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Nashville lawyer Fritz Richter has been appointed vice chair of the Fiduciary Responsibility/Plan Investments Subcommittee of the American Bar Association Tax Section’s Employee Benefits Committee. Richter practices with Bass Berry & Sims PLC, where he focuses exclusively in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation. Before joining the firm, Richter was with the Internal Revenue Service Employee Plans and Chief Counsel’s Offices in Washington, D.C., where he handled employee benefits regulatory, compliance and litigation matters.
The Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) has named Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Frank Clement as its Appellate Judge of the Year. Aubrey B. Harwell Jr., the current president of the chapter, presented Clement with the award. ABOTA is a national association dedicated to preserving the constitutional guarantee of a civil jury trial. Harwell is a founding partner of Neal & Harwell PLC in Nashville.
The Tennessee Association for Justice recently elected new officers. TBA members among them are Eric Buchanan with Eric Buchanan & Associates PLLC in Chattanooga and Nashville lawyer Jon Peeler. Both were named vice presidents.
Franklin lawyer David H. Veile, a member with the firm of Schell Binkley & Davies LLC, has been admitted into the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Leadership Academy class of 2012-2013. The year-long program is designed to nurture ethical, professional and community service values and build relationships among leaders from across the country. He is one of 23 attorneys selected nationwide. Veile practices in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury, family law and general litigation. He also currently serves as president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division and as a member of the TBA Board of Governors.
Knoxville attorney and mediator Joe Jarret has been elected president of the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. He also has been named to the board of directors of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators.
Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Lori Phillips-Jones as the new Eighth Judicial District Attorney General. She has worked in the district attorney’s office since 1997 as a criminal investigator and violent crimes prosecutor. She is the daughter of U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Phillips, and replaces her uncle Paul Phillips, who retired this year after more than three decades of service.
Franklin lawyer Sharon E. Guffee has been named the first Juvenile Court judge for Williamson County. She is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law and has been the Juvenile Court magistrate since 2004. She previously served as an assistant district attorney for the 21st Judicial District.
Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Nashville lawyer Ronald K. Jones to the board of directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA). Jones is executive director of Trevecca Towers, a non-profit apartment community in Nashville for seniors and persons with disabilities. He earned a masters degree in organizational management in 1990 and a law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 1996.
The Knoxville law firm of Frantz, McConnell & Seymour LLP has recruited Taylor D. Forrester to join its civil litigation and criminal defense practice. Forrester previously was in private practice in Covington. He received his law degree in 2008 from the Mississippi College School of Law.
The labor and employment law firm of FordHarrison has added Mark Stamelos and Josh Sudbury to its Nashville office. Stamelos graduated from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Hallanan in the Southern District of West Virginia before moving to Tennessee. Sudbury graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law and served a one-year clerkship with U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Vescovo of the Western District of Tennessee. Both previously worked for King & Ballow.
The Memphis office of Morgan & Morgan PA named Peter Gee and Mark Lambert as new partners in the firm. Gee is a member of the firm’s nursing home negligence group. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 2001. Lambert focuses his practice on representing injured workers and the families of workers killed on the job. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis in 2002.
New officers and members have been named to the board of the University of Memphis Law Alumni Chapter. Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Robert L. “Butch” Childers is the new president. Other officers are President-Elect R. Hunter Humphreys, an attorney with Glankler Brown, and Secretary/Treasurer Vickie Hardy Jones, who practices with Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee. In addition, the school announced five new board members. TBA members among them are N. Richard Glassman with Glassman, Edwards, Wyatt, Tuttle & Cox PC; Michael Joiner with Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell; and Todd Williams with Spicer Rudstrom PLLC. All practice in Memphis.
The Nashville School of Law has added two attorneys to its faculty: Paul G. Summers, who will teach administrative law, and Andra J. Hedrick, who will teach estate planning. Summers is a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP where he handles government investigations and relations, crisis management, litigation and dispute resolution for the automotive, manufacturing and economic development industries. He previously served as Tennessee Attorney General, as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and as district attorney in the 25th Judicial District. Hedrick practices in the areas of probate, estate planning, taxes and small business at Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin. She previously served as a law clerk with the Shelby County Probate Court and Tennessee Court of Appeals. Both practice in Nashville.
Nashville lawyer John B. Burns is now affiliated with Dickinson Wright PLLC as of counsel to the firm. Burns, who earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law and a master of laws in taxation from the University of Florida, handles estate planning, trust administration, guardianships, conservatorships and business succession planning. He also handles tax issues, including multinational and foreign transactions.
Jill Talbert has opened Talbert Government Relations LLC in Nashville. Talbert has spent the majority of her career in trade association representation, including as in-house lobbyist for the Tennessee Hospital Association. Her professional affiliations include serving on the Tennessee Bar Association Governmental Affairs Committee and on the board of directors for the Tennessee Lobbyists Association. She earned her law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law.
Jill Steinberg, a shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, has received the firm’s 2012 Susan E. Rich Award for excellence in promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession. Steinberg was instrumental in founding the firm’s Women’s Initiative and served as the first leader of the Women’s Initiative Steering Committee. In her own practice, Steinberg focuses on medical malpractice cases as well as nursing home, products, premises, automobile, toxic tort and professional liability claims. She also handles workers’ compensation, general business and ERISA litigation. Steinberg earned her law degree in 1985 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
Knoxville attorney James B. Kyle has been selected for a fellowship with the U.S. Army War College. He will spend the majority of his time in Washington, D.C., at the Army’s Department of Environmental Safety and Occupational Health. Kyle is an attorney with Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop and is a lieutenant colonel in the Tennessee National Guard. He served nine years in the Army before attending law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He earned his law degree in 2004.
The Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office has added two new attorneys to its staff. R. Benjamin Rowe will serve as the district’s DUI prosecutor and as a member of the Fatal Incident Response Team. Also joining the staff is Wesley Mink, who will work in the General Sessions Court Division. Rowe earned his law degree from the University of North Dakota. Mink graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law.
Allen Grant recently joined the law firm of Morgan & Akins as an associate attorney. He will focus on civil litigation matters, including workers’ compensation and insurance defense. Prior to joining the firm, Grant served as an assistant district attorney in Davidson County and as a law clerk to Shelby County Circuit Court Judge John R. McCarroll Jr. He graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law.
The Chattanooga office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz has named Russell Gray as managing shareholder. He replaces Joe Conner, who served in the role for seven years. Gray will maintain his practice in litigation and labor and employment issues. He previously served as a judicial clerk to U.S. District Court Judge R. Allan Edgar. In 2008, he was named Baker Donelson’s Chattanooga Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.
Jeremy Buckelew has joined the Paris law office of Shon Johnson, where he will handle general practice issues including family law, juvenile law, probate, civil litigation, wills and estates. Buckelew, who previously worked as a probation and parole officer for the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole, earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 2011.
The law firm of Frost Brown Todd co-hosted a seminar about managing a workforce in China on Aug. 1. Speakers included Gray Sasser, counsel in the firm’s Nashville office and member of its Business Combinations & Securities Group. Sasser, who previously worked at the U.S. Export-Import Bank, focuses his practice in international services — advising American companies seeking to expand their global reach as well as foreign companies investing in the United States.
Nashville attorney Randy Spivey has been named academic director for Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society. He previously served as disciplinary counsel for the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Responsibility and prior to that, practiced with the Nashville firm of Williams & Prochaska. Spivey began his legal career as a law clerk for Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge David H. Welles. A graduate of Lipscomb, Spivey previously served as an adjunct professor for the school’s program at the Tennessee Prison for Women as well as in the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy. He earned his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Knoxville lawyer DENNIS L. BABB died July 27 at the age of 83. Babb earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee and began practicing in 1956. He was a founding partner of Butler, Vines & Babb and practiced for more than 40 years. While Babb enjoyed his work, his family and home were the true focus of his life. He was an avid snow skier, hunter and golfer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to YMCA Knoxville, 602 W. Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37902.
Former Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge EDGAR P. CALHOUN died Aug. 6 after a long illness. He was 81. A Scott County native, Calhoun worked as a reporter and, ultimately, as managing editor for the Kingsport Times-News before attending law school. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1961 and went to work in the State Comptroller’s Office in Nashville. After passing the bar, he became an assistant state attorney in the office of the Tennessee Attorney General. In 1967, he returned to Kingsport to practice law and work part-time in the Sullivan County District Attorney General’s office. A few years later, he left private practice to work full time in the Attorney General’s office. Calhoun was appointed to the bench in 1976 and served there until retiring in 1994. Memorial contributions may be made to the Holston Children’s Home, P.O. Box 188, Greeneville, TN 37744, or to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
Hendersonville lawyer LOGAN G. FULKS JR. died July 19 after battling lymphoma. He was 54 and working as assistant vice president for claims at State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company in Brentwood at the time of his death. Fulks earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Memorial donations may be made to the Davis House Child Advocacy Center, 101 Forrest Crossing Blvd., Suite 106, Franklin, TN 37064.
Ripley native and former Memphis attorney BETTY H. LIGHTFOOT died July 17. She was 95. A graduate of the Atlanta Law School, Lightfoot served in World War II before returning to Memphis, where she held various jobs including serving as a secretary for Mayor Boss Crump, handling public relations for The Peabody Hotel and serving in legal roles for the University of Tennessee and Tall Trees.
Signal Mountain attorney JOSEPH CHURCH WAGNER died July 19 at the age of 97. Wagner received his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1940, and then joined his father to form the law firm of Wagner & Wagner. After serving as an FBI special agent during World War II, he returned to Chattanooga to again practice with his father, becoming the senior partner at Wagner, Nelson & Weeks. He later practiced with his sons Richard and Michael. Wagner served for 50 years as the attorney for the Town of Signal Mountain, and continued to serve as Back Tax Attorney until his death. Memorial contributions may be made to Walden’s Ridge Emergency Service, P.O. Box 215, Signal Mountain, TN 37377, or one’s favorite charity.
Little Rock, Ark., lawyer ROBERT “ROBBY” M. WILSON JR. died Aug. 3 after battling cancer for more than two years. He was 60. After graduating from the University of Arkansas School of Law, Wilson founded Wilson & Associates PLLC, focusing on representation of the mortgage banking industry. The firm grew to three offices in Arkansas and offices in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis. During his career, Wilson worked to better the mortgage banking servicing industry, authoring numerous pieces of legislation, serving as general counsel to the Arkansas Mortgage Bankers Association, and helping to found the USFN. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wilson History & Research Center Inc., 27 Rahling Circle, Suite D-14, Little Rock, AR 72223; or the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Cancer Institute, 4301 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72205.