News

Judge Donna Fields Receives MBA Award

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Donna Fields is the 2013 recipient of the Chancellor Charles A. Rond Memorial Award for Outstanding Judge of the Year. The award, given annually by the Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (MBA YLD), honors the memory of Chancellor Rond, who was known for his intelligence, fairness, wise decisions, integrity and great wit. All Shelby County judges are eligible to receive the award, which was first given in 1976. YLD members vote on each year’s recipient based on ability, demeanor, integrity and diligence.

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Memphis Bar Moving to New Office Tonight

The Memphis Bar Association reports that it is moving its offices tonight. The association now will be located on the third floor of the BankTennessee building at 145 Court Ave., Suite 301, Memphis, TN 38103. Phone and fax numbers will remain the same though the association says telephone, email and Internet access will be down for part or all of the day on Friday due to the move.

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Chattanooga Bar Event Honors Tennessee Supreme Court

The Chattanooga Bar Association recently hosted the Tennessee Supreme Court at a reception following admission ceremonies for new lawyers. Chief Justice Gary R. Wade led the ceremonies in the Hamilton County Courthouse, where more than two dozen took the oath to practice law in Tennessee. See photos from the reception at the Hunter Museum of American Art.

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Chattanooga Bar Honors Tennessee Supreme Court

The Chattanooga Bar Association hosted the Tennessee Supreme Court at a reception following admission ceremonies on Nov. 4. Chief Justice Gary R. Wade led the ceremonies in the Hamilton County Courthouse, where more than two dozen took the oath to practice law in Tennessee. Below are photos from the reception at the Hunter Museum of American Art. Photos provided by Alex McMahan.

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KBA to Elect New Leaders at Annual Meeting

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) will hold its Annual Meeting Dec. 13 at 8:30 a.m. at the City County Building. The KBA’s Nominating Committee has recommended the following members for election: Tasha C. Blakney for president-elect, Wayne R. Kramer for treasurer and Amanda M. Busby for secretary. Association members also will fill four open positions on the board. Those nominated to date include Charles E. Atchley Jr., Joshua M. Ball, Wynne du Mariau Caffey, Robert R. Carl II, S. Dawn Coppock, Timothy M. McLemore and Keith D. Stewart. The KBA reports that all judges have been asked to delay court until 10 a.m. that day.

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KBA Holds Memorial Service Nov. 22

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) will hold it annual memorial service Nov. 22 at 3 p.m. The events honors area lawyers who have died in the preceeding year. This year’s service will be held in the Tennessee Supreme Court Courtroom on the second floor of the federal courthouse. A reception will follow. Colleagues being remembered are Willard N. Albert, Leonard J. Gajewski, Ralph E. Harwell, Geoffrey D. Kressin, Robert H. Leonard, Edward C. Miller Jr., Thomas A. Monceret, Don W. Ownby, Claude O. Ramer II, John B. Rayson and Harold B. Stone.

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NBA Member Picnic Set for Thursday

The Nashville Bar Association's free Annual Member Picnic will take place Thursday at the Hall of Fame Park, located between the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hilton Hotel and Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner from the Copper Kettle to be served at 7 p.m. This year’s picnic, cosponsored by the Metro Law Department, will feature a sports theme with trivia and activities provided by event sponsors. Attendees are encouraged to show support for their favorite sports team by wearing a jersey or team hat.

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NBA to Hold Member Picnic in September

The annual Nashville Bar Association Member Picnic will be held Sept. 19 at Hall of Fame Park. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the Metro Law Department. Festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with dinner following at 7 p.m. The Hall of Fame Park is located downtown between the Country Music Hall of Fame, Downtown Hilton Hotel and Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The picnic is free for members and their children but responses are requested. Register at the link above.

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Madison County Bar Elects First Black President

Hewitt Chatman has been elected as the first black president of the Madison County Bar Association, the Jackson Sun reports. Chatman, a public defender, was vice president of the association and served on the board for several years. A graduate of the University of Michigan at Flynt, Chatman also graduated with a degree in personnel management from Central Michigan University and was licensed to practice law in Michigan in 1985.

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NBA Survey: Sweeney Top Choice for Appeals Court

Nashville attorney Matthew J. Sweeney drew the highest marks in a just released survey ranking the 10 candidates seeking to serve on the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Conducted by the Nashville Bar Association (NBA), the survey asked members to rate the candidates as “highly recommend,” “recommend,” “do not recommend” and "no opinion.” Sweeney, who practices with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, significantly outpolled other members of the group with 47 percent of respondents highly recommending him. The NBA conducts the poll, Executive Director Gigi Woodruff said, to provide the Judicial Selection Commission, the governor and the public with "input from attorneys who are likely to know these candidates, both personally and professionally, and are able to express an opinion on their qualifications to be a judge." See the survey results.

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Bar Foundation Inducts New Fellows

The Knoxville Bar Foundation recognized 13 members of Knoxville's legal community at its annual dinner last Tuesday. Each year the foundation inducts a new class of fellows, which represents quality men and women practitioners in the community who have distinguished themselves in the practice of law and in service to our community.

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Bradley County Bar Names New Leadership

The Bradley County Bar Association has elected new officers. Jack Tapper, who is known locally for his coordination of a series of public education seminars known as Community Legal Forums, has been named president. He succeeds William J. Brown. Others taking office are Vice President and President-Elect Ashley Ownby, Secretary Daniel Clanton and Treasurer Rex Wagner. In an interview with the Cleveland Banner, Tapper talks about his goals for the year, which include providing more pro bono services and getting more members involved in the association’s activities.

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Free Legal Clinic in Memphis June 8

A free legal clinic will be held June 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., in Memphis. This month’s clinic is sponsored by the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association and is open to all members of the public in need of legal advice. Initiated in October 2007, the Saturday Legal Clinic is sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services and is a project of the Access to Justice Committee, a collaborative effort of local bar associations and non-profit organizations to provide legal services to those in need. Volunteer attorneys provide free legal assistance to those in need on a first come, first served basis. For more information about the clinic or to volunteer, click here.

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Young Lawyers Complete MBA Leadership Program

A group of 19 young lawyers recently graduated from the Memphis Bar Association’s 2012-2013 Leadership Forum. They are: David Biggers, U.S. Attorney’s Office; Anne Davis, Butler Sevier Hinsley & Reid; Jake Dickerson, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Amber Floyd, Wyatt Tarrant & Combs; Lisa Gill, Dinkelspiel Rasmussen & Mink; Adam Johnson, Nahon Saharovich & Trotz; Brooks Kostakis, Boyle Brasher; Christina Kurdilla, Martin Tate Morrow & Marston; Gabrielle Lewis, Bass Berry & Sims; Omar Malik, Shelby County DA’s Office; Laura Martin, Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh; Michael C. McLaren, Butler Snow; Melisa Moore, Burch Porter & Johnson; Ruchee Patel, sole practitioner; Shayla Purifoy, Memphis Area Legal Services; Robert Ratton and Maya Siggers, City Attorney’s Office; Tony Silva, Donati Law Firm; and Mary Wagner, Rice Amundsen & Caperton. In addition to leadership training, the group made several presentations to middle school and high school students and conducted a legal clinic for veterans. See photos from the graduation ceremony.

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ETLAW Luncheon Honors State Supreme Court

The East Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (ETLAW) held its annual Supreme Court Luncheon today honoring the justices and their work on behalf of the state. Each of the justices were scheduled to attend, with Chief Justice Gary Wade as the featured speaker. During the event, TBA Board of Governors member Tasha Blakney received the Spirit of Justice Award.

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Nashville Bar Law Day Luncheon Celebrates Equality

More than 500 Nashville lawyers gathered for the Annual Nashville Bar Association Law Day Luncheon with the theme, Realizing the Dream: Equality for All. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper proposed a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right to vote in his Law Day remarks. Nashville lawyer David Raybin was the recipient of the Jack Norman Award, the highest award the NBA can give to a lawyer who practices primarily in the criminal justice system. Former Nashville Juvenile Court Judge Andy Shookhoff received the Liberty Bell Award for his work in advancing juvenile justice.

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New Law Day Events Added to State Round Up

Law Day events continue this week with a number scheduled for tomorrow, May 1. Events added to the list of activities taking place across the state include a luncheon in Greeneville hosted by the Northeast Tennessee Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and an evening session with U.S. Attorney Bill Killian hosted by the Bradley County Bar Association. See the latest information on the TBA website.

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Law Week Begins with Launch Party

Law Week activities kick off tomorrow with the 6th Annual Law Week Launch Party in Memphis' Court Square, from 5 p.m. to 7p.m. Attendees will enjoy free drinks, food by Central BBQ, Lickity Split Ice Cream and music by WALRUS. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a canned good item for the Mid-South Food Bank.

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Napier-Looby Bar Honors Members

Last night's 9th annual Napier-Looby Bar Foundation (NLBF) Barrister’s Banquet and Awards Program featured entertainment, honors and awards. The event was presided over by NLBF President Joseph K. McKinney, with Luther Wright serving as master of ceremonies. Those honored include Federal District Judge William J. Haynes, Jr., who received the 2013 Z. Alexander Looby Lifetime Achievement Award; Stacey Garrett of Bone McAllester Norton, who received the J.C. Napier Trailblazer Award; and Charles Grant of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, who was the recipient of the Justice A.A. Birch Outstanding Service Award. For more details, visit the Napier Looby website.

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CBA Holds Annual Memorial Service Friday

The Chattanooga Bar Association will hold its annual memorial service on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. The service will be held in the Commission Room on the fourth floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse. This year’s event honors 13 lawyers who died in the past year.

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Reception Honors MBA President Seely

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA), University of Memphis School of Law and Counsel On Call are sponsoring a reception Feb. 28 to honor new MBA President Linda Warren Seely. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the 4th Floor Gordon Ball Scenic Reading Room of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, 1 N. Front St., Memphis. Please RSVP by Feb. 25 to (901) 432-4720. View the invitation on the MBA website.

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Durand Remembered as Kind, Giving Advocate

Memphis lawyer Kemper Durand, who died last Saturday, is remembered by friend and law partner Bill Haltom in this tribute out today. Among Durand's notable accomplishments was his pro bono work that secured freedom for an innocent man who had been in jail 22 years. Read that inspiring story in a 2002 Tennessee Bar Journal article. A crime victim himself, Durand once testified, Haltom writes, for one of his kidnappers to recieve the most lenient sentence possible because he felt the man was an unwilling accomplice. Details for a memorial service, set for next month, are incomplete.

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Memphis Law Names New Dean

Peter Letsou has been named dean of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis, and will begin work June 1. Letsou, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, is currently dean of the Williamette University College of Law in Salem, Ore. He previously served as associate counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and Nicaraguan Opposition and as an associate with two private firms in New York. “A public law school with a distinguished history and an exceptional faculty, facility and location, the School of Law is uniquely positioned to respond to the challenges now confronting legal education," Letsou said in a press release.

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Eason, Smith Honored by Chattanooga Bar

Chattanooga lawyer and former TBA president Marcy Eason was recognized Wednesday for her service to the community with the Ralph H. Kelly Humanitarian Award from the Chattanooga Bar Association (CBA). The group also named Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan attorney Barret S. Albritton as its Young Attorney of the Year. The presentations were made at the CBA's annual luncheon. In addition to the award presentation, the group also installed Craig Smith as its new president. Both Smith and Eason are attorneys at Miller & Martin, the Chattanoogan.com website reports.

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New MBA YLD President To Focus on Mentoring, Pro Bono

Annie Christoff of Bass, Berry & Sims has been voted the new 2013 president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association. The Memphis-native and Georgetown University Law School graduate hopes to continue the group’s focus on the mentoring of young lawyers and  increased pro bono participation. Christoff also works with local nonprofits Church Health Center and the American Cancer Society, which she hopes to parlay into her coming year as president. Read the full feature on Christoff in the Memphis Daily News.

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