Administrative Office of the Courts

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides support to the Tennessee Supreme Court and the entire state court system. The director, appointed by the Supreme Court, is administrative officer for the courts and oversees the AOC.

Duties of the office include:

News

May 2, 2016
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee said Monday she could sum up the state of the judiciary in one word: Great.Of course, she went on to use a few more words to give details to several...
April 27, 2016
The location for the first stop of the Indigent Representation Task Force statewide listening tour has been moved to the Vasco Smith Building in Memphis. It previously was scheduled to be in the...
April 20, 2016
The Indigent Representation Task Force has announced a series of statewide listening tours to hear from those interested in sharing their thoughts on indigent defense in Tennessee. The first two...
March 16, 2016
Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 13 authorizes the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to enter into contracts for representation of indigent persons by attorneys working on various types of cases...
March 8, 2016
The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts is accepting applications for two grants. The deadline for both grants is April 8, 2016. More information is available here:Application for Grant...
March 2, 2016
The Indigent Representation Task Force, appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to review practices regarding how attorneys are compensated for work with individuals who are unable to afford legal...
February 22, 2016
The Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, co-chaired by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam, today announced the winners of the first Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Early...

Contact

Administrative Office of the Courts
511 Union Street
Suite 600
Nashville, TN 37219
(615) 741-2687
(800)-448-7970
Fax: (615) 741-6285 

Administrative Director

Deborah Taylor Tate is the Administrative Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Tate was appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in January 2015 to oversee the administrative functions of the state court system. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is an office of approximately 75 people who provide training, legal education, technical, finance and other support to the trial and appellate judges and courts across the state.

A former FCC Commissioner, Tate, who was twice nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate to the FCC, began her professional career in Tennessee state government. She served as assistant legal counsel and senior policy advisor to two former Tennessee governors: Don Sundquist and Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Tate also served as both Chairman and director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, led the health facilities commission and was a director at Vanderbilt University Institute of Public Policy.

Tate has remained active at the international level in her role as the first Special Envoy to the International Telecommunications Union and was recognized as a Laureate for her work with child online issues. Nationally, she serves as a director of Healthstream, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM); as a distinguished adjunct senior fellow at the Free State Foundation; as well as vice-chairman of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, a group committed to a more diverse media ecosystem.

Tate, a licensed attorney, is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator, Nashville Bar Foundation Fellow, and served in private practice representing families and juveniles in juvenile court as a guardian ad litem. She was also president of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board. Previously, she coordinated both the Juvenile Justice Commission and the Title 33 Commission, which rewrote the entire mental health law for the state of Tennessee. In 2009, she was introduced before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Tate has received numerous awards, including an award for Outstanding Public Service from Common Sense Media, the Good Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Carol Reilly Award from the New York State Broadcasters Association, the D.C. Policy Leader award from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the YW Award from the Academy for Women of Achievement, and the Jerry Duvall Public Service Award from the Phoenix Center for Advanced Public Policy Studies. She received the prestigious Mary Harriman award from the Association of Junior Leagues International (both Martha Ingram and Justice Sandra Day O’Conner are recipients).

Tate received both her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and also studied at Vanderbilt University Law School while working as a law clerk to Governor Alexander.

A fifth-generation Tennessee native, Tate is a committed volunteer, giving generously of her time and talent to many, including Common Sense Media, Centerstone of Tennessee, Centerstone Research Institute, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and Renewal House, an organization she helped found. She serves as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church and lives in Nashville with her husband, William H. Tate, who is a partner in the law firm of Howard, Tate, Sowell, Wilson, Leathers & Johnson. They have three adult children.