Bivins was chosen for his decades of service to the legal profession in Tennessee, which includes his support of Access to Justice and indigent representation reform and, most recently, his leadership of Tennessee courts during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Tennessee Bar Association press release.
“I thank Chief Justice Bivins for his continued attention to the challenges facing the people of Tennessee, especially over the last few months,” TBA President Sarah Sheppeard said. “His leadership and willingness to listen to concerns of the legal community facilitated innovation and creativity in continuing the administration of justice across our state.”
Bivins previously served on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and as a Circuit Court Judge for the 21st Judicial District of Tennessee prior to his appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2014 by Gov. Bill Haslam.
He is a past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, and he served on the Board of Judicial Conduct and its predecessor, the Court of the Judiciary. He also previously served on the Tennessee Judicial Evaluation Commission.
Before his appointment to the trial bench, Bivins practiced law with Boult Cummings Conners & Berry in Nashville and served as assistant commissioner and general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Personnel.
Bivins is a member of the John Marshall American Inn of Court, having served as president from 2003 to 2008, and the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and the Nashville Bar Foundation. He is also a former member of the Williamson County Commission.
Before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, Bivins received a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from East Tennessee State University, with a major in political science and a minor in criminal justice.
The Drowota Award is given each year to a judge or judicial branch official of a federal, state or local court in Tennessee who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice as exemplified by the career of former Supreme Court Justice Frank F. Drowota III ’65 (BA’60), the award’s first recipient.