Sharon G. Lee

Supreme Court Justice

Sharon G. Lee was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2008 and retained by the voters in 2010 and 2014. Justice Lee served as Chief Justice from 2014 to 2016. During her tenure as Chief Justice, she promoted access to justice, establishment of the state’s first Business Court pilot project, implementation of electronic filing, a review of the state’s indigent representation system, and a docket clean-up initiative. From 2004 to 2008, she served on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, being the first woman to serve on the Eastern Section of the Court in its 79-year history. Justice Lee practiced law in her hometown of Madisonville from 1978 until her appointment to the bench in 2004. In addition to representing business entities and individuals in civil and criminal matters, she was the attorney for Monroe County, the City of Madisonville, and the City of Vonore. She also served as the Madisonville municipal judge. Justice Lee was a Rule 31 listed family mediator with advanced family domestic violence training. She is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Lee graduated from the Webb School of Knoxville, attended Vanderbilt University, and received a degree in Business Administration with high honors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Year Elected/Appointed
Prior Judicial Experience
  • Tennessee Court of Appeals (2004-2008)
  • Madisonville City Judge (2002-2004) 
Previous Employment

  • Private Practice in Madisonville, TN (1978-2004)
  • Judge, City of Madisonville (2002-2004)
  • Monroe County Attorney (1991-2004)
  • Vonore City Attorney (1986-1988) (1997-2004)
  • Madisonville City Attorney (1981-1987)
  • University of Tennessee College of Law, Adjunct Faculty, Trial Practice (2007)
  • Family Mediator with advanced family domestic violence training (2001-2004)

• B.S. in Business Administration - Accounting, High Honors - University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1975)
• University of Tennessee College of Law, with Honors (1978)

Justice Lee has received numerous honors, including

  • Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award (2023)
  • University of Tennessee Distinguished Alumna Award (2022)
  • University of Tennessee Centennial Alumnus, recognizing 100 outstanding alumni in the past 100 years (2017)
  • University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Achievement Award (2011)
  • Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award (2022)
  • Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award (2014)
  • ABOTA Tennessee Chapter Courage Award (2014)
  • East Tennessee Women's Leadership Council’s Lizzie Crozier French Award (2013)
  • Webb School of Knoxville Distinguished Alumni Award (2010)
  • YWCA of Knoxville Tribute to Women Honoree (2010)
  • YWCA of Knoxville 30 Remarkable Women over the past 30 Years Honoree (2014)
  • Girl Scouts Council of the Southern Appalachians’ Woman of Achievement Award (2010)
  • East Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women’s Spirit of Justice Award (2010)
  • National Association of Women Judges’ Spotlight Award (2005)

Former and current:

  • Tennessee Judicial Conference, Executive Committee
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation – Fellow
  • Knoxville Bar Foundation – Fellow
  • American Bar Foundation – Fellow
  • Tennessee Bar Association – House of Delegates
  • University of Tennessee College of Law – Law Fund Member
  • University of Tennessee College of Law – Alumni Advisory Council and Dean's Circle
  • Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women, East Tennessee Director at Large
  • East Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women – President and Membership Co-Chair
  • Monroe County Bar Association – President (2 terms), Vice-President, and Secretary 
  • Knoxville Bar Association, Board of Governors
  • National Association of Women Judges – District Director 
  • Tennessee Municipal Judges Association
  • Tennessee County Attorneys Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • Scribes

Court Involvement

  • Tennessee Judicial Conference, Executive Committee
  • Supreme Court Liaison to Board of Law Examiners, Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, and Technology Oversight Committee
  • Secretary, Court of Appeals
  • Member, Continuity of Operations Plan Committee
  • Member, Appellate Mediation Task Force
  • Member, Tennessee Code Commission

Writing and Publications

  • Justice Sharon G. Lee and Tyler Ring, Co-Authors, Book Review, A Sense of Justice: Judge Gilbert S. Merritt and His Times, by Keel Hunt, Tennessee Bar Journal (May/June 2023)
  • Justice Sharon G. Lee, E-filing for Busy Trial Lawyers, The Tennessee Trial Lawyer published by the TTLA (2022)
  • Justice Sharon G. Lee, E-filing in Tennessee: What You Need to Know, Tennessee Bar Journal, at 40 (March/April 2022)
  • Justice Sharon G. Lee, To Tweet or Not to Tweet—And if You Do, Do it Right, Tennessee Bar Journal, at 20 (Sept./Oct. 2021)
  • J.D. Lee and Sharon G. Lee, Co-Authors, Opening and Closing Arguments, Harrison Publishing Company (1980)

Community Involvement

Justice Lee is active in her community serving or having served with the following groups:

  • Knoxville YWCA, Board member; Race Against Racism, Chair
  • Knoxville YWCA Foundation, Board member
  • East Tennessee Historical Society, Board member
  • Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Board member
  • Monroe County Boys and Girls Club, Board member
  • 2014 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention Committee, Honorary member
  • Volunteer Ministry Center’s Carry the Torch luncheon, Honorary chair
  • Webb School of Knoxville Alumni Council, Board member
  • Knoxville Executive Women’s Association, Secretary and Executive Board member
  • Madisonville Elementary School PTA – President
  • Madisonville Middle School PTA – Vice President
  • Madisonville Middle School PTSO – Secretary
  • First United Methodist Church Member – Coordinator of Children’s Department, Lay Reader, Sunday School Teacher, Chairperson of Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, Disciples Bible Study Participant
  • Hiwassee College Division Leader, 2004 Annual Fund Campaign
  • Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Member
  • Madisonville Downtown Association, Christmas event Co-Chair
  • Frequent Speaker to School and Civic Groups
  • Frequent Continuing Legal Education Presenter
Eastern Section
Contact Info

505 Main Street, Suite 236
P.O. Box 444 (37901-0444)
Knoxville, TN 37902
United States