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Posted by: Journal News on Nov 29, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Dec 2018

Journal Name: Vol 54 No 12

Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor, ABA President Bob Carlson, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, ABA President-elect Judy Perry Martinez and past TBA President Buck Lewis gathered at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., in honor of the 10th anniversary of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. Justice Kagan served as the honorary chair this year and spoke at an event at Georgetown Law Center. Celebrate Pro Bono Month has grown to more than 1,300 events in all 50 states and other countries, including dozens of events in Tennessee involving hundreds of volunteer attorneys. Find more coverage of CPB events

Chattanooga lawyer T. Maxfield Bahner was honored with the 2018 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Sixth Circuit at a U.S. Supreme Court ceremony in October. Bahner, a senior counselor at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, was selected for displaying “sterling character and unquestioned integrity” and “dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and rule of law.” Bahner maintains a litigation and mediation practice. He has been active in the Chattanooga Inn of Court, Chattanooga Bar Foundation and Tennessee Bar Foundation.

Gov. Bill Haslam recently appointed Kathryn Wall Olita of Clarksville to the 19th Judicial District Circuit Court, which serves Montgomery and Robertson counties. The appointment fills a new trial court judgeship established this year by the Tennessee General Assembly. Olita has practiced law for 15 years in Middle and West Tennessee, most recently with the firm Batson Nolan in Clarksville. Her current practice also includes serving as board attorney to the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

State Senate Majority Leader Mark S. Norris and Nashville lawyer Eli Richardson were confirmed Oct. 11 to federal district court judgeships in Tennessee. Norris, of Memphis, was confirmed on the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. He has been serving in the litigation practice group at Adams and Reese since 2006. He was first elected majority leader in 2007 and now holds the distinction of being the longest-serving majority leader in Tennessee history. Richardson, who will serve on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District, was in private practice with Bass, Berry &?Sims. Prior to that he served in the Department of Justice, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

Frost Brown Todd has named Thomas H. Lee as member-in-charge of the firm’s Nashville office. He succeeds Mekesha Montgomery, who led the Nashville team for the past seven years and now will chair the firm’s Manufacturing Industry Team and Member Personnel Committee. Lee has nearly 25 years of experience in government relations, political strategy and business litigation. Prior to his legal career, he worked in newspaper and television journalism. He joined Frost Brown Todd in 2010 and helped establish the firm’s government affairs subsidiary, CivicPoint, which he leads as managing principal.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings partner J. Thomas Trent Jr. has been elected to the Board of Regents of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys at the group’s annual meeting in Tucson. He will serve a three-year term for the organization, which is made up of 400 real estate, finance and mortgage law attorneys. Trent is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group and chair of the Economic Development Practice Group. He focuses his work on real estate and economic development.

Baker Donelson announced that it has added a new member to its Knoxville office. Nicholas W. Diegel joins the Advocacy Department, where he will focus on labor and employment, construction, insurance defense and commercial litigation. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2015.

Jeffrey M. Ward, a partner in the Greeneville law firm of Milligan & Coleman, has been inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The ceremony took place at the group’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Lawyers must have a minimum of 15 years of trial experience before they can be considered for induction. Ward has been practicing law for 25 years. He is an alumnus of The University of Tennessee College of Law and is the current president of the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.

The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville announced the selection of 15 Nashville professionals to participate in its 2018 Arts Board Matching program. Members will be paired with nonprofit organizations and serve on those organizations’ boards while participating in sessions designed to educate them on how to become effective nonprofit leaders. TBA members among the group are Jason C. Palmer with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, and Wells Beckett and Jacob Giesecke with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings partner Ann Peldo Cargile was recently elected secretary of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. She practices in the firm’s Nashville office and handles commercial real estate, lease negotiation and enforcement, financing and joint ventures. Admission to the college recognizes an attorney’s legal ability, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law.

Nashville attorney John E. Quinn has joined Neal & Harwell as of counsel. Previously a partner at Manier & Herod, he has experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including commercial, professional negligence, personal injury, products liability, employment and insurance litigation. He also has extensive trial experience and has conducted more than 50 trials in both state and federal courts, as well as arbitrations in Tennessee and Europe.

Memphis lawyer J. Gregory Grisham has joined Fisher Phillips as of counsel. He has more than 25 years of experience counseling and representing employers in all aspects of workplace law, with a focus on helping employers avoid claims. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in the Nashville and Memphis offices of FordHarrison. Grisham is the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section.

The Association of Corporate Counsel has named Brentwood attorney Sherie Edwards as the Jonathan S. Silber Network Member of the Year. This award recognizes participation in committee leadership, contributions to recruitment and participation, efforts in developing network programs and resources, contributions to ACC/in-house practice, and contributions to the community through volunteer work and pro bono activities. Edwards also serves on the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors.

Shelby Dodson is a new staff attorney in the Gallatin office of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She previously was with the Tennessee Justice Center. She is a 2016 graduate of Belmont College of Law. Her work has focused on disability law, elder law and health law.
Jackson lawyers Robert V. Redding and Jonathan O. Steen have joined the law firm of Spragins, Barnett & Cobb. Steen is a former president of the Tennessee Bar Association. The pair previously practiced together at the law firm of Redding, Steen & Staton. Both handle civil litigation, including medical and legal malpractice defense, products liability defense, commercial and business disputes and appellate advocacy. Steen also has a strong interest in technology, particularly as it relates to electronic discovery issues, and has served as an ESI discovery Special Master in federal court. The lawyers say the move will allow them to provide additional services to their clients, including banking and business transactions, creditor rights, bankruptcy, employment law, real estate, estate planning and probate, elder law, family law and criminal defense.

Nashville attorney Samar S. Ali was recently honored with the 2018 White House Fellows Impact Award, which recognizes past fellows who demonstrate remarkable achievement and transformational contributions in their field. Ali was selected for her work at the White House, in the South African Supreme Court, with the state government of Tennessee, and as a consultant working to protect vulnerable communities around the world. She served as a White House Fellow from 2010 to 2011 and worked on bilateral negotiations with European and Middle Eastern countries, served on the White House American-Arab “Kitchen Cabinet” and advised on the U.S. response to the 2011 Arab Spring. Following her fellowship, she returned to Tennessee to serve as assistant commissioner for international affairs under Gov. Bill Haslam. She now practices law as an international counsel at Bass Berry & Sims.

Former TBA President Bill Haltom and Amanda Swanson – the daughter of former TBA Presidents Charles Swanson and the Hon. Pamela Reeves – have co-authored Full Court Press, a book on how University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, a high school student from Oak Ridge and a legal team changed the game of basketball for girls in Tennessee. Available from, the book also highlights how individual initiative can bring about social change. Haltom is an attorney with the firm of Lewis Thomason in Memphis. Swanson worked as a women’s basketball operations assistant at Mount St. Joseph University and is currently a law student at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Nashville attorney Hal Hardin stepped down as president of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys  (NAFUSA) during the group’s recent annual conference in Nashville. Nashville Mayor David Briley and Tennessee Deputy Governor Jim Henry joined in welcoming NAFUSA to Nashville and proclaimed a “NAFUSA Week” in Nashville. Terry Flynn from the Western District of New York took over the reins of the organization from Hardin.

Kay Story is the TBA’s new continuing legal education coordinator. Prior to joining the TBA, Story spent 30 years at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, in many different roles. Additionally, she worked with Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis as a technology trainer and technical support advocate. A Nashville native, Story brings to the TBA a strong background of project management, event planning, marketing and customer service.


Memphis attorney MARVIN BALLIN, founder of criminal defense law firm Ballin, Ballin & Fishman, died Oct. 30. He was 87. A graduate of the Southern Law School in Memphis, Ballin had attended night classes while he and his wife worked during the day at their dry goods store, Rite Way Department Store. After earning his law degree, he worked part-time as a lawyer while continuing to run the store, and eventually closed the store to focus on law full time. In 1977, his son Leslie Ballin joined him in the practice. Ballin became known as one of the city’s great trial lawyers and in his honor the street in front of the courthouse was officially named Marvin Ballin Boulevard. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Baron Hirsch Synagogue, 400 South Yates, Memphis 38120.

Knoxville lawyer KENNETH S. “KENNY” CHRISTIANSEN died Oct. 26 after a long battle with an auto-immune disease and several complex medical conditions. He was 59. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1991, Christiansen joined the law firm of Finkelstein, Kern, Steinberg and Cunningham. He served there for more than 20 years. He was an elder in his church, an avid golfer and gardener. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Arthritis Foundation, the First Presbyterian Church of Knoxville or any other appropriate charity.

Former Columbia attorney and longtime community banker BEVERLY DOUGLAS JR. died Oct. 17. He was 92. Born in Nashville in 1926, Douglas received his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1950 and practiced law with the Nashville firm of Douglas and Douglas before joining the U.S. Navy and serving as an intelligence officer in the Korean War. In 1956, Douglas moved to Columbia to practice law with MacFarland, Colley and Douglas. He later left the firm to begin a long career at Middle Tennessee Bank. He retired when the bank was sold to First American in 1998.

Nashville lawyer JAMES ALAN FLEXER died Oct. 29 at the age of 61. A 1981 graduate of Tulane Law School, he founded and operated the Law Offices of James Flexer in downtown Nashville. He was a member of the TBA Bankruptcy Law Section as well as the TBA Senior Counselors Up to Something (TBASCUS) group. He practiced in the areas of bankruptcy, insolvency and reorganization, general civil litigation, family law and juvenile law. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson St., Nashville 37203 or to the charity of one’s choice.

CLAUDIA JACK, longtime public defender for Tennessee’s 22nd Judicial District, died Nov. 9 in Nashville. She was 75. A Vanderbilt Law School graduate, Jack was a past member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Board of Governors and was currently representing her district in the TBA House of Delegates. Jack started her career teaching eighth grade and at community college before enrolling in law school at 37. She then clerked for Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William J. Harbison and served as an assistant district attorney. She then joined her husband, Billy C. Jack, in the Jack and Jack law firm before her election to the public defender post in 1998.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Peters Episcopal Church in Columbia, 311 West Seventh St., Columbia TN 38401 or St John’s Churchyard in Ashwood, 1116 West Seventh St. PMB75, Columbia, TN 38401.

Nashville attorney COURTNEY ELIZABETH KNIGHT died Oct. 23 at the age of 48. Born in Florida, Knight moved to Nashville as a child. She graduated from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 1997, and returned to Nashville after graduation to work as an attorney for the State of Tennessee. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, P.O. Box 190640, Nashville 37219.

Nashville immigration attorney HARRY ELLIOTT OZMENT died Oct. 16 from complications following a stroke. He was 71. A 1975 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Ozment founded Ozment Law and became known for representing underdog causes in the city, including representing a woman shackled during child birth as she faced deportation, challenging the city’s involvement in the 287(g) federal deportation program and working to defeat a referendum that would have made English the official language of local government. He was a passionate advocate of civil rights and served as a Tennessee state representative for a time. Ozment was active in the TBA and its Immigration Section. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.

RANDOLPH “ANDY” VEAZEY, a partner with the law firm of Veazey & Tucker, died Oct. 25 from pancreatic cancer. He was 66. A longtime resident of Davidson County, Veazey earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 1978. Following graduation, he spent the first year as a clerk for the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He then joined Glasgow & Associates, which later became Glasgow & Veazey. He practiced in the areas of insurance defense, workers’ compensation, construction, products liability and tort liability. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Nashville School of Law, 4013 Armory Oaks Dr., Nashville 37204.