Dwight E. Tarwater joined Governor Haslam’s senior team as general counsel in December of 2014.
Tarwater, a founding partner of the Knoxville firm Paine, Tarwater & Bickers, LLP, received his undergraduate degree in 1977 from the University of Tennessee, where he was elected a Torchbearer, the University’s highest honor. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1980 and served as law clerk to the Honorable Houston M. Goddard of the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
Tarwater has vast courtroom experience, having tried cases locally, across the state of Tennessee, and in several other states. On appeal, he has represented clients before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Tennessee Supreme Court and in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits.
He has held numerous leadership positions in the Knoxville and Tennessee Bar Associations and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. His former firm was honored with the Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award in 2010, 2012 and 2013. He was a member of the 2002 Class of Leadership Knoxville and a former Board Member of the East Tennessee Foundation. In 2006, he became a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has been an invited guest lecturer at the University of Tennessee College of Law and asked to speak at various meetings of his professional colleagues.
He was married to the late Mary Flowers Tarwater for 34 years and has three children: Davis, a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist; Katherine, an elementary school teacher in Knox County; and Dwight, a basketball player at the University of California, Berkeley.