Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. ’81 (BA’78), a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, has been nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Middle Tennessee by President Barack Obama.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Crenshaw will fill the seat vacated by Judge William J. Haynes Jr. ’73, who took senior status in December.
Crenshaw has practiced at Waller since 1990, when he became the first African American attorney to join the firm. He was named a partner there in 1994. His practice focuses on labor and employment law, and he has handled cases for clients in multiple industries, including health care, retail, manufacturing, transportation, communications, hospitality, education and public utilities.
Before joining Waller, Crenshaw was an associate with Passino Delaney & Hildebrand in Nashville from 1987 to 1990. He had previously served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Tennessee from 1984 to 1987. He clerked for U.S. District Judge John Nixon of the Middle District of Tennessee from 1982 to 1984.
Waller Chairman Matt Burnstein ‘96 praised Crenshaw’s nomination as well-deserved. “Waverly has been one of Waller’s leading partners for many years, in multiple ways, and has represented our clients with great skill and professionalism,” Burnstein said. “He will be an excellent federal judge.”
U.S. Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee’s 5th District also praised Crenshaw’s nomination. “Out of an outstanding field of candidates, President Obama is nominating a first-rate local attorney and community leader,” Cooper said. “Waverly Crenshaw will make a fine federal judge. I just hope the Senate confirms him quickly because he is needed on the bench now.”
Crenshaw proudly calls himself “a product of the desegregated Nashville public school system.” He graduated from McGavock Comprehensive High School in Nashville before earning his undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt.
Crenshaw served on the hearing committee of the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 2013 and chaired its advisory committee in 2003-04. At Waller, he started an expansive mentoring program and served on the firm’s diversity committee.