I was lucky to know Lee Smith

December 21, 2016 4 COMMENTS

by Dan Oswald

I was extremely sad to learn today that Lee Smith, the founder of M. Lee Smith Publishers, passed away Tuesday night.

Lee was a true southern gentleman and a savvy businessman. Lee founded his company in 1975 and built an incredible business that successfully served hundreds of thousands of customers over the years. I had the privilege of knowing Lee as a colleague in our industry for many years before having the opportunity to relocate to Tennessee and purchase his company from him.

I’d like to share the story of how I came to own M. Lee Smith Publishers because it provides great insight into the man Lee was. In late 2002, Lee called me in an attempt to recruit me to run the company he had founded. I was flattered, but I informed him that I was really interested in acquiring a company. His response was, “Well, let’s talk about that.” So we did. Through a couple of conversations, I discovered that Lee was actually open to the idea of selling the company he had built.

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A real friend sticks closer than a brother

December 21, 2016 1 COMMENTS

Editor’s Note: Dan invited former Tennessee Employment Law Letter editor John Phillips to share his memories of business colleague and “lasting friend” Lee Smith.

by John Phillips

In March of 1986, I started The Tennessee Employment Law Update, a monthly newsletter. Some lawyers subscribed to the newsletter, but it was primarily designed for HR professionals.

It was a small operation: me and my wife. I was the writer. She ran everything else. Much to our delight (and surprise), the newsletter did pretty well.

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