Zan is one of the firm’s generalists, as well as a lead trial lawyer. He has tried many cases before juries, judges and administrative agencies in employment discrimination, union-management and employee benefits cases. Zan has presented arguments to several federal and state appellate courts. He advises companies concerning structuring the relationships with workers and clients, whether as employment, leased employee or independent contractor arrangements to minimize legal risks and provide a positive work environment. Zan advises and represents employers in union campaigns, contract negotiations and with respect to unfair labor practice allegations and corporate campaigns. Zan does extensive training programs for all levels of management concerning harassment, discrimination and union avoidance. He frequently speaks to employer groups and provides continuing legal education training for fellow lawyers. Zan is also a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator. 

Honors & Recognitions

  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (Elected 2020)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, and Litigation - Labor and Employment (2006-2024)
  • Recognized as "Lawyer of the Year" for Employment Law - Management in The Best Lawyers in America® (2020)
  • Best of the Bar, Nashville Business Journal (2017)
  • Chambers USA Guide® (2004-2023)
  • Fellow, Nashville Bar Foundation (1997)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence   
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers® (2013-2022)

Professional & Civic Associations

  • Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Certified Mediator
  • Tennessee Business Roundtable
    • General Counsel (2017-Present)
    • Treasurer (2007-2017)
    • Judicial Selection Task Force, Chair (2012-2014)
  • The Rotary Club of Nashville
  • Tennesseans for Fair and Impartial Judiciary Legislative Policy Committee, Tennessee General Assembly, Chair and Board Member (2013)
  • Nashville Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education Committee, Chair (2000)
    • Member Services, Board Member
    • Ethics and Professionalism Subcommittee, Co-Chair (1999)
    • Employment and Civil Rights Committee, Chair (1998)
  • Nashville Bar Foundation
  • Homework Hotline, Board Member (2003-2008)
  • Harry Phillips American Inn of Court, Barrister (1998-2006)
  • Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball Teams, Coach (1995-2000)

About Me

Zan likes to spend time with his wife Francie and keep track of grown children Sander and Niki. He likes to work out, ride his tractor, hunt deer, and read classical literature. He shoots clay pigeons pretty well and plays golf not so well.

More About Zan

What I love about my area of practice

Business consists of three things. There is money, there are the toys, and there are the people. You can't do anything with the money or the toys without the people. And the people are the most interesting by far. A labor and employment lawyer gets to talk with every single member of the employment team, from the CEO to the guys working on the receiving dock and the receptionist (both of whom usually know a lot more about what is going on than the CEO). My father taught me that you can learn from every single person you meet, and the person with the least power should be treated with the most respect. Labor and employment law permits me to learn something new every day from fascinating people, under often bad circumstances. Every time I think this case, this story, this circumstance can't be topped--well, something comes along and tops it. Working with real people in real situations who do some of the most amazing things--good and bad--that is what I get to do every day, and that is why I like coming to work every day.

Representative Matters

Representative Matters

Clients often rely on Zan to keep the legal proceedings from making headlines or turning into published decisions. Some published decisions are:

  • Miles v. Nashville Electric Service, Sixth Circuit
  • Barks v. SilverBait, Sixth Circuit
  • Titan Tire v. Pirelli, Eighth Circuit

News & Analysis

Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications

  • “What is Your Approach to Stare Decisis,” Nashville Bar Journal, April 2006
  • “Businesses Have Stake in Judicial Elections,” Nashville Business Journal, April 2006
  • “Employer Report Cards Coming for Business,” Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry 
  • “Love and Lust in the Workplace” 
  • “Religion and National Origin Discrimination: The next big thing” 
  • “What is a Labor Union? It’s not what Althea says” 
  • “Tennessee Plan for choosing judges is fair and it works,” Tennessean, 2011
  • “Employment contracts for health care professionals,” American College of Nurse-Midwives Annual Convention, 2013
  • Who is the employer?” American Gas Association Legal Forum, 2016
  • “How to Attract OSHA’s attention” to the Precision Metalforming Association, 2016

Blogs, Videos & Podcasts

Blog Posts

  • “The most important management skill for avoiding legal risks in labor and employment relationships is listening. Careful listening will help management avoid eighty percent or more of the legal problems encountered with employees. But we are all too often in too much of a hurry to take the time.”
  • Zan Blue, Generalist

Practice Emphasis

  • Zan provides compliance advice and litigation representation for a wide range of clients with respect to most labor and employment issues. On any given day he will work on litigation matters, provide advice concerning long term labor and employee relations, advise clients concerning government investigations or work with clients on design and compliance issues related to employee benefits. Recently Zan has worked extensively with clients concerning managing the employer sponsored medical insurance plans, reviewing contracts with third party administrators, pharmacy benefit managers, health care providers and insurers, as well as summary plan descriptions and plan documents.


Vanderbilt University Law School

  • J.D., 1983
  • ­Founder’s Medalist
  • Order of the Coif
  • Executive Articles Editor, Journal of Transnational Law

Bradley University

  • B.A., Philosophy, magna cum laude, 1979

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1983
  • Kentucky, 2008
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