TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin & Linda Murphy on Dec 1, 2013

Journal Issue Date: Dec 2013

Journal Name: December 2013 - Vol. 49, No. 12

The Tennessee Justice Center recently named new board members, including TBA member and Memphis lawyer Andrew Branham. Rebecca K. McKelvey is the new board chair. Branham directs and oversees the Memphis office of Counsel On Call. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1981. McKelvey is an attorney in the Nashville office of Stites & Harbison. She earned her law degree from Mercer University in 2006.

Stites & Harbison has announced that it has opened a new office in Memphis that will specialize in patents and intellectual property. The move adds a third office in Tennessee for the Louisville, Ky.-based law firm. Intellectual property law and health care attorney Cong “Connie” Ding will staff the office, which is located at UT-Baptist Research Park, 20 South Dudley St., Suite 802, Memphis, TN 38103. Ding is a 2009 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law. She also holds a master degree in molecular biology and a medical degree from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.

Chattanooga lawyer Dan Gilmore has founded Squire Strategies, a labor and employment law and human resource consulting practice. His new firm is located in the Hamilton County Business Development Center’s INCubator at 100 Cherokee Blvd., Suite 208, Chattanooga, TN 37405. The office may be reached at (423) 602-7106.

Nashville lawyer David Broemel recently joined Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in the firm’s Insurance Regulatory Group as senior counsel. Broemel defends insurance trade associations and companies and handles acquisitions, regulatory issues and insolvency matters. He also has drafted and helped to pass major insurance legislation in Tennessee. Previously, Broemel was general counsel at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

The firm also announced that Kenneth “Steve” Powers, a shareholder in the Chattanooga office, has been elected chair of the American College of Transportation Attorneys. He will serve in the position for two years. At Baker Donelson, Powers handles transportation litigation and regulatory matters.

Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr. began his fourth term as presiding judge of the 20th Judicial District trial courts this fall. Binkley was first elected judge of Davidson County’s Fifth Circuit Court in 2008. In 2010, he was elected by the other judges of the district to serve as presiding judge. In September 2011 and 2012, he was elected to a second and third terms as presiding judge.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has named Robyn Diaz as its chief legal officer and senior vice president. Diaz joined the hospital’s Office of General Counsel as associate general counsel in August 2010. She was promoted to deputy general counsel in May 2012. Prior to joining the hospital, she was associate general counsel at MedStar Health and a health care attorney at Crowell & Moring, both in Washington, D.C. After relocating to Memphis, Diaz founded the Memphis Bar Association’s Health Law Section and was nominated to serve as its first chair in 2012. She earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Goran Musinovic has joined the Knoxville firm of Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter as an associate. He will focus his practice in the areas of construction law and federal government contracts. Musinovic earned his law degree in 2009 from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Prior to joining Woolf, McClane, Musinovic worked in Atlanta for a boutique construction law firm. He is licensed to practice in Tennessee, Georgia and the District of Columbia.

Cheryl Williams, previously an attorney with Rose Immigration Law Firm, has joined the Nashville office of Siskind Susser as a member. With 17 years of experience in immigration law, Williams focuses on employment- and family-based immigration, naturalization, employment verification matters and humanitarian cases.

Nashville lawyer Amy Rao Mohan has joined the law firm of Sherrard & Roe as an associate in the litigation group. She previously was a law clerk to Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Mohan received her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Prior to attending law school, Mohan was a reporter at WTVF in Nashville, where her coverage of the December 2004 Indonesian tsunami garnered two Emmy Awards.

Lauren Kilgore recently joined the Nashville office of Bowen, Hayes & Kreisberg (formerly Bowen & Unger), where she will focus on entertainment and intellectual property litigation and general civil trial work. Kilgore is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. Prior to joining the firm, she practiced general commercial litigation at Burr & Forman in Nashville.

Esther Bell, chief executive officer of Global Intellectual Property Asset Management in Knoxville, recently was appointed to the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the International Trademark Association. The association is a global, not-for-profit organization comprised of thousands of trademark professionals. Bell earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee in 2001.

The Nashville firm of Morgan & Akins has hired B. Duane Willis as a senior attorney. Willis, who has 15 years’ experience in civil litigation, will focus his practice on insurance law, workers’ compensation, automobile and trucking liability, employment law, products liability, premises liability and Black Lung litigation. Willis graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1998. Prior to joining the firm, he was a partner at Manier & Herod.

The Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently honored Legal Aid attorney and domestic violence prevention advocate Jean Crowe. Crowe retired in September after 28 years of service in the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Her nearly three decades with Legal Aid included 15 years as managing attorney of the Family Law Section, where she crafted a program centered on holistic advocacy and helping clients become self-sufficient.

Williamson County General Sessions Court Judge Denise Andre recently was selected by her peers to serve as middle district vice president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference. Andre was elected to the bench in 2006. In addition to handling criminal and civil dockets, she is founder and presiding judge of the General Sessions DUI Court, an intensive program for repeat DUI offenders.

University of Tennessee College of Law professor George Kuney has authored a new book, A Civil Matter: A Guide to Civil Procedure and Litigation, both as a print edition and an e-book. Published by West, the book is a concise overview of the civil litigation process under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The author says the book is intended as an introduction and overview of civil litigation for those who need to develop a detailed understanding of the process quickly and efficiently.

Williamson County attorney Vince Wilcox has been named the new coordinator for the 21st Judicial District Drug Court, which provides alternative sentencing programs for non-violent offenders in Williamson, Hickman, Perry and Lewis counties. Wilcox had been working for the district’s public defender. Prior to earning his law degree at the Nashville School of Law, Wilcox worked in the music business. He also holds a master’s degree in counseling.

Knoxville lawyers Mary D. Miller and Heather G. Anderson have founded Miller Anderson Law Group. The pair will focus on real estate law, bankruptcy, banking, employment law, construction law and counseling small businesses. The firm is located at 2108 Keller Bend Rd., Knoxville, TN 37922 and can be reached at (865) 934-4000.

The Nashville Young Leaders Council has selected eight attorneys as well as TBA staff member Brittany Sims as part of its newest class. The group will attend 11 weekly sessions during which they will hear from speakers covering topics such as fundraising, strategic planning and legal responsibilities of board members. Class participants who are TBA members include Bradley Bakker of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Ashonti Davis of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada; David Green of Waller; and Mary Lauren Teague of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs.

Waller partner and chair John Tishler will serve as 2014 campaign chair for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands’ annual Campaign for Equal Justice. Other campaign leaders who are TBA members include: large firm co-chair Robert Mendes of Frost Brown Todd, small firm co-chair Spruell Driver Jr., corporate attorneys chair Kathryn Stephenson of Corrections Corporation of America, Williamson County chair Joseph Jensen of Stites & Harbison, and judges co-chairs Philip Smith and Rachel Bell, both serving on the bench in the 20th Judicial District.

The Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association has installed Jackson lawyer Bradford Box as its new president. Box is a member of Rainey Kizer Reviere & Bell and serves on the firm’s executive committee. The association, which represents lawyers engaged in civil defense litigation, also announced the following new officers: President Elect James Tucker and Director Heather Douglas with Manier & Herod in Nashville; Secretary-Treasurer Catherine Dugan of Costangy Brooks & Smith in Nashville; and Vice President Philip Mischke of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in Memphis. Sarah Reisner of Manier & Herod rotated off the board after six years of service.

Correction: An announcement in the November 2013 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal misspelled the name of former Memphis city attorney Monice Hagler, who recently joined with two other lawyers to form Hagler Bruce Turner Law. The Journal regrets the error.


Retired Memphis attorney JAMES CLARK BLACKBURN, 79, died Oct. 23. A graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, Blackburn moved to Memphis in 1959 and practiced law there for 40 years until his retirement. He was appointed a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President John F. Kennedy and served on a special committee to investigate police brutality in Memphis after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Arts Memphis, the Wolf River Conservancy or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Longtime Memphis lawyer and businessman LEO JOSEPH BUCHIGNANI, 90, died Nov. 1. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1948, he returned to his hometown of Memphis. He established the law firm of Buchignani & Greener in 1950 and worked there until he retired as senior partner in the 1980s. Buchignani was active in the state and local bar, serving as chair of the TBA’s Unlawful Practice of Law Committee from 1955 to 1957 and holding numerous positions with the Memphis & Shelby County Bar Association. Buchignani went on to serve as president of the Memphis Bar Association from 1966 to 1967, and as commissioner of the Tennessee Judicial Standards Commission and Law Revision Commission. He was elected to the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee and served as its president. With two of his business partners, he also founded Catherine’s and built it into a 74-store national chain that pioneered the plus-sized women’s clothing business.

THOMAS EVERETT CRAWFORD SR., who served in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office as a prosecutor for 25 years, died Oct. 29. A veteran of World War II, he was an Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and parachuted into LeHavre, France. Crawford was an active supporter of numerous charities, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He earned his law degree from Southern Law University and was licensed to practice law in Tennessee in 1952. Memorials may be sent to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Chattanooga pastor BEN HADEN, 88, died Oct. 24. Haden earned degrees from the University of Texas and the Washington and Lee University School of Law. He founded Long Oil Co., a gas distribution business, and served as a security operative with the Central Intelligence Agency. He later entered the newspaper business in Kingsport, becoming vice president and general manager of the Kingsport Times-News. He then earned a degree at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. In 1967 he moved to Chattanooga as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, where he served for more than 31 years. During this time, his television program “Changed Lives” was syndicated to radio and television stations nationwide.

Knoxville lawyer JOHN MADISON SMARTT, 94, died Nov. 13. During World War II he served as an army officer before returning to UT and receiving a law degree in 1948. He was the UT Director of Alumni Affairs from 1948 to 1969 before joining the law firm of Fowler Rowntree & Robinson. Later he was associated with Ambrose Wilson Grimm & Durand. He co-coordinated the Tennessee Law Institute from 1972-1988. In lieu of flowers, consider Athletes in Action, Kiwanis Youth Foundation, or Jeanne Barkley Endowment, UT Advancement Services.

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 PEOPLE, c/o The Journal at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219-2198, or email to lmurphy@tnbar.org. Submissions are subject to editing. Pictures are used on a space-available basis and cannot be returned. Electronic photos must be saved as a tiff or jpeg (with no compression), minimum resolution 200 dpi, and at least 1"x1.5" or they will not be used.