Cornelia A. Clark

Supreme Court Justice

Cornelia A. (Connie) Clark was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 2005 and was elected to full eight-year terms in 2006 and 2014. She served as chief justice 2010-2012, 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 the Vanderbilt Law Review.

In 2017, Clark received the Justice Martha Craig Daughtrey Award from the Lawyers' Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter.In 2015, Clark received the Pioneer Award from Vision 2020.  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 Chapter 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 of 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 currently serves as lay leader and has previously served on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, Administrative Council and the Site Selection and Building Committee.  She also serves as board chair of the United Methodist Publishing House and as a Trustee of Martin Methodist College.

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 - September 2005

Appointed to Tennessee Supreme Court, September 2005; elected August 2006 and August 2014

Served as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court September 1, 2010 - August 31, 2012

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


  • Pioneer Award, Vision 2020 - 2015
  • 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
  • Justice Martha Craig Daughtrey Award from the Lawyers' Association for Women - Marion Griffin Chapter - 2017


  • 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 Foundation
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation (Chair 2000 - 2001)
  • Nashville Bar Association
  • 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

  • Board Chair, United Methodist Publishing House (2016 - 2020)
  • Lay Leader, First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn. (2017 -     )
  • Trustee, Martin Methodist College (2016 -     )
  • Delegate, 2016 and 2012 United Methodist Church General Conference
  • Past President, YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee
  • Past board member of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
  • Past Board member, Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce 
  • Past Board member, Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County
  • Co-chair of the original Steering Committee of Franklin Tomorrow, Inc.
  • 615-741-2114 (P)


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