Justice Sharon Lee will continue to serve as Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The members of the Court unanimously re-elected her to a one-year term. Chief Justice Lee has been a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court since 2008 and Chief Justice since September of last year.
During the last year, Chief Justice Lee has overseen the launch of Tennessee’s first business court, has begun a top-to-bottom review to determine how the courts can more efficiently and effectively deliver services. She also has embraced technology, as the courts have made significant steps to allow e-filing with plans to have appellate e-filing in place by mid-2016.
Chief Justice Lee has continued to lead support of the Court’s No. 1 strategic initiative – Access to Justice. Access to Justice helps persons with civil legal needs who cannot afford an attorney to have better access to the justice system. Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in the Access to Justice field and Chief Justice Lee spoke about the state’s programs at a White House forum and was involved in a U.S. Senate briefing on what the Tennessee Access to Justice initiative has been able to accomplish.
“I look forward to continuing the work we have begun,” said Chief Justice Lee. “I am thankful for the support of my colleagues on the Court. I will continue to work hard to ensure that courts in Tennessee are on a continuous path of making things better in our communities and across the state.”
Chief Justice Lee is the third woman to serve as chief in Tennessee. Before her appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Lee served as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals from 2004-2008. From 1978-2004, she practiced law in her hometown of Madisonville and also served as a municipal judge, a mediator, and a county and city attorney. Justice Lee received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Tennessee.
Justice Lee is active in her community, serving on several boards including the YWCA Knoxville and the East Tennessee Historical Society. She also is involved with the Volunteer Ministry Center and the 2014 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention. Justice Lee has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Chief Justice William E. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award, the YWCA Knoxville 30 Remarkable Women over the past 30 years, the Lizzie Crozier French Leadership Award from the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council, YWCA Knoxville Tribute to Women Honoree, the Woman of Achievement Award from the Girl Scouts Council of the Southern Appalachians, the Spirit of Justice Award by the East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women, and the University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Promise Award. Chief Justice Lee has two daughters and two granddaughters.