Marietta Shipley retired in September 2006 after 16 years as Judge of the Davidson County Second Circuit Court in Nashville, Tennessee, where she presided over civil jury and non-jury trials and family cases. During that time, she was a leader in promoting mediation in the court system. After her retirement, Judge Shipley founded The Mediation Group of Tennessee, LLC, a statewide network of mediators and arbitrators. Judge Shipley helped found the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators and has been a past president. Today she is a sole provider.
While on the bench, Judge Shipley mediated numerous civil matters from personal injury cases to malpractice cases. Judge Shipley was Chair of the Judicial Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee, which primarily brought education to judges statewide so they were ready to respond to this helpful tool in resolving disputes. During her judgeship, Judge Shipley made the court system more accessible to parties to determine their own decision.
In 1992, Judge Shipley was appointed to the Tennessee Bar Association ADR Committee and became a charter member of the Supreme Court ADR Commission. In 1996, the Supreme Court passed Rule 31. Judge Shipley was one of the pilot judges for the Parenting Plan Legislation, which provided a structure for divorcing parents to plan for the future of their children. She served as a member of the Appellate Mediation Task Force, which developed an appellate mediation model. During her judgeship, she served on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Family Mediators (now Association of Conflict Resolution).
Since 2008, Judge Shipley has been a founder and past executive board member of the Middle Tennessee Collaborative Alliance. She has handled numerous collaborative cases as an attorney. She is a member of the TBA taskforce to formulate a statewide rule governing collaborative family law. She expects the rule to be an amendment to the Supreme Court Rule 31.
Prior to her 1990 election to the Circuit Court, Judge Shipley was in private practice with Shipley & Behm for 10 years. She had a general litigation practice emphasizing family, employment, probate and personal injury law. She began her law practice in the Nashville, Davidson County District Attorney General’s Office in 1977, where she founded the Child Support Division with Tom Thurman, Deputy District Attorney.
Judge Shipley graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1976. While attending law school, she taught German for six years, after having obtained B.A. and M.A.T. degrees from the University of Kansas. She received her original mediation training with Colorado Dispute Resolution, sponsored by the ABA at Stanford University Law School. At that time, there were only five mediators in the State of Tennessee. She served as an Assistant for Mediation Training at Judicial College in 1994 and 1995. She received further training from David Strawn of Florida and from Nina Meierding of the Pepperdine University Law School Strauss Institute at several trainings for judges. She has attended numerous AFM and ABA conferences on mediation, and has been a frequent presenter at seminars for the Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, Tennessee Association for Justice, M. Lee Smith Conferences, Paralegal and Legal Assistant Associations and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. She has also served as a trainer for Rule 31 Family Law Training at Lipscomb University. In 2009 she received the Grayford Gray Award for Highest Contribution to the Mediation Field.
Judge Shipley is married to Dr. David McMillan, a psychologist. His website is www.drdavidmcmillan.com. They have a dog, Greta, and a cat, Sable, who get along extremely well.