Patricia J. Cottrell, a former judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, focuses her practice on Administrative Law and appellate practice. Her attorney expertise is in administrative and government law. As a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, she has dealt with a wide variety of areas of state civil law: family law, torts, contracts, estates, governmental regulations and others. She serves in an Of Counsel role at Bone McAllester Norton.

Judge Cottrell was appointed to the court by former Governor Don Sundquist in November 1998 and was elected to full terms in 2000 and 2008. In 2007, she became the first woman to serve as Presiding Judge of that court. During her tenure as judge, she served four years on the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary and was a member of the Judicial Council. She retired from the court in 2014.

A native of Memphis, TN, she graduated from East High School and was awarded a National Merit Scholarship, which allowed her to attend college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1969 with honors from the University of Tennessee. She then became the first paralegal in the state. That experience inspired her to pursue a career as an attorney, and in 1976, she graduated from the University Of Tennessee College of Law in the top five percent of her class. After graduation, she became an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Tennessee and was later appointed Deputy Attorney General, the first woman named to that position.

In 1991, Judge Cottrell was named Director of Law for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. She left that position in 1993 to return to the Office of Attorney General as Chief Deputy Attorney General. She entered private practice in 1997.

Judge Cottrell is a founding member of the Lawyers Association for Women and is an alumna of Leadership Nashville. She has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt Law School, teaching trial advocacy courses.

Professional Recognition and Activities


  • Leadership Nashville, Class of 1993-1994


  • Nashville Bar Association
    • Board of Directors, 2009
  • Nashville Bar Foundation
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • Harry Phillips Inn, American Inns of Court
    • Executive Committee
  • Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Lawyers Association for Women
    • Founding Member


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