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3 Tennesseans Honored with Presidential Awards
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank F. Drowota III among those recognized
KNOXVILLE, June 17, 2005 — The Tennessee Bar Association today presented the 2005 President’s Awards to three lawyers during its annual convention in Knoxville. Outgoing president Charles Swanson — a partner in the Knoxville firm of Sheppeard, Swanson & Mynatt — gave the awards to Murfreesboro lawyer John T. Blankenship of Blankenship & Blankenship, Knoxville lawyer Keith H. Burroughs of Burroughs Collins & Jabaley PLC, and Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank F. Drowota III.
The President’s Awards are given annually to attorneys who demonstrate exceptional service to the legal profession.
Blankenship practices in the areas of construction, commercial real estate, arbitration, business and adoption law. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1977 and is certified as a Rule 31 mediator. He received the President’s Award for promoting pro bono service throughout his legal career and over the last three years as chair of the TBA’s Access to Justice Committee. During his tenure as committee chair, Blankenship developed a number of impressive partnerships and projects to provide greater access to legal representation for thousands of Tennesseans. He also worked to promote greater mediation opportunities for those who might not have been aware of this method for resolving conflict.
Burroughs is a founding member of the Knoxville law office of Burroughs Collins & Jabaley PLC. His primary practice areas include estate and tax planning, business counseling and trust litigation. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1990. As chair of the TBA’s Fee Dispute Resolution Committee, he spearheaded the association’s effort to craft a dispute resolution system for Tennessee. The committee began and concluded its work over the past year at the request of Swanson. Burroughs was honored for his exceptional work and leadership in proposing a new dispute resolution system to the state Supreme Court. The proposed system would allow clients who disagree with their attorneys’ fees to pursue resolution through an administrative process rather than by filing an ethics complaint. The proposal, which was approved by the TBA Board of Governors several months ago, is being reviewed by the high court.
Justice Drowota began his judicial career in 1970 as a member of the Chancery Court of Davidson County. In 1974, he was appointed to the state court of appeals where he served for six years and in 1980, he was elected to the state Supreme Court where he served twice as chief justice. Drowota, who earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, recently announced his intention to retire. He was given the TBA President’s Award to commemorate a lifetime of public service to the Tennessee judicial system.
The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 11,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA’s dedication to serving the state’s legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.