Probate Court Judges

Judge Kathleen N. Gomes

Probate Court - Division I

Judge Kathleen N. Gomes: Graduated from UT-Chattanooga and earned her law degree from The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.   

Kathleen GomesAfter law school, she was with Canale, Mitchell, Lucas & Watson (formerly Ratner, Sugarmon) and later was with Peppel, Gomes & MacIntosh for 29 years until her appointment in 2013 as Judge for Shelby County Probate Court, Division I.  She was elected as Probate Court Judge in 2014.

Judge Gomes has been a lawyer for over 42 years.  Prior to taking the bench, Judge Gomes practiced exclusively in the area of Probate law.  She has extensive experience in Probate litigation, focusing on conservatorships, guardianships, wills and estates.  Because of her Probate expertise, she has received numerous referrals and consultations from other attorneys, and successfully handled a number of Probate cases with the Court of Appeals.  Judge Gomes has been asked to speak at many seminars both during her years of practice and as Judge, regarding all aspects of Probate law.  
 Outside of the courtroom, Judge Gomes remains civically active in the Memphis community.  She formerly served as Chairman of the Wills and Probate Section of the Memphis Bar, and from 2005 to 2011 she served as a Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Officer.  In 2012, she was selected as a fellow for the Memphis Bar Foundation.  In 2017, Judge Gomes was named as one of the twelve Most Outstanding Women of the Judiciary by the Memphis Inter-Denominational Fellowship.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Arc of the Mid-South and for the Greentrees Civic Association.  In 2018, the Arc of the Mid-South honored Judge Gomes with an award for her community service to the intellectually challenged and disabled community.  She is currently a Cantor at Church of the Holy Spirit in Memphis, Tennessee, where she has also served on various committees.  She is a member of the Memphis and Tennessee Bar Associations, a member of the St. Thomas Moore Catholic Lawyers Guild, a member of the Leo Bearman, Sr. Inns of Court, and a member of the Kiwanis Club.

Judge Joe Townsend

Probate Court - Division II

Joe Townsend was elected Probate Judge for Division 2 of the Shelby County Probate Court on August 4, 2022. Joe Townsend is a third-generation Memphian, a graduate of Memphis Catholic High School, the University of Memphis BA, and JD, and the College of William and Mary LLM in Taxation.   

Kathleen GomesHe served as a Judge Advocate on active duty in the United State Air Force and then in the Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard. Joe Townsend served as a Shelby County Public Defender and a Federal Public Defender. He was in private practice in Memphis, Tennessee for twenty-four years, representing clients in probate, chancery, circuit, bankruptcy and federal court.