A Part of Nashville History: Hal Hardin

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Joseph Mercer, III, was shot dead in an apparent struggle for a .22-caliber handgun with which he threatened his wife, Hope Mercer, in 2005, according to Mercer's account.

Mercer's attorney and former criminal law professor, Hal Hardin, represented her in the trial that came to a triumphant ending in early April 2007 when she was acquitted of the murder charges.

Ever since Hardin was "an itty-bitty boy," he knew that the law was his calling. As a small boy growing up on a farm in Tennessee, he could usually be found preaching to other children in the farm's cornstalks.

Hardin's mother had hoped he would pursue a life as a preacher, but he found a compromise in becoming a lawyer. "I felt like it was the only thing that I could succeed at, and I was always attracted to it," he said.

Hardin was able to get a diverse legal education by attending the University of Tennessee Law School as well as Vanderbilt University Law School, which had very different philosophies at the time. During law school at the University of Tennessee in 1966, Hardin worked as an administrative assistant to prominent Nashville lawyer and businessman John Jay Hooker, Jr., who was running for governor at the time.

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University of Tennessee College of Law


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