Nell earned her CPA certification while working as a senior tax specialist for the Richmond, Virginia, office of KPMG International, formerly Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. She also served as national audit and tax manager for Circuit City Stores, Inc. before entering law school. Nell graduated Order of the Coif (top 10%) from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1987. At Virginia, she received the Edwin S. Cohen Tax Prize, given annually to the graduating student who has demonstrated, by the sustained excellence of his or her performance in tax courses, superior scholarship in the tax area. She also received the American Jurisprudence Award for Estate & Gift Tax, and the American Judicature Society Award for Civil Procedure. She began her legal career as a business attorney with Browder, Russell, Morris and Butcher in Richmond. Nell also served as legal counsel, chief financial officer, and national sales manager for Qwicksilver, Ltd., a family owned business, before joining Homer Jones in private practice in the area of trusts and estates.
Nell was elected to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 1998, and was first named to The Best Lawyers in America for trusts and estates in 2003. She has also been named to Super Lawyers in Tennessee, Virginia, and the Mid-South. She is a member of the Tri-Cities Estate Planning Council, the Virginia Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She has published estate planning related articles in Tax Practice and Virginia Lawyer.
The eighth generation of her family to reside in Sullivan County, Nell lives in Bristol with her husband, Dan, and children, Daniel and David. Her volunteer activities have included serving on the board of directors and executive committees for Bristol Regional Medical Center and Wellmont Health System, serving on the vestry and as treasurer and endowment committee chairman for Emmanuel Episcopal Church, serving as a director and treasurer of the Kappa Delta Foundation and Kappa Delta Private Foundation, and serving on executive board of the Avoca Elementary PTA. She has also served on the board of directors, finance committee, evaluations & allocations committee, and campaign cabinet for the United Way of Bristol. She received the Mildred P. Morris Community Service Award in 2010 and chaired the United Way of Bristol 2012 Campaign. Nell is also involved in strategic planning initiatives for both the Bristol Tennessee City Schools and the City of Bristol, Tennessee, and serves on the Board of Trustees of King University.