TBA Press Releases

Lucian Pera to Take Office as TBA President

Adams and Reese LLP Partner to Lead the Association for 2017-2018 Bar Year

NASHVILLE, June 14, 2017 — Memphis lawyer Lucian T. Pera will take office as president of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) at the group’s annual convention this week in Kingsport. Pera previously served as president-elect during the 2016-2017 bar year.
“The TBA is one of the strongest state bars in the nation. It matters to the daily work and lives Tennessee lawyers, the courts, and their clients. And so, as a Tennessee lawyer, it’s the highest honor I can think of to serve as TBA President,” Pera said.
Pera is a partner in the Memphis office of Adams and Reese LLP, where he practices in the areas of commercial litigation, media law, and legal ethics and professional responsibility. Adams and Reese is a multidisciplinary law firm with approximately 300 attorneys and advisors in 18 offices across the southern United States and in Washington, D.C.
A Memphis native, Pera has practiced law in his hometown since 1986. He practiced law for 20 years with Armstrong Allen PLLC before joining and helping open the Memphis office of Adams and Reese in 2006. Pera graduated from Princeton University with honors and earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1985.
Pera has been active in the TBA since his first year of law practice, beginning in the bar’s Young Lawyer Division and rising to serve as YLD president in 1993-1994. For almost a decade starting in 1995, he led the bar’s legal ethics committee, which wrote and successfully proposed to the Tennessee Supreme Court a completely revised set of lawyer ethics rules patterned after the American Bar Association’s model rules. At the same time, he also served on the ABA “Ethics 2000” Commission, which overhauled the model rules for the entire United States in 2002.
Pera has also been active in the American Bar Association (ABA), serving in its policy-making House of Delegates since 1990 and serving as ABA Treasurer from 2011-2014. Currently, he serves as chair of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility, the home of the ABA’s core lawyer ethics and professional responsibility committees. He also currently serves as president of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. TCOG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to improve citizen access to public information and open government in the state.
The 2017 TBA Annual Convention will be held June 14-17 at the MeadowView Marriott Resort. Taking office along with Pera will be President-Elect Jason Pannu of Lewis Thomason in Nashville and Vice President Sarah Sheppeard of Lewis Thomason in Knoxville. The annual meeting allows legal groups in the state to address common issues and concerns and offers opportunities for additional education, long-range planning, and recognition of attorneys who have performed outstanding legal work and community service.  
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Judge Susano to Receive TBA’s Drowota Award

Knoxville Judge Honored for Work Supporting Juveniles, Disabled Rights

NASHVILLE, June 13, 2017 — Knoxville Judge Charles D. Susano will be honored this week with the prestigious Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award.
Susano was selected for his many years of service on the courts – he has served on the Court of Appeals since 1994, and until 2015 was Chief Judge – as well as for his advocacy. A paraplegic since 1992, Susano also has been a champion of rights for disabled individuals, and has been a major supporter of the youths in residence at Knox County Juvenile Court.
“He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing,” said TBA Vice President-Elect and former Susano law partner Sarah Sheppeard. “Judge Susano has given, and continues to give, so much to the judiciary, the legal system and his community. He embodies all of the qualities the Drowota Award seeks to honor. I cannot think of a more worthy recipient.”
Susano graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1958 and from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1963. He served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960. Prior to his appointment to the courts, he practiced law in Knoxville for three decades. 
Susano will accept the award during the Tennessee Bar Association’s Lawyers Luncheon on June 16 at its annual convention in Kingsport.
The Drowota Award is given to a judge or judicial branch official of a federal, state or local court in Tennessee who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice as exemplified by the career of former Supreme Court Justice Frank F. Drowota III – the award’s first recipient. Thanks to a donation by Justice Drowota and a matching gift from the Frist Foundation, the award allows the recipient to direct a gift of $1,000 to the charity of his or her choice.
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Book Examines ‘Strategic Civility’ of Sen. Howard Baker

New Edition of Memphis Attorney Bill Haltom’s Book is Especially Timely Today

NASHVILLE, June 9, 2017 — A book examining the qualities that made the late U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. successful and beloved during his long career is now available in a second edition from the Tennessee Bar Association. 
The Other Fellow May Be Right: The Civility of Howard Baker from Memphis lawyer William H. “Bill” Haltom Jr. not only looks at details of the statesman’s life and career but also examines Tennessee’s changing political climate.
“Thoroughly researched, breezily written, and timely, The Other Fellow May Be Right is an important reminder that relentless partisanship and search-and-destroy tactics are not the only way to conduct the public’s business — or our own,” Nashville lawyer Gary C. Shockley writes in a review published in the Tennessee Bar Journal. “One Tennessean chose the opposite path and followed it to his country’s highest offices and greatest honors.”
Haltom will sign copies of the new book on June 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. during the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual convention in Kingsport.
“The late Sen. Howard Baker remains the role model for civility in these uncivil times,” said Haltom. “I am delighted that the TBA Press has published the updated edition of my tribute to this great man.”
The book is now available for sale from the Tennessee Bar Association’s TBA.org website as well as Amazon.com.
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Nashville Lawyer Named New TBA Executive Director

Joycelyn Stevenson Brings Experience as Bar Leader to Position

NASHVILLE, June 1, 2017 — The Tennessee Bar Association today named Nashville lawyer Joycelyn Stevenson as its new executive director. 

A shareholder with Littler Mendelson PC with a practice focused on labor and employment law, Stevenson has been a leader in the Tennessee legal community, serving as president of both the Nashville Bar Association and the Lawyers’ Association for Women ‐ Marion Griffin Chapter. She is the first African‐American woman to lead both organizations and will be the first African-American woman to direct the TBA.

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Monroe County Child Advocate Named 2017 CASA Volunteer of the Year

Award given to John Porter at Nashville ceremony

NASHVILLE, Jan. 30, 2017 — John Porter of Vonore has been named the 2017 CASA Volunteer of the Year by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD). The award recognizes Porter’s six years of service as a volunteer for CASA Monroe. 
Nashville lawyer Cherrelle Hooper, chair of the YLD Children’s Issues Committee, presented the award to Porter at a recent dinner in Nashville. Alisa Hobbs, executive director of CASA Monroe, also was on hand.
Porter was recognized for his unrelenting advocacy on behalf of clients and his dedication to doing the “actual work” of volunteering. Porter is a retired software developer and business owner who experienced “incredible success” in his professional life, according to Hobbs. But Porter made a decision to commit himself to a retirement of service, and made it clear that rather than serving on boards of directors, he wanted to work directly with the people who need it most.
Porter was said to go “above and beyond” on many occasions, such as when he provided a client family with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. He handled many juvenile justice cases and would travel great distances to visit those young people, even when they were in detention centers or therapeutic homes. He speaks fondly of one case, in which a juvenile delinquent with an uncertain future grew to become a decorated Marine. The two still keep in touch, Hobbs says.
When Porter is not advocating for his CASA clients, he is volunteering for Meals on Wheels, where he takes on all tasks, even washing dishes.
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TBA Executive Director Ramsaur to Step Back from Day-to-Day Management

Will stay on as Emeritus Director to handle legislative, strategic initiatives

NASHVILLE, Dec. 16, 2016 — Effective the first of the year, Allan Ramsaur, longtime executive director of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA), will begin stepping back from day-to-day responsibilities for administration of the association. He will assist in the search for and retention of a new executive director for the association and will transition into the role of emeritus director. 
In that new role, he will continue to answer to the TBA Board of Governors and represent the association in governmental affairs and court administration issues, work on issues in ethics and professional responsibility, develop policy, oversee financial administration and focus on important strategic initiatives in continuing legal education, technology and evolving legal markets for the TBA and the foundation, until his full retirement in June of 2018. 

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Tennessee Lawyers and Law Student to be Recognized for Commitment to Public Service

Honorees to be recognized at awards luncheon in January

NASHVILLE, Dec. 12, 2016 — Two distinguished Tennessee attorneys and a recent University of Tennessee College of Law graduate will be honored with the state’s top public service awards at a ceremony in January.
The awards will be presented by the Tennessee Bar Association at its 2017 Public Service Luncheon on Jan. 14 at the Downtown DoubleTree Hotel in Nashville.
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TBA Selects Attorneys for 2017 Leadership Law Class

36 lawyers from across the state join six-month leadership training program

NASHVILLE, Dec. 6, 2016 — The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) announces that 36 attorneys from across the state have been selected for its 2017 Leadership Law program. 
Now in its 14th year, Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. The class will meet for its first session in January, and then spend the next six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service. 
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Tennessee Lawyers Offer Legal Assistance to Gatlinburg Wildfire Victims

NASHVILLE – December 1, 2016 – In response to the devastating wildfires in Gatlinburg and Sevier County, the Tennessee Bar Association is partnering with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) and the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission to help those affected with their legal needs.
For Wildfire Victims
Anyone in need of legal assistance can call the TALS legal helpline at 844-HELP4TN, or can go online to www.help4tn.org for resources and access to TN Free Legal Answers. Victims facing losses after the fire can have experienced attorneys answer their questions for free.
Legal clinics are being planned for those impacted by the fires and updated information will be available on www.help4tn.org as it becomes available. 
For Attorneys
Attorneys are needed across the state who can help these efforts. Lawyers in East Tennessee who can volunteer in-person at a legal clinic should contact Kathryn Ellis with LAET at kellis@laet.org or 865-637-0484.
For those who want to help all across the state, there are additional options. Attorneys are needed to volunteer to answer emailed questions on the TN Free Legal Answers website or respond to calls and messages received on the HELP4TN legal helpline. Lawyers interested in volunteering with TN Free Legal Answers can sign up directly on the website at https://tn.freelegalanswers.org/. Others willing to respond to calls from the HELP4TN legal helpline can sign up via the Disaster Legal Assistance Volunteer Form online at http://www.tba.org/volunteer-for-disaster-legal-assistance.
Training resources and other materials for attorney volunteers are available on the TBA’s Disaster Legal Assistance web page at http://www.tba.org/info/disaster-relief-assistance. The TBA’s Young Lawyers Division Disaster Relief Committee has also been activated, and will be assisting with volunteer recruitment and coordination efforts. To volunteer, complete the Disaster Legal Assistance Volunteer Form online at http://www.tba.org/volunteer-for-disaster-legal-assistance.
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Lawyers Complete 2016 TBA Leadership Program

Class of 31 graduates, selects Gallatin lawyer for service award

NASHVILLE, June 27, 2016 -- Thirty-one attorneys from across the state graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program during the association's annual convention in Nashville last week. The group spent the last six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.

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