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Legal Aid of East Tennessee recently honored lawyers who donated services to low-income clients at its Pro Bono Celebration. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee presented the Law Firm of the Year Award to Paine, Tarwater & Bickers and the Lawyer of the Year Award to Rachel P. Hurt of Arnett, Draper & Hagood. Knoxville Bar Association President J. William Coley gave awards to 21 lawyers who donated at least 25 hours of service through Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Project. TBA members among the group were: Ali Abdelati, William J. Carver, Stephanie D. Coleman, Loretta G. Cravens, Donald J. Farinato, Debra L. Fulton, J. Scott Griswold, Daniel C. Headrick, J. Myers Morton, William A. Mynatt Jr., Carrie S. O’Rear and Taylor A. Williams.
Frost Brown Todd recently expanded its Nashville presence with the addition of Lynda Motes Hill to its litigation department. Hill focuses her practice on products liability, business and commercial litigation. Previously with Miller & Martin, Hill made her mark there creating and spearheading the “50 Women You Need to Meet” initiative, which established a network of female decision makers in Nashville, Chattanooga and Atlanta. She will pursue similar goals as a member of Frost Brown Todd’s Women’s Initiative.
The firm also announced that lawyer Bobby Guy recently served as a panel moderator during the Health Care Deal Making Summit held in Nashville Sept. 19-21. In August, Guy announced release of the third edition of the Health Care Insolvency Manual, a product of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Health Care Committee, which he co-chairs.
David M. Bullock has joined the Nashville law firm of Tune, Entrekin & White, where he will practice primarily in the area of environmental law. For the last 22 years, Bullock has advised companies on environmental permitting and compliance matters as well as represented clients in state and federal court. Prior to entering private practice, Bullock spent eight years with the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is certified under Rule 31 as a general civil mediator. He earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.
The Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recently elected new leadership at its annual Conference on Juvenile Justice. TBA members among the new council members are Knox County Judge Tim Irwin, Madison County Judge Christy Little, Sevier County Judge Jeff Rader, Henry County Judge Vicki Snyder and Benton County Judge John Whitworth.
Jason A. McGrath of McGrath & Spielberger has been named vice chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association’s Solo & Small Firm Section for 2012-2013. McGrath is managing partner at his firm, where he handles consumer, business, contract and employment law, as well as debt negotiation and mortgage loan modification. McGrath & Spielberger has offices in Nashville and Charlotte, N.C.
Nashville firm King & Ballow has hired Chase D. Fisher II as an associate attorney in its litigation section. Fisher earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Before joining the firm, he practiced in Memphis with a focus on government tort liability, personal injury and medical malpractice litigation.
Steve Cavezza has joined Arena Law Firm in Brentwood as of counsel. He will focus on helping clients throughout the state with personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. Cavezza earned his law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2010. Prior to moving to Nashville, he managed litigation as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 insurance company in Jacksonville, Fla.
Chattanooga attorney Jeannette Merrill has accepted a position as corporate compliance privacy analyst for Erlanger Health System. Among her responsibilities, Merrill will ensure that the company follows local, state and federal laws and regulations governing health care and consumer privacy. Merrill received her nursing degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1994 and has worked at Erlanger Health System for the past 24 years. She graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 2009.
Nashville-based Pepper & Brothers recently announced that Timothy A. Roberto has joined the firm as an associate attorney. He will focus on business, commercial and corporate litigation and transactions. Prior to joining the firm, Roberto worked in the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Policy as a policy analyst from 2007 to 2011, and as a clerk for Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William Koch. He received a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a law degree from the Nashville School of Law.
Nancy Jones, chief disciplinary counsel of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR), resigned from the position effective Sept. 30 to become general counsel at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Jones had served as chief counsel at the board since May 2007. Under her leadership, the BPR improved its technology and registration and record keeping systems. Prior to joining the board, Jones spent 12 years as a federal prosecutor in New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee and was a litigation partner at Nashville firm Bass, Berry & Sims. She received her law degree from Syracuse University.
Eric M. Larsen recently joined the Brentwood firm of Papa & Roberts as a partner. His practice focuses on criminal defense, civil litigation, personal injury and employment law. Larsen is a graduate of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and is licensed to practice in Michigan as well as Tennessee. Prior to joining Papa & Roberts, he was an associate attorney at Cline Close Dyer in Midland, Mich.
Blount County Clerk and Master Stephen S. Ogle was elected vice president of the East Division of the Tennessee Court Clerks Conference at its meeting in Sevierville. He will serve in that capacity for one year.
Circuit Court Judge Nathan Blake Pride was sworn into office as the first black judge to serve the 26th Judicial District. The oath was administered by Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Roger Page, who previously held the seat.
Circuit Court Judge Michael W. Binkley was sworn in to the 21st Judicial District by his brother Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr., a circuit court judge in Davidson County. Prior to being elected judge, Michael Binkley practiced law in Franklin.
At the first official meeting of the new Board of Judicial Conduct, Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft was selected as chair. Nashville lawyer Tom Lawless was named secretary, and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jeffrey Bivins was named liaison to the General Assembly. All will serve through August 2013.
J. Bartlett Quinn, a labor and employment lawyer with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel in Chattanooga, has been elected secretary of the Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission. The 17-member commission reviews applications and makes recommendations to the governor for judicial vacancies on the state trial and appellate courts. Quinn was appointed to the commission by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.
District Attorney General William Paul Phillips has retired from the Eighth Judicial District after more than 33 years on the job. A reception was held in his honor in Huntsville in August. His niece and fellow lawyer, Lori Phillips-Jones, replaced him, taking office Sept. 1. The elder Phillips is now working as executive director of the Roane State Foundation, which raises money for Roane State Community College’s students and programs.
TBA Adds New Program Staff
The Tennessee Bar Association recently hired two new staff members to handle key programs run by the bar and its committees. Elizabeth “Liz” Slagle Todaro joined the TBA as the new Access to Justice and Public Education coordinator. She will take over later this fall when Sarah Hayman, who currently fills those roles, departs to have her first child. Todaro, a graduate of the City University of New York Law School, most recently led Nashville Debate, a policy debate program for high school students.
Brittany Sims is the TBA’s new coordinator of the Leadership Law program. A Nashville native, she graduated from Hampton University in Hampton, Va., then returned to Nashville to work as a VISTA volunteer with AmeriCorp. While pursuing a graduate degree at Tennessee State University, Sims worked with the TSU Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. Her degree is in public administration, with a certificate in nonprofit management. In addition to coordinating the TBALL program, Sims also will join the team that gathers news for the daily TBAToday newsletter and TBA website.
Greeneville attorney N.R. “NAT” COLEMAN JR. died Aug. 13 after years of declining health. He was 89. Coleman played a key role for more than 50 years with Milligan & Coleman, Greeneville’s oldest and largest law firm. He retired in 1998 but continued to maintain an office there. His family announced that memorial contributions may be made to St. James Episcopal Church, 107 W. Church St., Greeneville, TN 37743.
Former Jackson Chancellor EUGENE BROOKS MCLEMORE, 92, died Aug. 15 in Georgia. McLemore earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University, and was a graduate of the National College of the Judiciary at the University of Nevada in Reno. He was licensed to practice law in 1949, and continued in the profession until 1960. He served as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference 1966-1967, as a state senator for three terms, and as 14th Judicial District Chancellor for more than 15 years. He also was elected executive secretary of the Tennessee Supreme Court and later as attorney general. After retiring, McLemore continued to serve as special justice of the Supreme Court and special judge of the Court of Appeals. Memorials may be directed to West Jackson Baptist Church, 580 Oil Well Rd., Jackson, TN 38305.
Knoxville lawyer ANN NIGRO died Aug. 22 at the age of 93. Nigro graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1943 and was the first woman to receive the Moot Court Medal. After college she practiced law for two years at Southern and Southern and then opened a firm with her husband Judge Joseph J. Nigro. The two were partners with Jim Haynes and later George Balitsaris. Memorials may be made to Colonial Heights United Methodist Church, 6321 Chapman Hwy., Knoxville, TN 37920, or to Grassy Valley Baptist Church, 10637 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922.
LAURA RULE, who managed the Blount County office of Legal Aid of East Tennessee, died Aug. 31 at the age of 65. Rule was a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she was a member of the nationally ranked Labor Law Moot Court Team. After completing a judicial clerkship for Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Samuel L. Lewis, she became an associate at Reid & Priest in Manhattan. In late 1993, she returned to East Tennessee and began practicing in Knoxville along with handling appellate work for the Blount County Public Defender. She joined Legal Aid in 2001. Memorial donations may be made to the LAET Blount County Office, 307 Ellis Ave., Maryville, TN 37801.
Longtime Memphis attorney and civic leader ROANE WARING JR. died Aug. 28 at Methodist University Hospital. He was 95. A native of Memphis, Waring moved to Virginia to earn his law degree from the University of Virginia but returned to Tennessee, where he practiced law for more than 50 years. His professional experience included working as a law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge John D. Martin, as a founder of the Waring Cox Law Firm, and as an attorney with Shuttleworth Williams. Waring served in a variety of civic organizations including the Memphis Urban League, Health and Welfare Planning Council, Family Service of Memphis and Junior Chamber of Commerce. He also was a past president of the Memphis Bar Association (1975) and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Retired Circuit Court Judge BENJAMIN KING WEXLER died Aug. 11 at the age of 90. Wexler graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1960 and worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority before moving to Greeneville to practice law. While in Greeneville, he was an assistant district attorney general, city judge and Greene County attorney. In 1986, he was elected circuit court judge for the Third Judicial District of Tennessee. He served in that role until he retired in 2006. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County, P.O. Box 1977, Greeneville, TN 37744; or the Greeneville/Greene County Humane Society, P.O. Box 792, Greeneville, TN 37744.
Compiled by Linda Murphy and Stacey Shrader. Tennessee Bar Association members may send information about job changes, awards and work-related news. Send it to PEOPLE, c/o The Journal at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219-2198, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are subject to editing. Pictures are used on a space-available basis and cannot be returned. Electronic photos must be saved as a tiff or jpeg (with no compression), minimum resolution 200 dpi, and at least 1"x1.5" or they will not be used.