Practice Areas
Commercial Real Estate
State Admissions


Walt is a well-known commercial real estate lawyer in the Nashville and national markets and has extensive experience representing owners, developers, and investors in a diverse range of commercial real estate transactions, including industrial, office, multi-family, and retail projects. His practice includes real estate acquisition, disposition, development, and leasing.  Walt’s clients love his broad range of experience and often comment that he has a perspective and business sense that is unmatched in the industry.

Walt has written dozens of articles regarding commercial real estate and has previously served as a guest columnist for the Nashville Business Journal.

Walt was selected as part of the Georgia Bar’s YLD Leadership Academy for 2010. In 2012, the University of Tennessee College of Law recognized Walt as one of the Top Ten Alumni Ten Years Out and the Nashville Business Journal named Walt to the Top 40 Under 40 in Nashville for 2014 and Best of the Bar in 2023. Walt was selected as a Mid-South Rising Star by SuperLawyers Magazine from 2013 – 2016, and as a Mid-South Super Lawyer in 2018 through 2024. Walt has also been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Real Estate Law for 2020 through 2024.

Walt is active in the community and has previously volunteered for the Land Trust for Tennessee.

Prior to founding Thompson Burton PLLC in 2012, Walt was an associate in the commercial real estate group in the Atlanta office of Troutman Pepper.

Walt and his wife, Melissa, live in Nashville with their two sons, Liam and Jeb, and their daughter, Libby. Walt enjoys spending weekends at his family farm in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  Prior to attending law school, Walt served as a Lieutenant in the weapons department onboard the USS SHILOH (CG-67), based in San Diego, California.


University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D. (2005)

  • Graduated magna cum laude
  • Order of the Coif Member
  • Tennessee Law Review

Vanderbilt University, B.A. (1998)

  • Graduated cum laude


• Lead representation of real estate investment fund in connection with $125 million acquisition of approximately 14 acre “Lifeway Campus” and related assemblage and development in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

• Representation of investor in connection with $55 million acquisition of portfolio of 1,174 multi-family apartments units located in Tennessee and Kentucky.

• Representation of investor in connection with $75.5 million acquisition of portfolio of 1,166 multi-family apartments units in East Tennessee.

• Representation of investor in connection with $55 million acquisition of portfolio of 925 multi-family apartment units in East Tennessee.

• Representation of national healthcare provider in $10 million disposition of 4 property multi-state portfolio of imaging centers.

• Representation of investment fund in the $19 million acquisition of multi-state portfolio of 4 industrial properties.

• Representation of national, regional and community banks in the workout, modification, restructuring and foreclosure of hundreds of troubled loans involving major residential and commercial real estate projects located throughout the Southeast and Midwest.

• Lead representation of investor in connection with acquisition of $123 million portfolio of quick service drive in restaurants.

• Representation of national REIT in the acquisition, disposition, and leasing of numerous industrial properties across the Southeast.

• Representation of buyers and sellers of numerous multi-family properties across Tennessee and Georgia.

• U.S. real estate counsel for international internet infrastructure solutions company.

• Representation of sellers and purchasers in portfolio sale of REO properties, including thousands of residential lots and homes located throughout the Southeast.

• Representation of regional lender in numerous lending transactions across the Midwest and Southeast.

• Representation of national lender in numerous lending transactions across Tennessee.

• Representation of homebuilder in development of numerous subdivisions.

• Representation of lenders in the purchase and sale of loan portfolios (including FDIC transactions).

• Representation of national lender in acquisition and ground leasing for the development of dozens of financial service centers in Virginia, Maryland, and DC.

• Representation of REIT in the $134.7 million acquisition of 38-story, 774,000 square foot office tower Promenade II, Atlanta, Georgia.

• Representation of a national office/retail developer in the acquisition and development of “lifestyle centers” in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (811,000 square feet), Gwinnett County, Georgia (385,000 square feet), and Forsyth County, Georgia (545,000).

• Representation of a national cellular company in its acquisition and leasing of hundreds of ground, tower and rooftop space for cellular communications facilities.


“The Shopping Center Chop Shop: Where the Parts are Greater than the Sum”, ICSC US Shopping Center Law Conference, October 2019

“Signs of the Times: You Can Get What You Want!”, ICSC US Shopping Center Law Conference, October 2014

“What Increased e-commerce means for brick-and-mortar stores,” Nashville Business Journal, April 1, 2014

“The Shopping Truck Trend: Real Estate on Wheels,” Nashville Business Journal, October 23, 2013

“Adaptive Reuse: Repurposing Nashville Commercial Real Estate,” September 4, 2013

“Nashville’s Use of Tax Incentives is Working,” Nashville Business Journal, July 29, 2013

“Preserving Nashville’s Green Space (While Saving on Taxes),” Nashville Business Journal, July 3, 2013

“The Amp bus system could change the Face of West End,” Nashville Business Journal, July 11, 2013

“The Argument for More Density in Nashville’s Intown Neighborhoods,” Nashville Business Journal, May 23, 2013

“Is Nashville’s Brand What we Want it to Be?,” Nashville Business Journal, May 7, 2013

“Avoid this Costly Mistake When Signing Leases and Other Documents,” Nashville Business Journal, April 23, 2013

“You Don’t Have to Pick Your Poison: Foreclosure, Deficiency Judgments, and other Collection Strategies in Georgia,” Georgia Real Property Law Section Newsletter, Summer 2009.

Walt Burton


I have worked with a lot of Attorneys in my 30 years in business, but I've never encountered another attorney that I thought was as thorough and detailed as Walt. His negotiating skills are excellent and other attorneys are now asking me for Walt's number so that he can assist them with their own legal matters. I would strongly trust Walt to handle matters for me in the future. My experience with Walt was excellent.

Mike Friday
President, Woodland Homes of Huntsville, Inc.

I have worked with Walt for the past five years. Walt has become our difference maker in obtaining resolutions that work. He has the expertise and the sense of urgency required to make a difference. Over the past five years Walt has earned the respect of my team and several of my peers in the Industry and no matter what type of work out I encounter, Walt is always my first call.

Richard Kantor
Director of Special Assets, Midland States Bank

I have worked with Walt for the past two years on many successful CRE workouts. We recently worked together closing a new CRE loan that had many complexities, including a large out of state industrial building, a long term land lease, a tenant that was a joint venture of two large out of state companies and it involved a number of environmental and title/survey issues. We were challenged to close the loan within 3 weeks of credit approval. I organized a conference call with our borrower and their counsel and Walt walked everyone through a checklist and discussed each parties responsibility. He even assisted me by working directly with the title company and our borrower to assist them in obtaining critical documentation. In the end, Walt’s willingness to take ownership of the transaction and meet the closing date resulted in a very satisfied customer for the bank. Walt is prompt, thorough, knowledgeable, experienced and always checks back to make sure we are satisfied, and I look forward to engaging him on many more lending opportunities.

Rodney Walker
Director of Correspondent Banking, Midland States Bank

Walt is an extremely knowledgeable attorney who can provide excellent advice on complicated real estate transactions ranging from leases to sales to tenant disputes. He understands the business needs of the large institutional owner to the small entrepreneur. He works well with opposing counsels of all personality types. Walt is sensitive to time pressures and will quickly (and accurately) finish tasks before tight deadlines.

Jesse Harty
Asset Manager
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