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William E. Martin

William E. Martin
General Counsel

With more than 35 years of experience, Will Martin joined the FirstBank team as general counsel in 2007, serving as chief legal officer for both the bank and its holding company, FirstSouth BanCorp.

After graduation from law school, he was a partner at the Nashville-based law firm Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, and later he co-founded the law firm of Harwell Barr Martin & Sloan, which later became a part of Bass Berry & Sims.

Will has experience in a wide range of industries and has represented clients as diverse as banks, health care firms and governmental agencies. Not only does Will practice law, but he teaches it, and is an adjunct professor of international environmental law at Vanderbilt University Law School.

An advocate for environmental issues, Will’s focus in public affairs has been primarily on sustainable fishing practices. During the Clinton-Gore administration, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Will also served as the chairman of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on Fisheries in Rome, and U.S. delegate to the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in Madrid.

He served as a member of the board of trustees for the Marine Stewardship Council in London for 13 years, and he was chairman of that board from 2005-2013. Will was also a member of the board of directors for the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.  In addition, Will served as a Senior Fellow of the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade.

Within his community, Will is a board member and former chairman of The Maddox Charitable Fund, and he was a former chairman of the Tennessee Conservation Commission and a former board member and chairman of Friends of Warner Park.

Will received both his Juris Doctorate and his Bachelor of Arts degrees from Vanderbilt University. He enjoys spending his free time playing tennis, taking photos, hiking, traveling and reading. In younger years, he was involved in mountain climbing and recorded technical ascents of more than 20 alpine mountains in eight countries.

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