Sam D. Elliott is a member of the firm and practices primarily in the field of litigation. He has tried jury cases involving commercial disputes, products liability, personal injury, employment discrimination and eminent domain. Sam also represents the municipal governments of Soddy Daisy, Collegedale, Lakesite, Walden and Ridgeside and therefore is experienced in such diverse matters as government land use regulation and civil rights litigation. He also advises clients on issues of employment law, environmental law, commercial disputes and professional liability, has served as an arbitrator, and is a Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator.  Sam is listed in the Publication Best Lawyers in America for Bet the Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Land Use and Zoning, Litigation-Municipal and Municipal Law.  He has been selected as a Mid South Super Lawyer every year since 2006 and is AV® Preeminent™ rated in Martindale-Hubbell.

Sam is a past president of both the Tennessee Bar Association and the Chattanooga Bar Association. Sam began his career clerking in 1981-82 for then U. S. Magistrate Roger Dickson, and has been with the firm ever since. In 1994, in an appointed criminal case which he argued before the Tennessee Supreme Court, he and his co-counsel obtained post-conviction relief for a prisoner on death row.  Sam has also appeared as co-counsel for the Chattanooga Bar Association in suits to enjoin the unauthorized practice of law, and volunteers in the pro bono program for Legal Aid of East Tennessee.

Sam and his wife, Karen, have two daughters, and attend Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church.


  • University of the South, B.A. 1978
  • University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D. 1981


  • Tennessee
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • United States Tax Court
  • Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator

Legal Associations

  • Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors 2004-2012; President 2010-2011
  • Chattanooga Bar Association Board of Governors 1997-2002; President 2001
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Chattanooga Bar Foundation
  • Justices Brock and Cooper American Inns of Court
  • Southern Conference of Bar Presidents
  • Chattanooga Trial Lawyers Association
  • Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association

Community Legal Service

  • Pro bono volunteer, Legal Aid of East Tennessee
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation
    • IOLTA Grant Committee (2012-2014)
    • Board of Trustees (2019 – 2022)
  • Board of Directors, Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Tennessee Legal Community Foundation, board member, 2008 to 2012, chairman 2011-12
  • Chairman, Eastern District of Tennessee 2014 United States Magistrate Selection Panel

Community Activities

  • Member (and past chairman), Tennessee Historical Commission
  • Board of Directors, Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association
  • Board of Directors, Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy
  • Trustee, Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church
  • Rotary Club of Chattanooga
  • Former Member, Board of Directors (and past president), Friends of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
  • Former Member, Library Society of UT Knoxville Advisory Board
  • Former Board Member, National Association for the Craniofacially Handicapped (FACES)
  • Former Board Member, Chattanooga History Center


  • “Tennessee’s Declaration of Independence: Armed Revolt and the Constitutional Right of Revolution” Tennessee Bar Journal 44 (December, 2008): 25
  • “Tennessee’s Confederate Courts” Tennessee Bar Journal 48 (January, 2012):28
  • “When the United States Attorney Sued to Remove Half the Tennessee Supreme Court: The Quo Warranto Cases of 1870,” Tennessee Bar Journal 49 (August, 2013): 20
  • “’In Ten Years from Now All This Must Be Done Again’: The Two “Great Issues” of the Constitutional Convention of 1870,” Tennessee Bar Journal 51 (May, 2015):20
  • “’You cannot get back . . . without some irregularity’:  The 1865 Constitutional Amendments and the Return of Civil Government in Tennessee,” Tennessee Bar Journal 53 (December, 2017): 27.
  • “President’s Perspective” columns in Tennessee Bar Journal from July, 2010 to June, 2011

  • Soddy-Daisy High School Hall of Fame (2011)
  • Legal Aid of East Tennessee Hall of Fame (2012)
  • Chattanooga Bar Association Ralph H. Kelly Humanitarian Award (2016)
  • Justices Brock and Cooper American Inns of Court Civility Award (2018)
  • Legal Aid of East Tennessee Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award (2018)

Sam is also known for his scholarly work as a historian.  His books and essays include:

Soldier of Tennessee:  General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West (1999)

Doctor Quintard, Chaplain C.S.A. and Second Bishop of Tennessee: The Memoir and Civil War Diary of Charles Todd Quintard (2003)

Biographical introduction on Charles Todd Quintard in re-publication of Quintard’s A Confederate Soldier’s Pocket Manual of Devotions and Balm for the Weary and Wounded (2009)

Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator (2010)(co-winner of the 2010 Tennessee History Book Award)

“’I Regard Maj. Genl Stewart as the Best Qualified of the Maj. Genls. of this Army’: Alexander P. Stewart and His Division in the First Phase of the Atlanta Campaign” in vol. 2 of Confederate Generals in the Western Theater: An Anthology, (2010)

“This Grand and Imposing Array of Brave Men,” in The Chattanooga Campaign (2012)

The Battles for Chattanooga, Vol. 7 of Tennessee Historical Society’s Tennessee in the Civil War (2013)

“’A Fighting Governor’: Isham G. Harris and the Army of Tennessee,” in Border Wars: Tennessee and Kentucky in the Civil War, 1861–1865 (2015)

John C. Brown of Tennessee:  Rebel, Redeemer and Railroader, (2017) (winner of the 2017 Tennessee History Book Award).

Sam has appeared twice on C-SPAN television, and in Nashville Public Television’s “TENNESSEE CIVIL WAR 150:  Secession” episode.  He also has appeared on VoiceAmerica’s “Civil War Talk Radio” and “Your Weekly Constitutional,” produced by WETS-FM in cooperation with James Madison’s Montpelier.

Sam has reviewed books for the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee Bar Journal, Blue and Gray Magazine, Civil War Book Review, Civil War NewsAtlanta History and Civil War History. He has spoken on Civil War topics to groups from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Colorado, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Virginia, and has evaluated manuscripts for four university presses, one private press and a historical journal.

Sam also occasionally contributes to a weekly local history column published in Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Sam gave the keynote address at the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s initial Signature Event in Nashville in November, 2010 and the address at the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner in October, 2011. He moderated a discussion on the military strategy of the Civil War during the Sesquicentennial Commission’s 2013 Signature Event in Chattanooga in October, 2013, and was the speaker for the Chattanooga Bar Association’s Law Day celebration in May, 2016.   In November, 2017, Sam gave the annual R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture presented by the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy and the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law.