TJC Honors with Pro Bono Awards - Articles

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Posted by: Sharon Ballinger and Stacey Shrader on Jun 22, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Jul 2009

Journal Name: July 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 7

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has awarded its annual pro bono firm and attorney of the year awards. The Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings was named "Pro Bono Firm of the Year" for its work representing needy families in TennCare appeals. Throughout 2008, 15 attorneys at the firm provided approximately 500 hours of pro bono legal services to TJC clients. Firmwide, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings attorneys provided a total of 4,252 hours of pro bono service in 2008, according to the firm's pro bono partner David Taylor.

Nashville lawyer Michael Abelow, a member with Sherrard & Roe, was named "Pro Bono Attorney of the Year" for his work on a lawsuit challenging the state's decision to limit home health care for adult TennCare patients. In the fall of 2008, the state of Tennessee began reducing private duty nursing and home health care services for 900 fragile adults across the state. Abelow worked with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, the National Health Law Program and an attorney from Philadelphia to successfully challenge the cuts under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Abelow focuses his practice on complex commercial disputes. He earned his law degree in 2000 from Washington & Lee University School of Law.

Jessica McGarity Hackett has joined the Memphis law firm of Domico Kyle PLLC, which focuses on medical malpractice, insurance and railroad defense. Hackett graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2008. While in law school, she clerked for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Karen R. Williams.
The law firm also recently announced its relocation to a new suite of offices in the Tower at Peabody Place. The firm is now located in Suite 1300. All other mailing address information, phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses remain the same.

Knoxville lawyer George T. Underwood Jr., an associate with the law firm of Spicer Rudstrom PLLC, has been elected founding president of the newly formed William H. Hastie Chapter of the National Bar Association (NBA). Underwood earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1986. He practices in the areas of employment law, civil rights, criminal law, family law, insurance defense and products liability. The new Knoxville chapter is the fourth NBA chapter in Tennessee, with other branches located in Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville.

The Knoxville law firm of Gentry, Tipton & McLemore recently added two attorneys, both natives of Knoxville, to its roster. Meg Brown joined the firm earlier this year after working in the New York City office of a global law firm. She earned her law degree in 2003 from the Vanderbilt University Law School, where she served as managing editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment Law and Practice. Brown went on to receive an L.L.M. in taxation from the New York University of Law. Catherine Lane Colocotronis joined the firm in December after working as corporate counsel for Knoxville-based Jewelry Television and practicing corporate and securities law for nine years with Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Va., and Knoxville. She earned her law degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law, where she was on the editorial board of the Washington & Lee Review. Colocotronis focuses her practice on a wide variety of corporate and business planning needs and media law.

Melanie E. Davis, a partner in the Maryville law firm of Kizer & Black PLLC, has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. She joins a small but select group of 300 Tennessee attorneys who have completed a rigorous certification process required by the state Supreme Court. Davis practices in the areas of business, estate and personal injury litigation as well as municipal and government law. She also represents developers and property owners associations.


Memphis native JOSEPH BAUM died April 25 of congestive heart failure in Maryland. He was 78. Baum served for 20 years as chief judge of the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals " the only military service court with civilian members. Baum also had a distinguished career as a Naval legal officer before joining the Coast Guard. He earned his law degree from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1955.

Nashville lawyer J. CLARENCE EVANS died May 20 at the age of 92. Among his many accomplishments, Evans co-founded the Nashville law firm Evans, Jones & Reynolds, served as state finance commissioner and helped form Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp. Evans graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1939 and completed two years at Harvard Law School. On his 25th birthday, he flew from Boston to Nashville, took and passed the Tennessee bar examination and then reported for active military duty. As a squadron commander flying over Germany, he was shot down and spent 14 months as a POW. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart for his service. Evans returned home, completed coursework at Harvard in 1946, and began practicing law with the firm of Williams, Cummings & West. He created Evans, Jones & Reynolds in 1986 and maintained an active legal practice until just two years ago.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Association of Graduates West Point Fund, 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996.

Memphis attorney and former Memphis Bar Association President MARVIN C. GOFF JR. died May 13 at the age of 93. Goff earned his law degree in 1947 from the Virginia School of Law and practiced in Memphis until his retirement in 1983. He served as president of the Memphis Bar Association in 1965. Funeral services were held at Memorial Park Funeral Home.

R. B. "PETE" HAILEY of Sevierville died May 1 at the age of 87. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and serving in the Pacific theater during World War II, Hailey attended law school at Washington and Lee University, earning his law degree in 1950. He was later recalled to active military duty in the Korean War, where he earned the rank of commander. Returning to civilian life, Hailey practiced law for 55 years, worked as a real estate developer, and served in numerous civic and public service positions in Sevierville and across the state. Funeral services were held at the First United Methodist Church in Sevierville and at Shiloh Cemetery. Members of the Sevier County Bar Association served as honorary pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 214 Cedar St., Sevierville, TN 37862 or Holston Home for Children, P. O. Box 188, Greeneville, TN 37744.

Former Knoxville Bar Association President JOE R. HAYNES died May 20 at the age of 88. Haynes graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1948. He served as president of the Knoxville Bar Association in 1966, and was awarded the association's highest honor, the Governor's Award, in 2004. He was also named a fellow of the Knoxville Bar Foundation and served as president of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Central Baptist Church of Fountain City, 5364 North Broadway, Knoxville, TN 37918.

Retired Knoxville lawyer WILLIAM H. OVERCASH, 83, died May 2 at Hillcrest West Nursing Home. A North Carolina native, Overcash served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. Between terms of service, he earned a masters degree in accounting and a law degree (1951) from the University of Tennessee. As a lawyer, he served as tax counsel for a number of U.S. firms and retired in 1993 as director of international taxation for Georgia Pacific. Funeral services were held at Rose Mortuary Broadway Chapel. Interment with full military honors followed at Woodlawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family request memorials be made to Lake Hills Presbyterian Church, 3805 Maloney Rd., Knoxville, TN 37920.

Knoxville lawyer and Fountain City native IVAN THOMAS PRIVETTE JR. died May 23 after a long battle with leukemia. He was 65. A 1968 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, he first practiced law with his father, Ivan T. Privette Sr., and then went into solo practice. Funeral services were held at the Stevens Mortuary Chapel with internment at Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Fountain City Lions Club c/o Fountain City Exxon, 5306 North Broadway, Knoxville, TN 37918.