Atlanta attorney and longtime WABE legal analyst Page Pate has died

Page Pate was a highly decorated attorney and longtime legal analyst for WABE. (Courtesy of Pate, Johnson & Church)

Story updated on Sept. 14 at 10:50 a.m.

Page Pate, a prominent Atlanta attorney who long served as WABE’s legal analyst, has died at the age of 55.

Emergency responders say a strong tide swept Pate and his teenage son offshore at Gould’s Inlet on St. Simon’s Island Sunday afternoon. According to the Brunswick News, his son was able to swim back to shore safely.

The Glynn County fire-rescue water team retrieved Pate and performed CPR, before an ambulance transported him to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital where he died, according to the paper.

Pate’s law firm, Pate, Johnson and Church, issued a statement on Tuesday morning.

“Page Pate was many things to many people — a husband, a father, a son, a mentor, a colleague, a friend and, most prominently, a trial lawyer, one who poured himself into his practice and fought hard for his clients,” the statement read. “Above all, he was a true gentleman who embodied service and grace.”

Pate was born in Dublin, Georgia, and graduated from Woodward Academy in Atlanta. He went on to graduate from Georgia State University in the top 10% of his class, according to his firm. He graduated with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1994 and worked for several prominent Atlanta law firms before starting his own.

For nearly 15 years, Pate had been a fixture on WABE.

“WABE would like to express our deep condolences to the family of Page Pate upon his passing,” the news outlet said in a statement. “A longtime and frequent contributor to WABE reporting, Page’s deep legal insights and ability to make the complex understandable provided Atlanta listeners with knowledge we were proud to share. We will miss his warmth and collegiality and thank him for all he did for WABE and our audiences.”

WABE’s “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress described Pate as “a respected criminal defense attorney whose knowledge of the law was matched only by his ability to explain it in accessible ways. He was so good, local TV stations and even CNN quickly tapped him to be their legal analyst, too.” 

“Page was best known for giving his honest take and straightforward answers to some of the nation’s most pressing legal questions during its most turbulent times,” Pate’s firm said.

Pate won numerous accolades throughout his career. The National Trial Lawyers Association named him one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S., and he was recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2008.

Pate also helped found the Georgia Innocence Project, which seeks justice for the wrongfully convicted. He was a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the Atlanta and Federal Bar Associations and several other organizations.

The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said it was “shocked and saddened” at the news of Pate’s death.

“The GACDL community sends thoughts of peace and comfort to his family and friends,” they said in a statement. “Page was a larger-than-life person and attorney. Page’s dedication, creativity, knowledge and compassion for those persons facing prosecution across the United States was legendary. GACDL mourns Page’s death and will endeavor to support the legacy of his work as an attorney.”

“Some of the best things about Page won’t be in the news but will live on in the memories of the people whose lives he touched,” Pate’s firm said. “Though he was a formidable, sometimes intimidating, attorney in the courtroom, Page had an easy smile, an earnest laugh and a great sense of humor. He was guided by his faith and his creator, but he had an open heart and an open mind to all.”

Pate is survived by his wife Elizabeth and his sons Chatham and Asher, his parents Robert and Mary Elizabeth and his younger brother Lane.