Thomas Varlan ’81 named Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Tennessee

Jan 20, 2013

U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan,Class of 1981, formally accepted the gavel as chief judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee on Thursday, January 10.

Judge Varlan succeeds Judge Curtis L. Collier of Chattanooga as chief judge of Tennesee’s Eastern District, which is the largest federal district in Tennessee, covering 41 countries. He has been a member of the Judicial Conference since 2010.

Judge Varlan, who is based in Knoxville, served as Knoxville’s law director from 1988 to 1998. He was in private practice in Atlanta from 1981-87 and in Knoxville from 1998 to 2003, when he was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush.

As chief judge, Varlan will serve as the administrative judge for the district, which is the largest in the state. The position of chief judge rotates each seven years to the next judge in seniority who is under age 65. Judge Varlan is the fourth district judge based in Knoxville to hold the chief judgeship since the position was created in 1948.

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Kent Halkett ’81 was featured on the cover of the December 2012 edition of Los Angeles Lawyer. Halkett was the author of the magazine’s cover story, in which he discussed “the significant challenge that the educational malfeasance rule poses for disgruntled graduates.”

Halkett is a litigation partner of Musick Peeler & Garrett in Los Angeles whose practice includes educational, business and healthcare disputes. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.


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