Knoxville Judge Honored for Achievements, Leadership in Profession

Chief United States District Judge Pamela L. Reeves will be honored next month with the inaugural Tennessee Professionalism Award from the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee American Inns of Court.

The Tennessee Professionalism Award is awarded each year to a lawyer or judge whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the rule of law and the highest standards of the legal profession in Tennessee. It will be presented annually to a lawyer or judge residing in the Grand Division of Tennessee where the Tennessee Bar Association’s Annual Convention is held.

Reeves was chosen for her decades of service to the legal profession in Tennessee, including a number of “firsts” — first female partner in the prominent Knoxville law firm where she practiced for many years, first female president of the Tennessee Bar Association, first female District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee and ultimately the first female Chief District Judge.

“Judge Reeves has achieved extraordinary things within the profession,” TBA President Sarah Sheppeard says of Reeves, “but she has also been an incredible leader in her community and a mentor and supporter to those who have followed her. She has worked through a number of organizations to provide leadership training and instill confidence in young women. Many of the current leaders in the Tennessee legal community and beyond have Judge Reeves to thank in significant part for encouraging them to pursue those roles and for equipping them to effectively serve.”

A resident of Knoxville, Reeves earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee. She received a Juris Doctor from the George C. Taylor College of Law at the University of Tennessee. In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Reeves to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. She received her judicial commission in 2014 and became Chief Judge in 2019.

The award recipient was selected by a committee consisting of the TBA President, TBA President-elect, President of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and the presidents of the East Tennessee American Inns of Court. Dean William C. Koch, Jr. with the Nashville School of Law chaired the selection committee.

The American Inns of Court is an international organization that envisions a legal profession and judiciary dedicated to professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence. Its mission is to inspire the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring. Tennessee is home to nine local American Inns of Court located in Chattanooga, Franklin, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Nashville.

The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) was founded in 1881. Its membership represents the entire spectrum of the legal profession in Tennessee and beyond. The TBA is open to all licensed attorneys in good standing, and it is dedicated to enhancing fellowship and professionalism among the members of Tennessee’s legal community.