Tennessee Supreme Court Names Michelle J. Long Deputy Director of Administrative Office of the Courts

October 14, 2019

Michelle J. Long has been appointed the deputy director of the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Long has served as the assistant commissioner of the division of Health Licensure and Regulation for the Tennessee Department of Health since 2012.

“Michelle has a stellar history of public service in Tennessee, and the Court is thrilled to bring her talents to the AOC,” Chief Justice Jeff Bivins said. “The AOC’s mission is constantly evolving, and Michelle brings the perfect mix of legal skills, policy expertise, and management talents to the judicial branch.”

Long joins AOC Director Deborah Taylor Tate at the helm of the AOC, which operates and supports the state court system with over 700 employees and a budget over $160 million.

Long has been a licensed attorney in Tennessee for almost 25 years. At the Department of Health, she provided executive leadership in all aspects of licensure, discipline, and regulation of over 350,000 health professionals and health care professionals in the state. Previously, Long served as senior vice president and general counsel for the Tennessee Hospital Association, the executive director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and as legal counsel to former Governor Don Sundquist.

“Michelle and I worked together previously for Governor Sundquist, and I am thrilled to reconnect,” Director Tate said. “Her addition to the AOC will allow us to further modernize the court system and provide innovative solutions to criminal justice reform efforts, civil legal reforms, and the opioid epidemic, as well as how we educate the judiciary and communicate with the bar and the general public.”

The AOC will not be Long’s first interaction with the judiciary. In 2015, she was appointed by then Governor Bill Haslam to the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments, which recommends candidates for the appellate courts, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board and the Tennessee Claims Commission to the governor.

The opioid epidemic has impacted every court in Tennessee and is an issue with which Long has a lot of experience. While she was the assistant commissioner for the Division of Health Licensure and Regulation, Tennessee reduced the number of pain management clinics from 333 to fewer than 150 by tightening regulation and also increased the utilization and performance of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database to better track and monitor prescribing.

Long earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee and her bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University.