Edward M. Friend III

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in August 1996 and was updated in 2018.


Edward M. Friend III graduated from the University of Alabama in 1968 and the University of Alabama School of Law in 1971. He then joined Sirote and Permutt PC, one of Alabama’s largest law firms, and later served as the firm’s President.

Mr. Friend engaged in general, corporate, and health law practice and has been listed by respected publications and legal directories for meritorious professional accomplishment. He has made numerous presentations on legal topics to professional and trade associations throughout the country, served as a trustee of the University of Alabama Law School Foundation, chaired the Farrah Law Society, and was a founding director of the Legal Services Corporation of Alabama as well as a trustee of the Legal Aid Society, both of which provide legal services to disadvantaged Alabamians.

Mr. Friend has been active in community affairs, having served Chair or President of the following: Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Central Alabama, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Alabama Region of the National Conference on Community and Justice, Leadership Alabama, Birmingham International Festival, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Birmingham, Birmingham Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Rotary Club of Birmingham.

His involvement with the United Way of Central Alabama includes successfully chairing its 1989 annual campaign and serving for many years as chair of its planned giving program, one of the most successful in the nation, as well as chair of planned giving for the United Way of America.

Mr. Friend also acted as Vice Chair of A+, a statewide advocacy organization which conducted a campaign for progressive education reform in the early 1990s. He led 13th Place, a shelter for runaway and troubled children, which advocated treatment alternatives for young offenders.

For nearly a decade, Mr. Friend served as a member of the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and received teaching awards presented by student organizations.

Among his awards and recognitions are the Alabama Academy of Honor, Outstanding Honorary UAB Alumnus, Outstanding Civic Leader Award presented by the Alabama Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award of the Alabama chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice, and Outstanding Alumnus University of Alabama School of Law (presented by students). The Friend Family in 1994 received the Alexis de Tocqueville Award of the United Way of Central Alabama.

Mr. Friend is a member of Temple Emanuel. He is married to the former Catharine Comer of Birmingham. They have two daughters and two grandsons.