Russell serves as the managing partner for FordHarrison's Memphis office and is known for his extreme responsiveness and excellent communication with clients.

Employers appreciate his aggressive strategy and creative problem-solving techniques when defending them in litigation and resolving their day-to-day employment issues.  Russell’s practice primarily includes defending employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenants, and wage and hour violations.  He also closely works with employers to counsel them through complex issues governing the employment relationship, including ADA and FMLA leave and accommodation requests, terminations, trade secret and non-compete obligations, wage and hour audits, and unfair labor practice complaints.  His clients represent a number of industries, such as residential services, manufacturing, packaging, logistics, insurance, healthcare, property management, staffing agencies, and retail.

With licenses in Tennessee and Mississippi, Russell regularly handles matters throughout the Mid-South. He also provides a national presence for his clients; he has defended claims throughout the country and lawsuits in a number of jurisdictions, including Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, the Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and Maryland. In addition, he has successfully handled appeals before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits and the United States Supreme Court.

Recent unsolicited comments from Russell’s clients include the following:

  • “I really appreciate that I never have to chase you for updates.  Thanks!”
  • [After a settlement] “That’s great news!  Well done!  This is a great result for us, but I know y’all wanted to crush them in action.  Next time.”
  • “Thanks again for your good help at the arbitration hearing earlier this week.  The feedback I received from the team was that you did a fantastic job.”

Having worked in an in-house capacity, Russell knows through personal experience how clients’ legal and HR departments operate in order to effectively address their needs.  A Memphis native, Russell is active in the local community. He has served on the board of nonprofits in Memphis, including serving as the President of a 501(c)(3) organization.

Representative Experience
  • Successfully tried a federal jury trial in the Western District of Tennessee for a large financial services company in an age discrimination failure to hire lawsuit. The jury returned a verdict for the employer.
  • Served as co-counsel in a federal bench trial in the Eastern District of Arkansas for a national agricultural retail supplier in a race discrimination lawsuit. Judgment was entered for the employer.
  • Successfully defended a retail client in arbitration before the AAA in a suit alleging reverse race discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Tennessee Public Protection Act. The arbitrator found in favor of the employer.
  • Successfully argued before the Tennessee Court of Appeals in a lawsuit alleging wrongful denial of unemployment benefits.
  • Served as lead counsel in a Department of Labor audit into Fair Labor Standards Act compliance for a national packaging and distribution client.
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement in an FLSA collective action in the Western District of Tennessee for a national healthcare client.
  • Received a dismissal for a national insurance client in an ERISA action in the Western District of Tennessee alleging wrongful denial of benefits.
  • Obtained dismissals, including summary judgment, in countless lawsuits alleging claims under virtually every federal employment statute and Tennessee state employment law claims.
  • Obtained summary judgment on an age discrimination claim and state law claim under public policy retaliation in a very contentious matter for a manufacturing client.
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America - Employment Law - Management, Litigation - Labor and Employment (2021-2022)
  • "Mid-South Rising Stars," Super Lawyers Magazine