Lt. Gov. Randy McNally names Chattanooga attorney, former state senator to Tennessee's Trial Court Vacancy Commission

Senator Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, center, is sworn in as Senate Speaker by former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. McNally succeeds Sen. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, who did not seek re-election. Lawmakers convened for the 110th Tennessee General Assembly with new leadership in the Senate and a House speaker eying a gubernatorial bid. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE -- Lt. Gov. Randy McNally today announced he has named Chattanooga attorney Harold L. "Hal" North Jr. and former state Sen. Don McLeary to serve on Tennessee's Trial Court Vacancy Commission.

"Hal North is an attorney of great intellect and judgment," said McNally, the Republican Senate speaker from Oak Ridge, in a news release. "I am confident he will do an outstanding job choosing excellent nominees who will work hard for the people of Tennessee."

McNally said he was "proud to serve with Don McLeary in the state Senate and I am proud to appoint him to this commission. His vast life experience and sound judgment will aid his fellow commissioners in choosing quality jurists who will interpret and enforce the laws as written."

The Trial Court Vacancy Commission was created in 2016 as part of a compromise. When a vacancy occurs in the office of chancellor, circuit court judge, criminal court judge or judge of any other state trial court of record, the 11-member commission reviews applications and sends three nominations to the governor for consideration.

The Senate and House speakers each have five appointments. The chairman is appointed by both speakers.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis School of Law, North is an attorney at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel and works in the firm's civil litigation section.

His practice includes domestic relations, bankruptcy, creditor's rights and business litigation as well as municipal and governmental affairs.

North has been involved in civic and community activities in the Chattanooga area for many years.

He is a past Chattanooga Rotary Club president and former Hamilton County Republican Party chairman.

McLeary was head football coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin for more than a decade with a record as the third winningest coach in the school's history. He also served as the Director of Athletics at University of Tennessee at Martin during a 25 year career in athletics.

From 2002 to 2006, McLeary was a state senator representing the 27th District. Previously an executive vice president at both Union Planters Bank and First State Bank, McLeary is currently a partner in Barton Creek Farms. He resides in Humboldt.