Judge Fry Sworn-In As 19th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge

October 22, 2021
When Judge Adrienne Gilliam Fry placed her hand on the family Bible to take the oath as a 19th Judicial District judge, it was being held by a very special person. 
 
“At my swearing in, I saw individuals who had assisted me from the very beginning of my legal career, all the way through this transition,” Judge Fry said. “It was especially memorable because my daughter, who is eight years old, was able to be the ‘swearing-in person’, as she said. She held the family Bible and participated in the whole process. It is pretty empowering for my young daughter to see her mom up there and that was incredible.” 
 
She was officially sworn in on August 19, 2021, in Robertson County, during a joint ceremony with Judge Robert Thomas Bateman. The judges participated in a second ceremony in Montgomery County on August 20, 2021. Judge Fry fills the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Ross Hicks.
 
Judge Fry describes her swearing in ceremony as wonderful and jam packed. Having current Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jill Ayers, who previously served as a circuit court judge in the 19th judicial district, swear her in with her parents and predecessor in attendance made it even more memorable.
 
Judge Fry said the support she received at the ceremony was overwhelming. That special feeling carried over to her first day on the bench.
 
“I received a tremendous amount of support from my colleagues here, as well as from the Court of Criminal Appeals. It’s like all of a sudden entering into a family,” she said. “I received text messages and personal phone calls, just wishing me the best and giving me some advice. Honestly, it was one of the most impressive days of my life.” 
 
When asked about her favorite part of her new role, Judge Fry said it is the feeling that her judicial appointment is the reason she went to law school. 
 
“This whole process has reignited my passion for the law in all different areas. I sat down and looked at issues I hadn’t had the opportunity to delve into much in private practice and when I got onto Westlaw, I felt that excitement that I felt back in law school,” she said.
 
Judge Fry loved her private law practice, but it was when Judge Ayers was under consideration for the Court of Criminal Appeals that she first thought about applying for a judgeship. 
 
“I was considering doing the application for her vacancy when Judge Hicks personally called me, before he announced his retirement, and encouraged me to apply for his vacancy,” she said. “I was happy doing what I was doing, but this was always something that I had foreseen trying.”
 
Judge Fry’s decision to attend law school, however, is quite unique. “I was a freshman at college and was in a completely different major,” she said. “I took an aptitude test that was off the charts for law and the judicial field. That was the first time I ever thought of studying law.”
 
It was either law or mortuary science, according to her test results. The judicial field it was. 
 
“It was one of those things that I had never considered, but once I did and started to dive into it, I just loved it,” she said. “I had a phenomenal experience at the University of Tennessee. I maintain contact with the Dean and several of my professors. They’ve been really encouraging the process, too.”  
 
Judge Fry admits the application process for filling a judge vacancy was daunting, but she encourages other attorneys to give it a shot. “Absolutely do it! It’s been so rewarding, professionally and personally.”
 
Prior to her appointment, Judge Fry was in private practice at Fry & Ritchie in Clarksville. She earned her J.D. at the University of Tennessee College of Law and her bachelor’s degree at East Tennessee State University. 
Judge Adrienne Gilliam Fry, 19th Judicial District Circuit Court

Judge Fry and daughter, Raleigh