Michael Russell
Michael Russell Senior Neutral
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Michael Russell

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Michael Russell is widely regarded as one of the leading employment and class action mediators in the United States. In addition, Michael frequently mediates complex business disputes and matters involving high-profile litigants. With a practice that is national in scope, he has mediated cases in roughly 28 states and Puerto Rico.

Michael has a diverse legal background. He has tried jury trials for both plaintiffs and defendants, and he has appeared in courtrooms from New York to California. Prior to having a full-time ADR practice, Michael was a partner in a state-wide litigation boutique. He then became a partner in one of the oldest and largest firms in the Southeast, where he engaged in a nationwide employment litigation practice. He now devotes his entire practice to being a mediator and arbitrator.

Michael graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee. He received his law degree from the University of Memphis, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a Humphreys Law Fellow. Michael also holds an LL.M. in Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri. He has a distinguished teaching career, having served on the adjunct faculty at multiple universities. He currently teaches alternative dispute resolution at the Belmont University College of Law.

Michael is a well-regarded speaker and writer. He has published articles in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, the University of Memphis Law Review, the Ohio Northern University Law Review, the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, and Employee Rights Quarterly. His articles have been cited by courts, scholars, and in testimony before the United States Congress. He has lectured nationally and internationally.

Michael has served on the boards of numerous civic and non-profit organizations, including the University of Tennessee Alumni Association, the UT Alumni Legislative Council, the National Conference of Law Reviews, the TBA Leadership Law Alumni Association, and the TBA Leadership Law Steering Committee. He is an active member of the ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee and was a co-founder of the Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys reading, travel, and spending as much time on the tennis court as he can. His travels have taken him to Cuba, Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and across much of Europe. He and his wife, Heather, live in suburban Nashville.  The Russells have two sons, Preston and Carlisle.


  • University of Tennessee (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude)
  • University of Memphis (J.D., Magna Cum Laude)
  • University of Missouri (LL.M. in Dispute Resolution)

Admitted to Practice

  • Tennessee, 1999 –  Present

Professional or Trade Affiliations

  • Fellow in the American College of Civil Trial Mediators
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers
  • Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent (5.0 out of 5.0)
  • 2018 Nashville Lawyer of the Year –Labor
  • 2020 Nashville Lawyer of the Year – Employment
  • Top 100 Lawyers in Tennessee
  • Top 50 Lawyers in Nashville
  • Chambers USA: Leading Lawyers for Business (Litigation: Mediators in Tennessee)
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Nashville Bar Foundation
  • Former chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Labor and Employment Section
  • Chair of the Nashville Bar Association ADR Committee