Swearing In Ceremony Held For New 20th Judicial District Chancellor Patricia Head Moskal

April 9, 2019

Longtime Nashville litigator Patricia Head Moskal was recently sworn in as the newest chancellor on the 20th Judicial District Chancery Court during a ceremony at the Metropolitan Courthouse in Nashville. In January, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Chancellor Moskal to the position on the court, which serves Davidson County. Chancellor Moskal takes the place of Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman, who retired at the beginning of the year.

A wide array of Chancellor Moskal’s former and new colleagues attended the ceremony at the courthouse. Fellow 20th Judicial District Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle warmly greeted Chancellor Moskal and spoke of the importance of the judiciary.

“This afternoon we welcome you to our chancery family and at a very important time in the life of our city,” she said. “Citizens, litigants, the bar, and these courts have been given a great gift, the service of an accomplished and well-known and respected jurist and person, who will provide valuable work as a chancellor to this great city of Nashville.”

Tennessee Bar Association Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson has known Chancellor Moskal for decades, going back to when they were both attorneys working at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. Chancellor Moskal, Stevenson said, has always been “a true proponent of the idea that we all have a responsibility of service to others in our profession.”

“When I first met Pat, two words came to mind: excellence and service,” Stevenson said. “Even after knowing her for almost 20 years, those are the same two words I would use to describe her today.”

Stevenson said that Chancellor Moskal was an inspiration not only during work hours, but after as well when she volunteered her time to a host of organizations serving the public and the profession. To name just a couple, Chancellor Moskal has served as both president of the Marion Griffith Chapter of the Lawyers’ Association for Women and as first vice president and board member of the Nashville Bar Association.

“She is simply one of the most courageous, tenacious, and caring people that I have ever met,” Stevenson said. “She has never been afraid to be the voice of reason or the champion for change. Her ability to work hard yet still care about the development of others is truly a gift. I, like many in this room, am a direct beneficiary of this gift. Pat has knocked down barriers, opened doors, and pushed through glass ceilings so that lawyers following in her footsteps will have even greater opportunities.”

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins swore in Chancellor Moskal, who was in the company of her two sons and her daughter-in-law. Like Stevenson, Chief Justice Bivins is a former colleague of Chancellor Moskal’s.

“I always enjoy the opportunity to swear in new judges, but this one is special to me, having known Pat, having worked with Pat, seeing her legal scholarship, knowing her ethical standards, seeing her demeanor, and seeing her dedication to public service throughout her career,” he said. Chancellor Moskal’s addition to the Chancery Court “is a great thing for me personally, but more importantly for the State of Tennessee and the City of Nashville and for the citizens of our state.”

After she was sworn in, Chancellor Moskal took the time to thank many of the people who helped her throughout her career, including her former law family at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. She also thanked former Governor Haslam for appointing her, her fellow chancellors, and former Chancellor Bonnyman.

“I will do my best to live up to the legacy that she has begun through her many years of distinguished service,” she said.

Chancellor Moskal remarked on her own personal journey, including how she grew up one of eight children in Indiana. She was the first of her family to attend college, and the first to become a lawyer. Her devotion to her profession really flourished during her time at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

“As a law student I quickly learned to love the law,” she said. “And I do truly love the law. I’ve loved practicing law for many years, and now I have the very, very fortunate opportunity to serve as a trial court judge in Davidson County, and that means the world to me.”

Although a new addition to the bench, Chancellor Moskal said she has already learned valuable lessons that she will take with her for the rest of her judicial career.

“The very first day I took the bench to hear motions…it was a very humbling moment because it really brought home the responsibility and trust that the governor placed in me,” she said. “Each and every day that I serve on the bench I want to always be mindful of exactly how it felt on that very first day. And I will work faithfully to the best of my ability, as I pledged to serve the people of Davidson County.”

Before earning her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law, Chancellor Moskal received a B.A. in psychology from Indiana University Bloomington. She worked as a teacher and counselor in Chattanooga prior to the start of her legal career.

She practiced with the law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings since 1985 and became a partner in 1992. While at Bradley, she served on the firm’s diversity, recruiting, and pro bono committees and provided regular pro bono service throughout Middle Tennessee.

A number of judges attended the swearing in ceremony, including Chancellor Lyle, Chancellor Russell T. Perkins, Justice Bivins, Justice Connie Clark, Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dinkins, Court of Appeals Judge W. Neal McBrayer, Senior United States Circuit Court Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley, Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy, Circuit Court Judge Kelvin Jones, Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Brothers, Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn, Criminal Court Judge Jennifer Smith, and General Sessions Court Judge Melissa Blackburn.


Chief Justice Jeff Bivins swears in Chancellor Patricia Head Moskal to the 20th Judicial District Chancery Court