Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Shults-Davis in running for judge's post

The search is on for a new circuit court judge in the 1st Judicial District.
A public hearing and interviews were held on Monday, May 4, by the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments in Johnson City and three nominations were submitted to Gov. Bill Haslam for the upcoming vacant position when Judge Thomas Seeley, Jr.’s retirement becomes official on June 30.
Lois Bunten Shults-Davis, of Unicoi County, took one of the nomination spots, while Jerome Cochran, of Elizabethton, and James Edwin Lauderback, of Johnson City, are also in the running for the position.
Four judges are assigned to the 1st Judicial District, which is made up of Carter, Johnson, Washington and Unicoi counties. Two criminal and two civil judges travel over the district to hear cases.
Seeley announced at the end of March that he would step down from his position after serving 30 years as a circuit court judge with the district. Before taking the position in 1985, Seeley served as Unicoi County’s county attorney in 1976 and also had a private practice in Erwin during the 1970s.
Being able to follow in the footsteps of Seeley Jr. is what Shults-Davis is looking to achieve, she said.
“I hope to continue the work Mr. Seeley has done for the 1st Judicial District,” Shults-Davis said. “He was appointed by Lamar Alexander 30 years ago and did a great service for the area.”
Representing the community and giving back to the area is another reason Shults-Davis is pursuing this endeavor, she added.
Shults-Davis has been practicing law for over 34 years and is currently a partner with Shults & Shults Law Offices in Erwin. She has practiced primarily civil law in the four counties of the judicial district, along with Greene, Hamblen and Sullivan counties.
The experiences working in a “hometown” law office for Unicoi County since 1985 has also helped prepare for the position after seeing a wide variety of cases, Shults-Davis said.
Along with those duties, Shults-Davis has served as the town attorney for the Town of Unicoi since 1999.
Shults-Davis began her law career in 1980 after attending law school at the University of Tennessee as an associate with Jenkins and Jenkins Law Offices based out of Knoxville. She made the move to Erwin in 1982 to work at R.O. Smith Law Offices before joining Shults & Shults.
Even with the busy schedule, Shults-Davis also found time to assist in the community, including an instructor with the Unicoi County High School Mock Trial team, which recently qualified for and participated in the state competition.
But with her children completing their educations and setting off to their own career paths, it is time to give back, Shults-Davis said.
“I want to give back to the citizens of the first district,” she added. “I have been blessed to live in such a great community and would love to represent Unicoi County.”