Page Pate, 55, died on Sunday while swimming in an inlet on St Simons Island where his family has a home.
Pate and his son were swept into open waters by strong rip currents, according to Glynn County Coroner Marc Neu.
His son managed to make it back to shore but a rescue crew had to pull Pate from the water. Despite attempts to revive him, he was later pronounced dead at the Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital
Pate worked for more than 25 years as a trial lawyer and split his time between offices in Atlanta and Brunswick, Georgia.
He was also known as a legal expert on national news and radio stations and covered a string of high-profile cases.
“Though he was a formidable, sometimes intimidating, attorney in the courtroom, Page had an easy smile, an earnest laugh, and a great sense of humor,” Pate’s law firm, Pate, Johnson and Church, said in a statement.
Pate was a founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project.