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Michael L. Russell

An effective litigator with extensive trial experience, Michael Russell joined Waller in 2017 after nearly two decades spent representing plaintiffs in labor and employment disputes. As a member of Waller’s top-ranked Labor and Employment practice, Michael’s across-the-aisle experience is a unique and valuable asset for employers in the hospitality, retail, healthcare and manufacturing industries. Employers facing allegations of employment discrimination, workplace harassment and wage and hour violations rely on Michael’s insight, his ability to evaluate risks, and his pragmatic approach to dispute resolution.

Michael’s legal practice focuses significantly on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and disputes involving overtime pay, recordkeeping and classifications with respect to exempt and nonexempt employees. Michael has litigated and mediated numerous nationwide FLSA class actions, and his insight gained from the plaintiff’s perspective into the complexity and nuances of the law provides a meaningful advantage for the employers he now defends.

In addition to defending the interests of employers in courtroom and administrative proceedings, Michael is a Rule 31 Listed Mediator in accordance with the rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. His impartiality and extensive experience as an advocate for both employers and employees have made him a respected mediator in all types of civil litigation. 

Leadership and Recognitions

Michael serves as president of the Nashville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and he is a past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Labor and Employment Section. Additionally, he was a founding member of the Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court. Michael has been recognized for his labor and employment experience by Best Lawyers and Mid-South Super Lawyers. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell with a peer review rating of 5.0 out of 5.0. Michael currently serves as an adjunct professor at Belmont University College of Law, and he has been widely published in legal journals and law reviews, including The American Journal of Trial Advocacy, the University of Memphis Law Review, the Ohio Northern University Law Review, the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal and Employee Rights Quarterly. 

Professional

  • Adjunct Professor, Belmont University College of Law
  • Member, Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations
  • Executive Council Member, TBA Section on Labor and Employment Law
  • Member, TBA Leadership Law Steering Committee
  • Founding Member, Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court
  • Former Member, Belmont University American Inn of Court

Prior Affiliations

  • Member, Gilbert Russell McWherter Scott Bobbitt PLC, Nashville, Tenn., 2001-2017
  • Associate, Hanover, Walsh, Jalenak & Blair, PLC, Memphis, Tenn., 2000-2001
  • Associate, Spragins, Barnett, Cobb & Butler, PLC, Jackson, Tenn., 1999-2000

Education

  • J.D., magna cum laude, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, 1999
    • Humphreys Law Fellowship
  • B.A., summa cum laude, University of Tennessee, 1996
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Arkansas

Up Close

Michael and his wife, Heather, endowed a scholarship at Belmont University for students from single-parent homes in honor of Michael’s mother, Linda Boroughs Russell, a single parent.