People

The Tennessee Supreme Court has named Ann Jarvis Pruitt, executive director of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, as a new member of its Access to Justice Commission.

Phillip Miller’s recent book, Advanced Deposition Strategy and Practice, has been added to the curriculum for the American Association for Justice. Miller is trial consultant and civil litigator in Nashville.

The Memphis law firm of Glankler Brown has promoted three attorneys to members of the firm. They are Matt Brinner, Laurie Thornton and Ross Webster. Brinner handles corporate and business transactions, real estate, secured lending and commercial property tax appeals. Thornton practices in the areas of residential and commercial real estate. Prior to joining the firm she worked as a prosecutor and public defender for Shelby County. Webster primarily focuses on business, construction, securities and employment litigation as well as executor/ trustee liability.

Chattanooga attorney Max Bahner received the 2014 Outstanding Service Award from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Bahner is senior member of the litigation section of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. He is a past president of the Chattanooga Bar Association and a founding fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation and Chattanooga Bar Foundation.

In other firm news, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel recently announced that Yousef Hamadeh has been named a shareholder. Hamadeh joined Chambliss in 2006 in the Litigation Practice Group and has focused his practice on commercial, product liability and intellectual property litigation, insurance and claims and risk management.

Stephen W. Ragland, a member in the Memphis office of Bass, Berry & Sims, has been elected a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Ragland has more than 25 years of experience handling civil litigation, bankruptcy and commercial workouts and is co-chair of the firm’s Financial Services/Bankruptcy Practice Group. He also chairs the firm’s
Lateral Hiring Committee.

Ken Young, a partner with Buerger, Moseley & Carson in Franklin, has been awarded the 2014 Community Supporter Award from the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County for the pro bono legal services he provided to the organization. In his law practice, Young provides advice to nonprofit organizations regarding formation, compensation, charitable contributions, tax status and unrelated business income.

Knoxville lawyer Dana Dalton has joined the law firm of Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan as of counsel. Dalton handles general civil litigation, with a focus on defense of personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. She earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee presented awards to several area law firms and attorneys at its recent “Dinner with the Tennessee Supreme Court” event. The law firms of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Herndon, Coleman, Brading & McKee; Fowler & Fowler; Smith, Booksh & Farrell; and Hunter, Smith & Davis received Commitment Awards. Among the attorneys given awards were TBA members Mike Forrester, Suzanne Queen and Tony Seaton, who received the Access to Justice Award; Karen Boyd, Art Fowler III, Andrew Hutchinson, James Janaitis, Randy Kennedy and Brandee Riddle, who received the Outstanding Service Award; and Aleania Smith, who was presented with the Above and Beyond Award.

The Knoxville law firm of London Amburn recently announced the addition of new associate J. Spencer Fair, a 2009 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. Fair will focus on medical malpractice, nursing home and long-term care defense, and health care law. Fair relocated to Knoxville after practicing law in Nashville for the last three years.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz has named 13 new shareholders across all of its offices, including five TBA members. They are: Joel R. Buckberg, who works in hospitality and franchising, Ashby Burks, who handles health law, Christie M. Hayes, who handles labor and employment, and Mason W. Wilson, who serves in the firm’s transportation practice. Buckberg and Burks work in the Nashville office, while Hayes works in the Johnson City office and Wilson works in the Memphis office. One additional new shareholder, Jennifer G. Hall, works in the firm’s Jackson, Mississippi, office, where she handles labor and employment matters. 

The Nashville office of Dickinson Wright has announced that two of its attorneys, J. Bryan Echols and Kim Stagg, have received awards recognizing their legal work. Echols has been selected as a 2014 Williamson County Impact Award honoree by the Nashville Business Journal. The honor recognizes his work on several difficult annexation, zoning and land use applications in Franklin and Williamson County. Stagg received the TriState Minority Supplier Development Council’s Impact of the Year Award for her pro bono work helping the organization consolidate its Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia councils into the current TriState entity. In receiving the award, Stagg also presented a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the firm to a promising high school senior.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings partner William L. Norton III has been elected director of the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute, a Nashville-based non-profit organization that provides education and networking opportunities for attorneys practicing commercial and bankruptcy law. Norton will serve a five-year term on the group’s board. At Bradley Arant, Norton handles bankruptcy, creditor rights and insolvency cases.

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade and Davidson County Circuit Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr. were honored by the Southeastern Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA) at its annual conference in Nashville. Wade was named the organization’s 2014 Appellate Judge of the Year. Binkley was presented with a special recognition and honorary membership in the group.

Landon Lackey recently opened the Law Office of Landon Lackey, where he will focus on workers’ compensation and Social Security disability. For the past six years, Lackey was with the Tennessee Department of Labor in the Workers’ Compensation Division. Contact Lackey at (615) 777-8533, landon@landonlackeylaw.com or at www.landonlackeylaw.com.

Nashville lawyer Chay Sengkhounmany, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, has been named the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s 2014 First Quarter Pro Bono Hero, Southeast Region. The honor is given to an individual who promotes pro bono work as a professional value and channels that value into finding, training and supporting private attorneys to handle pro bono cases for members of the immigrant population.

Chattanooga lawyer Jerry H. Summers has authored a new book, The Turtle and the Lawyer, to record his experiences as a southern lawyer. Books may be obtained from Summers’ law firm Summers & Wyatt PC. Proceeds will be donated to a number of organizations, including the University of Tennessee College of Law, Special Olympics and the Orange Grove Center.

Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin PLLC has named Catherine H. “Cathey” Gwyn a member in the firm. Gwyn, a Nashville native, has practiced in the areas of real estate law and banking for more than 25 years. She joined the firm in 2011 after working for 13 years at Gibson, Gregory & Gwyn.

PASSAGES

Nashville lawyer CECIL D. BRANSTETTER died May 7 at the age of 93. A World War II veteran and 1949 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, Branstetter made a name as a litigator and as a public servant. As a young lawyer, he was active in the Tennessee Bar Association and its Junior Bar, serving as president of the group in 1952-1953. Early in his career he worked on behalf of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, which trained civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks. Branstetter founded the firm of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, where he practiced in the areas of personal injury, employment, public utility and municipal law and served until his death. In his public sector role, Branstetter served on the commission that wrote the charter consolidating the governments of Nashville and Davidson County and served one term in the Tennessee General Assembly (1951-1953), where he sponsored legislation to allow women to serve on juries. He also served on numerous boards including the Metropolitan Action Commission, Metropolitan Human Rights Commission and Tennessee Civil Liberties Union. He was the founder and past president of the Tennessee Environmental Council and president of the Tennessee Conservation League and Council of Community Agencies. He is survived by his daughter, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch, his son, C. Dewey Branstetter Jr., an attorney at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, and three grandchildren who followed him into the practice of law. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tennessee Environmental Council, 1 Vantage Way E250, Nashville 37228 or the Morgan Scott Project, 1022 Old Deer Lodge Pike, Deer Lodge 37726.

Longtime Nashville School of Law (NSL) Dean JOSEPH C. LOSER JR. died May 11 at the age of 81. Loser, who led the school for almost 28 years and grew the institution into a dynamic part of Tennessee’s legal community, was set to retire in July. Before joining the school, Loser served as a Davidson County circuit court judge for 20 years and as a special judge on Tennessee’s Court of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court. Loser earned his law degree from NSL, then known as the YMCA Night School. Soon after taking over as dean, he led an initiative to change the school’s name. While serving as dean, Loser also taught a civil procedure class and authored An Outline of Workers’ Compensation Law of Tennessee. During his career, Loser served on the advisory committee for the Legal Assisting Program of Draughons Junior College, as the senior attorney for the Volunteer Project for Legal Services of Tennessee, as a member of the Nashville Bar Association’s Mentoring Committee, and a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Legal Education Committee. In addition, he was a founding member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and had served as its treasurer since 1990. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nashville School of Law, 4013 Armory Oaks Dr., Nashville 37204.

Longtime Knoxville attorney ROBERT WATSON JR. died April 11 just three weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 69. A 1970 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Watson began his legal career as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Clinic. He entered private practice in 1972, and in 1983 formed what would become the present day law firm of Watson, Roach, Batson, Rowell & Lauderback. During his legal career, Watson represented governmental entities, individuals and physicians throughout the state. He was certified as a civil trial specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. He also was chief trial counsel for the Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool for 20 years. For more than 30 years, he represented the city of Knoxville and Knox County in a variety of litigation. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the Friends of the Smokies, P.O. Box 1660 Kodak 37764, or Wesley House, 1719 Reynolds St., Knoxville 37921.

Nashville native and attorney RAYMOND C. “JACK” WHITEAKER died April 9 at the age of 86. Whiteaker earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1952 and, later, a master of law from the New York University of Law. After graduating, Whiteaker began practicing in Nashville. In 1955, he accepted employment with the U.S. Treasury Department as a tax court trial attorney. In 1959, he joined the legal staff of Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company in Atlanta, where he remained employed for the next 32 years. Whiteaker later co-founded the Nashville firm where he continued to practice for 10 years. In 1985, he served as president of the Federal Bar Association. He retired in 1991. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Belle Meade United Methodist Church, 121 Davidson Rd., Nashville 37205, or Richland Place, 500 Elmington Ave., Nashville 37205.
 


Compiled by Linda Murphy and Stacey Shrader Joslin
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