Success! & Passages - Articles

All Content

Posted by: Journal News on May 21, 2019

Journal Issue Date: Jun 2019

Journal Name: Vol 55 No 6

Nashville lawyer Christine Lapps has been named deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Revenue. She took office on April 22. Lapp has spent the last 12 years working on state and local taxation issues for corporate clients at Ernst & Young. She previously worked at the Department of Revenue in the Legal and Administrative Hearing Office and was a litigator in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office.

Leticia Mason has joined the Nashville criminal defense firm of Freeman & Fuson where she will handle immigration-related cases. A native of Mexico, Mason earned a law degree and practiced law in her home country before moving to Nashville. After relocating to the United States, she went back to law school at the Nashville School of Law, graduating in 2008 and starting her own law practice. She later worked as the Spanish language court interpreter for the Davidson County Criminal Courts and as an assistant district attorney in Davidson County.

Wells & Associates PLLC opened a new law firm in Memphis in April. The firm is located at 81 Monroe Ave., Suite 400, Memphis 38103 and can be reached at 901-507-2520, or online at The firm will focus on litigation for the injured and the accused, including a unique focus on hearing loss from the use of military-supplied ear plugs. TBA members who have joined the firm are Murray B. Wells, Aaron A. Neglia and NyKedra D. Jackson.

Patrick H. Morris has joined the Memphis office of Adams and Reese as an associate. He will focus on civil litigation involving breach of contract, torts, negligence, fraud and misrepresentation. He also has experience representing clients in arbitration and handling labor and employment disputes, unfair business practices and premises liability.

The Lawyers Association for Women (LAW) Marion Griffin Chapter recently awarded its 2019 Martha Craig Daughtrey Award to Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman, a founding member of LAW and the first president of the group. Bonnyman recently retired from the 20th Judicial Chancery Court after 16 years of service. Prior to serving on the bench, she was a partner with the Nashville law firm of Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford and worked as the Davidson County Chancery Court clerk and master.
   Also, at the group’s annual meeting in April, new officers and leaders took office. TBA members among the group are President Christen Blackburn with Lewis Thomason; President-Elect Sara Anne Quinn with Butler Snow; Secretary Kimberly Faye Clark with Waller; Treasurer Leighann Ness at HCA Healthcare; First Year Director Shellie Handelsman with Shuttleworth; Second Year Director Kyonzte Hughes-Toombs, deputy general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Health; and newsletter chairs Chambre Malone with Bridgestone Americas, Tabitha Robinson with Nashville Electric Service and Caroline Sapp with the Law Offices of John Day.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings recently received the 2018 Chapter 11 Reorganization of the Year Award ($50 to $100 million) for the firm’s role in the case of Vanguard Healthcare and its 17 subsidiaries. Firm partners involved in the case were lead bankruptcy attorney William L. Norton III, lead corporate counsel Michael D. Brent, and lead litigation counsel Ty E. Howard. The award was presented during the 2019 M&A Advisor Distressed Investing Summit in March. Norton accepted the award on behalf of the group. All three practice in the firm’s Nashville office.

Nashville law firm SIMS|FUNK has added Robert A. Peal as a partner. Peal’s experience includes representing clients in business, construction, products liability, entertainment and aviation-related litigation; white collar criminal defense; False Claims Act defense and prosecution; crisis management; and internal investigations. Peal is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Vanderbilt University Law School. Before practicing law, Peal served in the Marine Corps as a flight officer and JAG prosecutor.

University of Tennessee lecturer and Knoxville attorney Joe Jarret has been elected president of the Blount County Bar Association and president of the Tennessee Mediation Association.

Jake Mason, owner of the Heritage Law Group in Gallatin, is newly certified as an estate planning law specialist (EPLS) by the Estate Law Specialist Board. To become certified, an attorney must devote one-third of his or her practice to estate planning for a minimum of five years, pass a comprehensive exam and receive recommendations from five colleagues. Mason also handles business succession planning, elder law, probate and veterans benefits. He holds a law degree from Washington & Lee University and a master of laws in elder law and estate planning from Western New England University School of Law.

Longtime Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands attorney Lucinda Smith has left the firm after 16 years. Smith has led Legal Aid Society’s pro bono work since joining the firm in 2003. She initiated the firmwide Volunteer Lawyers Program in 2014, helping to expand pro bono support from two to 48 counties in Middle Tennessee by developing and strengthening partnerships with law firms in Nashville. In this position, she created partnerships with law firms and lawyers that provided volunteer lawyer resources to represent up to 2,500 clients annually. Andrae P. Crismon Sr., managing attorney of Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro office, has been promoted to take over Smith’s role.
Bone McAllester Norton has added attorney R. Colten Jones to its Hendersonville office. He will handle general civil litigation, estate planning, intellectual property issues, and commercial and employment litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Jones focused on insurance defense at the Nashville law firm of Brewer, Krause, Brooks & Chastain. He earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky and worked as a staff attorney at the Warren County Circuit Court in Bowling Green before moving to Nashville.

Amanda Eager has joined the Tennessee Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education department as a section and CLE coordinator. She has worked in operations and accounting roles for real estate, construction and health care organizations in Tennessee. She has extensive experience in customer relations, project/program management and she is a notary public.
Eager received her bachelor’s degree in political science from UT Knoxville and her master’s in business administration with a concentration in business management from MTSU. 




Memphis attorney and former TBA President JAMES FRASER HUMPHREYS JR. died on May 6. He was 93. Humphreys graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1950. A veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, he practiced law for more than 50 years in Memphis and was senior partner of Humphreys, Dunlap, Wellford, Acuff and Stanton. Humphreys served as TBA president in 1993-94, and was also a former president of the Memphis Bar Association and the Memphis Bar Foundation. He served many years on the boards and as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Tennessee Bar Foundation. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to Idlewild Presbyterian Church, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Church Health or the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Memphis lawyer ROBERTSON “BOBBY” LEATHERMAN died April 25 at the age of 59. A graduate of the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Leatherman attended the University of Mississippi as well as the university’s School of Law. Following graduation, he returned to Memphis to work at the law firm of Armstrong Allen. He later left to practice on his own and focus on complex commercial litigation, business matters, personal injury and nursing home cases. At the time of his death, he was the TBA Tort and Insurance Law Section chair. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis 38105 or at

Retired judge JAMES B. "BUDDY" SCOTT JR. of Oak Ridge, died on May 9. He was 83. A 1965 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Scott became the Anderson County Circuit and Criminal Court Judge in 1978 and was reelected every election thereafter until retirement in 2005. Prior to becoming a judge, he served as the assistant district attorney general for Roane, Loudon, Blount, Meigs and Morgan counties. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the American Heart Association at