Judge Larry E. Potter has lived in Memphis for over 40 years and is a well-known leader and a judicial innovator. Recently introduced as a “treasure of our city,” he was appointed to a City Court Judge position in 1982 at the age of 35, becoming one of the youngest judges to ever serve on the bench. He was elected to his first full term in 1983 and then overwhelmingly reelected to 6 additional terms, diligently serving our city and county court systems for 35 years.
Judge Potter was born in Nashville and lived in Humphreys County. When he was 8 years old his family moved to Milan, Tennessee where he attended grade school and graduated from high school in 1965. He continued his education at the University of Tennessee-Martin, graduating in 1969 with a Bachelors of Arts in Education/History. At the age of 22 he began his career as a teacher at East Elementary School in Lyles, Tennessee, and was promoted to Principal within a year. He returned to college in 1972 at Austin Peay University receiving his Master’s Degree in Education Administration.
In 1975 Judge Potter entered the University of Memphis Law School. He received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1977, and began practicing law. He has served as an Assistant City Public Defender, Chief Public Defender, Assistant City Prosecutor, and Assistant City Attorney. In 1982 he was appointed by Mayor Wyeth Chandler to the City Court Bench Division 2. During this first year Judge Potter worked administratively to create the Memphis Environmental Court.
In 1991 Judge Potter helped write a law that created a county-wide Environmental Court with injunctive authority, allowing him to more effectively deal with the increasingly difficult environmental problems encountered in court. This effort was a dramatic success and later that year the Tennessee State Legislature established the Shelby County Environmental Court.
During the 40 years he has lived in Memphis, Judge Larry E. Potter has proven to be a leader, judicial innovator, and a man of great wisdom and compassion for the citizens he serves. On March 1, 2018 he retired from office and now serves as a Senior Policy Advisor with Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.