Jeffrey Bivins ’86 elected chief justice of Tennessee Supreme Court

Sep 14, 2016

Jeffrey Bivins '86Jeffrey Bivins ’86 has been elected chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He succeeded former Chief Justice Sharon Lee after he was approved by Tennessee voters to serve a full eight-year term on the state’s highest court in a statewide retention election.

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Tennessee in this expanded role,” Justice Bivins said in a news release. “Serving alongside two former chief justices on a Court with more than 80 years of judicial experience among the justices, I know we are well positioned to lead the efforts of the judiciary.”

He praised Lee, who previously headed the five-justice court, saying she “accomplished a great deal over her term as chief justice, from efforts to modernize the court system, to addressing the needs of business litigants, and taking steps to improve our indigent defense system.”

He called it “a privilege to guide the court on the heels of her excellent leadership.”

Before his appointment to the Court, Justice Bivins was a judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals from August 2011 until July 2014. Before his elevation to the appellate court, he was a Circuit Court judge for the 21st Judicial District of Tennessee, covering Williamson, Hickman, Lewis and Perry counties.

Justice Bivins was appointed to the trial bench in March 2005 and then elected to a full eight-year term in 2006. He had also served as a trial judge from July 1999 through August 2000.

As a trial and intermediate appellate judge, Justice Bivins served on the Board of Judicial Conduct as well as on its predecessor, the Court of the Judiciary. He is a former president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and continues to serve on its executive committee.

Prior to his appointment to the trial bench, Justice Bivins practiced law with Boult Cummings Conners & Berry in Nashville. He also served as assistant commissioner and general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Personnel.

He earned his B.A. magna cum laude from East Tennessee State University in 1982.

Justice Bivins and his wife, Gail, live in Franklin with their two daughters. He is a former member of the Williamson County Commission.