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One of Chattanooga’s oldest law firms is adding a Nashville presence — at least when the Tennessee General Assembly is in session.

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. added Nicole Osborne to its 65-attorney staff at the end of last year to head the firm’s first governmental affairs division. Osborne brings a decade of legal and governmental relations experience to Chambliss, including the past couple of years at Tennessee American Water Company as government and regulatory affairs manager, where she spearheaded legislation to allow private water companies to have access to the State Revolving Loan Fund.

Michael St. Charles, managing partner for Chambliss, said he became familiar with Osborne when Chambliss was representing the city in its challenges against the water utility where Osborne previously worked. Although on opposite sides, St. Charles said he quickly recognized Osborn’s skills and decided to hire her and formalize the law firm’s governmental relations programs in a new unit of the firm.

“She brings a level of expertise and with her on staff we have brought a focused approach to our government-related work,” he says.

Growing up in Chilhowie, Virginia, Osborne developed an early interest in politics as president of her student council. That interest blossomed when she went to Emory and Henry College, where she landed a job working for then U.S. Sen. John Warner. After earning her law degree from Regent University School of Law, Osborne practiced law at Meyers and Alterman law firm in Washington, D.C., and served as the director of government affairs for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

She also has worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senator George Allen, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the National Rifle Association.

But she says she now likes being in Chattanooga closer to where she grew up. In her new hometown, Osborne serves on the city’s Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Public Affairs Committee. She also serves as a representative to the Tennessee Business Roundtable and is on the Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award Committee. In her spare time, she volunteers for Girls Inc. of Chattanooga, Junior Achievement of Chattanooga, the Humane Educational Society and Junior League of Chattanooga.