The 71-year-old is the first African-American to hold the title and one of few Memphians to preside over the organization in its 41-year history.
Perkins says he is anxious to use the position to continue helping young attorneys flourish, in large part because of his own humble legal beginnings - and trouble.
After his arrest on a shoplifting charge in the late 1960s, Perkins posted his $15 bond and got out of jail the same day.
But when he returned for his first court date, Perkins was dismayed at the speed in which accused criminals like himself were fed through the legal machinery without, it seemed, so much as a second thought from the judges and prosecutors.
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