Avery C. Shell


  • University of Tennessee College of Law, Summa Cum Laude
  • East Tennessee State University, Honors in Discipline Program
  • Ray H. Jenkins Trial Competition Winner 2018
  • Research Editor, Tennessee Law Review
  • James R. & Nell W. Cunningham Award
  • Order of the Coif
  • Criminal Defense and White Collar Defense
  • James L. Powers III Excellence in Criminal Advocacy Award

Avery attended the University of Tennessee College of Law with the goal of practicing criminal law upon graduation. At RDDJ, her practice areas encompass a variety of criminal defense and white collar crime matters.

Avery graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law summa cum laude and second in her class. Throughout her time in law school, Avery earned several awards for her academic work, including those for having the top grade in Contracts I, Torts I, Torts II, Legal Process I, Legal Process II, Transactional Law Lab, Trial Practice, Animals and the Law, Wills and Trust, and Advocacy Clinic. Avery was also the recipient of the James R. & Nell W. Cunningham Award for Legal Research. Upon graduation, Avery’s academic success earned her an invitation to join the Order of the Coif.

In addition to academics, Avery was also recognized for her skills in trial based advocacy. In 2018, Avery won the Ray H. Jenkins Trial Competition. Over the three-day competition at the University of Tennessee College of Law, Avery and her partner were required to fully prepare, present, and represent their client against opposing counsel. A panel of local judges and attorneys judged the contestants based upon their oral advocacy, preparation, and presentation of the case.

As a third year student, Avery worked as a student attorney in the University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic. In this role, Avery gained crucial experience meeting with clients, interviewing witnesses, investigating cases, negotiating agreements, and advocating for her clients, both inside and outside the courtroom. For her work as a student attorney, Avery received the James L. Powers III Excellence in Criminal Advocacy Award.

Outside of class, Avery was a member of the Tennessee Law Review, where she served as research editor during her third year, and was committed to pro bono service. Avery spent her 2L spring break serving the community of Gray, Tennessee, through the law school’s alternative spring break program.

Prior to joining RDDJ as an attorney, Avery clerked for the firm starting in the summer of 2018. Before clerking at RDDJ, Avery spent time clerking at a civil litigation firm and interned for Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee, where she researched and edited opinions for the 2018 docket.

Originally from the Tri-Cities, Avery obtained her undergraduate degree in Philosophy from East Tennessee State University. During undergrad, Avery was a member of the varsity debate team, completed the Honors in Discipline Program, and was the recipient of the Neil Shanks Memorial Honors’ Thesis Award. Avery’s family still resides in the Tri-Cities and she and her fiancé make frequent visits to the area to spend time with family.