The Interview – Emery Palmer


Briefly describe yourself and what you do.

My name is Emory Palmer.  I am a husband to my beautiful wife Jennifer and father to my two fast-growing sons Bo and Jack. I am a proud 1987 graduate of Newnan High School and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.  I am also a Superior Court Judge in the Coweta Judicial Circuit and preside over the State general jurisdiction courts in Coweta, Carroll, Troup, Heard and Meriwether Counties.

Best piece of business advice you’ve received.

Focus on taking action.  Every organization is full of people who are good at planning things, going to meetings, having conference calls, etc.  But nothing truly great was ever done at a committee meeting or on a conference call.  Try to put your energy into taking action.    

If I had it to do over …

I would go with my instincts more and would have asserted myself more when I was younger.  It took me a while to figure out that a lot of the people I was deferring to weren’t as smart as I was.  I kept my mouth shut a lot of times when my instinct was correct and I should have spoken up.  

You are going on an extended solo trip. What three albums and three books would you take?


  • Willie Nelson, Phases and Stages – Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; this is REAL outlaw country.
  • Jimmy Buffett, A1A – The best of Buffett’s Key West albums; when I listen to this record I instantly unwind.
  • Lyle Lovett, Road to Ensenada – Lovett has always seemed like a pretty cool guy to me; this album really brings that out.


  • The Bible – I’m a Christian, but even if you’re not this is a profound book.  If you don’t have one, buy one.  If you do have one, read it!
  • Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry – Greatest novel ever about the American West.  I never get tired of it.
  • Rising Tide, John M. Barry – This compelling book is a history of efforts to tame the Mississippi River, farm the Mississippi Delta, and how the 1927 flood changed both the Delta and America, socially, politically  and economically.  Not enough people know this story.

Tell us one thing about yourself that few people know

When I was in college, I lived in China for a year.  I travelled all over the country and became pretty fluent in Mandarin.  

You are hosting a dinner party for six. What five people, living or dead, would you invite and why

  • Marcus Tillius Cicero – Cicero was a rival of Julius Caesar and did it all: politician, lawyer, author, soldier and philosopher.  Everyone should read his essay on friendship.  
  • James Madison – I’d like to ask the author of the U.S. Constitution and Federalist No. 10 how he would deal with some of the modern issues that the founders never thought of.
  • Abraham Lincoln – The rail splitter was one of the great political operatives of all time and a fantastic lawyer.  I’d like to pick his brain.
  • Winston Churchill – Another great political operative.  I’d like to know how he maintained that reservoir of courage in the early days of World War II.
  • Lewis Grizzard – I wouldn’t want all politicians, and I never got to meet him.

Name an as yet unfulfilled dream

I’d like to own a restaurant.  I love to cook and I daydream about this all the time.

If you weren’t doing what you are, you would be …

I’d be a diplomat.  I took the Foreign Service exam and was waiting for a slot when I got accepted to law school.

Your go-to food.

The special at Sprayberry’s BBQ.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs.  I don’t get the feeling that cats like people all that much.  You can’t say that about dogs.

Your favorite quote and why

Mark Twain said: “the only thing you need in life is ignorance and confidence and then success is sure.”  I was pretty old before I realized how true that often is.

What advice would you give your younger self just starting out on their own

Life goes by pretty fast.  Try to focus on what you are doing right now and doing the best you can at whatever that is.  Try to avoid focusing on mistakes of the past or on worries about the future.  Live in the present.

Leave a reply