Shelbyville attorney Forest A. Durard Jr. has been appointed as circuit court judge for the 17th Judicial District.
The appointment, which fills the slot left by Robert Crigler, who retired May 30, was announced by the office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Haslam said in a statement that Durard "brings valuable experience to the bench from a career that includes both the public and private sectors. I know he will serve the citizens of the 17th district well in this role."
Durard said he was "both flattered and honored to have been chosen by Gov. Haslam for this position," thanking the governor and his staff "for placing their trust in me to fill the judicial vacancy and, also, to those who encouraged and supported me to seek the position."
"I look forward to serving the people of Bedford, Marshall, Moore and Lincoln counties now and into the future," he said.
The 51-year-old Durard has been in private practice since 2004, and was a partner in the firm Bramlett & Durard, beginning in 1992.
He also has experience from both sides of the criminal court process -- serving in the district attorney's office from 1989-1990 and in the public defender's office from 1990-1992.
His work as a sole practitioner has included criminal law, domestic matters, probate, personal injury/workers' compensation, bankruptcy, Social Security disability and real estate. Before he began his career in law, Durard was an insurance claims adjuster.
Durard was one of five attorneys who sought the judge's seat in March, and was selected as one of the top three choices considered by Tennessee's Judicial Nominating Commission.
The names of assistant district attorney Brooke Charles Grubb of Fayetteville and attorney Barbara G. Medley of Lewisburg had also been submitted to the governor for consideration. Shelbyville attorney John Norton and assistant district attorney Mike Randles of Lewisburg had also applied for the seat.
During the March hearing, Durard promised to be a "hands-on" judge who is even-tempered and patient.
Durard graduated from MTSU in 1985 with a bachelor of science degree, majoring in political science with an emphasis on pre-law, and minoring in criminal justice and history. He graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1989, is a lifelong Tennessean and has lived in Bedford County 21 years.
He has also been active in his community as an assistant coach for middle school softball and as a volunteer at Shelbyville Bedford County Animal Control and board member of the Middle Tennessee Spay & Neuter Clinic.
He and his wife, Melissa, have two daughters, Taylor and Kendall.