M. Matthew Thornton’s practice focuses on probate, trusts, and estate law, handling routine planning and administration, as well as more complex litigation matters. Drawing upon his broad experience and mediation training, Matthew is also a Tennessee Supreme Court Listed Rule 31 Mediator. He has successfully represented clients in negotiating disputes, mediation, and civil trials when negotiation fails to achieve his clients’ desired results. He previously served on the Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Estate Planning & Probate Section and he has been an active participant in the shaping of new developments related to Tennessee estate law.

Matthew frequently speaks on probate law to other lawyers and community groups at venues across Tennessee and, upon request of the probate judges, occasionally serves as a substitute judge in Probate Court. He frequently offers pro bono legal advice and assistance to local charities. When he’s not in the office, Matthew enjoys outdoor activities with his family and fishing.


  • University of Tennessee Law School, J.D., 1997
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B.S., cum laude, 1990
    • Walk-on Punter/Placekicker for U.T. Volunteers (1986-1990)

Professional Honors & Awards

  • Mid-South Super Lawyers (Estate Planning & Estate Litigation Section)
  • Nominated as a Fellow, Memphis Bar Foundation, 2015
  • Selected for the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Class, 2005
  • Inducted as a Member, Leo Bearman, Sr. American Inn of Court, 2004-2006

Clerkships & Internships

  • Judicial Clerkship, Hon. Hewitt P. Tomlin, Jr., Tennessee Court of Appeals, 1997-1998 

Speaking Engagements

  • Probate Panelist (topics of Muniment of Title and TennCare), Tennessee Bar Association, Estate Planning & Practice Forum, 2018
  • “Elective Share Rights and Alternatives to Full Probate Administration,” Tennessee Attorneys Memo – Probate & Estate Planning Conference, 2017
  • Probate Panelist (topics of TennCare, Estate Creditors), Tennessee Bar Association, Estate Planning & Practice Forum, 2017
  • “Avoiding and Defusing Family Conflict in Estates,” Knoxville Estate Planning Council, 2016
  • “TennCare for the Probate Practitioner,” Tennessee Bar Association, Estate Planning & Practice Forum, 2014
  • “Resolving Real Estate Title Defects,” National Business Institute, 2010
  • “Discouraging Family Estate Litigation Through Proper Planning and Administration,” National Business Institute, 2006

Community Involvement

  • Ministry Board of Directors for a local charity