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Edward M. (Ed) Yarbrough

Of Counsel

Spencer Fane attorney Ed Yarbrough

T 615.238.6390
F 615.238.6301

Edward M. “Ed” Yarbrough represents clients in civil and criminal courts, trying cases and negotiating settlements in a wide variety of matters.  His experience matches up well with the needs of individuals and businesses who find themselves headed to State or Federal Court.

In 1973, Ed began his legal career serving as an assistant district attorney. Three years later, he began working in private practice. Ed has been a successful trial lawyer in Nashville for more than 40 years. Today, Ed focuses his practice on defending major criminal cases and representing clients in high-stakes civil litigation.

In 2007, Ed was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. He is well known for his time of service as a state and federal prosecutor. He believes “some of the most satisfying experiences come from representing individuals whose lives and fortunes were on the line in court.”

Ed has tried more than 160 jury cases to verdict, including more than 40 homicide cases. He has served as both prosecuting attorney and defense attorney in matters involving white-collar crime, wrongful death, personal injury, public corruption, and a variety of criminal charges at the state and local levels. Ed says, “Winning their cases is the greatest possible thrill in the legal profession. One of my heroes is Gen. George S. Patton, who said, ‘Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.’”

With more than 50 years of experience, Ed is an award-winning lawyer in his field. He was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2011, he received the first Criminal Justice Section Service Award from the Tennessee Bar Association. The Nashville Bar Association awarded him with the Jack C. Norman Sr. award for excellence in criminal law. Recently, Ed was honored by the Nashville Bar Association with the CLE Excellence Award for his leadership and dedication to continuing legal education.  Ed also received the David Rutherford Award from the Nashville Bar Foundation.

While in college, Ed served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Sou’wester. As editor-in-chief, he learned law and politics were at the epicenter of American life and a career in the legal profession would keep him in the thick of the action. The desire to be on the front lines served him well as an infantry lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was a ceremonial platoon leader at Arlington National Cemetery and received the Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge for his service in Vietnam.

Ed graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School and Rhodes College. More than anything, he values his faith, family, and work, in that order. He and his wife, Cindy, have three children, Charles, Robert, and Allison, as well as three grandchildren. Since the age of 15, Ed has explored caves across the United States, Mexico, and Honduras. He also enjoys taking photographs, particularly of his caving expeditions, with his Nikon cameras. His photography collection consists of more than 17,000 Kodachrome slides and more than 6,000 negatives, as well as thousands of digital images.


  • National Speleological Society, Fellow, Conservation Life Member; Board of Governors, 1976-1978; Trustee, National Speleological Foundation, 2011-Present; Editor, Nashville Speleonews, 1963-1966, 1971-1986
  • Nashville Kiwanis Club, Director, 1985-1986, 1999-2001, 2012-Present; Secretary, 1988-1989; President, 1991-1992; Chaplain, 1998-1999; Legion of Honor
  • Forest Hills Baptist Church, Elder; Deacon, Chairman, 2003-2005; Co-Chair, Capital Campaign, 1998; Chair, Pastor Search Committee, 2006-2007; Sunday School Teacher, 1993-Present
  • Belmont University, Trustee, 1993-1999
  • Lipscomb University, National Development Board, 1997
  • Cumberland Museum, Board of Directors, 1993-1995
  • United Way of Middle Tennessee, Board of Directors, 1985-1987


  • American Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Fellow
  • Nashville Bar Association, Former President (1983), Former Board Member and Former Chair, Criminal Court Committee
  • Nashville Bar Foundation, Charter Fellow


  • Nashville Bar Association, David Rutherford Award, 2020
  • Nashville Bar Association, CLE Excellence Award, 2017
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2022
  • Nashville Criminal Defense: White Collar “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers in America, 2014
  • Nashville Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers in America, 2012
  • Best Lawyers in America, 1987-present
  • Who’s Who in American Politics, 2012
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section Service Award, 2011
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2010
  • Nashville Bar Association, Jack C. Norman Sr. “Award for Excellence” for Criminal Law, 2010
  • Nashville Post, In Charge list, 2010-2013, 2016
  • Nashville Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2006
  • Nashville Post, Best Lawyers in Nashville, 2003
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2006-2009, 2013-2022

Contact Ed Yarbrough at 615.238.6390 or eyarbrough@spencerfane.com.