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Posted by: Sharon Ballinger and Stacey Shrader on Apr 28, 2009

Journal Issue Date: May 2009

Journal Name: May 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 5

The Tennessee Bar Foundation inducted its 2008 class of Fellows in January at a dinner in Nashville. New fellow are:
Paul A. Bates, Lawrenceburg
Mark S. Beveridge, Nashville
Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr., Nashville
Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins, Franklin
Andrew C. Branham, Memphis
Gary E. Brewer, Morristown
A. Stuart Campbell, Nashville
L. Webb Campbell II, Nashville
Frank S. Cantrell, Memphis
E. Franklin Childress Jr., Memphis
Catherine B. Clayton, Jackson
Chancellor William C. Cole, Atoka
Judge Curtis L. Collier, Chattanooga
S. Dawn Coppock, Strawberry Plains
D. Paul DeWitt, Nashville
J. Thomas DuBois, Columbia
Judge Timothy L. Easter, Franklin
State Representative C. Craig Fitzhugh, Ripley
Steven B. Greer, Paris
Celeste H. Herbert, Knoxville
Amy V. Hollars, Livingston
John T. Johnson Jr., Knoxville
John C. Knowles, Sparta
Robert L. Lockaby Jr., Chattanooga
Nancy F. MacLean, Brentwood
Frederick N. McLean, Paris
Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan Jr., Clarksville
Angelia M. Nystrom, Knoxville
Ted C. Raynor, Memphis
Richard A. Spivey, Kingsport
Michael N. St. Charles, Chattanooga
T. Lawrence Stewart, Nashville
Timothy L. Warnock, Nashville
William T. Wray Jr., Kingsport

Christopher D. David has joined the Chattanooga office of Husch Blackwell Sanders as an associate in the business litigation practice area. He previously served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. in the Eastern District of Tennessee. David earned his law degree in 2005 from the University of Georgia School of Law.

The Obion County Bar Association has named new officers for the 2009-2010 bar year. TBA members among them are President Damon Campbell and Vice President Bruce Stephens Conley, both of Conley, Campbell, Moss & Smith in Union City.

Memphis lawyer Hayden Lait has been named a 2009 Distinguished Fellow by the American College of Civil Trial Mediators. The college is dedicated to improving ethical and professional standards of mediation practice, fostering the growth of alternative dispute resolution and recognizing those who make major contributions to the ADR movement. Lait owns and operates the Mediation & Law Offices of Hayden Lait.

The Memphis law firm of McDonald Kuhn PLLC has named Evan Nahmias a member of the firm. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1998.

The Southeast Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women has named new officers and board members for 2009. Officers are President Kathryn M. Russell with Campbell & Campbell; President-elect Amanda B. Rogers with Luther Anderson PLLP; Treasurer Heather Magnuson with Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC; and Secretary Kathryn G. Smith with the Electric Power Board's legal division. Board members who are TBA members are Megan E. Demastus with Berke, Berke & Berke; Blair Bennington Cannon with Patrick, Beard, Schulman & Jacoway PC; and Rebecca Sierra Woods with Jenkins, Habernicht & Woods PLLC. All are from Chattanooga.

Oak Ridge attorney Bill Allen has been named president of the Anderson County Bar Association. He practices law with the firm of Mostoller, Stulberg, Whitfield and Allen.

Former TBA President Marcy Eason recently presented a program to the executive council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents in Boston on how to engage younger generations of lawyers in bar association work. Bar presidents and presidents-elect from across the United States attended the bi-annual conference. Eason practices commercial litigation, lender liability and products liability law in the Chattanooga office of Miller & Martin. She earned her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1979.

C. Tucker Herndon has joined the Nashville office of Bone McAllester Norton PLLC where he will focus his practice in the areas of commercial lending, creditors' rights, real estate, general business law and alcoholic beverage licensing and regulatory compliance. Herndon served as a clerk at the firm in 2005 while attending law school. He graduated in 2008 from the Nashville School of Law.

Chattanooga attorney Sam Elliott has been elected to a two-year term as chair of the Tennessee Historical Commission. Elliott, who is vice president of the Tennessee Bar Association, practices law with Gearhiser, Peters, Lockaby, Cavett & Elliott PLLC.

Kristen Vanderkooi
has announced the opening of a general law practice in Nashville, which will include representation of plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation and criminal defense. Vanderkooi is a 2004 graduate of the Nashville School of Law and a former Metro Nashville police officer. She spent four years with Neal & Harwell PLC prior to opening her own law office.

Julie Murphy Burnstein
has joined the Nashville firm of Leader, Bulso, Nolan & Burnstein PLC where she will focus on business and commercial litigation. She earned her law degree in 1996 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Dr. Kevin H. Smith, Thomas B. Preston Professor of Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, has been named dean of the school. He succeeds Dean Emeritus James Smoot. Smith joined the law school faculty in 1993 and has served as interim dean since October 2007. He holds a master, doctor of philosophy, and law degree from the University of Iowa. He practiced law in Maryland and taught as a visiting professor at Notre Dame Law School, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Northern Illinois University before joining the University of Memphis.

Knoxville lawyer George Underwood has been named president of the new William H. Hastie Chapter of the National Bar Association. An attorney with Spicer, Flynn & Rudstrom PLLC, Underwood will oversee the state's fourth chapter of the association, which is the nation's oldest and largest national association of predominately African American lawyers and judges.

Nashville lawyer Darlene T. Marsh has been appointed to the executive committee of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and will serve on the chamber's board of directors for 2009. Marsh practices law with Burr & Forman LLP and serves in the firm's environmental law group and commercial, real estate and finance group. She earned her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1988.

The Knoxville law firm of Watson, Roach, Batson, Rowell & Lauderback PLC recently announced that Hanson R. Tipton was named a member of the firm effective Jan. 1. Tipton handles civil and government tort litigation, workers' compensation cases and appellate work. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2002.

Memphis-based Apperson Crump & Maxwell PLLC has named Amy Harden Cannon and William King Self Jr. as members of the firm. Cannon focuses her practice in the area of domestic relations and family law. She earned her law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1999. Self practices in the areas of elder law, estate planning and administration and real estate, and is a certified elder law specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. He received his law degree from Tulane University in 1979.

Miller & Martin PLLC attorney W. Randall (Randy) Wilson has been named a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Wilson practices in the firm's Chattanooga office and handles general litigation in the areas of construction, health care and personal injury defense. He also provides general risk management advice to clients. Wilson graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1981.

The Jackson office of Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC recently announced that Michelle Greenway Sellers and Keely N. Wilson have been named partners in the firm. Sellers represents physicians, nurses, hospitals and clinics in medical malpractice litigation, and handles professional malpractice and automobile accident cases. She earned her law degree in 2000 from the University of Tennessee College of Law and currently is president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division. Wilson's practice focuses on tort litigation, dealing specifically with arson fraud, automobile liability litigation, premises liability and coverage. She joined the firm after receiving her law degree in 2000 from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Nashville attorney and trial consultant Phillip Miller served on the faculty of a national trial advocacy program at Harvard Law School, March 21-25. The program, "The Ultimate Trial Advocacy Course: Art of Persuasion," was sponsored by the American Association for Justice. He spoke on using storytelling as a jury tool and using focus groups to test the persuasiveness of an argument. Miller has been practicing law since 1980 and is a certified trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 1979.


Madison County lawyer and former judge WHIT SIMPSON LAFON died March 29 after suffering a stroke two weeks prior. He was 91. LaFon earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1948 and began practicing law in Jackson with the late Jack Woodall Sr. and then with the firm of the late Roger Murray Sr. He later served as assistant district attorney general until he was appointed by former Gov. Ned McWherter in 1987 to the 26th Judicial Circuit Court. LaFon retired from the bench in 1998 and opened a small private practice in Jackson, where he served intermittently. Among his many accomplishments, LaFon served as president of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association. The brother of Pauline Gore " former Vice President Al Gore's mother " LaFon was buried April 4 in Jackson's Hollywood Cemetery.

Chattanooga lawyer DUDLEY PORTER JR. died March 10 at the age of 93. Porter retired as vice chairman of the board of Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1976 after having led its legal department for 27 years. He then served as counsel to Chambliss & Bahner and later turned his attention to conservation and preservation as a co-founder of the Tennessee chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Porter earned his law degree in 1937 from the Cumberland Law School and worked as an assistant attorney general in Nashville before moving to Chattanooga. He served in the Army during World War II as a judge advocate of the 100th Infantry Division in France and Germany. Porter was a member of numerous community organizations as well as the Sixth Judicial Conference and the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Commission. He also was a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation. Memorial gifts may be made to the Second Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, the Nature Conservancy or a favorite charity.

THOMAS E. "PETE" SISSON, a former member of the Shelby County Commission, died Jan. 31 at the age of 81. At the time of his death he was serving as chief executive officer of TESCO Properties Inc., a family real estate management and development company founded in 1979. Sisson earned his law degree in 1960 from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis. After graduating, he served as Memphis Public Works commissioner and in 1976 was elected to the Shelby County Court, which would later become the Shelby County Commission. The family requests that memorials be sent to the Pete and Jewel Sisson Endowment Fund at Harding Academy.

Former Shelby County General Sessions Judge WILLIAM DAVID STINSON JR. died March 18 at the age of 82. A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, Stinson served as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court in Memphis and for the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He held the position of general sessions judge from 1970 to 1982. Following his judicial service, Stinson practiced law in Bolivar for 20 years. Memorials may be sent to the Bolivar Cumberland Presbyterian Church or to the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tenn.

Dresden attorney GEORGE C. THOMAS JR. died March 14. He was 90. A 1949 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Thomas was elected Weakley County judge in 1950. He served in that role through 1968. Following his judicial service, Thomas built a successful law practice that eventually included three other partners. He also served as field representative for congressmen Robert (Fats) Everett and Ed Jones for over 25 years. The family requests that memorials be sent to Dresden First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 105 S. Church Street, Dresden, TN 38225.