A Knoxville Law Firm Like No Other

The Beginnings of Owings, Wilson & Coleman

Owings, Wilson & Coleman has a long and celebrated history as a Knoxville law firm that began in 1982.  At that time, we were known as Robertson, Williams, Ingram, Faulkner & Overbey in recognition of our founding partners Claude K. Robertson, J. Edward Ingram, Norman H. Williams, Shannon D. Faulkner, III, and J. Douglas Overbey.

Attorneys of spirit and character, they believed strongly in the idea of supporting one’s community by promoting the highest standards of professional ethics combined with community involvement outside the practice of law.

Few held this philosophy more than Claude Robertson, senior founding member, Eddie Ingram and Doug Overbey.

Claude served on the Board of Directors of United Way, Knoxville; Travelers Aid society; and Presbyterian Homes of Tennessee, Inc. (of which he was Chairman of the Board.)

Eddie served as Bond counsel to dozens of cities and counties throughout Tennessee.  He also provided legal services for such high-profile projects as Thompson-Boling Arena, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium in Sevier County.

Doug Overbey served on the Blount County Commission from 1982 to 1990 and later served for a total of seventeen years in the Tennessee General Assembly, the last nine years as State Senator for Blount and Sevier Counties. He also served as Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee and on numerous community boards and committees.

Through the years that followed our inception, we provided a vast array of legal services that ranged from major civil litigation involving complex antitrust issues to serving as bond counsel, issuer’s counsel and underwriter’s counsel.  Our clients were, and are, many of the most prestigious people and businesses in their respective fields.

As all firms do, we experienced periodic transitions with the addition of new members and the retirement and passage of older members. Prior to our most recent transition in 2017, the firm bore the name Robertson Overbey and featured four partners: Doug Overbey, senior partner; Shelly Wilson, managing partner; John Owings; and Stephanie Coleman, all of whom had been with the firm for years.

In 2017, our senior partner at the time, Doug Overbey, had the honor of being nominated by the President of the United States to serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.  That nomination was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in October of 2017.  Doug resigned from his position with our firm, thereby prompting our final transition to Owings, Wilson & Coleman as of November 1, 2017.

Doug made his return to our firm on March 29, 2021, following his tenure serving as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Doug brings more than 40 years of legal experience to the firm and has established a formidable reputation in the legal community. He has successfully pursued and tried a wide variety of cases in both state and federal courts. His primary practice areas include white-collar defense and governmental investigations and enforcement, including criminal antitrust, anti-corruption, fraud, and money laundering; high-stakes litigation, particularly involving complex commercial claims and civil antitrust; healthcare; and state and local government law.

Owings, Wilson & Coleman Today

Today, still located in downtown Knoxville, we have four partners: John Owings, Shelly Wilson, Stephanie Coleman, and Felicia Coalson. We have a total of ten attorneys and the accompanying staff to provide our clients with a broad range of legal services and solutions to meet the challenges of today’s demanding private and public-sector environments.

For over forty years we have steadfastly remained committed to providing legal excellence for our clients at every level.  Today, we are responsible for more than $11.2 billion of public finance transactions on behalf of our clients, and we regularly provide legal support and guidance for extremely complex regulatory, financing, environmental, business formation, succession, and dissolution issues across multiple platforms to include both private and public domains.

Our firm has earned Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating of “AV,” and received numerous other distinctions such as Pro Bono firm of the Year.  Our firm is regularly chosen by area attorneys as a leader in the fields of Antitrust, Administrative, Employee Benefits/Defense, Nursing Home Liability/Defense and Class Action/Defense Law. And, in the proud tradition of community service established by our founding partners, our attorneys serve on boards and work within organizations such as Mobile Meals, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Zoo Knoxville, the Knoxville Symphony League,  Operation Inasmuch, Remote Area Medical, The Restoration House, Blount Partnership, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley Laura Cansler Unit, Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, Leadership Knoxville Alumni Board, and Knoxville Opera Company.

As we continue to grow and expand our services, we do so in honor of the legacy our founders established. Character above all, professional excellence in the mastery of one’s craft, attention to detail, and genuine concern for the welfare of those we serve; these are the philosophical cornerstones that set us apart and continue to establish us as a pre-eminent Knoxville law firm with clients throughout East Tennessee.