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Law Firm Diversity Programs Flourish

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC's Diversity Scholarship Program awards scholarships annually to law school students who have completed their first year of law school. The first recipients are are Shazi Jiang of Vanderbilt School of Law and Staci Pierce of Cumberland School of Law. The firm awards each recipient a salaried second year summer associate position in one of the firm's offices, and, after the completion of the summer associate position, a $10,000 scholarship during the students' third year of law school.

Also, Baker Donelson's new Diversity Pipeline Outreach Program " designed to develop a pipeline that will increase the number of minority and female students who go to law school " supports ongoing mentoring relationships that encourage and educate minority and female college students who have an interest in the legal profession. The programs are part of a Diversity Initiative begun by the firm in 2002.

Miller & Martin PLLC was awarded the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga's corporate leadership award, which is presented each year to a company that demonstrates a commitment to strengthening diversity practices while enhancing the quality of life for the total community. The firm was recognized for development and implementation of a comprehensive diversity policy, its overall employment practices and the fact that diversity among employees is reflected at the governance level. Firm Chairman Howard Levine accepted the award on behalf of the firm.

Nashville lawyer Marlene Eskind Moses has been named president-elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a national organization dedicated to improving the practice of family law. Moses is cofounder of Moses & Townsend PLLC, a family law, divorce and mediation firm in Nashville. She is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association's Family Law Code Commission and is past chair of the Family Law Section. Moses was the first Tennessee attorney to be certified as a family law trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. She graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1980.

The Knoxville Bar Association approved new officers at its recent annual meeting. Among them are the following TBA members: President-elect Samuel Doak with Arnett, Draper & Hagood; Treasurer Michael J. King with Woolf, McClaine, Bright, Allen & Carpenter PLLC; and Secretary J. William Coley with Hodges, Doughtry & Carson PLLC. New Board of Governor members are Heidi A. Barcus with London & Amburn PC; James M. Cornelius Jr. with Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis PC; and Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Sharon G. Lee. Also during the meeting former TBA President Pamela L. Reeves, with Reeves, Herbert & Murrian PA, was awarded the association's highest honor " the Governor's Award. Maurice Guinn with Gentry, Tipton & McLemore PC and O.E. (Sonny) Schow IV with Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter PLLC received President's Awards for taking on the task of inventorying the files of two deceased attorneys.
The Memphis Bar Association held its annual meeting in December to elect new leaders and distribute awards and honors. Officers elected were President Arthur E. Quinn with the Bogatin Law Firm PLC, Vice President/President-elect Ricky E. Wilkins with the Law Office of Ricky E. Willkins, Treasurer John R. Cannon with Shuttleworth Williams PLLC and Secretary Gary K. Smith with Apperson Crump & Maxwell PLC. Among the award winners were former TBA President Al Harvey of Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell PLLC, who received the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer's Lawyer Award; Kirk A. Caraway of Allen Summers Simpson Lillie & Gresham PLLC, who was honored with the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award for outstanding service as a young lawyer; and TBA President Buck Lewis of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, who was given the W.J. Michael Cody Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award.

The Nashville Bar Association also met in December to elect new leaders. Among them are TBA members Aubrey B. (Trey) Harwell III with Neal & Harwell PLC, president; Jonathan Cole with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, president-elect; Davidson County General Sessions Judge Angelita Dalton, first vice president; and Richard Littlehale with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, treasurer. Board members taking office included John Griffin Jr. with Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Brothers PLLC; John D. Kitch; Barbara Perutelli with Schulman, LeRoy & Bennett PC; and Emily Shouse with Waddey & Patterson PC.

Memphis attorney Laurie M. Thornton has received the second annual Frank J. Glankler Jr. Pro Bono Award from her firm Glankler Brown PLLC. The award is given annually to an attorney who embodies the pro bono spirit of the firm's former senior partner. Thornton focuses her practice on residential and commercial real estate law. Prior to joining the firm, she worked as a prosecuting attorney and public defender in Shelby County.

James A. Freeman & Associates PC announced that Steven A. Stinson has joined the firm as an insurance/legal specialist after spending time in South Florida as an attorney for the Palm Beach County School District. Stinson is a certified circuit civil mediator and qualified arbitrator in Florida, and a Rule 31 general civil mediator in Tennessee. He plans to develop an ADR and insurance practice with the Nashville firm.

Nashville lawyer and Bass, Berry & Sims partner Leigh Walton has been named co-chair of the Transactions Affinity Group of the Business Law and Governance Practice Group at the American Health Lawyers Association. The mission of the group is to bolster the corporate side of health care practice. Walton's experience includes handling securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance issues for public companies; and acquisitions, syndications and joint ventures for health care clients.

Kingsport native Steven C. Huret was named a shareholder of Wilson Worley Moore Gamble & Stout PC on Jan. 1. Huret has practiced law since 2003 and currently chairs the firm's personal injury practice group. He is also a member of the litigation and alternative dispute resolution groups. He focuses his practice on personal injury and commercial litigation, insurance defense, civil rights, and landlord-tenant law. Huret earned his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 2003.

The Memphis law firm of Spicer, Flynn & Rudstrom PLLC has been approved for membership in the International Society of Primerus Law Firms. Primerus is a network of small to medium-sized independent law firms that are accredited based on a commitment to six principles: integrity, excellence of work product, reasonable fee structure, professional education, civility and community service.

Adams and Reese recently named Margaret R. T. Myers a partner in its Nashville office. Myers is a member of the labor and employment team. She counsels management in pre-litigation employment matters and defends employers in contested matters before state and federal agencies and courts. Prior to pursuing a career in the law, Myers worked as a congressional aide and private investigator in Washington, D.C. During law school at American University's Washington College of Law, she worked at the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office. She began practicing law in 1999.

Nashville lawyer Jill Talbert has been named director of advocacy and grassroots at the Tennessee Hospital Association, where she will work with the association's lobbying team on all state advocacy and grassroots activities. Prior to joining the association Talbert was policy and training director at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. She is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association's Governmental Affairs and Access to Justice (ATJ) committees, and co-chairs the ATJ Children's Issues Subcommittee. Talbert received her law degree at the University of Memphis School of Law in 2005.

The American Bar Foundation, a research institute for the empirical study of law, has named its new class of fellows, which includes 10 Tennessee lawyers. The foundation's fellows program is an honorary association of lawyers, judges and legal scholars whose careers have demonstrated dedication to the welfare of their communities and the highest principles of the profession. Tennesseans among the group are: Amy Amundsen of Rice, Amundsen Caperton PLLC in Memphis; Gail Vaughan Ashworth of Gideon Wiseman PLC in Nashville; Tasha Blakney of Eldridge Blakney PC in Knoxville; 30th Judicial District Judge Robert Childers of Memphis; Keith Frazier of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC in Nashville; Buck Lewis of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC in Memphis; Harrison McIver III of Memphis Area Legal Services; Allan Ramsaur of the Tennessee Bar Association in Nashville; John Tarpley of Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC in Nashville; and Daniel Van Horn of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens and Cannada PLLC in Memphis.

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Murfreesboro lawyer LUCY COLE DURHAM STRICKLAND, 83, died Dec. 18, 2008, after suffering a debilitating stroke in November. Strickland graduated from Washington & Lee University Law School in 1976 at the age of 50. She initially opened a solo practice in North Carolina and then practiced with Kidwell, South & Beasley in Murfreesboro until retiring in 2004. Prior to attending law school Strickland lived in Murfreesboro and was active in her community serving as the first president of the Murfreesboro League of Women Voters, an officer of Citizens for Court Modernization in Nashville, and the primary force behind a lawsuit seeking reapportionment of the Rutherford County School Board. Donations in Strickland's honor may be made to St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 1267 N. Rutherford Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN 37130, or to the MTSU Foundation, PO Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.

Thirtieth Judicial District General Sessions Criminal Court Judge C. ANTHONY "TONY" JOHNSON, 61, died Jan. 2 in Memphis. A 1969 graduate of Fisk University and a 1972 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Johnson began practicing law in Memphis at the city's first integrated law firm Ratner, Sugarman, Lucas and Salky. As a civil rights lawyer, he had the opportunity to contribute to several landmark cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. In 1976, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the city court and subsequently ran successfully to keep the seat. At the time of his first election he was the youngest African American judge in the United States. In 1982, Johnson was named one of the original presiding judges of the newly created General Sessions Criminal Court " the seat he held until his death. During his career, Johnson held several leadership roles in the National Bar Association and the American Bar Association, including his most recent post as national chairperson for the ABA Committee for Alternative Sentencing. Among other family, he is survived by daughter Tiffany Gayle Johnson, a lawyer in Memphis and president of the National Bar Association Ben F. Jones Chapter. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to LeMoyne-Owen College,(901) 774-9090; Stax Music Academy (901) 942-7627; or Jefferson Mortuary (901) 872-8800.