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Late TBA President Honored with Public Service Award
Widow of former Springfield lawyer Larry Wilks accepts award
NASHVILLE, June 12, 2012 -- Former Springfield lawyer and TBA president Larry Dean Wilks, who died Aug. 30, 2011, was posthumously presented the William M. Leech Jr. Public Service Award by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) Young Lawyers Division Fellows at the TBA's annual meeting in Memphis on Friday. Wilks was recognized for his service to the practice of law, the bar and the profession. The award was accepted by his widow Jan Wilks and his son John Wilks.
Given annually by the TBA Young Lawyers Division Fellows, the Leech Award is named for former Attorney General William M. Leech and honors a lawyer who has given outstanding service to the profession, legal system and the community.
Wilks earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1980. His practice, with locations in Springfield and Nashville, focused on criminal law, estate litigation, ethics and personal responsibility, and personal injury law.
As a young lawyer, Wilks was an active member of the Tennessee Bar Association's Young Lawyers Conference (the predecessor organization to the current Young Lawyers Division), serving as its president from 1991-1992. Later, he served as the TBA's general counsel from 1993 to 1998, and as treasurer from 1999 to 2003. From 1990 to 2008, he was a member of the TBA Board of Governors. He was president of the association from 2006-2007. Wilks also was active in his local bar organization and community, serving as president of the Robertson County Bar Association from 1993 to 1996 and as president of the Robertson County Chapter of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association.
His awards and recognitions also are impressive. He was a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Association, and former member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, the Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers, Tennessee Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the American Bar Association. He was admitted to practice law in all Tennessee courts, the federal courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Nearly 100 lawyers, friends and family members gathered this past January to dedicate the Larry Dean Wilks Member Services Center at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. The center provides office space, computer access and staff support for members who need a workspace while in downtown Nashville.
Also this year, the TBA unveiled the Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Larry D. Wilks Leadership Award, which will be presented to a member of the TBA Leadership Law class each year who exhibits "exceptional leadership qualities that enhance the Leadership Law experience for all class members." The inaugural award -- presented Friday -- went to Curtis Bowe with Bowe & Associates PLLC in Chattanooga. Leadership Law, now in its ninth year, was spearheaded by Wilks and several of his close colleagues. It is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. A new class is selected each year and spends six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.
The 2012 Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention was held in conjunction with four other legal organizations — the Tennessee Alliance for Black Lawyers (TABL), the Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (TLAW), the Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ) and the Tennessee Judicial Conference. This joint meeting structure allows the groups to address common issues and concerns. It also offers opportunities for additional education, long-range planning, and recognition of attorneys who have performed outstanding legal work and community service.
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.