Matthew R. Lyon Named Next Dean of LMU Duncan School of Law

Dean Matt Lyon

Dean Lyon teachingThe Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Matthew R. Lyon as vice president and dean of the LMU Duncan School of Law (LMU Law). The appointment came at the recommendations of LMU President Clayton Hess and the faculty of LMU Law, and after a national search following the retirement announcement of LMU Law’s current dean, former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade. Lyon’s appointment as vice president and dean begins on July 1, 2020.

“I have confidence that Matt Lyon will do a good job of leading the law school in his new role as vice president and dean,” said Dr. O.V. Autry “Pete” DeBusk, chairman of the LMU Board of Trustees. “Matt has been a big part of the success of LMU Law from the time he joined the law school’s faculty and we look forward to him leading the law school to even greater success in the future.”

Lyon has been a part of LMU Law since its founding in 2009, first as an adjunct faculty member before joining the faculty full time in 2011. He has overseen LMU Law’s program of legal education as associate dean of academic affairs since 2015, serving briefly as acting dean prior to Wade’s appointment. Lyon coordinated LMU Law’s successful efforts to obtain full approval from the American Bar Association. His areas of teaching include Civil Procedure, Contracts and Sales, Business Organizations, Payment Systems, and, most recently, the law school’s Externship course.

“I am humbled by the confidence that Chairman DeBusk and the Board of Trustees, Dr. Hess, and the law school’s faculty, staff and students have all shown in me,” said Lyon. “Abraham Lincoln may have been our nation’s greatest president, but first and foremost he was one of our greatest lawyers. I am so blessed to be able to lead the law school at the institution founded as a living memorial to him, educating service-minded lawyers in his image, here in the heart of downtown Knoxville.”  

Lyon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary, a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. After law school, Lyon worked as a commercial litigation associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, then moved to East Tennessee in 2008 to take a position as the senior law clerk for Justice Wade.

Lyon’s scholarship has been published in numerous law reviews, but he also believes strongly in writing and presenting on issues of interest to the state and local bar. Lyon was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Business Law Section from 2017-19 and a member of the TBA’s Leadership Law Class of 2017. He is also a member of the Publications Committee of the Knoxville Bar Association and coordinates the feature article in KBA’s monthly publication, DICTA. The KBA recognized Lyon’s contributions by awarding him its prestigious DICTA Award in 2017. Lyon is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Knoxville Bar Foundation.

As dean, Lyon plans to continue to focus on LMU Law’s core academic programs that have resulted in consistently high bar passage rates and employment outcomes. He also seeks to oversee an expansion of offerings that target the law school’s mission to “offer solid, competent, practice-focused, legal education to students of widely disparate socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.” These will include initiatives designed for the many first-generation professionals who attend LMU Law and continuing to develop relationships between current law students and the hundreds of LMU Law alumni who are already living out the law school’s mission throughout Appalachia and beyond.

Lyon, his wife, Angie, and their two children and two dogs live in Knoxville’s Sequoyah Hills neighborhood. Lyon and his family are active in First Baptist Church of Knoxville, where he serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher.

The Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law is located in Knoxville’s Historic Old City Hall Building. LMU Law is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of lawyers to provide sound legal service in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU Law, call 865.545.5303 or visit us online at

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