Cornelia A. Clark

Supreme Court Justice

Cornelia A. (Connie) Clark was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 2005 and was elected to a full eight-year term in August 2006. On September 1, 2010, she was sworn in as chief justice, becoming the second woman in Tennessee history to serve in that role.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Clark served as director of the Administrative Office of the Courts for six years. Clark was appointed circuit court judge of the 21st Judicial District in October 1989 after practicing law for 10 years at Farris, Warfield & Kanaday, now Stites & Harbison. She was elected to a full eight-year term in 1990, and was re-elected in 1998.

Clark earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1971 and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University in 1972. Before attending law school, Clark taught high school history and government for four years. In 1979, Clark received her juris doctorate from Vanderbilt University School of Law, where she served as a member of the editorial board for Vanderbilt Law Review.

In 2010, Clark was inducted into the Nashville YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement and was also named Appellate Judge of the Year by the Southeastern Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2005, Clark received the Williamson County Bar Association’s inaugural Liberty Bell Award for promoting a better understanding for the rule of law and encouraging civic responsibility.

Clark is a native of Franklin, where her family has lived for eight generations. An active member of the community, Clark served as Franklin City Attorney and as a board member of the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce. Clark is a life-long member of First United Methodist Church in Franklin, where she has previously served on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the Administrative Board and the Site Selection and Building Committee.

Year Elected/Appointed


Prior Judicial Experience

Appointed Circuit Judge 21st Judicial District, October 1989; Elected August 1990, reelected August 1998

Appointed Administrative Director of the Tennessee Courts, May 1999

Appointed to Tennessee Supreme Court,  September 2005; elected August 2006

Sworn in as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court on September 1, 2010

Previous Employment

Private Practice, Farris, Warfield & Kanaday, 1979-1989
 Former Adjunct Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Law


B.A. Vanderbilt University, 1971
M.A.T. Harvard University, 1972
J.D. Vanderbilt School of Law, 1979


Liberty Bell Award recipient from the Williamson County Bar Association - 2005

Patrons Award given annually by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County - 2006

Appellate Judge of the Year - Tennessee chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates - 2010


  • Past Board Member, Lawyers Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter
  • Nashville Bar Association (Second Vice President)
  • Williamson County Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (founding member)
  • National Association of Women Judges
  • American Judicature Society
  • American Bar Foundations (Past Chair, Tennessee Bar Foundation)
  • American Bar Association Commission on the American Jury 2004
  • Past Faculty Member, American Academy of Judicial Education, National Judicial College
  • Chairman, Tennessee Judicial Council (2006-  )
  • Harry Phillips American Inn of Court
  • Tennessee John Marshall American Inn of Court;
  • Dean, Tennessee Judicial Academy (1997-1998)
  • Board of Directors, Conference of State Court Administrators (2004-2005)
  • Vice President, Tennessee Judicial Conference (1997-1998)
  • Previous member Supreme Court Commissions on the Rules of Civil Procedure and Technology 

Community Involvement

  • Past President, YWCA of Nashville
  • Past board member of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
  • Past Board member, Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County
  • Co-chair of the original Steering Committee of Franklin Tomorrow, Inc.
  • Member, First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn.
  • Former member of the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 
  • Former member of the League of Women Voters
  • Founding member of the Franklin Breakfast Rotary Club
  • 615-741-2114 (P)


Supreme Court Building, Suite 318
401 7th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219-1407