Remembering Lively Wilson
Lively Wilson was an admired and respected member of the legal profession who made a significant impact on the judicial system in Southern Indiana and Kentucky. A native of Kentucky and a Harvard Law School graduate, he was a role model and mentor to an entire generation of lawyers in the region.
As a member of the Stites & Harbison firm in Louisville since 1953, Lively Wilson had a national reputation for his commitment to civility and professionalism by both civil and criminal trial lawyers. He spoke about the importance of professionalism when he delivered the law school’s 2005 commencement address.
His reflections about his practice in Kentucky are included in “Kentucky Lawyers Speak: Oral History from Those Who Lived It,” the recently published book of interviews with seventy-four Kentucky lawyers. In 1995, Lively Wilson and Dean Donald Burnett founded the Louis D. Brandeis Inns of Court.
As a tribute to his example, in 2003 Edward H. Stopher, and the firm of Boehl Stopher & Graves and the Stites & Harbison firm, through the leadership of T. Kennedy Helm III, provided support to create the Lively M. Wilson Oral Advocacy Program. The fund provided for furnishing the Moot Court office and establishing an endowment to fund participation in oral advocacy competitions. Other major support came from Ronald E. Christian ’83 and the estate of Arnold Robinson ’61.
On July 22, 2009, Lively Wilson lost his valiant three-year battle with cancer. Kennedy Helm’s email to the community noted that “Lively’s most recent gift to us was the example of optimism, grace and dignity he exhibited every day that he fought his illness.”