TBA YLD Elects Officers, Presents Awards

Lawyers take office, honored at TBA convention in Nashville

NASHVILLE, June 22, 2010 — The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division installed new officers and recognized award winners during the TBA's annual convention this month in Nashville.

Knoxville lawyer Tasha Blakney, a partner with Eldridge & Blakney PC, was installed as president of the Young Lawyers Division for the 2010-2011 year. Her initiatives include a new mentoring program for minority law students and a program to help law students find internships with Tennessee trial judges. Blakney earned her law degree in 1999 from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She practices in the areas of general civil litigation and criminal defense.
 

Mason Wilson, who practices in the areas of transportation, health care, products liability and mass tort law in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, took office as president-elect of the group. He will assume the office of president in June 2011. Wilson is a 2004 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law.

David Veile with the law firm of Lowery, Lowery & Cherry in Lebanon was elected YLD vice president and took office at the division's annual meeting. He will assume the office of president-elect in 2011 and the office of president in 2012. A 2004 graduate of the Nashville School of Law, Veile focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury litigation and business formation law. Prior to attending law school, he was a police officer and sergeant with the Nashville Police Department.

In addition to electing new officers, the YLD honored a number of young lawyers who worked to improve the practice of law in the state and served the public and the bar during the past year.

Veile received the YLD President's Award for his work as chair of the Wills for Heroes Committee this year. Under his leadership, the YLD held events across the state and served 453 first responders and their families. Wills for Heroes, which provides free wills and other end-of-life documents for emergency personnel in the state, is the YLD's signature service project.

Also receiving the President's Award was Stacie Winkler, an attorney with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC in Memphis. She was honored for her work as chair of the division's Continuing Legal Education Committee. Winkler practices in the areas of business and health care litigation. She graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law in 2003.

Michael Sayne, an attorney with Pilot Travel Centers LLC in Knoxville, received the TBA Young Lawyers Division's Public Service Day Project of the Year Award for planning the first annual "Helping Kids, Fighting Abuse" fundraiser, which benefited Childhelp Tennessee. Sayne served as event chair of the breakfast, which raised more than $20,000 for the organization. Childhelp Tennessee operates two programs: a child advocacy center in Knoxville and a foster care facility in Seymour. Sayne is a 2000 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Marisa Combs, an attorney with Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC in Nashville received the TBA Young Lawyers Division's third quarter Star of the Quarter for service as chair of the Tennessee High School Mock Trial Committee. Combs practices in the areas of general civil litigation and construction law, including professional liability defense. She is a 2005 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Troy Weston, an attorney with Eldridge & Blakney PC in Knoxville, received the TBA Young Lawyers Division's third quarter Star of the Quarter for service as vice chair of the Tennessee High School Mock Trial Committee. Weston is engaged in criminal defense and general civil litigation on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Knoxville attorney Chris McCarty with Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop was named the TBA Young Lawyers Division's fourth quarter Star of the Quarter for service on the YLD Continuing Legal Education Committee. McCarty produced several CLE seminars during the year and spearheaded implementation of a new program in which sitting Tennessee judges and local attorneys put on a mock jury trial to teach litigation skills to new attorneys. He practices in the areas of employment law, education law and general civil litigation. He earned his law degree in 2006 from the University of Tennessee.

Finally, Nashville lawyer Matt Potempa was named the TBA Young Lawyers Division's fourth quarter Star of the Quarter for coordinating the provision of free legal services to victims of recently flooding in Middle and Western Tennessee, and serving as the liaison between Tennessee lawyers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Potempa earned his law degree in 2006 from the University of Arkansas. He is a solo practioner.

For photographs or additional biographical information on any these individuals, please contact Stacey Shrader at sshrader@tnbar.org or (615) 383-7421.


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.