Judge Bateman Takes The Bench In The 19th Judicial District

September 22, 2021

A lifetime dream came true for recently appointed Judge Robert Thomas Bateman when he donned a black robe and took the bench for the first time as one of the 19th Judicial District’s newest judges.

Judge Bateman was officially sworn in on August 19, 2021, in Robertson County, during a joint ceremony with Judge Adrienne Gillam Fry. The judges participated in a second ceremony in Montgomery County on August 20, 2021. Judge Bateman filled the seat of Judge Jill Bartee Ayers, who joined the Court of Criminal Appeals – Middle Section.

“It’s an honor that Governor Lee has placed trust in me to fill this vacancy, until the public gets to make that decision. It was just truly an honor to be appointed by Governor Lee and an honor to go to work for the folks of the 19th judicial district,” Judge Bateman said. He will run for election in August 2022.

Judge Bateman spent his first day on the bench on August 27 in Robertson County.

“It was eye opening to see how much the attorneys, both for the state and the defense bar, worked to efficiently move through the docket,” he said. “It was interesting to see from this side of the bench. I’ve experienced it from the other side, but it was eye opening to see how efficiently the process works.”

He also has an idea of what he will enjoy the most about being a circuit court judge. “I think my favorite part will be presiding over jury trials, where I will interact with the public as they serve on the jury.”

Judge Bateman said becoming a judge was always a goal he hoped to achieve. “I am confident that I was a good attorney, but I think my calling has always been to preside over jury trials, or to conduct hearings and try to reach the best result or right result, or lead the jury in that matter. As an attorney, your obligation is, within ethical limits, to advocate for your client’s position. As a judge, you are out trying to seek the right result.”

Judge Bateman knew at a young age that he would pursue a law degree because his father was a lawyer. “I grew up around law practice. I saw my father and other attorneys practice law and that brought me to wanting to go to law school.”

Now that he is a circuit court judge, he recommends any lawyers with aspirations of judgeship should work hard representing their clients, keep studying the law and, if they feel called to pursue a judicial slot, seek it out.

“I enjoyed being an attorney, but I think we all have different talents and I think this is a good use of my talents,” Judge Bateman said.

Prior to being appointed, Judge Bateman served as an attorney at Bateman and Bateman, in Clarksville. He earned his J.D. at Vanderbilt University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree at Austin Peay State University.

Judge Bateman and his wife, Kim, reside in Montgomery County. Judge Bateman has one adult son. He and Kim also recently added a new daughter-in-law to the family.