Skip to Main Content.

Biography

Tom practices in the areas of government services and business litigation, concentrating his work on lobbying and government relations, and providing strategic counsel on managing public policy change on state and local levels.

Tom’s approach to serving clients is seasoned by three decades of experience as a lobbyist, attorney, litigator, winning campaign strategist, university educator, and Emmy-award-winning journalist. With this diverse portfolio of experience, Tom is well regarded and sought after in his field. As MSNBC political commentator Harold Ford Jr. has said, “There are lots of people in Tennessee gifted in business or government or media or politics, but no one puts all of it together any better than Tom Lee.  He sees the whole field.”

In an age when the face of government relations is evolving daily due to ethical reforms, increasing transparency, and an electronically engaged electorate, quality and attention to nuance has never mattered more. Getting results in politics involves the accumulation and wise investment of political capital, paired with the experience necessary to navigate the new model. The central focus of Tom’s practice is maintaining the correlation between these crucial parts, an approach that consistently gains success.

Prior to joining Frost Brown Todd, Tom was principal of his own public strategies firm and a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. Tom won two Emmy awards and numerous other national awards for investigative journalism and documentaries, ranging from health care policy to the aftermath of the first Iraq War.

Above all, Tom is passionate about the needs of his community and the passions of his clients. He enjoys his work as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University, where he teaches courses on lobbying, legislation, and public advocacy.

Related Insights

Other Info About Tom

Experience

Legal Work Experience 

Organized and led a statewide coalition to reform Tennessee’s water laws to re-balance the public priorities of economic development and environmental protection.

Developed economic incentive packages to attract green jobs to economically struggling communities.

Successfully represented the Tennessee Supreme Court and members of the state’s judiciary against legislative efforts to force expensive, direct elections of appellate judges.

Authored and successfully lobbied passage of public financing measures supporting downtown high-rise development, each of Tennessee’s major league professional sports franchises, and acquisitions of thousands of acres for public land conservation.

Authored and successfully lobbied passage of the nation’s first state law protecting ticket buyers and sellers against unlawful “bot” software giving offshore ticket brokers an unfair online advantage against sports and entertainment fans.

Successfully defended many of the state’s largest businesses against costly regulatory and legislative initiatives.

Organized an independent grassroots expenditure campaign on behalf of business clients, ultimately prevailing 71-29 in a municipal referendum.

Education

Law School

Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 1995
Vanderbilt Law Review, Executive Editor
Order of the Coif

Undergraduate School 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B.S., Journalism, 1991

Bar Membership

Tom is licensed to practice in the following state:

Tennessee, 1995

Recognition

Local & National Recognition

The Best Lawyers in America©, Government Relations Practice, 2013-2018

Chair, Tennessee Bar Association Government Affairs Committee, 2009-2011

Chair, Tennessee Bar Association President’s Commission on the Future of Law-Related Education in Tennessee, 1999-2001

Life Member, Judicial Conference, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Gubernatorial Appointee, Joint Legislative Committee to Study the Application of the Death Penalty 2007-08

Fellow, Nashville Bar Association

AV® Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®

Harry Phillips American Inns of Court, 1998-2000

U.S. Magistrate Selection Committees, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, 1999 & 2005

Civic Activities

Civic & Charitable Organizations

Tennessee Lottery Corporation Sports Wagering Advisory Council, Middle Grand Division Member

The Red & Black Publishing Company, Board of Directors

The Rotary Club of Nashville, Member

West End United Methodist Church, Youth Fellowship Counselor; Stewardship Campaign Co-Chair; Sunday School teacher, 1988-present

Metropolitan Convention Center Commission, Nashville, Chair, 2002-2004; Vice-Chair and Finance Committee Chair, 2001-2002

Eakin Elementary School, Site-Based Decision Team, Chair, 2007-2009

Nashville Sports Council, Board Member, 2004-2006

Tennessee Hotel and Lodging Association, Board member, 2004-2006

Girl Scout Council of the Cumberland Valley, Inc., Board member, 2005-2006

Nashville Family Shelter, Inc., Board Chair; Volunteer, 1988-1998

Firm Committees

Tom serves on the following committees at Frost Brown Todd:

Recruiting Committee, Member

Nashville office, Member-in-Charge