Hon. Barbara Haynes, a Nashville judge who served nearly three decades in the general sessions and circuit courts, died January 13, 2022 at the age of 84. She was a 1976 graduate of the School.
The School honored Judge Haynes in 2013 with its Distinguished Alumni award, after she served nearly three decades on the bench. Judge Haynes said she was drawn to a career as a lawyer because she saw firsthand as a legal secretary how injustices could have an impact on people’s lives.
She said she choose NSL for her legal education because it allowed her to go to school while raising a family. After graduating in 1976 and practicing law in Nashville for six years, she became the first woman to be elected a general sessions judge in Nashville.
Judge Haynes went on to be elected to the Circuit Court of Davidson County in 1990 and served on that court until her retirement in 2011. She served as chair of the Tennessee Sentencing Commission from 1986 to 1994. Judge Haynes served as president of the Tennessee General Sessions Court Judges and the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She was a founding member of the Marion Griffin Chapter of the Lawyers Association for Women and received the University of Tennessee Centennial Leader Award, the Tennessee Bar Association’s William M. Leech Public Service Award, the Nashville Bar Association’s John C. Tune Award, and the Tennessee Bar Association’s Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award.
Judge Haynes’s husband and law partner Sen. Joe Haynes died in 2018. He was a 1965 graduate of the School. She started her career working as his legal secretary, which led to her decision to enroll at Nashville School of Law.