Steve Darden, Managing Partner of HSD, talks about their long history with the Tri-Cities.


“Hunter, Smith & Davis has grown up with the Tri-Cities,” said Steve Darden, Managing Partner of the 102-year old law firm.  Predating the founding of Kingsport by one year and having prepared its founding documents, HSD is one of the oldest and most respected law firms in Upper East Tennessee.  “We try to be a one-stop shop for the business community and help clients stay out of court through strategy and planning, but when we do go to court, we provide efficient and aggressive litigation,” said Steve.  HSD is a full-service law firm with clients throughout the region and in some cases nationally in diverse sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, financial institutions, utilities, start-ups and insurers to name a few.


HSD has 27 attorneys and 25 supporting staff members and maintains offices in Kingsport and Johnson City.  Jimmie Miller became the firm’s first female partner in 1986 and is one of the region’s most respected litigators.  “We pride ourselves on being able to meet the needs of the businesses and people in this region.  They don’t have to go to Atlanta or Nashville for sophisticated representation,” Jimmie said.  Eleven of the firm’s attorneys and six of its partners are women.

The firm is organized into three (3) sections: Litigation, Business and Corporate, and Labor and Employment law.  The Litigation section is headed by Jim Humphreys, and includes family law / domestic relations.  Scott Powers oversees the Business and Corporate section, including estate planning.  Steve also chairs the Labor and Employment section, which includes Immigration law.  “As you might imagine, our Immigration Practice has been busy of late, and with the #MeToo movement gaining significant attention in the last year, we’ve definitely seen an increase in the demand for training in the area of workplace harassment,” Steve said.


“Our lawyers know that to practice with Hunter, Smith & Davis means that you give back to the community,” said Steve.  Jimmie serves the legal community on a statewide level with her service on the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, appointed by the Supreme Court of Tennessee.  “Most of our attorneys serve nonprofits in some capacity, and many of us serve on Bar Association boards at the local or state level,” said Jimmie.  “Of course, we also perform pro bono work for people who cannot afford representation in the court system through the Access to Justice programs,” said Jimmie. 

“We’re similar to BCS in a lot of ways, and we’re glad to have BCS on our team,” said Steve.  Steve also mentioned that he was coached in football by Jeff Blackburn, who was a volunteer assistant coach at Science Hill while he was studying to take the CPA exam.  “I hope Jeff is nicer to everyone at BCS than he was to us if we missed a ‘catchable’ pass during practice,” Steve added with a laugh.


Regarding the firm’s philosophy for success, Steve stated that “from the beginning of my employment with Hunter, Smith as an associate attorney, it was impressed on me that we are here to practice a profession and to provide the best service possible to our clients.  Doing so leads to a personal fulfillment and more clients, because a satisfied client provides great word of mouth advertising.   It’s a formula that continues to serve us well.”

Photography by