- Founding partner
Cecil D. Branstetter is the firm's founding partner, and is widely considered one of the best litigators in the history of both the Nashville and Tennessee Bars. Over the course of his distinguished legal career, Mr. Branstetter has litigated many high-profile criminal and civil matters, and is known best for his tireless representation of working people, organized labor and his efforts to halt the attempted closing of the Highlander Folk School by the State of Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement. Outside the courtroom, Mr. Branstetter exemplified the citizen-lawyer, and through his civic efforts helped shaped the City of Nashville into the metropolitan government it is today.
Cecil Branstetter grew up in Deer Lodge in Morgan County, Tennessee, one of the very poorest counties in the state. At age 18, Mr. Branstetter left home carrying all of his possessions in a cigar box to enroll at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, becoming the first member of his family to attend college. He literally worked his way through college, getting up at three o'clock every morning to milk cows in the school's dairy before attending a full day of classes, and returning to the dairy in the evening. Mr. Branstetter took leave of school for military service in World War II, and returned on the G.I. Bill to finish college at George Washington University. Mr. Branstetter also studied at Oxford University in England before attending Vanderbilt University Law School, where he graduated near the top of his class in 1949.
Since the 1950's, Mr. Branstetter has been active in a number of different community activities. He served on both the 1957 unsuccessful charter commission, and the charter commission that led to the successful formation of the metropolitan government in 1962. He has served on numerous boards, including the Metropolitan Action Commission, the Metropolitan Human Rights Commission, and the Tennessee Civil Liberties Union. He is a founder and past president of the Tennessee Environmental Council, he has served as president of the Tennessee Conservation League and he was the president of the Council of Community Agencies (now CCS).
In addition to a number of civic activities, Mr. Branstetter is a past president of the junior section of the Tennessee Bar Association, and he has been active in the Nashville, Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court, is a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation and the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and is listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" in several practice areas.
In the early 1950's he served one term in the Tennessee General Assembly, and while in the Legislature introduced and sponsored legislation to allow women to serve on juries. Mr. Branstetter has never been afraid to champion unpopular causes when he believed they were right, even if he was subjected to ridicule for his positions.
In 2005, Vanderbilt University Law School named its new Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program for Mr. Branstetter, and in 2009 he was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt University.
Areas Of Practice
- Personal Injury
- Public Utility Law
- Regulated Industries
- Municipal Law
- Labor and Employment Law
- Administrative Law
- Civil Litigation
- Tennessee, 1949
- Vanderbilt University School of Law, Nashville, Tennessee
- J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1949
- Honors: Order of the Coif, Delta Theta Phi
- Oxford University, Oxford
- Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee
- George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia
- B.A. - 1946
Honors and Awards
- The Best Lawyers in America
- Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt University
Professional Associations and Memberships
- The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Tennessee Trial Lawyers
- Tennessee Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Member, Nashville, Tennessee, President, Junior Section, 1952-1953
- American Bar Association
- Member, Tennessee Legislature, 1951-1953
- Junior section of the Tennessee Bar Association, Past President
- Nashville, Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court
- Nashville Bar Foundation, Fellow
Past Employment Positions
- Tennessee General Assembly
Pro Bono Activities
- Tennessee Environmental Council, founder and past president
- Tennessee Conservation League, president
- Council of Community Agencies, president