First Judicial District Chancellor John C. Rambo of Jonesborough will be honored next month at the TBA Annual Convention with the Judge Pamela L. Reeves Tennessee Professionalism Award from the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee American Inns of Court. The award will be presented at the TBA Annual Convention’s Bench Bar Luncheon on June 15.
Rambo, who earned his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law 1994, was licensed to practice law in Tennessee the same year. He first joined the office of Herrin & Herrin in Johnson City and was named a partner there in 1996. In 2001, he helped found the firm of Herrin, Booze, Rambo, Wheeler & Jenkins in Jonesborough. In 2005, he joined Rambo, Wheeler & Seeley, and in 2008, he launched a solo practice. In 2012, Rambo was named county attorney and in-house counsel for the Washington County Department of Legal Services. From 2003 to 2013, he also served as municipal judge of Jonesborough.
In August 2013, Rambo was appointed by then-Gov. Bill Haslam to the First Judicial District Chancery Court, which serves Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties. During his tenure on the court, Rambo has heard thousands of cases, but he says the best part of the job has been presiding over hundreds of adoptions. He also touts his work reducing case backlogs, obtaining grant funding to improve security at local courthouses and bringing video arraignment capabilities to the Johnson County Courthouse. Service to the profession includes leadership of the Washington County Bar Association, the Tennessee Trial Judges Association and Tennessee Judicial Conference, as well as membership on the Tennessee Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, and time on the Tennessee Court Reporting Board.
Attorneys who have practiced in his court note that Rambo is dedicated to the highest standards of the rule of law and of the legal profession. One nominator said that “Chancellor Rambo possesses the ideal judicial temperament, patience with lawyers and litigants, and a true desire to mete out equity and justice in his rulings and opinions.” Rambo is also praised for having “sterling character” and “unquestioned integrity” and described as exemplifying the qualities that Judge Pam Reeves possessed.
The professionalism award is named in honor of the late Judge Reeves, former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the first recipient of the award. She was an active leader in both the American Inns of Court and the Tennessee Bar Association, where she was elected the first female president in 1988.
The TBA was founded in 1881. Its membership represents the entire spectrum of the legal profession in Tennessee and beyond. The TBA is open to all licensed attorneys in good standing, and it is dedicated to enhancing fellowship and professionalism among the members of Tennessee’s legal community.