KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee has announced that she notified Governor Bill Lee of her retirement on Aug. 31, 2023.

“It’s been the greatest honor of my professional life to serve in the TN judiciary. I am filled with gratitude,” Lee posted to Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Lee will have been serving on the Supreme Court for 15 years at the time of her retirement, and on the Court of Appeals for four years. According to the news release, she is currently the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court and the only justice from East Tennessee. 

“Serving in the Tennessee Judiciary for the past 19 years has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” Lee said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Tennesseans and have done my best to fulfill my judicial oath by upholding the state and federal Constitutions and administering justice faithfully and impartially.”

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee

In her career, Lee can be described as a trailblazer. In 2004, she was the first woman to serve on the Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals in its 79-year history, and in her time as an appellate judge, she participated in over 1,500 cases, writing nearly 450 opinions.

Before she entered the judiciary, she had a small-town practice for 26 years in Madisonville where she represented individuals and businesses in civil and criminal matters.

She also served as the municipal judge for Madisonville, and as an attorney for Monroe County, Madisonville, Vonore and others.

Lee graduated with honors from the Webb School of Knoxville, the University of Tennessee College of Business and the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Some of the recognitions she has received include: University of Tennessee Distinguished Alumna Award, University of Tennessee Centennial Alumnus Award, University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Achievement Award, Webb School of Knoxville Distinguished Alumni Award, YWCA of Knoxville Tribute to Women Honoree, YWCA of Knoxville 30 Remarkable Women over the past 30 Years Honoree, Girl Scouts Council of the Southern Appalachians’ Woman of Achievement Award, Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award, Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award, ABOTA Tennessee Chapter’s Courage Award, East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women’s Spirit of Justice Award, East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council’s Lizzie Crozier French Award, and the National Association of Women Judges’ Spotlight Award.