Commissioner Van D. Turner, Jr. was elected to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners to represent the newly formed District 12 on August 7, 2014, and re-elected without opposition on August 2, 2018. He was voted unanimously by his colleagues to serve as Chairman for the 2018-2019 term. His commission district includes the communities of Hickory Hill, Richwood, Southwind, Bennington Place and several unincorporated areas of Southeast Shelby County.
Commissioner Turner is a partner in the law firm of Bruce ♦ Turner, PLLC (“BT Law”). His law practice is concentrated in the areas of business litigation, business transactions, government relations, municipal law, and estate planning. Before joining BT Law, Mr. Turner was counsel at Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Cannada & Stevens, PLLC. Prior to that, Mr. Turner served as Associate General Counsel for the Board of Education of the Memphis City Schools and as judicial law clerk for the Honorable Samuel Hardy Mays, Jr., federal judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
Commissioner Turner participates and has served on the board of directors of several legal professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar Association, and the Memphis Bar Association. In addition, he has been active in a number of other professional, civic and community organizations, including the Economic Club of Memphis, Chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party, 2009-2013, Leo Bearman, Sr. American Inns of Court, Board of Directors for the Memphis Branch of the NAACP, Leadership Academy, and Leadership Memphis, among others. Chairman Turner’s most notable honors include Memphis Business Journal, 2007 “Top Forty Under 40”, Super Law Magazine, Mid-South Rising Stars for 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013, in the areas of municipal law, government relations, and labor and employment law, and White House Intern in the Office of Presidential Personnel during the Clinton Administration.
Commissioner Turner has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis, C.C. Humphreys School of Law, LeMoyne-Owen College and Southwest Tennessee Community College. Commissioner Turner earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1997, with Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude distinctions. After serving as an Assistant Teacher of English with the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program in Yamanashi, Japan, he returned to the United States and attended the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2002. Commissioner Turner is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Mississippi.
Commissioner Turner is also the President and CEO of Memphis Greenspace, Inc., the nonprofit organization which removed two confederate monuments from public parks in Memphis, Tennessee.
He is married to his junior high school sweetheart, Tamara Turner, a guidance counselor with Shelby County Schools, and they have three wonderful children, Malik, Masai and Malia.