Retired Chief Justice Gary R. Wade is known for many things including his legal career, lecturing, writing, community involvement, and, most notably, his judicial career. Justice Wade was born and raised in Sevier County, TN and attended Sevier County High School. After high school, Justice Wade continued his education at the University Tennessee Knoxville, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence.
After law school, Justice Wade returned home to Sevierville where he practiced law and later served as both Mayor of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge City Attorney. In 1987, Wade was appointed to serve as Judge for the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. He later served as Presiding Judge of the Court until 2006, when he was appointed by Governor Phil Bredensen to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court. Wade served as Chief Justice from 2012 to 2014.
Justice Wade retired from the Courts in 2015 to begin a new career in education at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law in Knoxville. During his five-year tenure as Dean, the school earned full accreditation by the American Bar Association and boasted a growth in enrollment of over 300%.
For years, Justice Wade has been involved in many non-profit organizations throughout Sevier County and East Tennessee, serving as President Emeritus of the Knoxville Zoo and Board Chair of the Museum of Appalachia. He is best known locally, however, as a co-founder of Friends of the Smokies, a major support organization for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and co-founder of Leadership Sevier, a flagship program that involves specialized training designed to develop the skills and talents of individuals currently working in leadership roles in this community. Justice Wade has received many awards for his works, including Southeastern Appellate Judge of the Year, the Tennessee Appellate Judge of the Year, the East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame, and the All-Time Top 100 Alumni of the University of Tennessee. Wade continues to serve as a director of Sevier County Bank and other business-related boards.
Justice Wade recently accepted a shareholder position at London-Amburn Attorneys at Law and continues to write a column on jurisprudence for Knoxville’s City View magazine.