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Posted by: Tba People on May 1, 2014

Journal Issue Date: May 2014

Journal Name: May 2014 - Vol. 50, No. 5

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be the new dean for the Belmont University College of Law, effective June 1. The news comes on the heels of founding Dean Jeff Kinsler’s announcement that he has decided to become a full-time faculty member. Gonzales joined Belmont in 2012 and has taught courses in constitutional law, separation of powers, national security law and First Amendment law. Kinsler came to Belmont in 2009 to lead it in the process of establishing the law school. The college received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association on June 8, 2013, and will graduate its first class May 10.

Baker Donelson recently announced that Nashville shareholder Christy Tosh Crider has been named chair of its Women’s Initiative. Crider, who also chairs the firm’s Long-Term Care Industry Service Team, will focus on recruiting, promoting and retaining female professionals. The firm also recently named two new members to its board of directors. They are Russell W. Gray, managing shareholder of the Chattanooga office, and Tonya Mitchem Grindon, chair of the Securities/ Corporate Governance Group. The firm also announced that Tony Alexander has joined the Memphis office as of counsel in the Intellectual Property Group. A registered patent attorney, Alexander has been an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis School of Law since 2012.

Eileen Schoen Githens, vice president and chief operations counsel for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), has joined the faculty of the Nashville School of Law as a health law instructor. Githens has served at HCA since 1996. She previously worked in private practice where she negotiated managed care agreements, defended health care fraud cases, prepared hospital service agreements and developed physician practice structures.

The Tennessee Bar Foundation inducted a new class of fellows in January. TBA members among them are Jerri S. Bryant and Jerry N. Estes of Athens; Cynthia D. Hall, Christine M. Sell, Rheubin M. Taylor and Joseph R. White of Chattanooga; Brandon O. Gibson and James I. Pentecost of Jackson; Wade V. Davies, Jason H. Long and M. LeAnn Mynatt of Knoxville; Brian S. Faughnan, Clarence Halmon and Amy M. Pepke of Memphis; and Frank Grace Jr., Jeffrey S. Henry, Michele M. Johnson, Robert S. Patterson, James L. Weatherly Jr. and William E. Young of Nashville. Other new fellows are S. Leo Arnold, Dyersburg; Lisa M. Carson, Franklin; Steven A. Dix, Murfreesboro; Sherie L. Edwards, Brentwood; Edward K. Lancaster, Columbia; Charles L. Trotter Jr., Huntingdon; and Jack M. Vaughn, Kingsport.

Burr & Forman partner Bryance Metheny has been named to the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s 2014 Board of Directors for a three-year term. Metheny focuses his practice on labor and employment in the firm’s Birmingham, Ala., office. He also is the firm’s hiring partner and chair of the Recruiting Committee.

Stephen H. Biller of The Biller Law Firm and Timothy R. Johnson of The Johnson Law Group have announced their affiliation. The pair will maintain an office at 1000 Ridgeway Loop Rd., Suite 305, Memphis 38120. They will continue to practice in their respective areas of labor and employment; estate planning; civil, commercial and construction litigation; and product liability.

Odell Horton Jr., a partner with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, has been appointed to the Board of Professional Responsibility by the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Horton, who chairs Wyatt’s Diversity Committee, handles governmental issues, corporate law and litigation. Prior to joining the firm, he served as vice president and general counsel of Memphis Light Gas & Water Division, and as vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Stites & Harbison has hired patent attorney Rebecca Barnett as counsel in its Intellectual Property & Technology Service Group. Barnett will work in the firm’s Memphis and Nashville offices and will focus on biological, chemical and mechanical arts patents. Prior to joining the firm, she was an associate with a boutique intellectual property firm in Nashville. Stites & Harbison also recently announced that Robert C. Goodrich Jr., a partner in the Nashville office, has been appointed to a four-year term as a director of the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute. He practices in the firm’s Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group.

Justin E. Mitchell of Memphis has relocated his office to 1661 International Place Dr., Suite 400, Memphis 38120. Mitchell will continue to handle civil and business litigation, trusts, estates and medical malpractice.

Nashville lawyer William Robert Pope Jr., a member with White & Reasor, has been elected a fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. Pope practices in the areas of tax litigation and bankruptcy. Prior to joining the firm, he served in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

The Nashville law firm of Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford relocated offices March 17.  The firm’s new address is 330 Commerce St., Suite 110, Nashville, TN 37201. All telephone numbers and email addresses remain the same. The firm’s website is at

Nashville attorney Barbara Moss has formed her own law firm, Elder Law of Nashville, to help seniors and their families plan for disability and death. She also will help seniors qualify for public benefits. Moss previously was associated with Norris & Norris. The new firm is located at 4525 Harding Pike, Suite 200, Nashville 37205. Contact Moss at (615) 852-5602, or at

The Chattanooga law firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon has named Eleanor G. LaPorte as a member of the firm. LaPorte, a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, practices in the areas of business transactions, commercial leases, private foundations, taxation and estate planning.

The Knoxville law firm of Taylor & Knight has named Jonathan Swann Taylor a partner in the firm. Taylor maintains a litigation practice with an emphasis on defending governmental entities in civil rights, tort, wrongful death, medical malpractice, uninsured motorist and employment issues.

Erin Melton Shea has joined the Memphis law firm of Wiseman Bray, where she will focus on general civil litigation. Shea practiced with Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell from 2004 to 2014.

Attorney John T. Blankenship, with offices in Murfreesboro and Franklin, is a co-author of two chapters in the recently published book The College of Commercial Arbitrators Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration, Third Edition (JurisNet LLC 2014). Blankenship contributed to chapter 4, “Arbitrator Fees and Expenses,” and Chapter 13, “Intratribunal Relations.” He is the first Tennessee arbitrator to be elected a fellow of the group and currently serves on its board of directors.

McAngus Goudelock & Courie, a regional insurance defense firm, has opened new offices in Memphis and Oxford, Miss. The firm, which is headquartered in Columbia, S.C., has hired Thomas Cassidy and Scott Vincent for the Memphis office. Cassidy will focus on workers’ compensation, employment, insurance, transportation and professional and premises liability litigation. Vincent will handle general and commercial litigation including professional, premises and product liability as well as workers’ compensation defense.

National labor and employment law firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith has named Belmont College of Law student Charmarcus Floyd Sr. as its 2014 Diversity Scholars Award recipient. Floyd, a second-year student at Belmont, was recognized for his dedication to diversity awareness, service as chair of the Student Bar Association’s Diversity Committee and work with Organized Neighbors of EdgeHill, a non-profit community improvement organization. Each year, the firm awards a $2,000 scholarship to a law student in one of the states where it has an office.

Bass, Berry & Sims recently announced that Harry L. Goldsmith has joined its Memphis office as senior counsel after retiring as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of AutoZone. Goldsmith worked at AutoZone for 20 years. He also served in the legal department of Federal Express Corporation and with two law firms during in his career.

The Knoxville law firm of Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley has named Kathy D. Aslinger as a shareholder and announced she will be taking a leadership role in its employee benefits practice. Aslinger has been with the firm since 2010. The firm also has hired two new associates: Ben Cunningham and Ashley Trotto. Cunningham earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 2011. He previously served as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Tennessee. He will focus on business, employment, construction and other civil litigation. Trotto, a 2013 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, joins the firm’s employee benefits practice where she will focus on issues related to the Affordable Care Act.

Linda Rose of Rose Immigration Law Firm spoke at South by Southwest —the largest music and technology convention in the country — recently in Austin, Texas. Rose, managing member of her own firm in Nashville, spoke on Immigration Issues for Foreign Musicians. Her practice focuses on immigration work in the entertainment industry and other business-related immigration matters. 


Knoxville lawyer ROBERT HUNTER CAGLE died March 4. He was 81. Cagle earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1957. After briefly practicing in Knoxville, he relocated to Nashville to clerk for a federal district judge and later was appointed an assistant U.S. attorney. In 1961, Cagle returned to Knoxville to practice with the firm of Poore, Cox, Baker and McAuley. He worked there for 26 years. In 1987, he joined the firm of Kennerly, Montgomery and Finley and retired in December 2004. Among his many accomplishments, Cagle served as president of the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association, was a founding member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and sat on the board of directors of the Association of Civil Defense Attorneys. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church’s Heritage, Heart and Hope Capital Campaign, 620 State St., Knoxville 37902.

Longtime Memphis attorney W. THOMAS “TOM” HUTTON died March 4 at the age of 70 following a lengthy illness. After graduating from the University of Memphis School of Law, Hutton moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the Antitrust Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and then for Rep. Gerald Ford during his effort to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. Hutton returned to Memphis and joined the law firm of Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston where he practiced for 43 years in the areas of estate, probate, corporate and securities law. Among his many achievements, Hutton was a former president of the Memphis Estate Planning Council and former chair of the TBA Probate and Tax Section. Memorials may be made to Memphis University School, 6191 Park Ave., Memphis 38119; Second Presbyterian Church, 4055 Poplar Ave., Memphis 38111; or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Nashville lawyer RAMSEY B. LEATHERS died March 28 at the age of 93. Leathers was a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a graduate of Cumberland School of Law and practiced in Nashville briefly before being appointed probate master of the Davidson County Court. He later was appointed Tennessee Supreme Court clerk, a position that included serving as clerk to all Tennessee appellate courts, the Court of the Judiciary and the Board of Professional Responsibility. Leathers retired in 1987 after more than 20 years of service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. David’s Episcopal Church, 6501 Pennywell Dr., Nashville 37205.

Chattanooga attorney HAROLD A. “HAL” SCHWARTZ JR. died March 5. He was 71. Schwartz earned a bachelor of laws from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of laws in taxation from New York University. He served as a law clerk with the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., and then returned to Chattanooga to join the law firm of Witt, Gaither & Whitaker. He practiced primarily in the areas of estate planning and employee benefits. He later served as associate counsel for Interstate Life & Accident Company. During his career, Schwartz held a number of leadership positions including president of the Chattanooga Bar Association, president of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and director of the Chattanooga Tax Practioners. Memorial contributions may be made to National Parkinson Foundation, Gift Processing Center, PO Box 5018, Hagerstown, MD 21741 or to the Miller Schwartz Fund at Mizpah Congregation, 923 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga 37403.

Memphis lawyer CHARLES A. SEVIER died Feb. 25 at the age of 78 following a protracted illness. A fixture in Memphis legal circles for more than 50 years, Sevier earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and was licensed in 1962. He first practiced with the firm of Sevier Phillips PC and then with his own firm, the Sevier Law Firm. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis, 44 S. Rembert, Memphis 38104.

Compiled by Linda Murphy and Stacey Shrader Joslin Tennessee Bar Association members may send information about job changes, awards and work-related news. Send it to SUCCESS! c/o The Journal at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219-2198, or email to

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