News

Former KBA President Dies, Services Saturday

Knoxville lawyer Robert H. Leonard died Monday (Nov. 12) at age 87. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1947, then began his practice with the firm of White and Leonard, with O.L. White and his father, R.H. Leonard. He served as president of the Knoxville Bar in 1964-1965. In 1980, Mr. Leonard was elected the first mayor of Farragut, serving a total of six terms until 1993. He retired in 2010 after practicing law in Tennessee for 63 years. The family will receive friends 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel with a memorial service at 3 p.m. Interment at Pleasant Forest Cemetery will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Christian Church of Knoxville, 211 West Fifth Ave., Knoxville 37917 or to The Optimist Club of Knoxville's Henry Naff Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 358, Knoxville 37901. Read his obituary

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Knoxville Bar Association Memorial Service Set for Friday

The Memorials and Resolutions Committee of the Knoxville Bar Association is sponsoring an opportunity to honor the members of the bar who have passed away in the last year. Hon. Gary R. Wade, Hon. Sharon Lee and Rev. Charles W.B. Fels will lead the service this Friday at 3 p.m. in the Tennessee Supreme Court Courtroom, located at 505 Main St. in Knoxville. A reception will follow the service.

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Services Set for Clarksville Lawyer Killed in Police Standoff

Lawyer Todd Hansrote was shot and killed by Clarksville Police Saturday night after he fired a weapon during a three-hour standoff during which police say he was threatening to kill himself and his wife if anyone entered his residence, the Leaf-Chronicle reports. A former gun shop owner, Hansrote practiced law with his wife, Suzette, at their downtown law firm Hansrote & Hansrote. He graduated from the University of Memphis and was admitted to the bar in 1991. Funeral service will be held on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Chapel. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation will be on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. Read his obituary

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Law Rules Public Forum

The Memphis Bar Association will host a Law Rules Public Forum on Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the importance of a fair and impartial justice system and the rule of law in American society. Judge Gina Higgins of the Shelby County Circuit Court and attorneys Porter Feild and Tommy Parker will be on hand to lead the discussion at the Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library.

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Ben F. Jones NBA Chapter Elects New Officers

The Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association has elected new officers and board members for 2013. They are: President Imad Abdullah, Vice President/President-elect Alicia Washington, Treasurer James Jones, Corresponding Secretary Amber Floyd, Recording Secretary Shayla Purifoy and Parliamentarian Rod Holmes. New board members are Andre Wharton and Joanne Coston-Holloway.

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Nashville Bar Foundation Fellows Dinner

The Nashville Bar Foundation will host its annual Fellows Dinner on Saturday at the Hutton Hotel. Visit the NBA website for more information.

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Miller & Martin Celebrates 145 Years

Chattanooga-based Miller & Martin PLLC recently celebrated its 145th anniversary with a reception that also celebrated the philanthropy of one of its partners. Founded in 1867 by T.M Burkett, Miller & Martin has served many of Chattanooga’s leading companies, and expanded to Atlanta and Nashville. The reception also honored Miller & Martin partner Burkett Miller’s philanthropic contributions to education, The Chattanoogan reports. Miller established the Tonya Foundation and founded Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia; The Tonya Public Affairs & Economics Internship programs at The University of the South; and The Burkett Miller Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

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Nashville Bar Directory Recognized

The Nashville Bar Association (NBA) was recognized with a Luminary Award from the National Association of Bar Executives Communications Section today during its annual workshop in Denver. The NBA and communications director Nikki Gray were honored for production of its annual membership directory.

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Boot Scoot at NBA's Annual Picnic

The Nashville Bar Association's Annual free member picnic is Thursday at the Hall of Fame Park. This year the picnic has a Country Western theme, and a local Nashville band, The Western Swingers, will perform. A barbeque dinner and open bar will also be provided. Register online

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Investiture Set in Chattanooga Next Week

The investiture ceremony for Judge Gary Starnes to the Hamilton County General Sessions Court, Division V,  will be Sept. 4. The event, which is open to the public and will include the swearing-in of other elected officials, is at 9 a.m. at the Chattanooga Trade and Convention Center, according to the Chattanooga Bar Association.

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Application for New Judgeship Out Next Week

There will be an Oct. 1 deadline to apply for the recently created Washington County Sessions Court judgeship, and the application should be ready for distribution Aug. 27, according to Legal Services Committee Chairman Doyle Cloyd. The position is intended to ease the growing case load on the two current judges, James Nidiffer and Robert Lincoln. Read more in the Johnson City Press

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Knoxville Lawyer, Restaurant Owner Dies

Knoxville lawyer and restaurant chain owner Don Sproles died Wednesday (Aug. 1). Mr. Sproles, 61, graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1979 and served as president of the Knoxville Barristers in 1982. His LunchBox restaurant has been a mainstay luncheon spot for members of the local bar. A memorial service will be held Monday at 5 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, 425 N. Cedar Bluff Rd., Knoxville 37923, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Volunteer Ministry Center, 511 N Broadway St., Knoxville 37917 or the church. Read from his biography in the News Sentinel

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Article Captures Knox Courthouse History

An article in the News Sentinel by Robert J. Booker, former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, details the history of the Knox County Courthouse, which was first established in 1792. According to Booker, at the laying of the current building’s cornerstone in 1885, the keynote speaker recounted how the original courthouse was burned to the ground by a lawyer “resolved to hasten the end of the unworthy structure.” Booker also provides details about subsequent structures used to house the court, and ultimately the construction of what at the time was called "the finest building of the kind in East Tennessee.”

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Lawyer Finds Volunteering at P.A.T.H. Rewarding

Chattanooga lawyer Bo Hixson talks about his 25 years of commercial litigation practice -- and his involvement with P.A.T.H. (Partnering With Attorneys to Help) to General Sessions Court. Through this program, individuals with a case on the Monday docket can receive basic information about Sessions Court rules and procedures from volunteer attorneys. Although Hixson is on the board of the Chattanooga Bar Association, which launched the program, he was not an immediate believer in P.A.T.H. “I was skeptical about it at first because of my concern about an attorney crossing the line from giving general guidance to giving legal advice,” he says. Then he volunteered one Monday morning, and the experience changed his opinion. Read more from the Hamilton County Herald

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Bradley Co. Bar Helps Bring Candidate Forums

The third and final in a series of debates hosted by the Bradley County Bar Association and the Cleveland Lions Club is set for July 17, with candidates in the 3rd and 4th Congressional district races. The forum will be at the Johnson Theatre at Cleveland State Community College at 6:30 p.m., with a theme of  "An informed vote is the best vote." The Cleveland Daily Banner urges readers to attend the forum and writes that "sometimes it’s just best to hear what [candidates] have to say, and how they say it, in person and up-close in a comfortable, nonpartisan and enclosed atmosphere," and praises the bar association and Lions Club for organizing the events.

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Memphis Pro Bono Events in the News

Lawyers from AutoZone, Bass, Berry & Sims and Memphis Area Legal Services on Tuesday donated their time to help seniors and low-income residents draft wills, powers of attorney and other legal documents. It was the fourth year the groups have joined efforts to serve Memphis-area senior citizens. Read about it in the Commercial Appeal. Today, the Memphis Bar Association’s (MBA) Access to Justice Committee provided legal advice at the Project Homeless Connect event at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. The event was organized by Linda Warren Seely with Memphis Area Legal Services and MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz.

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NBA Forms Veterans Committee

The Nashville Bar Association (NBA) has formed a new Veterans Committee and named Bass Berry & Sims lawyer Robert Echols as chair of the group. The NBA says the committee “offers a great opportunity to meet new veteran friends in the bar, share experiences and…serve other less fortunate veterans in [the] community.” It kicked off its activities recently with a reception at Echol's firm. Learn more online or contact Vicki Shoulders at (615) 242-9272 or vicki.shoulders@nashvillebar.org.

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Apply for a Grant From the Memphis Bar Foundation

The Memphis Bar Foundation is now soliciting grant applications from non-profit organizations. Grants are awarded to 501(c)(3) organizations for law-related programs and activities that further the foundation’s mission to advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession; promote social justice; promote legal education, and recognize professionalism among members of the bar. The typical grant award is less than $10,000. The deadline to apply is July 31. Contact MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz to learn more or download an application.

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NBA Releases Poll Results

A recent Nashville Bar Association poll for the Aug. 2 Davidson County General Election shows nearly three-quarters of respondents  "highly recommend" or "recommend" incumbent Phillip Robinson for Davidson County Circuit Court, Division III judge, outpacing John W. Heacock (8 percent) and W. Scott Rosenberg (21.4 percent). About 40 percent of the 882 respondents "highly recommended" or "recommended" Rachel L. Bell for General Session judge, while about 10 percent gave the same ranking for Michael Rowan. As to the retention of Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Section Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins, 63.5 percent recommended retention, with only 2.2 percent not recommending. See the results and details on the survey

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Chattanooga Honors Pro Bono Achievements

2012 Pro Bono Night -- co-hosted by Legal Aid of East Tennessee, the Pro Bono Committee and the Young Lawyers Division of the Chattanooga Bar Association -- recently honored the achievements of a law firm, a philanthropist, a hospital and an attorney. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee gave the keynote address, saying the United States was founded on the principle of equal justice under the law. The Firm of the Year Award was given to Chattanooga law firm Luther-Anderson. Corrine Allen, executive director of the Benwood Foundation, received the Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award. LAET also gave the inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award to Erlanger Heath System. Named after the first lawyer to devote nearly his entire practice to pro bono work, the award honored Erlanger for joining LAET in creating the first medical-legal partnership in Tennessee. Attorney Tiffany Campbell was awarded the Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award. The Hamilton County Herald has more

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Knoxville Mayor Honored With Award Named for Early Women's Rights Advocate

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero was awarded the first ever Lizzie French Women's Leadership Award at the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit on Friday. Officials said Rogero received the award for dedicating her career to creating positive and lasting change in the Knoxville community. The award is named for Lucy Crozier French, who addressed the men of the Tennessee Bar Association at its July 11, 1912, meeting in Knoxville about women's rights. She was reportedly the first woman to address the body, and in her speech (recounted verbatim in the official proceedings of the association), French says that since "we want to put Tennessee in the progressive States ... [we must] not alter simply one law concerning women here and there, but to take the whole bunch and burn it up, and begin over again." She then outlined laws that needed changing, including desertion of family by men; that mothers be made equal guardians of her children; that women should be able to vote and hold office; and that women's wages should be her own and not her husband's. French is reportedly also the first woman to address the Tennessee General Assembly, as well as the first woman to run for Knoxville City Council.

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'Ode to Otha' on Tap This Saturday

Nahshville lawyer Bill Ramsey's "Ode to Otha" Block Party is this Saturday at 1711 Sweetbrier Ave. in Nashville. The event, scheduled to run from 2 to 9 p.m., will feature food, drinks and live music for the adults, and clowns and piñatas for the kids. Learn more about the event, which celebrates the life of American music legend Otha Turner and benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank.

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Lane New Bar President in Greene County

The Greene County Bar Association recently elected new officers. They are President Lindsey Wise Lane with Leonard, Kershaw & Hensley LLP; Vice President J. Bradley Mercer; and Secretary/Treasurer Brandy M. Burnette with Milligan & Coleman. All are from Greeneville.

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KBA Seeking Auction Items for LAET Fundraiser

The Knoxville Bar Association is still collecting donations for the silent auction at its upcoming "Cheers for Charity" benefit for Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The wine tasting event has sold out, but the KBA is seeking items such as an elegant dinner hosted by a Tennessee attorney, an assortment of fine wines or a basket that includes donations from restaurants or liquor stores for the silent auction. All proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to LAET, and donors will be recognized during the event and in all follow-up publicity.  Contact KBA Executive Director Marsha Wilson at 865-522-6522 for more information.

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NBA Memorial Service Thursday

The Nashville Bar Association (NBA) will hold its spring memorial service tomorrow, May 24, at 11 a.m. in the Downtown Presbyterian Church. Chancellor Russell Perkins will preside and a reception at the church will follow. Attorneys to be memorialized are: Judge Elmer Davies, Marilyn Devine, James (Jim) Hill, Hugh Howser, Alfred Knight III, Harold Levinson, James Meyer, John Roberts, Judge Leon Ruben, Robert (Bob) Sullivan and Sonny West. Beginning this year, the NBA will hold two memorial services per year -– one in May and one in November. The services honor the memory of Nashville lawyers and judges who have passed away during the preceding period. Learn more on the bar's website

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