A periodic Q & A session with a Lewis Thomason (LT) lawyer
LT: When did you decide to become a lawyer?
Chuck Cagle: I sat in a Monroe County courtroom the summer before I entered 8th grade and watched W. E. Michael, a lawyer in Sweetwater, TN, try a personal injury case. Mr. Michael was in his late 60’s at the time and was the epitome of what I imagined a lawyer to be: well-dressed, gentlemanly, scholarly, dignified and very persuasive. He convinced a jury that his client was due compensation (which she was awarded) and the experience convinced me that I should consider the law as a career. Later on, I received a lot of encouragement to pursue law as a career from Judge Herschel Franks, a judge on the Court of Appeals, and Justice Ray Brock of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
LT: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Chuck Cagle: Well, there are three. Being available when problems or disasters strike in a client’s school district or university and working through the problems to a practical and legally defensible conclusion. A close second would be arguing appellate matters before the Courts of Appeal in all three grand divisions of the state as well as the Tennessee Supreme Court. Finally, looking at TCA Title 49 and recognizing language that I drafted for legislation that was adopted by the General Assembly.
LT: What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer?
Chuck Cagle: The daily interaction I have with my clients and observing how what I do fits into the very large picture of educating students.
LT: You are stranded on a desert island, what music are you listening to?
Chuck Cagle: Whatever device I get marooned with will be blaring classical (preferably, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Dvorak, or Bruckner), bluegrass or jazz.
LT: What do you want your legacy to be?
Chuck Cagle: That I worked hard, that my clients and others could rely upon my advice and assistance, that I behaved as a professional, and that I respected the great folks with whom I worked.
LT: What book is on your bedside table (or on your e-reader)?
Chuck Cagle: Right now I am reading The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters, as well as a compendium of writings by C. S. Lewis.
LT: If you could change careers, what would you choose?
Chuck Cagle: I would probably go back to higher education administration and teaching. I enjoyed my time in an earlier career as an assistant dean of students and I very much enjoy teaching at Vanderbilt each spring semester.
LT: If you had time for a new hobby or to learn a new skill, what would you choose and why?
Chuck Cagle: I would take wine and cooking classes. I love to cook and I would like to “kick it up a notch” by being able to match superb wines with great food.
Charles W. (Chuck) Cagle is a shareholder and chair of the Education Law and Government Relations Practice Group for the firm’s Nashville office. He oversees the firm’s representation of over 70 public boards of education, two private schools, two private universities, and a private medical school in a variety of legal matters including employment issues related to both licensed and classified employees, employee and student discipline, employee and student rights, special education and disability accommodation, constitutional rights issues, sexual harassment and bullying issues, civil rights, desegregation, school system consolidation, tort liability, school system business practices, school funding, taxation, and school construction.
Mr. Cagle also is a registered lobbyist with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. His list of lobbying clients has included school superintendents, school employee professional organizations, school boards, private schools, private universities. In addition, Mr. Cagle serves as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University teaching courses in K-12 Education Law and Public Policy and the Law of Higher Education.