David E. Lemke

Trustees, lenders, creditors' committees and other clients requiring assistance with defaulted bonds or other financial instruments rely on David Lemke to provide sophisticated, practical advice and counsel. For more than 25 years, David has designed creative solutions for clients both inside and outside of formal proceedings. Whether a workout is undertaken within the bankruptcy court setting, a receivership is necessary to enforce the remedies of a trustee or lender, or an out-of-court restructuring is needed, clients can be assured that David has the experience and judgment to craft a resolution.

David enjoys the competitive nature of his work and thrives on bringing a win to the client. He assertively and tenaciously finds leverage within a matter to achieve the client's goal.

In November 2011, Jefferson County, Alabama filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy ever filed at that time. Representing the trustee for certain sewer debt exceeding $3 billion, David and the Waller team were intimately involved in the historic proceedings.  In July 2013, the City of Detroit filed its Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition, thereby eclipsing Jefferson County as the largest municipal bankruptcy ever filed. Drawing on the experience gained in Jefferson County, David and the Waller team were engaged to represent the trustee for Detroit's water and sewer bonds—totaling almost $6 billion—in this historic case.

A former managing partner and member of Waller's Board of Directors, David provides sound leadership not only to clients, but also to his peers and colleagues.


Chambers USA recognizes David for his extensive bankruptcy and litigation experience. Additionally, Best Lawyers recognizes him as a leader in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. Listed as a "2017 Mid-South Super Lawyer."


  • Represents Indenture Trustees in defaulted bond issues around the country, as well as a large commercial banks, particularly in defaulted commercial real estate loans and healthcare credits
  • Represented an OEM automobile manufacturer in the bankruptcy cases of auto parts suppliers
  • Prosecuted a claim as Special Committee Counsel against the former officers, directors and outside auditors of the world's second largest owner, operator and franchisor of hair salons.
  • Served as Committee Counsel for the Unsecured Creditors Committee in the bankruptcy of the Stanley Jones Corporation, a mechanical engineering firm.


  • Member, Nashville, Tennessee, Oklahoma and American Bar Associations
  • Member, Asset Sales and Health Care Committees, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Member, American Judicature Society
  • Former Board Member and Past President, Mid-South Commercial Law Institute
  • Past Chair, Nashville Bar Association's Bankruptcy Court Committee
  • Former Chair, CLE Subcommittee and the Local Rules Subcommittee, Bankruptcy Court Committee, Nashville Bar Association
  • Former Board Member, Middle Tennessee Chapter, Turnaround Management Association


  • J.D., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1985
    • University of Missouri Law Review
  • B.S., Central Methodist College, 1982
    • Omicron Delta Kappa

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Up Close

Dave spends nearly all of his free time as a groom, truck driver, stall-mucker, and tack handler for his wife, daughters and their Welsh Ponies. With three daughters who are accomplished equestrians, a barn of horses shown on the A-Show Circuit, and a devoted family dog that follows the team everywhere, Dave and his wife have their free time spoken for.

He remembers enjoying fishing at one time in his life.