Austin McMullen has extensive governmental affairs experience. He represents individuals involved in professional licensing issues, including real estate, securities and insurance licenses. Austin represents clients involved in federal, state and local permitting issues, particularly alcoholic beverage permitting and business formation and licensing in the heavily regulated food and beverage industry. He also represents clients with interests pending before the legislative and executive branches of government.
Austin has firsthand experience as a government official, giving him a unique perspective from which to counsel his clients on matters involving governmental relations. Austin served two terms as an appointee of Gov. Bill Haslam to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC), the state agency that licenses and regulates real estate brokers. During those two terms, Austin served as Vice-Chair of TREC. Austin currently serves as an appointee of the Speaker of the House on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), Tennessee’s housing finance agency. Austin also served two terms as mayor of the City of Oak Hill, Tennessee, and he was elected to two four-year terms as city commissioner. His personal, in-depth knowledge of improving governmental policies for the betterment of the citizenry directly informs his ability to effectively advocate for and mitigate risks facing his clients. These valuable insights also allow him to assist clients dealing with governmental policy issues and regulatory agency filings and appearances.
Austin represents clients with land-use issues pending before local Board of Zoning Appeals and related litigation. He represents property owners dealing with regulations affecting short-term rentals.
Austin uses his extensive political experience to assist candidates, representing them in election contests and fulfilling reporting requirements. In 2016, the Tennessee Republican Party recognized Austin as “Statesman of the Year.” Austin served as the Davidson County chairman for Gov. Bill Haslam’s 32-point general election victory in 2010 and 47-point general election victory in 2014. Austin served as treasurer for the successful general election campaign of State Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) in 2012. He has also successfully represented elected officials before the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. Austin represented the Fraternal Order of Police in a referendum challenge before the Davidson County Election Commission and trial and appellate courts. He has also represented candidates in election challenges and represented the Knox County Election Commission in litigation that went to the Tennessee Supreme Court relating to the validity of the term-limits provision of the Knox County Charter.
In addition to his governmental affairs practice, Austin has an active bankruptcy and commercial litigation practice. As a certified Creditors’ Rights Specialist by the American Board of Certification, he is part of a small, select group of Tennessee attorneys who have completed this rigorous certification process. Because of his specific experience in bankruptcy law and in particular creditors’ rights, he possesses a detailed understanding of how the law works within the banking and financial services industry. He consistently delivers up-to-date legal advice, mitigates risks, and tailors unique solutions to help his clients anticipate problems in advance.