Chancellor Pamela Fleenor Receives SETLAW Lioness of the Bar Award

The Southeast Legal Association for Women (SETLAW) awarded 11th Judicial District (Hamilton County) Chancellor Pamela Fleenor with their Lioness of the Bar Award recently in Chattanooga.

“I’m very humbled by that and honored because, first of all, the prior recipients are people I admire,” said Chancellor Pamela Fleenor. “So, I’m certainly honored and humbled. I really appreciate their thoughtfulness in nominating me. I’m very appreciative.”

SETLAW’s Lioness of the Bar Award is given each year to a female attorney who exemplifies legal expertise, community involvement, and a dedication to SETLAW and mentoring female attorneys.

“For the 10th anniversary of the award, we could think of no one better than Chancellor Fleenor,” said Claire Tuley, Baker Donelson Associate and SETLAW member. “As a transactional attorney, I’ve never been able to practice in front of Chancellor Fleenor but I feel like I know her well from her presence at SETLAW events —she always asks great questions when we have CLEs! — and her role in mentoring many of my peers.”

Chancellor Fleenor makes herself accessible to young attorneys, both female and male, encouraging them in any way she can.

“If they want to take the bench sometime or run for office, I’m trying to always encourage that and let them know it’s possible if that’s what they choose in their career path,” she said. “Obviously if they want to keep practicing, great. I have tried my best to support SETLAW, to support the female lawyers, but all the young lawyers. I support the young male lawyers through our in-support club, as well.”

Chancellor Fleenor also enjoys sharing past experiences with her mentees. One current mentee is a SETLAW member who is on maternity leave.

“We went to lunch and she was telling me she was really nervous because this is her first job and she wondered how maternity leave was going to affect her, said Chancellor Fleenor. “I said, ‘Look, you just do your best and you don’t sacrifice your family. You have an honest discussion with your firm about what they expect from you on the days up to your leave, the days during your leave, and the days when you want to come back. You don’t disappoint them and they don’t disappoint you.’ I think that really helped her.”

Tuley praised Chancellor Fleenor’s approachability.

“What I have noticed most about Chancellor Fleenor’s impact is that young attorneys talk about her with so much respect, but absolutely no fear,” said Tuley. “I think that’s a hard balance to strike and she has done it perfectly.”

That balance includes a “Coffee with the Court” set in the winter months and hosted by Chancellor Fleenor and her colleague Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton. They invite young lawyers to sit down and have coffee with the judges, as a way to get them talking so they aren’t intimidated when they appear before the bench.

“I think it makes them feel a lot better,” said Chancellor Fleenor. “You see the judge up on the bench in a robe and you think they’re not accessible. I think to be accessible and realize they’re a person just like me. They have the same hopes, desires, wishes for their family, they eat lunch like I do, it just brings you down to reality.”

Past winners of the Lioness of the Bar Award include: Flossie Weill (2020), Magistrate Judge Susan Lee (2019), Tonya Cammon (2018), Marcy Eason (2017), the Honorable Marie Williams (2016), Virginia Love (2015) and the late Selma Cash Paty (2014).



Chancellor Pamela Fleenor accepts the SETLAW Lioness of the Bar Award
Chancellor Pamela Fleenor accepts the SETLAW Lioness of the Bar Award