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130 North Court Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
Tel: (901) 524-5124
Fax: (901) 524-5024
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Arbitration, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Commercial and Business Litigation
White Collar and Criminal Investigations
Government Relations and Municipal Law

• Tennessee, 1961
• United States Court, 1965

• American Bar Association
• Tennessee Bar Association
• Memphis Bar Association

W.J. Michael Cody


Mr. Cody began his practice at the firm in 1961 and, except for his years in public service, has been with Burch, Porter & Johnson since that time. He served as the Attorney General of Tennessee from 1984 to 1988, was the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee from 1977 to 1981, and served on the Memphis City Council from 1975 to 1977. His practice is presently focused on the mediation and arbitration of complex commercial disputes, as well as commercial litigation, internal investigations, and regulatory matters. He has represented major corporations across the United States in a wide variety of litigation and in matters before state attorneys general and regulatory agencies. In 2005, he was appointed to serve as Co-Chair of the Tennessee Commission on Ethics, charged by the Governor of Tennessee with revising state ethics laws. In 2010, Mr. Cody was elected co-chair of the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus or SAGE. One of the founding members of the group, he is only the second co-chair in SAGE's history.

• Rhodes College (B.A., with distinction, 1958; Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1989; Omicrom Delta Kappa)
• University of Virginia (J.D., 1961). Phi Delta Phi

• Admitted to Tennessee Bar in 1961
• Partner, Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC (1961-Present); Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator
• United States Attorney for Western District of Tennessee (1977-1981)
Attorney General, State of Tennessee (1984-1988)
• Professor, Rhodes College and Lemoyne Owen College (1970-1972)
• Professor, Memphis State University School of Law (1981)
• Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Law (1987-1988)
At Large Member, Memphis City Council (1975-1977)
• Co-Chair, Governor's Commission on Ethics in Government (2005)
Co-Chair, Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (2010)
• First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Reserve (1961-1967)

• Member, Memphis, Tennessee, Federal, and American Bar Associations
• Fellow, Memphis Bar Foundation, Tennessee Bar Foundation, and American Bar Foundation
• Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
• Member, Tennessee Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators
• Member, Tennessee Supreme Court Board of Professional Responsibility (1990-1992)

Member, Judicial Council, State of Tennessee (1984-1988)
• Judicial Conference, State of Tennessee (1984-1988)
Tennessee Code Commission (1984-1988)
Tennessee Sentencing Commission (1984-1988)
• Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys (1979-1980)
• Past President, Southern Association of Attorneys General
• Tennessee Environmental Council
Life Member, Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference
• Tennessee Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution
• Advisory Group Chairman of Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990
• Past Chair, Tennessee Chapter of United States Supreme Court Historical Society
Past Vice President, Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society
• Member, Supreme Court Commission on Indigent Defense
• Memphis and Shelby County Sports Authority
Chair, Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission (1997-1998)
• Member, American Arbitration Association's National Panel of Arbitrators
• Past Chair, American College of Trial Lawyers' Attorney-Client Relations Committee
• Co-Chair for TBA Racial and Ethnic Diversity Task Force (2008)
• Member of the AAA National Roster of Neutrals

• Member, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
• Member, Memphis Amateur Sports Hall of Fame
• Member, Rhodes College Athletic Hall of Fame
• Member, Board of Directors of the National Civil Rights Museum
• Vice Chair, Memphis and Shelby County Library Foundation
• Vice Chair, Memphis Travel Aid Society
• Board of Trustees, Leadership Memphis
• Board of Directors, Memphis YMCA
• President of Board of Trustees, Lausanne Collegiate School (2007)
• President, Memphis in May (1996)
• Appointed by Governor as a Commissioner for Goodwyn Institute Commission


  • Recipient, Carnival Memphis Chairman's Award (2015)
  • Named ten times to the Best Lawyers in America® list in the practice areas of Arbitration and Mediation (2006-2015)
  • Named Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" for Mediation in the Memphis area (2014)
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution (2007-2014)
  • Named Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" for Arbitration in the Memphis area (2013)
  • Named Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" for Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Memphis area (2011)
  • Recipient, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter Pillar of Excellence Award (2011)
  • Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award, International Academy of Mediators (2010)
  • Named to the "Top 100 Tennessee Super Lawyers" list (2009-2010)
  • Named to the "Top 50 Memphis Super Lawyers" list (2009-2010)
  • Recipient, National Bar Association's Outstanding Community Service Award (2008)
  • Recipient, National Association of Attorneys General's Francis X. Bellotti Award (2007)
  • Recipient, Memphis Bar Association's Lawyer's Lawyer Award (2001)
  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Attorneys in Business
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyer as one of "Tennessee's Top 100" attorneys
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®
  • Listed in Business Tennessee magazine's “Top 100 Lawyers in Tennessee"
  • Personally argued four cases before the United States Supreme Court:
         -Rose v. Rose, 481 U.S. 619 (1987)
         -Rose v. Clark, 478 U.S. 570 (1986)
         -Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)
         -Alexander v. Choate, 469 U.S. 287 (1985)


King at the Mountain Top: The Representation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memphis, April 3-4, 1968, 41 U. MEM. L. REV. 699 (2011).
The Death Penalty in America: Its Fairness and Morality, 31 The University of Memphis Law Review 4 (Summer 2001)
Special Ethics Duties for Attorneys Who Hold Public Positions
, 23 Memphis State University Law Review 3 (Spring 1993)
• Co-Author, Honest Government, An Ethics Guide for Public Service (Greenwood Publishing, 1992)
The Privatization of Correctional Institutions: The Tennessee Experience, 40 Vanderbilt Law Review 829 (1987)
White Collar Crimes, 10 Memphis State University Law Review 411 (1980)
Co-Author, You Can’t Eat Magnolias (McGraw-Hill, 1972)

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