Bates Attorneys
Serving the Centerville Community
Since 1871



In 1871, J. A. Bates, who had seen combat defending the South at both the Battle of Franklin and Battle of Nashville, having taken the oath of allegiance to the United States of America, opened a law office on the square in Centerville, and, thus, began 150 years of law practice by the Bates in Centerville.  J.A. served as a State Senator of Tennessee.  He maintained an active law practice and farmed until his death in 1925.

CONNOR BATES (1887-1932)

Conner was the older of J.A.’s two sons.  Like his father, he graduated from Cumberland Law School in 1909 and began his law practice with his father in an office upstairs from Craig’s Hardware on the square in Centerville.  Connor was active in the Centerville Methodist Church, the Freemasons, and the Order of the Eastern Star.  He was a fiery litigator who either threatened (or was threatened by) an adversary counsel who was and remained a close friend.



Douglas was the younger of J.A.’s two sons and he graduated from Cumberland in 1934 and opened his own office in Centerville.  He was active in Tennessee politics and was a strong supporter of prohibition.  (He did, however, leave the Methodist Church and joined the Cumberland Presbyterians because he refused to pledge he would not dance ever again).  He was the State Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias in 1918.  Like his brother, he was an aggressive litigator.  He maintained an extensive law library.  He was killed in the 1919 Dutchman’s Curve railroad crash while returning from Louisville where his extensive law practice had carried him on business.  He was survived by a widow and five children.  Like his father, Jasper Alonzo, he had two sons who became lawyers.


The older of two sons, Douglas, II, graduated like the previous Bateses from Cumberland in 1933 and began a law practice in Centerville.  World War II came and he rose through the ranks to become a Lt. Colonel in the Field Artillery.  After seeing 11 months of combat in France and Germany, after VE Day, he was assigned as chief defense counsel for 40 German soldiers on trial for their part in the Dachau Camp.  He threw himself into this duty with great vigor considering it an obligation of duty just as his time in combat had been.  This story has been told in a book entitled, “Justice at Dachau.”

He returned home and had an active law practice representing banks, insurance companies, counties, injured plaintiffs, and persons in family disputes.  He was rated AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® for most of his career.  He was still called “Colonel Bates” through his 34-year legal career.



When Douglas Bates, I, was killed in the train wreck, he had a son on the way who was named after his grandfather, the first Bates lawyer.  Lon Graduated from Union University where he played both football and basketball.  He enrolled in Vanderbilt Law School; but after Pearl Harbor, he joined the marines and became a B-25 pilot, flying 65 combat missions in the Pacific.

After the war he graduated from Vanderbilt Law School and, in 1950, was elected District Attorney for a six-county circuit.  He was reelected twice and was serving when he died in 1972.


Colonel Bates had one son, Douglas, III, who graduated from Vanderbilt and, then, was on active duty as an MP Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  He served one of those years in Vietnam, where he did convoy escort in the Central Highlands.

He returned home and graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School in December of 1973.  After passing the bar, he was appointed as a part-time assistant district attorney, which meant that he had a private law practice, also.  He tried hundreds of jury trials in Williamson, Hickman, Perry, and Lewis County, ranging from misdemeanor assault to first degree murder.  After resigning from that position in 1981, he was hired by the State on occasions to prosecute cases when the District Attorney of a county recused himself.

He practiced law with his father until his dad died in 1981.  During those years, he began to develop an extensive law practice. In his now 45+ year career, he has tried cases in almost every county of Middle Tennessee, in Federal Courts, and in all levels of appellate courts.  He has participated in litigation in Georgia, Texas, and Michigan and has been listed by "Best Lawyers" since 2010 as one of middle Tennessee's "Best Family Law Lawyers."  His practice now focusing on real estate, commercial and complex litigation, personal injury, banking, administration of estates, and corporate. He also consults with his son on cases, at no additional charge to the clients. For the past 30+ years, he has been rated AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.

He has been active in church, civic, and charitable affairs.  The local high school baseball stadium is named for him.


Douglas T. Bates IV was born and raised in Centerville, Tennessee, graduating from Hickman County High School in 1997.  He attended college at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia and graduated in 2001 as part of the school’s first ever co-educational class.  While at VMI, Bates was a member of the Corps’ Honor Court, whose members preserved the cadet oath to never lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.

Following graduation, Bates was commissioned a 2LT in the field artillery, his grandfather’s branch, in the United States Army and stationed in Baumholder, Germany as part of the 4th BN, 27th FA RGT.  From May 2003 until July 2004, Bates served as a platoon leader and battery executive officer in Baghdad and Mahmoudiyah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  CPT Bates left active duty service in May of 2005 to enroll at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

His general practice focuses primarily on family law, criminal defense and civil litigation.  He enjoys complex marital estate divorce work, as well as high conflict child custody disputes.  He has tried jury trials on issues ranging from simple assault to rape of a child and first degree murder.  His is married to the former Becki Brellenthin of Chattanooga and they live in Centerville with their two daughters and assortment of pets.  He is an active member of the community (not as active as his wife), a Sunday school teacher at the Centerville United Methodist Church, and a fly fisherman.


Except for the 5 years between Connor Bates’s death and Douglas Thompson Bates, II’s, beginning his prewar law practice, there has been a Bates practicing law in Centerville for 150 years.  Five of the seven has seen combat in America’s wars.  They have all been active in church, lodge, charitable, and civic affairs.  They all had lengthy marriages blessed by children.  Honor and integrity have been their watchwords for nearly a century and a half.

Call the Bates & Bates Law Office at (931) 729-4085 to schedule a consultation.

The Bates & Bates Law Office, though located in Hickman County and in the 21st
Judicial District, serves clients in all Courts throughout Middle and
Western Tennessee, including Lewis, Perry, Wayne, Maury, Humphreys, Decatur,
Dickson and Williamson Counties.

Contact Us Today!

Bates and Bates Law Office

406 W Public Sq

CentervilleTN 37033

931 729-4085 931 729-4085

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Bates and Bates Law Offices