Janice M. Holder

Supreme Court Justice

Justice Holder was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee in December 1996 and was elected to eight-year terms in August 1998 and in August 2006. On September 1, 2008, she began a two-year term as the Tennessee Supreme Court's first female Chief Justice. Before her appointment to the Supreme Court, she was elected to Division II of the Circuit Court of Tennessee for the Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis where she served for six years.

Janice M. Holder is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a 1975 graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law.

Justice Holder has received numerous awards throughout her service as a state court judge and a justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, the latest of which include the 2008 Grayfred Gray Public Service Mediation Award, the 2009 Jurist of the Year Award from the Southeastern Region of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the 2009 W.J. Michael Cody Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award from the Memphis Area Legal Services.

Prior Judicial Experience

Circuit Court judge, 30th Judicial District at Memphis, Division II, 1990-96
Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court, 1996-present
Chief Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court, 2008-10

Previous Employment

Senior law clerk to Herbert P. Sorg, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, 1975-77
Solicitor, Borough of McDonald, Pennsylvania, 1978-79
Practiced law, 1977-90


Attended Allegheny College, 1967-68
B.S., summa cum laude, University of Pittsburgh, 1971
J.D. Duquesne University School of Law, 1975


  • Duquesne Law Review, 1973-75
  • Memphis Bar Forum - Editor, 1987-91
  • Sam A. Myar Award for Outstanding Service to the Legal Profession and to the Community,
  • Memphis Bar Association, 1990
  • Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation, 1991 (Trustee, 1995-99; Secretary, 1997-99)
  • Chancellor Charles A. Rond Award, Outstanding Jurist, Memphis Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, 1992
  • Judge of the Year, Divorce and Family Law Section of the Memphis Bar Association, 1992
  • Honorary Fellow, Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyer Division, 1997
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 1997
  • Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award, Association for Women Attorneys, 1999
  • Honored by the American Bar Association's Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs for exceptional support of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, 1999
  • Fellow, Memphis and Shelby County Bar Foundation, 2004
  • Honored by the National Association of Women Judges as one of the Women Leaders of State Courts, 2007
  • Community Service Award, St. Mark Baptist Church, 2008
  • House Joint Resolution No. 1401, State of Tennessee House of Representatives, 2008
  • Grayfred Gray Public Service Mediation Award, 2008 
  • Jurist of the Year Award, Southeastern Region of the American Board of Trial Advocates, 2009
  • W.J. Michael Cody Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award, Memphis Area Legal Services, 2009
  • Honored with other women elected officials by a bipartisan coalition of Shelby County women's groups at the "19th turns 90" Celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 2010
  • Legacy Laureate, University of Pittsburgh, 2010
  • Appointed by the National Conference of Chief Justices to the Mass Tort Litigation Committee; Silicone Gel Breast Implant Sub-Committee, 1992-96, Chair, 1996.
  • Member, Tennessee Judicial Council, 1992-96
  • Appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court as the West Tennessee Coordinating Judge of the Silicone Gel Breast Implant Cases, 1993


  • Memphis Bar Association, 1980-present (Secretary, 1993; Treasurer, 1994; Board of Directors, 1986-87, 1993-94; Executive Committee, 1986, 1993-94; Editor, Memphis Bar Forum, 1987-91; Chair, Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee, 1987-91; Chair, YLD Law Week, 1983; Chair, John C. Dice Criminal Defense Seminar, 1989; Pro Bono Panel for Senior Citizens, 1985-89)
  • Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Board of Directors, 1985-94
  • American Bar Association, 1994-present (Lawyer Impairment Project, Vice-Chair, 1987; Judicial Administration Division)
  • Tennessee Bar Association, 1984-present (Tennessee Lawyers Concerned For Lawyers, Executive Committee, 1989-98; House of Delegates, 1989-91; Commission on Women and Minorities, 1992-96)
  • Association for Women Attorneys (Treasurer, 1989; Joint Committee of Bar Associations, Chair, Memphis Bar Admissions Ceremony, 1989; Vice-President, 1991)
  • Tennessee Trial Judges Association, 1990-96 (Executive Committee, 1994-96) Tennessee Judicial Conference (Vice-Chair, Pattern Jury Instructions - Civil Committee, 1991-97; Treasurer, 1993-94; Executive Committee 1993-96)
  • American Judges Association, 1992-93
  • Memphis State University College Advisory Committee for Paralegal Studies, 1992-93
  • Tennessee Task Force Against Domestic Violence (State Coordinating Council, 1994-96)
  • Leadership Memphis, Class of 1993 (Co-Chair, Crime and Criminal Justice Day, March 1995 and March 1996)
  • Midtown Mental Health Center, Board of Directors, Crisis Stabilization Unit, 1995-97
  • Memphis Botanical Garden Foundation, Advisory Board, Chair, Executive Committee; Board of Trustees, 1995-2002
  • American Inns of Court, Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court (Master of the Bench, 1995-97; National Member, 1998-2000; Emeritus Member 2001-present)
  • National Association of Women Judges, 1995-present (Co-Chair, 2009 Annual Conference)
  • University of Tennessee College of Law Speaker Series Board of Advisors, 1998-2003
  • International Women's Forum, 1998-present (Chair, Memphis Chapter, 2008-present)
  • Memphis Literacy Council, Volunteer Tutor, 2002-2005
  • Kiwanis Club of Memphis, 2002-present
  • Memphis Council for International Visitors, Board of Directors, 2002-09; secretary, 2003-05
  • Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women (founding member)
  • Conference of Chief Justices, 2008-11 (Second Vice President, 2010-11)
  • iCivics, 2010-present (State Chair for Tennessee, 2011-present)

Community Involvement

Justice Holder is active in civic and professional activities and organizations, including the International Women's Forum, for which she serves as the Memphis Chair for the Tennessee Chapter, and the Memphis Council for International Visitors, having served on the Board of Directors and as secretary.  She also has served as a volunteer tutor for the Memphis Literacy Council.

  • 901-543-2440 (P)


50 Peabody Place, Suite 209 Memphis, TN