educated at the University of North Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt University, where he was named to the Order of the Coif and Phi Delta Phi and served as case editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Mr. Pappas began his legal practice in 1949 in Waverly, Tennessee, where he was engaged in the general practice of law. In 1957, he became Tennessee General Attorney for Southern Bell Telephone Company in Nashville. In 1966, Mr. Pappas joined Bass, Berry & Sims, where he served as the first managing partner of the firm, a position he held for several years shepherding the firm through institutional changes and growth. Throughout his career at Bass, Berry & Sims, Mr. Pappas concentrated his practice on general corporate law, public utilities and telecommunications.

Mr. Pappas served as a member of the Judicial Council of the State of Tennessee, and was a long-standing member of the Tennessee and Nashville Bar Associations, serving as president of the Nashville Bar Association in 1978. Mr. Pappas was a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers and the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and was listed for more than 20 consecutive years in Best Lawyers in America®.

Below are some remembrances from our attorneys that had the pleasure to work alongside Mr. Pappas:

Mr. Pappas’ impact on the firm was immense both for his work and his leadership. I know those close to him will grieve his loss, but I hope we can all find comfort in his legacy.

– Todd Rolapp, Managing Partner


Ted was a unique individual and I was proud to have him as a partner, mentor and friend for almost 50 years. Ted hired me in 1969 and I quickly learned he always had the interest of the firm foremost in his mind. Ted was always a source of great advice about practicing law, handling difficult situations and life in general. Before he retired I used to have lunch with him regularly and always valued his insight on a lot of issues. He had intense views on a lot of subjects and did not mind sharing them. I valued Ted as a friend and I will miss him a lot.

– Bill Ozier, Member


I am truly thankful for Ted and his great contributions to the firm, and his loyalty to the firm and its attorneys and staff. I treasured his friendship and leadership. We are all diminished by his loss. A very good and decent man gone.

– James Gooch, Member


Ted thought of this firm as his own – as well he should have – and never hesitated to express his feelings about how it should best be run. For all of us who had the opportunity to work with Ted, and know him, he was one of the unforgettable characters who made this firm what it was and is. No one loved Bass, Berry & Sims more than Ted Pappas. He will be greatly missed.

– Warner Bass, Member


Ted Pappas certainly made a tremendous difference, particularly in the 70s, as the firm grew and became more specialized. We all have stood on the foundations created by the excellence of the firm’s original founders, but Ted Pappas created a significant layer of additional foundation benefiting all of us, as well. He was simply one of a kind and was passionately devoted to the firm and its success. I will miss him and will be always grateful for all he did for the firm.

– Jim Cheek, Member


Ted Pappas was a good guy with a huge heart, and he wanted the best for the law firm and would stop short of nothing in making sure he got it. I truly believe that a great deal of the firm’s success over the years came as a result of the example Ted set for the rest of us and the level of excellence that he demanded of his law partners and the firm’s employees. He was one of a kind. We are blessed to have known him and to have been mentored by him.

– Keith Simmons, Member


Mr. Pappas was instrumental in building the foundation for the firm as it exists today. As managing partner, he used his business experience to improve efficiency and manage costs effectively, enabling his partners to do what they did best – practice law. Young lawyers quickly learned that Mr. Pappas could be both their toughest critic and their strongest advocate. By having high expectations for them, he taught them to have high expectations for themselves and pride in a job well done. He cared enough not to let them settle for less.

Mr. Pappas had an important hand in creating the rich legacy to which we at Bass, Berry & Sims are heirs. Although we can never repay our debt of gratitude, we can honor his memory by holding ourselves to the high standards of excellence and devotion he so ably exemplified.

– Jim Tate, Member


As a member of our Executive Committee, I consider and share with the rest of the committee the advice that Mr. Pappas has given us for over 50 years. He was a unique piece of the fabric of our firm that has been critical to the success we have achieved. I’ll miss him greatly and won’t ever forget him or the sage advice he gave me throughout my career.

– Page Davidson, Member