TBA Law Blog


Posted by: TBA News on Aug 1, 2016

Journal Issue Date: Aug 2016

Journal Name: August 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 8

The Legal Aid Society announced that a $100,000 gift from legal aid co-founder Harris A. Gilbert and his children will be used to establish the Gilbert Family Fellowship. The fellowship will fund staff efforts to identify and resolve legal issues facing children and young adults. Attorneys designated as fellows are Paige Barbeauld, Clarksville; Sonya Bellafant, Columbia; Rachel Moses, Cookeville; Cherrelle Hooper, Gallatin; Aimee Luna, Murfreesboro; Kimberly deMent and Emma Sholl, Nashville; Theresa-Vay Smith, Oak Ridge; and Rae Anne Seay, Tullahoma. Vidhi Joshi, who focuses on helping low-income individuals with criminal records, will provide assistance to the group.

Three attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands have been selected as fellows in the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s 2016 Racial Justice Training Institute (RJTI). They are Patricia Jones from the Columbia office, Samuel Keen from the Clarksville office and Marla Williams, managing attorney of the Cookeville office. They are the first, and currently only, participants from Tennessee. They will spend the next six months researching disparate expulsions, suspensions and disciplinary actions among students.

LASMTC also announced that Andrae Crismon, managing attorney in the Murfreesboro office, was named Volunteer of the Week for the week of June 15 by Volunteer Rutherford. Crismon was recognized for his work with a weekly legal clinic where he has served since 2009.

William. T. “Bill” Robinson III has been named chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the American Judicial System. He will take office at the ABA’s annual meeting in San Francisco in August. Robinson, a licensed Tennessee attorney, is the member- in-charge of the Florence, Kentucky, office of Frost Brown Todd. He has been an active member of the ABA for more than 30 years and served as its president from 2011 to 2012.

Shuttleworth Williams recently announced the addition of Frank S. Cantrell and Alex Hall to its Memphis office. Cantrell joins the firm after serving for 12 years with Memphis Area Legal Services, most recently as its deputy director and general counsel. He will focus on employment law, general liability, management/ employee training and alternative dispute resolution. Hall, a 2015 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, will focus on general liability, medical malpractice, and premises and products liability. Prior to joining the firm he participated in the Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator Program as a legal consultant for sports and technology startups.

The firm also announced that Robert W. Briley has been elected to its board of directors. Briley joined the firm in 2009 after serving 10 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He focuses on civil litigation with a special emphasis on employment practices liability.

Waller has elected two members to its board of directors. They are James H. “Jay” Nixon III and W. Travis Parham. The firm also recently named three new practice leaders. Mark Peters was named leader of the labor and employment group, while David R. Clay and MaryEllen S. Pickrell were named co-leaders of the corporate group. All five practice in the firm’s Nashville office.

Nashville lawyer and retired judge Robert Brandt has authored Painted Trillium, a work of historical fiction. The novel is set in Murfreesboro and tells the story of local women who experience the encampment of the federal army in their city during the Civil War. The book was published by Wandering in the Words Press in June.

William C. Argabrite of Kingsport took office as the 35th chair of the Tennessee Bar Foundation at the group’s annual meeting in Nashville in June. Argabrite, an attorney with Hunter, Smith & Davis, is the first chair to serve from Kingsport. Judge Barbara Holmes of Nashville is the foundation’s outgoing chair. In addition, Jackson lawyer Linda Warren Seely was elected as a trustee from West Tennessee. She spent many years with West Tennessee Legal Services and Memphis Area Legal Services and now heads the West Tennessee chapter of A Step Ahead Foundation.

Maggie Rowland has been named a judicial clerk to Senior Judge John T. Nixon of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Rowland earned her law degree in 2014 from Belmont University College of Law. She had been serving as a staff attorney at Patterson Intellectual Property Law in Nashville since graduating.

Patrick Frogge has been elected executive director of the Tennessee District Public Defenders Conference. He succeeds retired director Jeff Henry. Frogge earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law. After graduation, he clerked for Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry Smith and then joined the Nashville Public Defender’s Office. In 2005, he co-founded Bell, Tennent & Frogge, a boutique firm focused on criminal defense.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Robert Montgomery of Kingsport was installed as the 64th president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference during the group’s annual meeting in June. He succeeds Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeff Bivins. Others taking office at the meeting included Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft of Memphis, who was named president-elect, and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tim Easter of Williamson County, who was named moving vice president.

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has moved its Oak Ridge office to Victory Centre, 575 Oak Ridge Turnpike. All phone numbers remain unchanged. According to the organization, the new space will provide convenient access for clients and guests and greater amenities for staff, including new technology. The office serves low-income individuals in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan, Roane, Scott and Union counties.

Nashville lawyer Randall L. Kinnard has received the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Tennessee Association for Justice. The award recognizes his skills and achievements in civil justice.

Nashville law firm Bone McAllester Norton recently announced that Jonathan R. Burns has joined the firm. He will practice in the areas of estate planning, probate, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and taxation. Burns previously practiced law with Watkins & McNeilly, also in Nashville.

Herrington Honored for CASA Volunteer Work

At the Tennessee Bar Association Convention in June, the Young Lawyers Division Children’s Issues Committee honored its annual Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer of the Year award winner. This year the designation was given to April Herrington, a volunteer with CASA of Maury County.

Herrington, of College Grove, Tenn., is a substitute teacher who has volunteered with CASA for two years. She was given the award for her work as a Fostering Futures mentor. With her work and dedication, Herrington was able to reach older children who had resisted mentorship previously.

“She has contributed significantly to the success of our program and more importantly to the children she has been assigned to serve,” said Kristin Parker, executive director for CASA of Maury County. “Serving the needs of older youth has been a passion of hers from the start.”

In her first assignment, Herrington built a strong relationship with her mentee, and when the young woman aged out of the program at 18, they continued working together to develop a resource for teens called a Life Box. The Life Box is a toolkit of documents, organizational items and instructional materials — color-coded files, a planner, paper clips, pens, etc. — aimed at older foster youth approaching the age of 18, which is the age they must transition into supporting themselves. Volunteers help fill the plastic file boxes up with documents like birth certificates, immunization records, transcripts, resumes and other information they might need to secure employment, housing and access to community services. Herrington said that she brainstormed roadblocks that could prohibit a young person from accessing the basic necessities, such as lack of credit and money management skills or lack of key contacts, and included those as well.

“I approached the boxes as a life survival kit,” said Herrington. “If I were dropped off in Somewhere, USA, with nothing but the clothes on my back, what would I need to get on my feet?”

Herrington persists in her work with the Life Boxes to ensure that the information stays up to date, as well as continuing her role in the lives of the young people she mentors.
 “I was so honored to be selected by the YLD,” she added. “If a box helps one kid in one way, from not going hungry to graduating from college, it will prove its usefulness in my eyes.”

— Katharine Heriges

The Tennessee Bar Association welcomed several new staff members this summer.  Sonya Cliff is the new finance director. Most recently, Customer Service and Accounts Receivable Coordinator Tanja Trezise filled in that role on an interim basis. Cliff comes to the TBA with experience in accounting for health care, education and insurance industries, She holds a bachelors degree in accounting from  Tennessee State University and a masters of business administration from Strayer University.

Brenna Scheving is a new CLE coordinator. A Nashville native, she holds a bachelor of arts degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Before joining the TBA, she worked in health care market analysis and spent several years as a bookseller in New York.

J. Scott “Skip” Rudsenske is coordinator for the TBA’s new program Legal Assistance Volunteers for Patent Applicants (LAVPA). Prior to joining the TBA, he practiced intellectual property and entertainment law for 27 years in Tennessee and Texas. He also has an extensive background working with non-profit organizations and has been a volunteer attorney for both Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts and Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts.


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 SUCCESS! c/o The Journal at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219-2198, or email to lmurphy@tnbar.org.

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