TBA Launches Law Student Leadership Program

Class of 15 meets for first session in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Feb. 9, 2011 — The Tennessee Bar Association's newest program for law students is the Diversity Leadership Institute, which got underway recently with a focus on issues of leadership and diversity in the legal profession.

The class of 15 joined legal leaders from across the state at the TBA's annual Leadership Conference. The class also held separate sessions with Nashville lawyer John Tarpley - an attorney with Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop -- who spoke on "Leading Through Change" and a panel of lawyers who discussed diversity in the legal profession. Panelists included James Crumlin with Bone McAllester Norton, Kaz Kikkawa with HCA Inc., Wendy Warren with Bass Berry & Sims, and Jude White with Renewal House. Former TBA president Gail Vaughn Ashworth, with the Wiseman Ashworth Law Group, also addressed the group.

Over the next several months, the students will work with an assigned attorney mentor and complete educational and public service requirements. The class will wrap up its experience with a service project and graduation ceremony in June in conjunction with the annual TBA Convention in Chattanooga.

The Diversity Leadership Institute is an initiative of TBA Young Lawyers Division President Tasha Blakney, an attorney with the Knoxville firm of Eldridge & Blakney. It is managed by the YLD Diversity Committee under the leadership of Memphis attorney Ahsaki Baptist (Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs) and Chattanooga lawyer Blair Bennington Cannon (Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan).

Members of the 2011 class are:

Nashville School of Law: Nancy Cogar, Jason Davis, Loniel Greene and Michelle Matthews

University of Memphis School of Law: Samantha Bennett, Janelle Crandall, Isaac Kimes, Allison McKnight and James Olsen

University of Tennessee College of Law: Tracy Childress, Steve Chu, Joel Hayes and Robert Robinson

Vanderbilt University Law School: Barbara Barreno and Brooke Dubois


  • Download a group photo
    Suggested cutline: The 2011 Diversity Leadership Institute class met for its first session at the TBA Leadership Conference Jan. 21-22. Class members are:  Front row, left to right: Nancy Cogar, Janelle Crandall, Samantha Bennett, Allison McKnight, Michelle Matthews, Brooke DuBois, Barbara Barreno and Steve Chu. Back row: Isaac Kimes, Robert Robinson, Jason Davis, James Olsen, Joel Hayes, Loniel Greene and Tracy Childress.
  • Individual headshots and biographical information are available for each class member.
  • Learn more about the Diversity Leadership Institute Program
          | TBA Law Blog

The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 13,000 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.

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Stacey Shrader Joslin
Tennessee Bar Association
221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37219

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