News

KBA Elects New Leaders, Honors Member Achievements

Tasha Blakney of Eldridge & Blakney became president of the Knoxville Bar Association at the group's annual meeting on Friday. KBA members also elected Wayne R. Kramer as president-elect, Keith Burroughs as secretary and Amanda M. Busby as treasurer. Four board members also were chosen. They are: Lisa Hall, Dana C. Holloway, Judge Deborah C. Stevens (Government/Public Sector Position) and John E. Winters. The KBA presented the Governor’s Award to Sarah Y. Sheppeard for her work to improve the legal profession as a teacher, bar leader and writer, and presented the 2014 Judicial Excellence Award to U.S. District Court Judge Leon Jordan. Finally, Taylor Williams with Paine | Bickers was introduced as president of the Knoxville Barristers and Troy Weston with Eldridge & Blakney was presented the Barristers’ Presidents’ Award. Read more on the KBA website.

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Chattanooga Bar Association Receives Facelift

The offices of the Chattanooga Bar Association are sporting a fresh new look this holiday season, the Hamilton County Herald reports. Renovations of the bar’s space on the fourth floor of the Pioneer Building downtown were completed Nov. 14, and Executive Director Lynda Hood and Executive Assistant Wanda Paschal have settled in and resumed normal operations.

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Lanquist to Lead Nashville Bar

New Nashville Bar Association president Ed Lanquist took the gavel from Charles Grant last night at the Nashville Bar Association Banquet. Jocelyn Stevenson was announced as President-Elect and George Barrett was posthumously awarded the John C. Tune Award. With the bar continuing to grow and membership growth flat, Lanquist told the group the NBA is at a critical turning point but that with an eye on history, and a focus on relevance, the NBA could resume its role of leadership in the community.

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Bar Groups Hold Annual Meetings Next Week

The Memphis Bar Association will hold its Annual Meeting next Wednesday at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. President Kirk Caraway will pass the gavel to Tommy Parker, new board members will be announced and awards will be given. Former lawyer and columnist at the Commercial Appeal Geoff Calkins will give the keynote address. Then next Thursday, the Nashville Bar Association will hold its Annual Meeting at the Wildhorse Saloon. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and program at 7 p.m. The passing of the gavel from President Charles Grant to President-Elect Ed Lanquist, introduction of new officers and presentation of awards will cap off the evening. Among those being honored is George Barrett, who will receive the Tune Award posthumously. RSVP at the links above.

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Judge Portrait Unveiling Dec. 12

Retired Judge Arden Hill’s portrait unveiling is set for Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Washington County Courthouse. The Washington County Bar Association newsletter has more information. 

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Bar Associations Honor Deceased Attorneys, Judges

The Nashville Bar Association will conduct its 108th Memorial Service honoring deceased Nashville attorneys and judges on Nov. 20 at the Downtown Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. There will be a reception immediately following the service in the church's Fellowship Hall. The Knoxville Bar Association will sponsor a memorial service on Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. at the Tennessee Supreme Court Courthouse, 505 Main St. in Knoxville. The service will be led by Supreme Court Justice Gary R. Wade and Rev. Charles W.B. Fels. A reception will follow.

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Jackson Bar Hosts Amendment 2 Forum

The Jackson Madison County Bar Association (JMCBA) is hosting a public forum on Oct. 23 on proposed constitutional Amendment 2. The event will be held at Union University’s Carl Grant Events Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Speakers from “Yes on 2” and “Vote No” campaigns will be present. For more information contact JMCBA President Matt West, (731) 660-7777.

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Chief Endorses Amendment 2 at KBA Event

Newly installed Chief Justice Sharon Lee last night endorsed Amendment 2 on judicial selection and thanked the bench and bar for the “civics lesson” on the importance of fair and impartial courts delivered to the citizens this summer as part of the judicial retention campaign. Her remarks came during the Knoxville Bar Association's Supreme Court Dinner last night. More than 500 judges and lawyers attended the gathering and celebrated the retention of Justices Lee, Clark and Wade. Justices Jeff Bivins and Holly Kirby, both recently appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam, also were on hand as the court opened its new term in East Tennessee today. KBA President Wade Davies presented a special token of appreciation to Justice Janice Holder upon her retirement.

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Legislator, Bar Association Look at Judicial Qualifications

Qualifications for becoming a judge in Tennessee are coming under scrutiny following the recent election. State Rep. Ryan Haynes, chair of the Knox County legislative delegation, and the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) say they plan to look into whether legislation or a constitutional amendment is needed to increase qualifications for judges, Knoxnews reports. The move follows Republican Clarence Eddie Pridemore’s upset victory over Democrat incumbent Chancellor Daryl Fansler. Pridemore has three years experience as a lawyer, mostly handling cases outside of Knox County, and he has never practiced in chancery court. KBA President Wade Davies said the effort “would require a statewide study,” which “probably would require a constitutional amendment.

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KBA Endorses Amendment 2

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) Board of Governors has endorsed Amendment 2 as the best way to ensure the merit selection process of appellate and supreme court judges, according to KBA President Wade Davies. The amendment will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. Knoxnews.com reported the decision.

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Bar Associations, Former Justice Endorse Retention

The Hamblen County Bar Association is unanimously supporting the retention of Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Gary Wade, Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee in the Aug. 7 election, the Citizen Tribune reports. “The Hamblen County Bar Association would urge voters to ignore the false and misleading advertisements, mailers, robo-calls and TV commercials which have been sponsored, in whole or in part, by “dark-money” groups and instead vote to keep partisan politics out of our courts,” officials stated. In Washington County, bar association members voted to support retention of the justices and to work to help educate the public about the significance of the election, and late this afternoon former Justice William Koch, a Republican, added his endorsement during a Knoxville campaign event.

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2 More County Bars Endorse Retention

The McMinn County Bar Association recently passed a resolution supporting retention of the three Supreme Court justices on the general election ballot, the Daily Post Athenian reports. "Some [of our members] are Republicans, some Democrats, some moderates, but we all felt strongly there should be no political involvement in judicial races at the appellate and Supreme Court levels," said McMinn County Bar Association President Sarah Kennedy. "We wanted to pass a resolution to show our support of the justices and our current system." In addition, the DeKalb County Bar Association adopted a resolution supporting all judges standing for a retention vote. General Sessions Judge Bratten Hale Cook II, president of the association, presented a copy of the resolution to Justice Connie Clark during her visit to the area yesterday, WJLE Radio reports.

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Nashville Bar Foundation Names 1st Leadership Class

The Nashville Bar Foundation (NBF) has named 28 attorneys to the inaugural class of its Leadership Forum program. The nine-month professional development program will kick-off in September and run through May 2015. Class members are Jeffrey Allen, Laura Baker, Rebecca Barnett, Joshua Burgener, Grover Collins, Alicia Cottrell, Jeff Gibson, Allen Grant, Sheryl Guinn, William Hicky, Lauren Kilgore, Whitney Henry Kimerling, Emily Lamb, Jennifer Lankford, Joseph McKinney, Josh Mullen, Tony Orlandi, Bart Pickett, Rachel Rosenblatt, Lindsay Schenk, Rebekah Shulman, Elizabeth Sitgreaves, Lauran Sturm, Taylor Sutherland, Jennifer Wade, Dannelle Walker, Charlotte Wolfe and Gulam Zade. The NBF also is seeking lawyers to serve as mentors for class members. Download an application or contact Traci Hollandsworth for more information.

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NBA Raises Funds for Child Abuse Prevention Groups

The Nashville Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will hold its 17th Annual Carbolic Smoke Ball this Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight in the Reverb Room on the second floor of the Hard Rock Café in downtown Nashville. The event will feature a cocktail party with live music from the 90s cover band, "My So Called Band," heavy hors d'oeuvres, casino gaming and an open bar. Proceeds from this year's event will benefit two non-profit organizations: CASA Nashville & Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee. Tickets are $65 per person in advance, $75 at the door.

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Bradley County Bar Names New Officers

The Bradley County Bar Association has elected the following officers for the 2014-2015 bar year: Ashley L. Ownby, president; Jerry Hoffer, vice president; Rex A. Wagner, treasurer; and Daniel W. Clanton, secretary.

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Williamson YLD Elects Officers

The Young Lawyers Division of the Williamson County Bar Association recently elected the following officers for the 2014-2015 year: Katie Mathews Zipper, president; Cort Bethmann, secretary/treasurer; and Ben Signer and Wes Southerland, members-at-large. For more information about becoming involved with this group, please contact Katie Mathews Zipper.

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West is New President of Jackson-Madison Bar

The Jackson Madison County Bar Association elected its officers and board members for the 2014-2015 fiscal year in May. They are Matthew R. West, incoming president; Jennifer Free, vice-president; Aaron Chaplin, treasurer; and Anna Cash, secretary. The JMCBA Board will also include Joe Byrd, Danielle Hardee, Brittani Kendrick, Nathan Shelby and Kathryn Tucker. The association is composed of over 200 attorneys who are licensed to practice law in Tennessee and engage in the practice of law in Madison County.

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Loudon County Bar Association Elects New Officers

The Loudon County Bar Association has elected new officers. They are: President Ian McCabe, President-elect Chad Wilson, Secretary Travis McCroskey, Treasurer/Historian Robert G. Hinton and Past President A. Wayne Henry. The bar association also reports that its goals for the 2014-2015 bar year include holding a “People’s Law” event and two social events to highlight pro-bono opportunities.

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Lawyers Push Back Against Effort to Oust Justices

Lawyers across the state have begun fighting back against Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s campaign to unseat Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice Sharon Lee. The Nashville Bar Association Tuesday released a resolution supporting the judges’ retention in the Aug. 7 judicial election and urged its members to vote in favor to retain. On Wednesday, a group of attorneys including former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Drowota and former Appeals Court Judge Lew Conner met with the Tennessean to spell out their efforts to combat Ramsey, who Drowota said was using misinformation to unfairly criticize the justices in an effort to stack the court with partisan judges. “To have politics come into the courts makes absolutely no sense,” Drowota said. “You don’t want a politicized court. You want a fair, impartial court.”

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Legal Groups Form ‘Coalition for Fair Courts’

The Nashville-based Marion Griffin Chapter of the Lawyers’ Association for Women announced today that it has formed the Coalition for Fair Courts. According to the group, the goal of the coalition is to “organize the efforts of bar associations and community groups across the state to raise public awareness of the upcoming retention elections.” The group also hopes to increase voter turnout for the Aug. 7 elections. Three Supreme Court justices and all appeals court judges will appear on that ballot. The coalition webpage offers resources for lawyers and nonlawyers. Current members of the coalition include the Anne Schneider Chapter of the Lawyers’ Association for Women in Jackson, the Napier-Looby Bar Association, the Tennessee Alliance of Black Lawyers and the League of Women Voters of Nashville. Other groups interested in joining the effort should contact Elizabeth Sitgreaves, (615) 254-2291.

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MBA Memorial Service Set for May 2

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) will hold its 2014 Memorial Service May 2 at noon at the downtown Calvary Episcopal Church. Attorneys to be honored include: Fred Acuff, Alex Barnett, Howard R. “Roy” Berkenstock Jr., James C. Blackburn, Malford A. Blankenship, Leo J. Buchignani, Susan McKwen Clark, Bill Clifton, Elizabeth Tansil Collins, Clarence J. Colbert Jr., Thomas E. Crawford, Lundy Webb Daniel, David M. Discenza, Gayden Drew IV, Dauphine Mahoney Garthright, Lyman Christian Harrell III, Leroy L. Hidinger Jr., Evie Randolph Horton, W. Thomas Hutton, Paul D. Leitch, Col. Paul J. McClure Jr., James McMahon, Etandra Fenae Miller Douglas, Charles A. Sevier, G. Donald Siemer, William J. Simmons, Sonja White-Simpson, Cecil D. Smith, Frank T. Stegbauer, Stephen K. Tapp, Richard S. Wade and William C. Wilson. Those who would like to submit a memorial about any of the deceased should email Mary Lynes or call her at (901) 527-3573.

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Nashville Bar Foundation Awards Nearly $25K in Grants

The Nashville Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Nashville Bar Association, has awarded $24,925 in grants to four area nonprofits to support their law-related educational and charitable initiatives. The recipients are: the Family Center was given $2,000 to develop a new child abuse prevention program that will help lawyers more effectively respond to abuse cases; the Legal Aid Society was given $10,000 to expand legal assistance for immigrant and refugee communities; Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee was given $1,500 to educate the legal profession on how to deal with clients who have personality disorders, high anxiety or mental illness; and Nashville Community Education was given $1,425 to expand The People’s Law School, a program that offers a series of free legal classes to the public about important legal issues.

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Judge Upholds Requirement for Memphis-Shelby County Consolidation

The 2010 federal court lawsuit over the failed attempt at consolidating the city of Memphis and Shelby County governments has failed as well with an order Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Thomas Anderson granting a motion for summary judgment by defendants in the case. The proposal for consolidation lost by a large margin in the county outside Memphis, although it was approved by a narrow margin within Memphis. The lawsuit filed in 2010 challenged on constitutional grounds the state law requiring that such a charter must be approved by dual majorities in separate referendums for consolidation to take place. The Memphis Daily News has more.

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MBA Memorial Service May 2

The Memphis Bar Association will sponsor its Annual Memorial Service on May 2 at Calvary Episcopal Church. The memorial will honor 28 individuals within the Memphis legal community who have died. If you know a member who should be included or would like to write a memorial about any of the honorees, contact Mary Lynes at (901) 527-3573.

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Napier-Looby Banquet Honors TSU Professor

Nashville’s Napier-Looby Bar Foundation on Thursday will honor Tennessee State University (TSU) professor Robert Smith for his efforts to help black students, the Tennessean reports. Smith, who teaches constitutional and criminal law at TSU and has coached the school’s mock trial team since its inception, will receive the Z. Alexander Looby Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's annual banquet and award ceremony. Three other attorneys also will be recognized during the banquet. They are Sheila Calloway of the Davidson County Juvenile Court, attorney Cynthia Fitzgerald and Jerrilyn Manning of the Nashville public defender’s office.

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