Joe’s Journey began in a Cotton Patch in Western Tennessee. Picking cotton beneath the hot September sun prompted Joe to search for a path that would free him from this task. That set Joe upon a track to higher education that led to law school.

He graduated from High School in Selmer, Tennessee, Memphis State University in Memphis and then Law School at the University of Tennessee. He arrived in Chattanooga in 1978 where he practiced with the Leitner Law Firm and became a Partner in the firm. He withdrew from Leitner in 1993 to follow a “path less traveled by” . . . where he could represent a variety of clients from individuals to corporations and develop his expertise in the new field of mediation and arbitration.

Throughout his career, Joe has been involved in some of the most complex litigation in Tennessee. Mediated and arbitrated a broad range of cases from personal injury to construction to employment to executive compensation contracts to divorce and parenting issues.Joe is one of a select group who have such expertise and experience in all three fields of dispute resolution---mediation, arbitration and trial law. And,he remains a “country boy’’ at heart from West Tennessee who remembers what it was like to pick cotton by hand.

Joe’s professional biography follows . . .

JOE MANUEL - “The ADR Professor”

Joe began his career in 1978 and is one of Tennessee's most experienced civil trial lawyers. He has maintained an active trial practice in Tennessee & Georgia throughout his career. In recognition of his outstanding trial skills, he was first certified in 1995 by The National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Civil Trial Advocate and as a Civil Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on CLE & Specialization in 1996.

He authored the Commercial Litigation Question for the National Board of Trial Advocacy Examination for July 1998 and July 2001. The 2001 Commercial Litigation Question was selected for inclusion in the Examination Manual published by the NBTA to assist applicants sitting for the Civil Trial Advocate Examination.

An early proponent of ADR, he received his first mediation training in 1991 from the American Arbitration Association. He became an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association in 1992 and has served as an Arbitrator (a private judge) in more than 50 cases. And, was one of the Speakers at the first ADR Seminar sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association in 1994. When Tennessee created court annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution, he became a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator in 1997 and completed additional training in 2008 to also become Listed as a Family Mediator.

Joe is one of Tennessee’s most prolific writers and lecturers upon Alternative Dispute Resolution. He is the Senior Author of ×the Tennessee Alternative Dispute Resolution Handbook (The Harrison Co. 1997). He is the creator and Editor of the Tennessee Mediation Pocket Guide (2000). By 1999, he was writing “Internet” Continuing Legal Education Courses on Mediation & Arbitration and these courses became known as  “ADR Professor Series” (available at And, Joe became the "ADR Professor". 

In 2011, he created the “Tennessee ADR Finder” for the iPhone; iPad; or iTouch. (Available from the Apple App Store). This “App” is a topical index to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 (Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule) with full text access. 

JOE E. MANUEL - Professional Vitae


  •  Memphis State University: 1975, B.A
  • University of Tennessee, College of Law: 1978, J.D.


Private Practice in Chattanooga, TN

  •  1978-1993: Leitner, Warner, Moffitt, et al, Attorneys-at-Law
  • 1993-96: Of Counsel to Nelson, McMahan, Noblett, Special Counsel for City of Chattanooga
  • 1996-1999: Manuel & James, PLLC, Attorneys-at-Law
  • 2000-Present: Joe E. Manuel, Attorney-at-Law


Court Admissions


  • Admitted to practice by the Tennessee Supreme Court: September 30, 1978
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee: April 23, 1979
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee:  October 3, 1983
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee: June 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit:  December 10, 1984


  • Superior Court for Conasauga Judicial Circuit: Fall 1979
  • Georgia Court of Appeals: January 4, 1980
  • Georgia Supreme Court: January 4, 1980
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia: January 4, 1980
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: January 21, 1980
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit:  December 16, 1985


Trial Specialist

Tennessee Certified Civil Trial Specialist by Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization (1996-2015). * The Commission no longer issues certification for specialities.


National Board of Trial Advocacy

  • Certified Civil Trial Advocate: 1995
  • Recertified in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015
  • NBTA Board of Examiners:  Authored Commercial Litigation Question for National Examination in July 1998 and July 2001. The 2001 Commercial Litigation Question was selected for inclusion in the Examination Manual published by the NBTA to assist applicants sitting for the Civil Trial Advocate Examination.


Major Publications

  • Senior Author, The Tennessee Alternative Dispute Resolution Handbook, Manuel & Vital, (The Harrison Co. 1997, Supp. 1999)
  •  Editor, The Tennessee Mediation Pocket Guide, TennAdr ©2000
  •  Manuel & Richards, Economic Loss in Strict Liability---Beyond the Realm of 402A, 16 Mem. St. L. Rev. 315 (1986)
  • Manuel & James, Tennessee’s Theories of Misrepresentation, 22 Mem. St. L. Rev. (1992).


On Line Continuing Legal Education Courses 

Created “The ADR Professor Series” of courses focused upon Alternative Dispute Resolution issues. These courses are approved for Continuing Legal Education credit in Tennessee and other states.  They are available on the Internet at To see a listing of the courses on the lawyers learn web site, click on the button “ADR Professor Series”:

  • Tennessee Mediation Ethics (2000)
  • Lawyers in Mediation Ethics 101 & 102 (2001)
  • Employment Law Arbitration in a Nutshell (2002)
  • Introduction to Arbitration (2002)
  • The Uniform Mediation Act (2003)
  • Ethics Tennessee Lawyer Neutrals (2005)
  • Lawyer-Mediator-Snitch? The Ethics of Mediator Testimony (2006)
  • Inconvenient Signatures---The War over Nursing Home Arbitration (2009)
  • Federal Mediation Privilege---Iron Curtain or Transparent Veil ? (2010)



  • American Arbitration Association
  • Arbitrator Training I, II, III, Atlanta, March, 1992 (13) hours;
  • AAA Construction Arbitrator Training, Nashville, Nov. 1996 (6.50) hours;
  • AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training, Nashville, June 1999 (4.75) hours;
  • AAA Arbitrator Update 2001;
  • AAA Commercial Arbitrator II Training, Atlanta, June, 2002 (9.25)
  • ACE 001- Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards, Nov. 2004
  • American Arbitration Association Commercial, Construction and Employment Panels.
  • Arbitrator experience ranging from simple, one day arbitrations to multi-day complex commercial, construction or employment issues. Both single arbitrator and panel experience. Served as Arbitrator in more than 50 Arbitrations.


National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)/FINRA

  • New Panel Member Training, Atlanta, (11) hours, Oct. 10, 2000
  • New Chairperson Training, Atlanta, (3.75) hours, April 18, 2001
  • Expungement Online Mini-Course, (1.50) hours, Oct. 24, 2004
  • Eight (8) publicly available awards as Panel Member or Chairperson.


Court Arbitration Program

Approved Arbitrator, Federal Arbitration Program U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee, 2003



  • AAA Basic Training, Atlanta, Nov. 1991 (13) hours 
  • Erickson Mediation Institute Mediator Training (40) hours, August, 1993
  • Assistant Trainer, AAA Mediator Training, Dalton, GA, Nov. 1994
  • Family Crossover Training  (25 hours) (2009)

 Mediation Certifications

  • Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator, 1997
  • Certified Mediator, Federal Mediation Program, U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Tennessee, 1997
  • Approved Neutral, U.S. District Court for Middle District of Tennessee, 1998
  • Registered Neutral Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution (Oct. 2001-Dec. 2002)


Computer Application (“App”)

 In 2011, created the “Tennessee ADR Finder” for the iPhone; iPad; or iTouch. (Available from the Apple App Store). This “App” is a topical index to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 (Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule) with full text access.



  •   Tennessee Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Chattanooga Bar Association:
  • Board of Governors 1991/92
  • Treasurer, 2013