Governor appoints Maryville native W. Neal McBrayer as Middle Section judge to Tennessee Court of Appeals
By J.J. Kindred | (email@example.com)
NASHVILLE — Nashville attorney and Maryville native W. Neal McBrayer never set a goal to become a judge, but it was appealing to him.
His non-goal has now become the ultimate big step, as Gov. Bill Haslam appointed McBrayer as a judge for the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Middle Section Friday.
McBrayer will replace Presiding Judge Patricia J. Cottrell, who will not seek an additional term.
“Neal McBrayer has a strong background as an attorney, and I am pleased to make this appointment,” Haslam said in a press release. “We are fortunate to have someone on the bench with his experience and expertise.”
McBrayer, 50, is an attorney at Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC in its Nashville office, concentrating on areas of commercial litigation and bankruptcy law. He was previously at Miller & Martin from 1999-2012 and at Trabue, Sturdivant & DeWitt from 1989-1998.
“I did know that I was under consideration,” McBrayer said during a telephone interview Sunday afternoon, as far as the selection process. “I was one of three nominees coming out of the judicial nominating commission at the end of June.
“I didn’t expect it. Honored is really the right word,” McBrayer continued. “The governor’s administration spent a lot of time to make sure they were comfortable with the picks. I’m just honored to be selected.”
McBrayer received his juris doctorate from the College of William & Mary in Virginia in 1989, where he was editor of the William & Mary Law Review. He is a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of Maryville College.
McBrayer has served as a 20th Judicial Circuit Delegate to the Tennessee Bar Association House of Delegates since 2001, and is a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation and has been recognized in “The Best Lawyers in America” and as a Mid-South Super Lawyer.
McBrayer is past president of the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute, and is also a member of the Planning Commission in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, and the city’s Environmental Advisory Board.
He and his wife, Kelly, live in Brentwood and has considered the Nashville area home since 1989 after he finished law school, but is very fond of his East Tennessee roots.
“I felt very fortunate to live in Maryville,” McBrayer said. “It was an interesting couple of decades being there. I was fortunate enough to go to Maryville College and spending four years there. I just had a terrific upbringing there. East Tennessee is beautiful and I still have family there, but Brentwood is my home now. I do miss the mountains.”
McBrayer said there will be a great deal of adjustment from being an attorney to being on the bench.
“I’m currently at a large law firm, and so one of the benefits is the opportunity to work collaboratively with other lawyers on cases and helping to solve clients’ problems,” McBrayer said. “As a judge, you don’t have that. I’m sure I’ll miss that component of practice, and I will miss trying cases. That was always something I got a great deal of enjoyment out of, standing up in a courtroom. I know it will be an adjustment not having that. I will still be in a courtroom, but just in a different capacity.”
McBrayer will take the bench at a date yet to be announced as soon as final details relating to the appointment are sorted out.