Nashville's 101 Top Lawyers

From a field of thousands, we present the strongest legal players in Middle Tennessee -- vetted by their peers and clients

Is your attorney a Mega-Supa-Officially-Haughty-Quantum-Leiper's-Fork-rooster-crowing master of the local bar universe?

It can be a drag to see suggestions to the contrary. Sundry out-of-town profiteers put out lists and rankings every year that purport to designate the foremost legal practitioners in Nashville. There's not always much evidence of careful research or local knowledge playing a role in those choices. Attorneys long since retired, or even deceased, have been known to turn up among the honorees.

Out of frustration with such list-zombies, the staff of Nashville Post magazine set out in 2002 to create a meaningful, intellectually defensible roster of the city's most widely admired attorneys in various business-law specialties. Over the course of months, reporters spent hundreds of hours confidentially sounding out local lawyers, judges and businesspeople to obtain frank opinions about members of the local bar.

The result of their work, published in the January 2003 edition of the magazine, caused its share of disputation in the local legal community but also a fair amount of appreciative comment from readers who have occasion to retain counsel in the course of their work. Readership stats show that the online version of that list is, to this day, consistently one of the most widely viewed stories from the early history of the Post.

Now that Nashville Post magazine has returned to publication, we are reviving the list as our annual 101 Top Lawyers feature. We have done our best to canvass the legal community and some if its customers with a view toward assessing the strongest players in each of numerous legal niches. We have made a special effort to identify attorneys who are not necessarily very good self-marketers but whom peers hold in high esteem.

To echo words from the 2003 list: Needless to say, an attorney’s inclusion on the list does not ensure that he or she is the ideal lawyer for you.

But it does mean the practitioners on the following pages have been rigorously vetted by the people who see their work first-hand. All are worthy of recognition as belonging among Nashville's 101 Top Lawyers, as of 2011.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Lewis H. Conner Jr. — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
I.C. (Jack) Waddey Jr. — Waddey & Patterson

Appellate Litigation
Donald Capparella — Dodson, Parker, Behm & Capparella

Banking (Lending)
Julian L. Bibb — Stites & Harbison
Kim A. Brown — Sherrard & Roe

Banking (Regulatory)
Kathryn Reed Edge — Miller & Martin
Steven J. Eisen — Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
Mary Neil Price — Dickinson Wright
Bob F. Thompson — Bass, Berry & Sims

Lawrence R. Ahern III — Burr & Forman
Craig V. Gabbert Jr. — Harwell, Howard, Hyne, Gabbert & Manner
Robert C. Goodrich Jr. — Stites & Harbison
Paul G. Jennings — Bass, Berry & Sims
James R. Kelley — Neal & Harwell
Randal S. Mashburn — Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
Robert J. Mendes — MGLaw
William L. Norton III — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Glenn B. Rose — Harwell, Howard, Hyne, Gabbert & Manner

L. Wearen Hughes — Bass, Berry & Sims
G. Brian Jackson — Miller & Martin

William T. Cheek III — Bone McAllester Norton
J. Page Davidson — Bass, Berry & Sims
Howard H. Lamar III — Bass, Berry & Sims
J. Mark Manner — Harwell, Howard, Hyne, Gabbert & Manner
Todd  J.  Rolapp — Bass, Berry & Sims
Nancy A. Vincent — Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

Criminal Defense
Hal Hardin — Sole practitioner
David L. Raybin — Hollins, Raybin & Weissman
Eli J. Richardson — Bass, Berry & Sims
James F. (Jim) Sanders — Neal & Harwell
Peter J. Strianse — Tune, Entrekin & White
Edward M. Yarbrough — Walker, Tipps & Malone

Orville Almon Jr. — Zumwalt, Almon & Hayes
Linda Edell Howard — Adams and Reese
W. Michael Milom — Milom Joyce Horsnell Crow
Robert L. Sullivan — Loeb & Loeb

J. Andrew (Drew) Goddard — Bass, Berry & Sims
Sharon O. Jacobs — Bone McAllester Norton
William L. Penny — Stites & Harbison

Health Care (Regulatory)
Dan H. Elrod — Miller & Martin
Jay Hardcastle — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Patricia Owen Powers — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
Cynthia Y. Reisz — Bass, Berry & Sims

Health Care (Transactional)
George W. Bishop III — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
Stephen T. Braun — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Richard G. Cowart — Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
John R. Voigt — Sherrard & Roe
Leigh S. Walton — Bass, Berry & Sims

Intellectual Property
Richard S. Busch — King & Ballow
Curtis J. Capeling — Harwell, Howard, Hyne, Gabbert & Manner
Samuel D. Lipshie — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Mark J. Patterson — Waddey & Patterson
John F. Triggs — Waddey & Patterson

Labor & Employment
Kara E. Shea — Miller & Martin
Robert L. Ballow — King & Ballow
Robert E. Boston — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis

H. Lee Barfield II — Bass, Berry & Sims
John P. Branham — Bone McAllester Norton
W. David Bridgers — Neal & Harwell
John F. Floyd — Todd, Floyd, and Hammet
William B. Jakes III — Howell & Fisher
Gayle Malone Jr. — Walker, Tipps & Malone
Robert S. Patterson — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Steven A. Riley — Riley, Warnock & Jacobson
Robert J. Walker — Walker, Tipps & Malone
Joseph F. Welborn III — Walker, Tipps & Malone
Thomas A. Wiseman III — Wiseman Ashworth Law Group

Medical Malpractice
Steven E. Anderson — Walker, Tipps & Malone
Daniel L. Clayton — Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge
John A. Day — Day & Blair
C.J. Gideon Jr. — Gideon Cooper & Essary PLC
David Randolph Smith — David Randolph Smith & Associates

Public Finance
Patrick L. Alexander — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Natasha L. Blackshear — Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan

Public Policy
J. Richard Lodge — Bass, Berry & Sims
Guilford F. (Gif) Thornton Jr. — Adams and Reese
James M. Weaver — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
Amanda (Mandy) Haynes Young — Miller & Martin

Real Estate
Robert R. Campbell Jr. — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
Laurence M. Papel — Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
Charles B. Reasor Jr. — White & Reasor
Richard F. Warren — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Gary M. Brown — Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
James H. Cheek III — Bass, Berry & Sims
J. Chase Cole — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
E. Marlee Mitchell — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
F. Mitchell Walker Jr. — Bass, Berry & Sims

Joseph W. Gibbs — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Michael D. Sontag — Bass, Berry & Sims
Larry T. Thrailkill — Thrailkill, Harris, Wood & Boswell
G. Michael Yopp — Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis

Trusts & Estates
James C. Gooch — Bass, Berry & Sims
William L. Harbison — Sherrard & Roe
L. Bryan Howard III — Howard & Mobley
Joe M. Goodman — Adams and Reese
Jeffrey Mobley — Howard & Mobley

Utility Regulation
Melvin J. Malone — Miller & Martin
Henry M. Walker — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Charles B. Welch Jr. — Farris Mathews Bobango

Zoning/Land Use
James L. Murphy III — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Thomas V. White — Tune, Entrekin & White

Has Nashville gotten stuck in a 50's time warp? Half the members of the Bar are now women - it's inconceivable that your list has only 11 women attorneys - a woeful 10%. Proof, I guess, that the good old boy network is alive and well.

Here's some obvious names omitted from your list - and these are just women lawyers practicing in the areas I'm familiar with:

Alternative Dispute Resolution
1. Jackie Dixon