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The Knoxville law firm of Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley has announced that Jonathan H. Peyton is now a shareholder in the firm. Peyton received his law degree from Suffolk University in 2003, and is licensed to practice in Kentucky, New York and Tennessee. Peyton focuses his practice in the areas of real estate development and lending, corporate and business law and commercial law.

Chattanooga lawyer Scott M. Shaw has joined the law firm of Evans Harrison Hackett as a member. He practices in the areas of litigation, bankruptcy, real estate, banking and business. Shaw obtained his law degree from Georgia State University in 1997 and is licensed to practice in Tennessee and Georgia. He was a member of the 2007 TBA Leadership Law class.

Patrick “Brock” Parks has joined the Nashville law firm of Griffith & Roberts where he will practice in the areas of criminal defense, family law and the representation of law enforcement officers in administrative and tort actions. Brock, who is a former Metro Nashville Police officer, graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 2000. He previously worked with Hall Booth Smith, handling litigation involving restaurants, hotel chains and law enforcement officers.

Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones recently announced it has joined with Bob E. Lype of Bob E. Lype & Associates to establish an office in Chattanooga. Lype will serve as of counsel for the firm and will continue handling labor and employment law, commercial litigation and insurance defense. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1990 and established his firm in 2003.

Chattanooga attorney Marcy Eason with Miller & Martin has been selected to serve a two-year term as a delegate to Vision 2020, a nationwide initiative focused on women’s economic and social equality. Vision 2020 is a coalition of organizations and individuals launched in 2010 through the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine. Delegates are selected based on demonstrated commitment to helping women or girls.

The Franklin law firm of Buerger, Moseley & Carson recently announced that W. Kyle Simonton has been named a member of the firm. Simonton focuses his practice in the area of health care operations. He is a 2007 graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

The Tennessee Justice Center has announced that managing attorney Michele Johnson will succeed Gordon Bonnyman as executive director of the organization at the end of the year. Bonnyman and Johnson co-founded the center 17 years ago to advocate for Tennessee’s vulnerable populations, particularly those struggling to find access to health care. Bonnyman will continue to serve clients as a staff attorney. Johnson earned her law degree in 1994 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Former Tennessee state senator Mike Faulk has been appointed Third Judicial District Circuit Court judge. A Kingsport native, he will preside over cases in Hawkins, Hamblen, Hancock and Greene counties. Faulk earned a master of public administration from the University of Memphis in 1978 and a law degree from the school in 1979. He is a past president of the Hawkins County Bar Association, Juvenile Court referee and vice chair of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. He has operated a solo law practice since 1996 and represented the Fourth District of Tennessee in the state Senate for four years.

James R. Sasser, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and ambassador to China, and his wife, Mary, have donated their papers to Vanderbilt University. Sasser completed his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt and earned his law degree there in 1961. The donation contains photographs and other memorabilia from Sasser’s years in the Senate — including the gavel he used while chairing the Budget Committee — and his time in China, where he forged close relationships with national leaders. He is a senior counselor of the TBA.

St. Louis, Mo., lawyer Robert D. Pickle was inducted into the Knoxville East High School Hall of Fame on June 8 at ceremonies at the World’s Fair Park in Knoxville. Pickle, a 1961 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, practices with The Pickle Law Firm. He is a senior counselor of the TBA.

The Tennessee Bar Associaiton has hired a new CLE Coordinator, Lauren Hopper Lee, who replaces Lisa McNamara. Lee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from TSU. Most recently she worked with volunteers in her staff role at St. Luke’s Community House working with families in West Nashville. She has also interned at the Tennessee General Assembly.

Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam has named Nashville lawyer Rachel Lundeen as her new chief of staff. Lundeen has been a member of the staff since 2011, serving as special assistant and policy advisor to the first lady. Prior to joining the Haslam administration, she worked at the Children’s Rights Alliance in Dublin, Ireland, and the Child Welfare League of America. Lundeen earned her law degree and a master degree in public policy from Vanderbilt University.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee recently honored Chattanooga attorney Max Bahner of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel with its Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award for his work on two significant pro bono cases. It also honored the Chattanooga office of Miller & Martin as its Pro Bono Firm of the Year for its support of pro bono activities.

The Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women installed new officers during its annual meeting in Nashville. Taking office as president was Wendy Longmire, an attorney with Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford in Nashville. She succeeds Kristi Rezabek of Jackson. Other leaders installed were Vice-President Cheryl Rice of Knoxville, Treasurer Linda Knight of Nashville, Recording Secretary Ahsaki Baptist of Memphis, Corresponding Secretary Beth Bates of Jackson, West Tennessee Director Lanis Karnes of Jackson, Middle Tennessee Director Amy Everhart of Nashville and East Tennessee Director Judy Cornett of Knoxville.

Chancellor Jerri S. Bryant of the 10th Judicial District took office as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference at the group’s annual meeting in June. She succeeds Circuit Court Judge Robert L. Holloway Jr. of Columbia. In her new role, Bryant also will serve on the TBA Board of Governors. She is a 1987 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and has served as chancellor since 1998. 

A new book co-authored by Nashville attorney and trial consultant Phillip H. Miller looks at strategies and techniques for delivering case-winning depositions. The book, Advanced Deposition Strategy and Practice, is available through Trial Guides Publishing and the American Association for Justice.

Knoxville lawyer Deborah Stevens was sworn into office as Knox County Circuit Court Judge by Gov. Bill Haslam. Stevens, who has practiced law for more than 30 years, previously was managing attorney at Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1980.

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Macon County attorney FLETCHER “KEITH” ADKINSON died June 19 at the age of 69. A 1969 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, Adkinson represented corporations and entertainers in Beverly Hills and later in Washington, D.C. From 1974 to 1979, he was counsel to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations where he managed probes into organized crime, labor racketeering and government corruption. Adkinson was national director of Democrats for Reagan/Bush in 1980 and after the election, served on the Department of Justice Transition Team. Later, in private practice, he took on a case to prove Jett Williams was the daughter of Hank Williams. He married her in 1986 and the couple lived for many years in Lafayette. He died while undergoing heart surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Retired Lebanon Judge RODNEY VICTOR AHLES died from a stroke on June 30. He was 82. Ahles was appointed city judge for Lebanon in 1970, serving for almost four decades on the bench. He received a bachelor of law from Cumberland University and his law degree from Samford University. Ahles entered private practice in 1967 and, as part of his practice, drafted legislation for the State of Tennessee Legislative Council during five sessions of the General Assembly. He retired from the bench in 2005. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to First Presbyterian Church, 304 W Main St., Lebanon, TN 37087.

Chattanooga attorney RALPH RUSSELL ARMSTRONG died June 8 at the age of 83. Armstrong earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and Army ROTC, and was a member of the Hamilton County Bar Association. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 2151, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38101.

Memphis lawyer LUNDY WEBB DANIEL died June 23 at the age of 76 from metastatic melanoma. A native of Mississippi, Lundy moved to Memphis in 1964 and earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1968. As principal at the Daniel Law Firm in downtown Memphis, Daniel represented clients in the areas of personal injury, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, family law, wrongful death and criminal misdemeanors. He also was active in the Downtown Memphis Kiwanis Club. The family requests that memorial donations be sent to Senatobia First Baptist Church, 317 S. Ward, Senatobia, MS 38668.

Nashville lawyer DAVID BRUCE LYONS died June 27 at 61. Lyons grew up in Lindenhurst, N.Y., but moved to Tennessee and attended the University of Tennessee. He worked for the Knoxville News Sentinel in the early 1980s as the state capitol correspondent. He later attended the Nashville School of Law at night. Lyons earned his law degree in 1994 and began practicing in the areas of juvenile and family law, civil rights, general civil litigation, and tort and personal injury cases. Lyons was a strong supporter and board member of 202 Friendship House, an alcohol recovery center. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to 202 Friendship House, 202 23rd Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37203.

Chattanooga lawyer and former TBA President CHARLES J. GEARHISER died June 17 at the age of 74. A 1961 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Gearhiser was an original founder of the firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon, where he practiced until his death. Early in his career, Gearhiser was law clerk to U.S. District Judge Frank W. Wilson and served in that position during the historic Jimmy Hoffa trial in 1964. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Tennessee, and then as a part-time U.S. magistrate. While in private practice, Gearhiser made a name for himself as a prolific litigator, trying more than 100 cases before Tennessee juries. His areas of expertise included federal criminal defense, professional liability defense, and product liability, personal injury, commercial and business cases. Gearhiser also worked to improve the profession, serving as president of the Chattanooga Bar Association, chair of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation, member of the Judicial Performance Program Committee and charter member of the Tennessee chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He served as president of the TBA from 2001-2002 after serving on the association’s board of governors from 1999 to 2001 and in 1992 and 1994. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Gearhiser’s late wife, Joy. Donations may be sent to 7625 Hamilton Park Dr., Suite 22, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Memphis lawyer G. DONALD SIEMER died June 13 at the age of 81. Originally from Philadelphia, Siemer served the Shelby County community as an assistant district attorney and public defender. He also was instrumental in establishing Shelby County’s Environmental Court and Drug Court. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Cherokee Baptist Church, 5340 Quince at Estate, Memphis, TN 38119.


Compiled by Linda Murphy and Stacey Shrader Joslin 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 lmurphy@tnbar.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.