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.
April 1, 2020
March 27, 2020
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.
Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 1995
Vanderbilt Law Review, Executive Editor
Order of the Coif
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B.S., Journalism, 1991
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
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