Alabama Academy of Honor


Fournier J. "Boots" Gale III

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1988.

Fournier J. "Boots" Gale III was born August 3, 1944, in Mobile. He attended parochial schools and McGill Institute before entering the University of Alabama on a debate scholarship in 1962. A national champion debater for four years, Gale graduated with honors in 1966 with a B.A. in political science. He was a member of ODK, Delta Sigma Rho, and Jasons. He entered the University of Alabama's law school, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Alabama Law Review and graduated first in his class in 1969.

Upon his graduation from law school, Gale joined the Birmingham firm of Cabaniss & Johnston and was named partner in 1975. In 1984 he left to become a founding partner of Maynard Cooper & Gale. Since the founding of that firm, and Gale's serving as managing partner and chairman of the Executive Committee, Maynard Cooper & Gale has grown to become one of Alabama's largest and one of the Southeast's leading law firms. Those who worked closely with Gale over the years admired his gift for strategic thinking, managing lawyers, serving clients, advising political and business leaders, and counseling with judges on court administration issues. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice C. C."Bo" Torbert, Jr., said of Gale, "Most every judge and lawyer in Alabama knows Boots for his integrity, collegiality, analytical skills, problem solving, and positive influence. That's why I asked him to run my campaigns."

In 2011, Gale became the Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Regions Financial Corporation, where he now serves on the Executive Council and provides counsel to the bank's leaders. A statement issued by Regions at the time of Gale's appointment read, in part, "A hallmark of [Gale's] 40-year legal career has been his ability to understand new regulatory and legal environments and to help his diverse clients navigate complex issues. The regulatory and legal environment for financial services will continue to evolve over the next several years, and Boots will provide the expert counsel necessary to help us grow."

In addition to his professional career, Gale has also been active in his community and beyond. He serves or has served on the board of directors of McWane, Inc., Cooper/T. Smith Corporation, the Southern Research Institute, the Business Council of Alabama, and The Cahaba Foundation. He served as general counsel for Associated Industries of Alabama from 1974 to 1984 and currently serves as General Counsel of the Business Council of Alabama, beginning in 1984. He was a member of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for nine years, serving as chairman from 1998 to 1999. He has been active in the Alabama Law School Foundation for more than 30 years, serving as president in 1987-1989, as a trustee, and currently as treasurer. Gale has been very active in the Bar, serving as President of the Birmingham Bar in 1989 and President of the Alabama Bar in 2006-07. He has served as a member of the University of Alabama's President's Cabinet and as director of the Blackburn Institute. He is a member of Leadership Birmingham (1987) and Leadership Alabama (1991). The Alabama Law School named him Distinguished Practitioner in Residence (October 2004). He was also the recipient of the Sam Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Alabama Law School. In 2007, he was included in the McGill Institute's Hall of Fame. For more than four decades, Gale has been at the top of the legal profession in Alabama and admired for his good judgment, absolute discretion, and integrity.

Gale has been married to his high school sweetheart Louise Smith since 1965. They have two children, Carolyn Partridge and Jenny Saphier, and four grandchildren.