Attorney Jerome Cochran heads back to Nashville
Published 5:24 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015
Local attorney Jerome Cochran is on his way back to Nashville, but not as a legislator. This time he is going as an administrative law judge for the state of Tennessee.
Cochran, who has already started his new job, is still working to close out his Elizabethton law practice. “That’s going to take several months, so I will be commuting quite a bit,” he said last week.
Cochran’s new office will be in downtown Nashville, although he will be working mostly cases in East Tennessee. “I’m more familiar with this area and the courts here, so it’s a good fit for me. I will be working cases in Nashville as well as other parts of the state,” he added.
In general, administrative law judges conduct hearings to decide or recommend decisions on claims concerning government programs or other government related matters and prepare decisions. Some of the cases Cochran will be hearing and deciding include TennCare appeals, seizures, and state agency disputes.
“It will be a big adjustment for me as I will go from being an advocate to an arbitrator. Every case will demand that I step back and look at it objectively and within the bounds of the law,” he said of his new position.
In addition to his new job and law practice, Cochran is in the midst of packing, having sold his Gap Creek home just days ago. “My wife and kids are already in Nashville preparing for the opening of school next week. They are excited about the move, especially my wife, Sandy, who is from Nashville,” Cochran said.
Cochran was offered the administrative law judge position just hours after being skipped over as the appointed successor to Circuit Court Judge Tom Seeley, who retired earlier this year. “When Atty. Eddie Lauderbach received the appointment, I was happy for him and decided I would go on being the best attorney I could be. Then Secretary of State Tre Hargett called me and offered me the new position. I think the Lord wants me there. He has opened every door, and quickly,” Cochran said.
In fact, his wife, a registered nurse, already has a job at Vanderbilt Hospital. His oldest son, Jeremy, an eighth grader has landed a spot on his new school’s football team and has already been practicing for the season opener.
“It’s an exciting time for our family,” said Cochran, who was quick to add that his oldest daughter, Elizabeth, is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “She is a member of the band’s color guard, and it’s going to be great to see her march into the UT stadium with the band when football season opens,” Cochran said.
An avid Volunteer fan, Cochran said he had just received his tickets for Tennessee’s opener in September. “I love my Vols,” he said.
Cochran and his wife are also the parents of Jackson, a seventh grader, and Emma, who is in the third grade.
Cochran opened his law practice in Elizabethton in 2000. “It has required hard work, determination, and a real passion for the law. And, these are qualities I will take with me to my new position,” he said.
The Elizabethton attorney also served four years in the Tennessee House of Representatives, where he was a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Children and Family Affairs Committee.
“I probably won’t seek an elected office any more, but I will always have a love for politics and an interest in government,” Cochran said. “Every election has been an experience, some good and some bad. I’ve always had a desire for public service.”
“Elizabethton will always be my home and it has been a good place to raise my family,” Cochran said.
Cochran is the son of a Vietnam war veteran, who met and married Cochran’s mother in Saigon. “That is where I was born and spent the first few months of my life. My parents were middle-class, working at Lowe’s and Walmart, respectively. I attended the University of Tennessee and law school at Regent University College of Law. Without the help of student loans, I could never have attended college or a private law school,” he said.
He met and married his wife soon after graduating from U-T.
“I would consider myself very blessed. I feel that this new job is the right job for me as it comes at a very opportune time in my life and in my family’s life,” he said.
The one thing Cochran is going to miss: Greg’s pizza. “That’s my weakness,” he said.