Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman

Chancery Court Part I for the State of Tennessee
Twentieth Judicial District for Nashville and Davidson County


Chancellor Claudia C. Bonnyman received a law degree in 1974 from the Vanderbilt School of Law. At Vanderbilt, she was awarded the Order of the Coif. After earning a law degree, she served as law clerk for Justice William J. Harbison of the Tennessee Supreme Court and then became the only female Assistant District Attorney in the office of District Attorney Tom Shriver.

Chancellor Bonnyman was invited to become a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation and the Tennessee Bar Foundation. She is a member of the local and state bar associations and the American Bar Association. In 1981, she was a founding member of the Lawyers Association for Women and she served as its first president.

Chancellor Bonnyman was appointed to the Chancery bench by Governor Phil Bredesen in September 2003. She was elected by the popular vote in 2004 to serve the balance of Chancellor Irvin Kilcrease’s term. In 2006, she was re-elected to the Chancery bench without opposition. She was appointed Clerk and Master for Chancery in 1989 and was reappointed by the then sitting chancellors in 1995 and 2001. Before working in Chancery, she was a partner with Ortale, Kelly, Herbert and Crawford and earlier, a partner at Waddey and Jennings. While in private practice she received the Women’s Equity at Vanderbilt award from the non-profit organization, W.E.A.V.E. In 2014, she received the Healing Arts Project Inc. Community Friend Award.

Chancellor Bonnyman married Gordon Bonnyman, Jr., in 1970. He is a founder of the non-profit Tennessee Justice Center where he continues to serve their many clients. Their son is a primary care physician in Chicago. She attends Belmont United Methodist Church.