Rachel Thomas is a founding member of Hayes Thomas PLC. She began her legal career in the Nashville District Attorney’s Office, where she had sole responsibility for handling approximately 16,000 total cases during the years that she worked there, including murder, rape, drug conspiracy, violent robbery, kidnapping, million-dollar embezzlement, and carjacking cases. While at the District Attorney’s Office, Ms. Thomas served as a domestic violence prosecutor for approximately two years and has extensive familiarity with domestic assault allegations and orders of protection. Ms. Thomas served as lead counsel in countless jury and non-jury trials. Though Ms. Thomas no longer practices criminal law, her wealth of courtroom and trial experience serves her family law clients well.
Ms. Thomas’ civil litigation background is also diverse. After leaving the District Attorney’s Office, she practiced at one of Nashville’s leading commercial litigation firms. Ms. Thomas handled a wide variety of commercial disputes—including contract disputes involving physician practice agreements, non-compete and non-disparagement employment agreements, joint venture agreements involving the corrections system and technology industry, and music industry disputes involving concert tours and song production. Ms. Thomas primarily focused her commercial practice on defending securities fraud class action lawsuits in federal court. This required considerable research and writing skills, as well as the ability to organize and access enormous amounts of data. As part of this commercial practice, Ms. Thomas became familiar with business valuation methods and finance concepts that she oftentimes uses in high asset divorce cases.
After leaving her commercial litigation practice, Ms. Thomas thoughtfully shifted her law practice to focus solely on family law, as she knew that this was the ideal practice area to combine her courtroom experience and experience handling commercial disputes. Ms. Thomas has represented divorce clients in nearly every professional industry and stage of life. She finds her practice very rewarding – both supporting clients through some of their darkest personal times, while also keeping a cool business sense about how to most favorably divide their assets.
Ms. Thomas has been recognized for her professional accomplishments and community leadership in a variety of forums. She was selected as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2015, has been selected as a Mid-South Rising Star by Super Lawyers every year since 2014, has chaired committees for the Nashville Bar Association and Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, and has served as a guest lecturer on family law topics at Continuing Legal Education classes for attorneys and at Vanderbilt Law School.
Rachel graduated cum laude from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she wrote for the Transactions Business Journal, served as head research assistant to a constitutional law professor, and served as an Advanced Legal Research teacher’s assistant. Prior to attending law school, she worked on the Tennessee Speaker of the House’s legislative staff for two legislative sessions. Rachel received her undergraduate degree in 2003 from the University of Virginia.
Born: Knoxville, Tennessee, September 7, 1981
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, Tennessee
J.D., Cum Laude, 2008
Honors: Selected as head research assistant to constitutional law professor Otis Stephens – worked 20 hours per week for Dr. Stephens, writing and editing his textbooks and scholarly articles, writing and editing class curricula, and periodically teaching classes
Honors: Selected as teaching assistant for advanced legal research class
Honors: Selected as staff member for Business Transactions Journal