Supreme Court Announces Retirement of Executive Director of Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education

January 28, 2022

The Tennessee Supreme Court today announced the retirement of Judy Bond-McKissack as Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education. Ms. Bond-McKissack has served in that role since January 2011.

The CLE Commission was created by the Supreme Court in 1987 by Supreme Court Rule 21. It approves and tracks continuing legal education for the approximately 24,000 attorneys licensed to practice law in Tennessee, who must take a minimum of 15 CLE hours each year.  Today, Tennessee attorneys take over 250,000 hours of CLE each year, which is tracked for attorney compliance, course accreditation, attendance reporting and accounting. The Commission reviews and awards or denies CLE credit to over 9,000 continuing legal education courses across the country each year. It also oversees the certification of attorney specialists in 14 areas of law.

“Continuing legal education is crucial to ensure that the citizens of our State receive informed, quality legal representation,” said Justice Holly Kirby, the Supreme Court’s liaison to the Commission. “Making certain that all of the attorneys licensed by the Tennessee Supreme Court are up-to-date and compliant with the mandatory CLE requirements is a daunting task. Not only did Judy Bond-McKissack oversee the CLE requirements, she also provided administrative support for the Commission, including fiscal management, risk management, records management, and information technology support. With Judy at the helm, the CLE Commission has done an outstanding job.”  

Ms. Bond-McKissack has served the State of Tennessee in a variety of capacities for 30 years. Her service includes time as a Board of Review Hearing Officer with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and various positions within the Secretary of State’s office, including Director of Business Services and Chief Legal Counsel. Prior to joining state government, Ms. Bond-McKissack served as Managing Attorney for the Clarksville Office of Legal Services of Middle Tennessee, providing legal assistance to citizens in seven counties in Middle Tennessee. She earned both her undergraduate degree and Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University. 

“During her eleven years as Executive Director of the CLE Commission, Judy has worked tirelessly to improve the legal profession through her administration of our continuing legal education program,” said David Veile, chair of the CLE Commission and a practicing attorney at Schell & Oglesby, LLC in Franklin. “Her unwavering commitment to educating our legal community will pay dividends for many years to come, and every attorney licensed in Tennessee owes her a tremendous debt of gratitude. We wish her the absolute best in her well-deserved retirement.”

During her tenure as Executive Director of the CLE Commission, Ms. Bond-McKissack managed development of the Commission’s website and extensive revisions of Supreme Court Rule 21 and its regulations, all with the aim to simplify compliance for lawyers. She worked to modernize the Commission and push many of its interactions with attorneys and CLE providers online. Her research provided support for awarding lawyers CLE credit for pro bono representation. She also supervised the move of the Commission’s offices from the TBA Center in downtown Nashville to its current location near the airport.

For many years, Ms. Bond-McKissack simultaneously served as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Lawyers Fund for Client Protection, an agency of the Tennessee Supreme Court that provides reimbursement to clients for losses caused by dishonest conduct by Tennessee attorneys. She created a website for the Fund, improved claim reporting and communications with claimants, and appeared in state and federal courts in support of claims. 

She also created, at the Supreme Court’s request, a mentoring program that signed up experienced lawyers willing to be mentors, educated them on how to be effective mentors, and worked to pair them with newly-licensed attorneys. Ms. Bond-McKissack also spearheaded programming to train speakers to effectively present CLE to Tennessee lawyers.

“Judy’s integrity, professionalism, and dedication are unparalleled. She has served our State and the legal community with honor and distinction,” said Justice Holly Kirby. “Her retirement is well-deserved, and the Court wishes her the very best.”

Judy Bond-McKissack