By Nathan Baker
Half of the attorneys who will be interviewed Friday by the Judicial Nominating Commission to take over for retiring Chancery Court Judge G. Richard Johnson hail from Carter County, including the county’s own lawyer.
The four attorneys with local ties are:
- Keith Bowers Jr., who represents Carter County in addition to the clients of his Elizabethton law firm;
- Gregory Bowers, a civil litigator and a partner at his East Elk Avenue firm;
- Regina Shepherd, a primarily domestic attorney with more than 200 civil cases under her belt; and
- J. Collins Landstreet II, a criminal and civil lawyer with an office in Johnson City, but who lives in Elizabethton.
Keith Bowers said he’s content with his current duties, serving as attorney for the county, the First Utility District and the City of Watauga, but he said vacant judges’ positions “don’t come around very often.”
“I’m happy where I am, but this is an opportunity to serve the people of the First Judicial District in a different way,” he said. “There’s still a lot of the process left to go through before a new judge is seated, so right now I’m just waiting to see what happens.”
Keith Bowers has represented the county since 2006, and was hired by Watauga last February.
He also previously served as counsel to Bluff City in 2010.
In his application to the Nominating Commission, Keith Bowers said most of his time is currently spent conducting governmental litigation, while the rest is split between domestic practice, wills and real estate and bankruptcy practice.
Similarly, Landstreet’s practice is split between civil and criminal cases.
“I’ve practiced in virtually every area of the law that comes before chancery court,” Landstreet said. “I’m good at it, and I feel I’ve got a good temperament for a judge.”