Update: Faulk says his best tool as new judge will be ‘good old common sense’

Jeff Bobo • Jun 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Mike Faulk knows he has some big shoes to fill, but he believes the best tool he brings to his new circuit court judgeship is the same tool his predecessor employed — “good old common sense.”

On Thursday, Gov. Bill Haslam officially appointed Faulk to complete the term of recently retired 3rd Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Kindall Lawson.

Faulk, who has worn several hats during his more than three decades of practicing law, officially becomes Judge Mike Faulk on Monday, although a formal swearing-in ceremony isn’t expected until August.

Faulk has been a state senator, a county commissioner, a city attorney and, like Lawson, began his law career in his home of Hawkins County.

“I think the breadth of my law practice over the years combined with the number of years’ experience, and the complexity of the work that I’ve done had a lot to do with (being appointed),” Faulk told the Times-News Thursday. “And frankly, I think the governor watching my work in the senate had something to do with it.”

Lawson retired as of June 1. As a 3rd Judicial District judge, Faulk will preside over courts in Hawkins, Hancock, Greene and Hamblen counties.

“Mike will bring vast experience to the bench,” Haslam said in a news release. “He has served his state well in the past, and I know he will serve the citizens of the Third Judicial District well in this new role.”

Faulk, 59, has worked in The Faulk Law Office in Church Hill since 1982.

From 2008-12, he served as a state senator representing Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties in the 106th and 107th Tennessee General Assemblies.

While serving as a state senator, he was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, among other duties.

Faulk served on the Tennessee Human Rights Commission from 1985-1991, functioning as vice chairman from 1989-1991. He has served as a Hawkins County Juvenile Court referee, town attorney in Mount Carmel and city attorney in Church Hill.

He has written for the Tennessee Bar Journal and the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Magazine and has been a lecturer, including serving as adjunct faculty member at East Tennessee State University.

Faulk received his juris doctorate in 1979 from Memphis State University where he received the Kirby Bowling Labor Law Award as outstanding labor law student for 1979. He received a master’s degree from Memphis State in 1978 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1975.

“I am deeply humbled by the Governor’s confidence in me, grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of East Tennessee and privileged to work with the other judges and court personnel of Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins and Hancock counties,” Faulk said in a state press release.

Two weeks ago, the Hawkins County Circuit courtroom was filled with friends and admirers of Lawson, congratulating him on his career and wishing him a good retirement. Faulk was among those in attendance.

“I know that Kindall Lawson has some mighty big shoes to fill, and it will test me in all of my abilities to do the job as well as he has done,” Faulk said. “If I, after my time on the bench is over, have folks say the same things about me that they say about Judge Lawson, I will have been a grand success. Everybody to a person talks about what a fair man he is. I’ve tried dozens, and maybe hundreds of cases in his court over the years, and I’ve lost my share of them, but not one time ever did I feel like he’d been unfair or unreasonable.”

Added Faulk: “The other thing about Judge Lawson that impresses everyone, despite all his years on the bench, and in spite all of his legal training, he still uses that good old common sense.”

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