Lisa Karen Atkins
A native of Ohio, Ms. Atkins has served as litigation and in-house counsel in a variety of settings since 1990. As in-house counsel, she specialized in transactional and employment practice and represented clients in compliance, regulatory, and agency proceedings. As litigation counsel, she has defended civil litigation claims, including handling all aspects of employment litigation. She was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1989 and served as a state appellate court judicial clerk to the Honorable A.A. Birch, Jr., from 1989-1990.
Ms. Atkins has represented employers as litigation and in-house counsel in a broad range of employment matters. She has defended numerous Title VII, age discrimination, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act cases at the administrative, trial, and appellate levels. Her experience includes sexual and racial harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, and related state law tort claims. On behalf of employers, she has also handled Title IX discrimination and individual and official capacity claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1981, and 1985. She has experience counseling employers on a wide range of employment issues, including transfer, demotion, grievances, benefits, impairment and drug-testing, accommodation, employee discipline, termination, electronic use (Internet and electronic mail), conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, and military leave. She also has substantial experience drafting and implementing employment policies, discrimination/misconduct investigations, management reviews, and severance agreements. In addition, she has advised on workforce planning, restructuring and reductions in force in non-union settings and represented clients in connection with investigations arising under federal programs and regulations. Her experience includes management training and assisting with the formulation and implementation of employment-related risk management strategies.
Ms. Atkins has an extensive higher education legal background, having served as general counsel for a mid-major, public research/doctoral university. She has presented on various legal issues, including developments in the Americans with Disabilities Act and Ethics and Technology.
Ms. Atkins is currently a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).
Education and Honors
J.D., University of Tennessee, 1989
B.A., English, University of Notre Dame, 1986
- Appointed to the Western District (Memphis) Hearing Committee for the Board of Professional Responsibility by the Tennessee Supreme Court (2000)
- Council on Governmental Affairs (CGA), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
- National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
- Samford University - "FERPA and the Americans with Disabilities Act" - Birmingham - November 12, 2012
- Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Effective Employee Discipline and Dismissal" - Birmingham - November 9, 2012
- Alabama State Bar Labor & Employment Law Section - "Working with In-house Counsel: Ways to Maximize Potential for a Successful Outcome" - Orange Beach - October 13, 2012
- CUPA-HR Alabama Chapter Conference - "Legal Issues in Higher Education HR" - Birmingham - May 4, 2012
- Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Alabama’s Immigration Law and What it Means to You" - Birmingham - November 4, 2011
- Tennessee State University Faculty Institute - "Legal Developments in Higher Education: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" - Nashville - August 19, 2010
- Tennessee State University, Educational Administration & Leadership - "The Law of Higher Education" - Nashville - April 29, 2010
- Tennessee State University - "Ethics and Professionalism in Computing" - Nashville - April 6, 2010
- Tennessee State University - "Federal Higher Education Funding Legislation 2010-2020" - Nashville - January 15, 2010
- Tennessee State University - "Ethics and Technology" - Nashville - November 23, 2009
- Tennessee State University Faculty Institute - "Legal Issues in Classroom Management" - Nashville - August 25, 2009
- Tennessee State University - "Rethinking Priorities and Resources: a Review of Current Higher Education Budget Realities" - Nashville - July 27, 2009
- Tennessee State University - "2008 Legislative Priorities" - Nashville - February 26, 2008
- Tennessee State University Faculty/Staff Institute - "Ethics, Integrity, Outside Employment, and Conflict of Interest" - Nashville - August 17, 2007
- Walter State Community College Faculty Institute - "The Law and Higher Education" - Morristown - March 2005
In The News
- March 19, 2012 - - "What are the challenges women face in business?"
- March 19, 2012 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "Alabama eAuthority"
- March 19, 2012 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "As Compliance Deadline Nears, the Eleventh Circuit Leaves Employer Provisions of Alabama’s Immigration Law Intact"