Michael Russell is widely regarded as one of the leading employment law and class action mediators in the United States. In addition, Michael frequently mediates complex business disputes and matters involving high-profile litigants. With a national practice, he has successfully mediated cases from coast to coast. Michael’s mediations include disputes that have been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many other leading media outlets. His first book, “Mediation Matters: Practical Negotiation Strategies from a Nationally Recognized Mediator,” was the #1 new release among ADR books on Amazon.
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. Michael 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 sought-after speaker and writer. He has published articles in the American Journal of Mediation, the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal, 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.
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; they have two sons, Preston, and Carlisle.
- B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, University of Tennessee
- J.D., Magna Cum Laude, University of Memphis
- LL.M. in Dispute Resolution, University of Missouri
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
- 2023 Nashville Lawyer of the Year – Labor and Employment Litigation
- 2024 Nashville Lawyer of the Year – Employment Law
- 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
- Co-Founder, Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court
- Former Member of the Board of Governors, University of Tennessee Alumni Association
- Former Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Labor and Employment Section
- Former Chair of the Nashville Bar Association ADR Committee