Joe Manuel on Monday formally announced that he is seeking election as Hamilton County Chancellor, Part I - the seat currently held by Chancellor Frank Brown who is retiring.
At the local Pachyderm Club, attorney Manuel, the most recent past president of the Republican group, delivered remarks setting forth the key characteristics of a good chancellor.
He said, “An ideal chancellor should have the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the steel in his spine of a good high school principal. This means that a chancellor treats every person who comes before them with dignity and respect; listens patiently to their issue, and, at the end of the day, delivers a 'just result' based upon the law. Therefore, I pledge to listen carefully,deliberate calmly, and rule wisely by applying the law and the equities to the case before me.
“I will continue in the same professional manner of Chancellor Brown that has instilled confidence in our citizens that in Chancery Court they will be treated respectfully, fairly, and impartially. I want citizens to continue to view Chancery Court as a means to secure the just, speedy, and fair resolution of disputes - rather than part of the problem.
“I pledge to serve as a trusted judge that treats each person with equal dignity and respect. My 35 years as an attorney, mediator and as a teacher of other attorneys to be mediators, gives me a firm foundation of knowledge, experience, and temperament to serve the people of Hamilton County.”
Joe Manuel is a native of West Tennessee, where he grew up on his family’s cotton farm. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Memphis State University and his law degree from the University of Tennessee.
He moved to Chattanooga after law school in 1978, where he worked as an associate and then partner in the Leitner law firm. In 1993, he became a special counsel for the city of Chattanooga with the Nelson, McMahan law firm before forming his own law firm.
Attorney Manuel was an early advocate of Alternative Dispute Resolution processes such as mediation due to the excessive burdens of time and cost required to take a case to trial in court. He was in the first group of Tennessee attorneys to become a Tennessee Supreme Court Listed Rule 31 Mediator in 1997.
He is the senior author of the Tennessee Alternative Dispute Resolution Handbook. He also created Internet-based, Continuing Legal Education courses in 1999 teaching mediation and arbitration known as the “The ADR Professor Series” in order to train other attorneys how to effectively serve as mediation and arbitration specialists.
He and his wife, Chattanooga native Emmaly (Wilbanks) Manuel have three children: Meredith; Wil; and Mary Melissa. Meredith is an Auburn graduate and is pursuing a second degree in nursing at UTC. Both Wil and Mary Melissa are avid junior golfers and actively involved in their schools.