June 26, 2015
After being born and reared in Mt. Pleasant, TN and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University, Lee Whitwell came to Memphis to attend law school in 2011. Since being here, Lee has been living, working and learning along the Memphis Riverfront. His first apartment was on the river on Mud Island and he has dwelled nowhere outside of downtown since. Now with his Juris Doctorate in hand, Lee is an attorney with The Spence Law Firm.
According to Lee, while certainly different Downtown Memphis and Mt. Pleasant, TN, are both special places. In his opinion, Mt. Pleasant is much smaller with the largest thing in town being “maybe a factory or a grocery store.” However these attributes come with the upsides of the tranquil ambiance and more space for oneself, not even being able to see your neighbors in some places. On the flip side, Downtown Memphis’ compact layout works well, allowing him to get where he needs to via his own two feet. He also enjoys the greater number of people and attractions in Memphis.
In the four years Lee has worked downtown, he has always appreciated his view of the Mississippi River from his offices. When Lee goes out for a run, he makes sure our riverfront is on his route. He also likes to take guests down to the river to share the view. One of his favorite events near the river is the Race Judicata which is hosted by the University of Memphis to raise money for Memphis Area Legal Services. Lee loves the live music, the food and the all around fun atmosphere at the race.
Lee is also excited about the national entities that are making Memphis their home, entities such as Bass Pro Shops and Ikea. However, it is not on these big attractions that Lee is focused. He feels that some of life’s necessities are missing from the downtown area, for instance a major grocery store and child care center. But he is hopeful that these establishments will come as long as residential use of downtown Memphis continues to rise.
Deferring to more qualified opinions when asked about the importance of the Memphis Riverfront to the community Lee stated, “I don’t think that I’ve been in Memphis long enough to be qualified to handle that question.” He understands that it’s a conversation that’s been going around this city for a while and would rather leave it to the people who have invested such energy in the riverfront to say what importance it has. As far as future use of the riverfront he hopes to see a few more establishments but thinks that maintaining the open green spaces should remain a priority. He credits current establishments such as University of Memphis School of Law, the Riverfront Development Corporation, and other businesses downtown for making our city continuously better looking.