Nicole Watson is an attorney based in Holland & Knight's Chattanooga office and also handles work out of the firm's Nashville office. Ms. Watson is recognized for her leadership and judgment in developing and executing effective legislative and government relations strategies across Tennessee and the Southeast. She represents the interests of corporate clients, industry groups, professional associations and not-for-profit organizations before elected officials in the Tennessee General Assembly and government officials in numerous local, state and federal agencies.

Ms. Watson's experience includes drafting and negotiating legislation, assisting with regulatory and rulemaking compliance strategy and traditional lobbying to the state legislature, the state executive branch, congressional representatives, state and federal agencies, city councils, county officials and community leaders. Additionally, she monitors legislative developments and educates clients on legislative processes, procedures and progress. Ms. Watson has vast experience assisting clients on strategic risk management and communication planning. She also manages political action committees (PACs) and fundraising programs for clients and provides guidance on grassroots advocacy efforts and the development of coalitions.

Previously, Ms. Watson led government relations, public policy and economic development initiatives for a Chattanooga-based law firm. Earlier in her career, she gained valuable government and regulatory affairs experience with Tennessee American Water Company and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

While attending law school, she served as a federal government affairs summer associate for the National Rifle Association and a government relations intern for a leading bipartisan government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Before attending law school, she served as a congressional intern on Capitol Hill for Sens. George Allen (R-Va.) and John Warner (R-Va.).


  • Regent University School of Law, J.D.
  • Emory & Henry College, B.A., Mass Communications, Political Science, cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Tennessee
  • Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, Board of Directors, 2024-Present
  • Chattanooga Bar Association, Board of Directors, 2020-Present
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Tennessee Lobbyists Association
  • Leadership Tennessee, 2022-2023
  • City of Chattanooga Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board, Appointed Member, 2014-2021
  • The Trust for Public Land, Southeast Tennessee Volunteer Leadership Committee, 2022-Present
  • Hamilton County Dolly Parton Imagination Library Fundraising Committee, Chair, 2020-2022
  • Signal Centers, Inc., Board of Directors 2022-Present
  • Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga, Voices Luncheon Committee, Chair, 2022 and 2023
  • Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga, Board of Directors, 2023-Present
  • Junior League of Chattanooga, President, 2018-2019; Sustainer Advisory Council, Chair, 2019-2020
  • First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, Strategic Planning Committee, 2015
  • Chambliss Center for Children, Board of Directors, 2023-Present
  • Chattanooga Public Library Foundation, Board of Directors, 2020-Present
  • Hamilton County Read20, Appointed Board Member, 2017-Present
  • Cherokee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Friends of Scouting, Vice Chair, 2015-2016
Honors & Awards
  • Woman of Distinction of Greater Chattanooga, 2019
  • Girls Inc. of Chattanooga, Honoree, UnBought and UnBossed Awards, 2017


Speaking Engagements