CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - Weeks after leaving Tennessee's highest court, William Barker has joined Chattanooga law firm Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel.

Barker was chief justice of the state Supreme Court when he left in September. He announced his retirement in April after 25 years as a judge, the last 10 of which were spent on the Supreme Court.

"I am excited as I begin this new chapter of my legal career," Barker said.

"I have always thought of myself as a people person, and with my 15 years of active trial practice as a lawyer, followed by my years of service as both a trial and appellate judge, I believe that I have the skills and temperament to be an effective mediator and arbitrator for those who seek to resolve their disputes in a forum other than the courtroom.

"I am particularly delighted to be associated with the excellent legal team at CB&S."

Barker is joining the firms Litigation Practice Group. Its head, Richard Bethea, said, "We are honored that Chief Justice Barker has chosen to continue his legal career in private practice with our firm. His high ideals, keen intellect, experience and gift for peacemaking will make him a great mediator and arbitrator of disputes for the benefit of all parties."

Barker was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1998 by then-Gov. Don Sundquist and became chief justice in 2005.

Barker is coming home to his native town, where he also attended the University of Chattanooga. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati School of Law.

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel is a member of Meritas, an international alliance of more than 165 medium-sized firms with more than 4,900 attorneys. CB&S employs more than 70 attorneys who practice in the areas of labor and employment, intellectual property, health care, business, real estate, taxation and estate preservation.

Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed Court of Appeals Judge Sharon Lee to take Barker's spot on the bench.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline

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