The Voice of the TBA, Sharon Ballinger, Says Goodbye

If you have called the Tennessee Bar Association in the last 12 or so years, you have likely talked with Sharon Ballinger. She has also been the person who checks on your membership if you send an item in for the “People” section.

Sharon leaves the TBA probably as the most well-loved and devoted employee the association has had, as she retires June 30. The new voice you’ll hear belongs to Linda Murphy, who has been trained by the best, as Sharon has worked with her for some time. The TBA will miss Sharon’s golden voice and compassionate spirit.   

“The kindness and helpfulness that Sharon extends to everyone is a lesson to all of us in how we should lead our lives,” says long-time co-worker Lynn Pointer. “She will be missed.”

The Nashville law firm of Walker Tipps & Malone PLC has named John Hayworth as managing partner and Charles Malone as recruiting partner. Hayworth, who has been with the firm since its inception in 2000, received his law degree in 1993 from Vanderbilt University Law School. He focuses his practice on corporate governance, insider trading and professional malpractice actions. He also handles business disputes and products liability and insurance cases.

Malone joined the firm in 2003. He represents clients in shareholder derivative lawsuits, business tort litigation, contract disputes, class action lawsuits, and personal injury and wrongful death actions. He is a 2003 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School.

Richard Averwater has joined the Law Offices of Sean Lewis PLLC as of counsel. He will practice immigration law in the firm’s Memphis office. Prior to entering private practice, Averwater litigated cases on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security for 14 years. He also was a special agent for the FBI working on major criminal investigations including organized crime. In addition, he was a legal advisor to the Arkansas Joint Terrorism Task Force from 2005 to 2007.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC recently announced it has elected six new shareholders in its Tennessee offices. They are: L. Eric Ebbert (Knoxville), Courtney H. Gilmer and Samuel F. Miller (Nashville), Lori H. Patterson and Jennifer A. Sink (Memphis), and Justin M. Sveadas (Chattanooga). Ebbert, a 1996 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, practices in the areas of labor and employment, commercial litigation, medical malpractice defense and appellate advocacy. Gilmer, a 2002 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, works in the areas of bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, restructuring and commercial litigation. Miller, a 2003 graduate of Indiana University School of Law, handles trademark, right of publicity, copyright, patent and false advertising litigation. Patterson, a 1997 graduate of Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, represents broker-dealers, investment advisors and members of the securities industry. Sink earned her law degree in 2003 from Southern Illinois University Law School. She focuses on medical malpractice and nursing home litigation. Sveadas, a 2002 graduate of Emory University School of Law, focuses his practice in bankruptcy, banking, debt restructuring, foreclosure, creditors’ rights and commercial litigation.
   
In other news from the firm, Kyle M. Wiggins has been named outstanding Barrister Member of the Year by his peers in the Leo Bearman Sr. Chapter of the American Inns of Court. Wiggins focuses his practice on medical malpractice defense, personal injury defense and general civil litigation. He also has experience in bankruptcy and insurance law, as well as municipal and local government matters.

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader and Adams and Reese special counsel Mark Norris, R-Collierville, has been named one of 12 members on the Communications, Policy and Economic Development Council of the U.S. Department of Energy’s program tasked with modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors. The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority and leading research universities in Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina and Florida. The council consists of representatives from the public and private sector, committed to recognizing the importance of safe and reliable nuclear energy in economic development.

Nashville lawyer Barry Gammons with the Law Offices of Barry J. Gammons took office as an attorney board member for the Commercial Law League of America in April at the group’s annual meeting. He will serve for one year. Gammons has held a number of positions with the organization including meetings chair, recording secretary, Young Members’ Section chair, District Council chair and chair of the Southern District Executive Council.

I.C. “Jack” Waddey Jr., co-founder of the Nashville law firm Waddey & Patterson PC, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the board of governors of the International Academy of Mediators — a global organization for commercial mediators. Waddey also is active in the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Tennessee Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators, the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the Commercial Mediators Association, and the Panel of Neutrals of the International Trademark Association. He previously chaired the TBA’s Intellectual Property Section.

The West Tennessee Chapter of the Tennessee Paralegal Association awarded its 2011 Ernie H. Gray Paralegal Utilization Award to Jackson attorney Mary Jo Middlebrooks. The award recognizes an attorney who promotes the education and careers of paralegals and supports strong attorney/paralegal working relationships. At the same ceremony, Middlebrooks also was honored with one of four Pro Bono Awards from West Tennessee Legal Services Inc., for her involvement with its Pro Bono Project. Middlebrooks is a family law specialist and mediator in the field of general civil and family law. She was one of the original organizers of West Tennessee Legal Services and continues to serve on its board of directors.

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC announced that it has been named the best corporate law firm in Nashville for the 10th consecutive year according to Corporate Board Member magazine and FTI Consulting Inc. The annual study identifies the top corporate law firm in 25 major U.S. metropolitan areas, as well as the top 25 corporate law firms nationally, based on recommendations from corporate directors and general counsel in publicly traded companies.

Nashville lawyer Lisa L. Collins has been appointed as the incoming vice president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys — a not-for-profit fellowship of more than 300 attorneys, judges and law professors committed to improving the lives of children. Collins is a solo practitioner focusing exclusively on adoption law and law regarding assisted reproductive technology.

Miller & Martin recently announced that Camille Webb Steward, long time attorney and member of the firm, will transition to an in-house position with Nashville Electric Services — one of the firm’s clients. While at Miller & Martin, Steward focused her practice on employment law and general litigation. She received her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2000.

Melissa C. Reinders has joined the Knoxville firm of McDonald, Levy & Taylor as an associate attorney. She is a 2009 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. While in law school, she was articles editor of the Tennessee Law Review and a member of the staff of the business journal, Transactions. Prior to joining the firm, Reinders served as a judicial clerk for the Hamilton County Chancery Court and worked in private practice in Chattanooga.

The Nashville School of Law recognized Robert Ballow, founding partner of King & Ballow, at its 18th annual Recognition Dinner on June 3. Ballow was honored for his work as a media law pioneer, which is evidenced by the fact that the firm represents more than 300 daily newspapers and 100 radio and television stations nationwide. He graduated from the school in 1963.

The Loudon County Bar Association recently elected new officers. TBA members among them are: President Ashley H. Shudan with Ford & Nichols in Loudon, Treasurer Robert Hinton with Sproul & Hinton in Lenoir City and Secretary A. Wayne Henry, a solo practitioner in Loudon.

Passages

MITCHELL A. BYRD, 61, died May 24. Originally from Johnson City, Byrd began practicing law in 1976 in Chattanooga after graduating from the University of Memphis School of Law. Byrd was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Family Law Section in 2007-2008, served on the Family Law Code Commission, served on the Child Support Guidelines Committee and was a contributing author to the Alimony Bench Book. He was honored by the Family Law Section on May 19 with a resolution of “appreciation, thanks and gratitude for his years of dedicated service.” The family suggests that memorials be made to the American Cancer Society or Hospice of Chattanooga, 4411 Oakwood Drive, Chattanooga 37416.

Memphis lawyer BILL DOMICO, 62, died on May 15. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Domico moved to Memphis in 1984 to join the audiology faculty at the University of Memphis, having previously completed master’s and doctorate degrees in that field. In 1989, he graduated from the university’s school of law. He was a founding member of Domico Kyle PLLC and over the course of his practice, focused on medical malpractice defense, health care law, medical device defense and environmental law. He was certified as a medical malpractice specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Domico was active in the Council on Litigation Management, where he served on the Professional Liability Committee and Medical Malpractice Subcommittee. The family requests that donations be made to Memphis Oral School for the Deaf, 7901 Poplar Ave., Germantown 38138 or to an education fund for Domico’s children through the Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union, 7845 U.S. Highway 64, Memphis  38133.

Longtime Chattanooga attorney LEROY PHILLIPS JR. died May 19 at the age of 76. Phillips earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1961 and began practicing with attorney Crawford Bean. The firm later became known as Bean, Payne & Phillips. After 15 years with the firm, he opened his own office. In 1988, Phillips joined forces with Mike Caputo to form Phillips & Caputo, where he stayed until retiring in 2005. Phillips, described by many as a fixture in local criminal courts, handled a number of high-profile cases. He defended former Auburn running back Bobby Hoppe in a murder trial and represented a defendant charged in a cross burning and shooting case. He achieved national prominence when he coauthored the book Contempt of Court with former Chattanooga Times writer Mark Curriden. The book, which won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award in 2000 for excellence in media and the arts, recounts the 1906 lynching of Ed Johnson in Chattanooga. The family suggests that memorial gifts may be made to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, 727 East 11th St., Chattanooga 37403.

HUGH W. STANTON JR., district attorney general for Shelby County from 1974 to 1990, died May 23 at age 83. Stanton was elected to two terms as Shelby County’s chief prosecutor after his appointment to the job in 1974 by then-Gov. Winfield Dunn. His second full term in 1982 was a victory over then-Shelby County public defender A C Wharton Jr. From 1978 to 1979, he served as president of Tennessee District Attorney Generals Conference. Prior to his appointment, Stanton maintained a full-time law practice, including a law office he shared with his father, Hugh Stanton Sr., a longtime Shelby County public defender. He also served in the Tennessee House of Representatives,1966-1968, and in the Senate, 1970-1972. Prior to that he served on his father’s staff as an assistant public defender from 1966 to 1974, handling most of the appellate work, including all capital case appeals. Stanton earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1955. The family requests that memorials be sent to the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Humboldt at 2865 Main St., Humboldt 38343.

Long-time Jackson attorney JOHN VAN DEN BOSCH JR. died May 10 at his home at age 79. He served clients throughout West Tennessee for more than 50 years in the areas of bankruptcy, foreclosure, repossession, wills, estate planning and probate. Prior to becoming a consumer bankruptcy attorney, Van Den Bosch worked for 30 years as a trustee and over the course of his career handled thousands of bankruptcies. He was licensed to practice in Tennessee and Mississippi, having earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1955. The family requests that memorials be directed to Youthtown of Tennessee, 3641 Youth Town Rd., Pinson 38366.

Retired Memphis lawyer WILLIAM M. WALSH died May 11 at the age of 90. Walsh was a former partner at Hanover Walsh Jalenak & Blair — the predecessor firm to Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh. He earned his law degree in 1948 from Vanderbilt University Law School and began practicing with Joseph and David Hanover. For most of the next 58 years, he practiced with the firm until retiring in 2007. He focused his work in litigation, with a focus on condemnation cases. Walsh was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the recipient of the Memphis Bar Association’s Lawyer’s Lawyer Award in 1994. The family requests that memorial donations be made to Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, 1325 Jefferson Ave., Memphis 38104 or the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.