NASHVILLE - In a surprise announcement, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch told Gov. Bill Haslam today he intends to retire from state's highest court in July to become the dean of the Nashville School of Law.
The move comes after a nearly 30-year career on the the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
Koch joins fellow Justice Janice Holder in deciding not to run for another term on the five-member court. Both were up on yes/no retention ballot votes this coming August.
In a statement, Koch said said his service on the Supreme Court and earlier on the Court of Appeals "has been rewarding and meaningful, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to serve as Chief Justice next fall.
"However," he said, "when the [law school] Board of Trustees approached me about suceeding Dean Joe C. Loser Jr., I realized that I could make no better use of my time and energies than becoming involved in the professional development of the women and men who desire to provide their fellow Tennesseans with excellent and affordable legal representation."
He said he was "grateful for the opportunity to serve Tennessee as a judge. I am also looking forward to the new opportunities and challenges that await me after I am installed as dean of the Nashville School of Law."
Koch, a one-time legal counsel to then-Gov. Lamar Alexander, was later named by Alexander to the state Court of Appeals in 1984. In June 2007, Gov. Phil Bredesen named him to the five-member Supreme Court.