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Mark Stephens

The Law Office of Mark E. Stephens
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Mark Stephens
The Law Office of Mark E. Stephens
Knoxville,
 TN

Mark Stephens served as the elected Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District (Knoxville) for 29 years. He left that position on November 1, 2019 to return to private practice and to work to promote The Justice Initiative, a non-profit Mr. Stephens founded in 2015.

Mr. Stephens practiced law in the private sector for nearly 10 years before committing to public defense services. He dedicated his career to building the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office into a national model of holistic, client-centered representation.

Mr. Stephens has served as President of the Tennessee District Public Defender’s Conference and Chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Defense Commission. He served for two years as Chair of the National Association for Public Defense and currently serves on the Steering and Executive Committees of that organization.

He served for eight years as a member of the Board of Directors for Gideon’s Promise. In 2011, Gideon’s Promise presented him with the Stephen B. Bright Award in recognition of his contribution to the effort to improve the quality of indigent defense in the South.

Mr. Stephens is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

On the state level, Mr. Stephens is a member of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL), which twice awarded him the prestigious Robert W. Ritchie Award (2000 and 2007), and he is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association.

On a local level, Mr. Stephens is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA), which in 1995 presented him with the Law and Liberty Award for his efforts in the advancement and protection of law and liberty. In 2002, Mr. Stephens was presented with the UT Pro Bono award for outstanding contributions to the Innocence Project. In 2016, Mr. Stephens was awarded the Governor’s Award by the KBA for his work in developing the Community Law Office. In 2017 he was selected to become a Fellow of the Knoxville Bar Foundation.

Since 2004, Mr. Stephens has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he teaches Trial Advocacy. In 2017, Stephens was named the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member by the Law School.

In 2019, Mr. Stephens was selected to become a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.


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