Bernard E. Bernstein


Bernard E. Bernstein

Founder - February 3, 1931 - May 19, 2023
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Mr. Bernstein founded the firm in 1959 and practiced law with the firm for fifty-five years. He fully retired in late 2014. During his career, Mr. Bernstein practiced in the fields of business litigation, general civil litigation, commercial law, real estate matters, and domestic relations. He was frequently involved in Constitutional issues and the pursuit of civil rights.

Mr. Bernstein was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1931. He graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a B.S. in Economics in 1952. He was a First Lieutenant, Intelligence Officer, in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1954. He attended New York University Law School and graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1958.

He also served as an instructor at the University of Tennessee College of Law from 1962 through 1969; as special trial counsel for the City of Knoxville from 1966 through 1967; and as a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention in 1977.

Mr. Bernstein was a member of the Knoxville Bar Association and served as president, secretary, and treasurer. He was also a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the American Bar Association and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Tennessee Bar Foundation. During his career, he was active in community affairs, including service as chair of the City’s first Police Review Commission and as long-time chair of University Health Systems, Inc., which operates the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He was also involved in business affairs, including service as a Board member and Finance Committee Chair for Saks, Incorporated. 

Awards & Honors

AV Preeminent Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence by Martindale-Hubbell

University of Tennessee Medical Center, Secretary/Treasurer (Present)

University Health Systems, Inc., Board of Directors, Chair (Starting in 2000)

Chair of the City’s First Police Review Commission (1998)

Saks Fifth Avenue, Board of Directors (1989–2004)

Tennessee Constitutional Convention, Delegate (1977)

City of Knoxville, Special Trial Counsel (1956–1967)

United States Air Force, First Lieutenant & Intelligence Officer (1952–1954)

Featured in Tennessee Bar Foundation, Fellows’ Legal History Project. To watch the full interview, visit here.