Neil Hackworth is a lifelong resident of Shelbyville and Shelby County, where he graduated from Shelbyville High School. He attended Kenyon College in Ohio and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. He attended the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he served on the staff of the Kentucky Law Journal and clerked for the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General. He graduated in the top 10% of his class in 1973, receiving the distinction of Order of the Coif. After graduation, Neil returned to Shelbyville and began his practice, working with two different firms before deciding to go into solo practice in 1980. His practice areas included civil litigation, family law, property, contracts, business and corporate law, and estate planning. In addition to practicing law, Neil managed his family’s insurance agency (The Armstrong Agency) for almost 15 years.
Neil served as Mayor of Shelbyville for 13 years from 1982-1995. During his four terms as Mayor, Shelbyville was fortunate to recruit several new industries to the community. A Main Street program was started to focus attention on the needs of the downtown area. A Historic District was created to protect the historic character of Shelbyville and its downtown. A community based plan was developed known as the Shelbyville 2000 Plan, which has served as a guide to community development for over 20 years. While Mayor, Neil also served as President of the Kentucky League of Cities. He was instrumental in creating the Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Program, an insurance pool that provides liability, property, and workers’ compensation to many cities in Kentucky. It was developed at a time when cities were finding it difficult and expensive to buy insurance in the open market. He served as the first Chairman of the insurance pool board.
Neil’s work as a volunteer with the Kentucky League of Cities led their director and board to offer him a position at the League. Neil resigned during his fourth term as Mayor and took the position of staff attorney with the League. He was later promoted to deputy director. During his 16 years at the League, Neil spent time as a lobbyist, assisting cities with legal issues, overseeing the insurance operations, and managing a staff of nearly 80 people. The League was able to expand its services to cities during this time, increasing staffing in many of its departments, including its lobbying and legal services divisions. Neil retired from the League at the end of 2010.
Neil is married to Sharon Kemper Hackworth, a retired elementary teacher for Shelby County Schools.
Since his retirement from the League, Neil has spent his time traveling with Sharon, as well as spending time with his daughter Melissa and her three children in Indiana and with his son Will and his two children in California. He also enjoys golfing, reading, volunteering for community projects. Although Neil still intends to find some time for travel and family, he is now looking forward to getting back into the practice of law and making a contribution to a firm he sees as having a very bright future—Zaring & Sullivan Law Office.