Martin L. Pierce is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Tennessee Technological University in 1978. He received that institution's Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 1988. Martin received his law degree, with very high honors, from the University of Memphis in 1981, where he was a published member of the University of Memphis Law Review. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Georgia, as well as before the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Martin works primarily in the areas of (1) Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Elder Law, Probate, Medicaid & VA Planning, Special Needs Trusts, Conservatorships, Guardianships and Charitable Planning, (2) Business Entity Law, including Corporations, LLCs and Partnerships, Nonprofits, Tax-exempt/501(c)(3) Organizations, Contracts, Leases and Agreements, (3) Employee Benefits, Retirement Plans, Cafeteria Plans, Health Savings Accounts, COBRA and ERISA, and (4) various other Tax law matters.
He is a Certified Estate Planning Law Specialist through the ABA-accredited National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. He is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and he is a Department of Veterans Affairs-Accredited Attorney. Among other professional organizations, he is a member of the Chattanooga Estate Planning Council (Past President, 2006-07), the Chattanooga Tax Practitioners (President, 2007-08), and was a Charter Member of the Chattanooga Planned Giving Council. He is also a member of the Georgia, Tennessee and Chattanooga Bar Associations. He was chosen as a Mid-South Super Lawyer for 2016, an honor awarded to only 5% of attorneys, and has been selected for Best Lawyers in America for 2018. He is rated "Pre-Eminent" (AV-rated) by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review, the highest rating available. Martin is the co-founder of several local nonprofit organizations, including First Things First and the IMPACT School at Silverdale Baptist Academy. He has served on the Boards of many nonprofits, including the Chattanooga Christian School, Bethel Bible Village, Lighthouse Counseling Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Optimist Club, Paraclyte Counseling Resources, Relevant Hope, and Choices Pregnancy Resource Center (formerly AAA Women's Services). He currently serves on the Board of LifeLine. He has extensive experience in establishing, counseling, operating, representing, teaching, and speaking about nonprofits and 501(c)(3)s as well as various legal, business and tax aspects concerning them.
Martin is in his 38th year of law practice in Chattanooga, where he began with Stophel, Caldwell & Heggie, P.C., in 1981. He moved to Chambliss & Bahner, PLLC, in 1984 (where he became a Partner in 1987 and was the Head of the Firm’s Tax & Estates Section). In 2002, Martin joined the national law firm of Husch & Eppenberger, LLC (where he was Head of the Estate Planning and Employee Benefits practice areas for the Firm’s three offices in the State of Tennessee). On January 1, 2005, Martin opened his own practice in order to more personally and cost effectively serve his clients.
Martin and his wife, Debbie, live on Big Ridge in Hixson and have one son, Drew. They previously attended Red Bank Baptist Church for many years and are now members of Harvest Bible Chapel of Chattanooga, where he and Debbie are the Financial Deacons.
John Huisman is a native of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and received his Bachelor of Arts in English and History, cum laude, from Covenant College in 1998. John earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee, cum laude, in 2004, graduating with a concentration in business transactions and winning the Best Brief award in the 2004 ABA Section of Taxation competition. Mr. Huisman is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Georgia and is admitted to practice in the Federal Courts of the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Northern District of Georgia, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
John works primarily in the areas of (1) Business and Corporate transactions, Formations, Governance, Business Succession Planning, Entrepreneur law, and Start-ups; (2) Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Elder Law, Probate, Medicaid & VA Planning, Special Needs Trusts, Conservatorships, Guardianships and Charitable Planning; and (3) Nonprofits, Tax-exempt/501(c)(3) Organizations, Contracts, Leases and Agreements.
Mr. Huisman is a member of the Chattanooga Estate Planning Council, Chattanooga Tax Practitioners, and the Christian Legal Society. He has been involved in serving the Greater Chattanooga community in a number of capacities, and currently serves on the board of directors for Choices Pregnancy Resource Center, and has also served as volunteer with CO.LAB, UTC Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, Covenant College Seed Project, and on the Troop Committee of BSA local Troop 80. He has also served as a Ruling Elder of Grace Presbyterian Church of Lookout Mountain.
John lives on Lookout Mountain, Georgia, with his wife and four children. His oldest child is a sophomore in college, and his other children attend Chattanooga Christian School. They attend Grace Community Trenton, PCA.
CHERIE A. KUHNS
Cherie A. Kuhns, a native of Cleveland, Tennessee, attended Cleveland State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She began her work career at HPI Hospital Services, where she was first a Pharmacy Technician and then transitioned to work as an Accounts Specialist. She later worked as the Office Manager for Dr. James Drake, where her duties ran the gamut from answering the phone to calling in prescriptions for patients. She also worked as a part-time insurance claims clerk at Dayspring Counseling Center. For the past 17 years, she was a homeschool mom (or “Individual Education Specialist,” as she puts it) for her three children. She began working for Pierce Law Firm, PLLC, in 2009, receiving training from Anita Cook, one of the most knowledgeable paralegals in Chattanooga, who came out of retirement to work temporarily at the Pierce Law Firm.
Cherie has been married to Tim Kuhns for more than 30 years. All three of their children graduated from Lee University. Their oldest son, Marcus, lives in Ft. Worth, Texas, works at ADP in Dallas, and has one child; their daughter, Kari, is pursuing a career teaching piano in Chattanooga; and their youngest son, Wes, is a graphic designer in Chattanooga.
Cherie and her family are active members of Silverdale Baptist Church, and Cherie has been an AWANA leader for fourteen years.
BONNIE L. AZCONA
Bonnie Azcona was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, before moving with family to the Chattanooga area. She attended a local high school and local college and then went on to the University of Alabama. Her working career began in Chattanooga in the Printing and Advertising business at Team National before taking time off to have a family. She raised three children: Arianna, a licensed Radiation Therapist; Emma, a local artist and musician; and Austin, who is currently working to finish college and is a warehouse supervisor for a logistics company.
Bonnie is new to the Pierce & Huisman family as of August 2019 and brings with her a combined 25+ years' experience in customer service, administrative assistance, human resources assistance, and executive assistance. She currently resides on historic Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga.
Legal Administrative Assistant
Aleisha Belcher grew up in Ooltewah, Tennessee, and attended Lee Highway Christian Academy. She has worked in legal firms for more than 20 years and joined Pierce Law Firm in February of 2018. Her husband, Chris, has worked at Heatec, Inc., in Chattanooga for his entire career. Aleisha and Chris have been married for more than 25 years, and they have two grown daughters, Ciera and Makayla, and one grandson, Kingston. They live in the Harrison area.
Debbie Douglas Pierce (Martin's wife) is a native of Portland, Tennessee (north of Nashville). She attended Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, as a National Merit Scholar, and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, in Accounting in 1978. After graduation, she worked at Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell in Nashville and became a Certified Public Accountant. When she and Martin moved to Chattanooga after his graduation from law school in 1981, she worked for Kayo Oil Company and also had a successful home business for a time. She was a stay-at-home mom during their son's childhood, and she was very active in the PTO at Chattanooga Christian School, serving as the treasurer for several years; she also served in the same capacity at the IMPACT School at Silverdale Baptist Academy. She volunteered with AAA Women's Center (now Choices of Chattanooga) during that time as well. When Martin started his own practice in 2005, he asked her to get his office up and running; they found that they enjoyed working together, and she has been handling the financial side of the practice ever since. She was a member of and served on the Board of Directors of the Optimist Club of Chattanooga and is also a member of the Judge David Campbell chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Scenic City Women's Network. She currently also handles the financial matters for Hixson Commons Professional Office Park Association and Harvest Bible Chapel Chattanooga, and she and Martin are the Financial Deacons at Harvest Bible Chapel.
Lazlo L. Pierce A long-haired Chihuahua, is a native of Chattanooga, having been born in October of 2006. He was adopted by the Pierces on January 1, 2007, and immediately began his career at Pierce Law Firm, PLLC, where he has worked his way up from a lowly runner to his current position as Vice President.
Lazlo is an eligible bachelor, and his hobbies are playing with his stuffed Eeyore and Lambchop, going out to lunch, traveling, and snuggling with his people.
Reggie (officially known as CH Cereza Ranton’s Sir Reginald Esquire) is also a long-haired Chihuahua and a native of Chattanooga. He was born in July of 2017 and was adopted by the Pierces when he was 12 weeks old. He is learning at the feet of the master, Lazlo Pierce. In addition, Reggie has a second career as a show dog and became a CHAMPION on his second birthday on July 11, 2019.