Joseph "Joe" L. Watson

A member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution team, Joe Watson works with clients seeking to resolve business disputes in the most cost-effective way possible, whether in the courtroom or through alternative dispute resolution. Joe’s commercial litigation practice spans a broad variety of industries, and, he has been involved in matters for an array of clients. Joe represents real estate owners, developers and contractors in disputes related to construction defects and delays, payment disputes and construction lien issues. He has assisted banks and financial services institutions in disputes involving commercial and consumer financial arrangements. Joe’s experience also includes providing counsel to manufacturers in high-profile litigation ranging from ERISA class actions to lawsuits brought in opposition to the construction of manufacturing facilities.  Additionally, Joe has assisted clients in conducting internal investigations and providing counsel related to employment issues. 


  • Assisted in various adversary proceedings in what was at the time, the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history
  • Handled a judgment collection of approximately $200,000, including personal property execution, for music rights management company
  • Assisted in the representation of several healthcare organizations in complex fraud and breach of fiduciary duty cases resulting in the recovery of approximately $90 million
  • Routinely reviews form construction agreements such as those associated with the American Institute of Architects, and drafts non-standardized contract documents for clients requiring custom agreements
  • Handles landlord-tenant disputes, having represented both landlord and tenants in commercial and residential contexts, including those under the Tennessee Residential Landlord-Tenant Act
  • Assisted a publicly traded healthcare provider in conducting an internal investigation into potential False Claims Act violations
  • Advised a municipal agency in an internal investigation related to purchasing issues
  • Handled all litigation matters on behalf of a manufacturer against former employee



  • Member, Nashville Bar Association
  • Member, Harry Phillips American Inn of Court

Prior Affiliations

  • Law Clerk to Hon. Justice Gary Wade, Tennessee Supreme Court, (Knoxville, TN)), 2011-2012
  • Graduate Assistant, University of Tennessee Football, Thornton Center (Knoxville, TN) 2010-2011
  • Prosecutorial Externship, U.S. Attorney’s Office (Knoxville, TN) 2010
  • Summer Associate, Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA (Greenville, SC) 2010
  • Summer Associate, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP (Nashville, TN) 2010
  • Summer Associate, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC (Knoxville & Johnson City, TN) 2009
  • Executive Assistant, Akins Crisp Public Strategies (Knoxville, TN) 2008
  • Law Clerk, Steve Henry Law Office (Greeneville, SC) 2006


  • J.D., with honors, University of Tennessee College of Law, 2011
    • Dean's List Highest Honors
    • Order of the Coif
    • Executive Editor of Transactions, Tennessee Journal of Business Law
    • Articles Editor of Tennessee Law Review
  • B.A., with honors, Furman University, 2007
    • Dean's List
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Rhodes Scholarship candidate
    • Varsity Football, Wide Receiver

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Up Close

For the past five years, students have benefited  from Joe Watson’s love of football. An avid footballer, he has volunteered as a camp coach for the Jason Witten football camps and the Greeneville High School football team. Joe’s love of sport also extends to playing golf, running, and lifting weights. When not engaged in sporting activities, he volunteers to help the homeless  and less fortunate through Habitat for Humanity and rescue ministries. Joe also enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants.