TBA Law Blog


Posted by: TBA News on Oct 1, 2016

Journal Issue Date: Oct 2016

Journal Name: October 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 10

The Chattanooga law firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon recently announced that Jacob L. Perry has joined the firm. Perry will practice primarily in the area of civil litigation. He previously clerked for Hamilton County Chancellors Jeffrey M. Atherton and Pamela A. Fleenor. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) recently hosted its Annual Pro Bono Night in Chattanooga and recognized several lawyers for outstanding pro bono work. The Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award was presented to Chattanooga attorney William A. “Trey” Harris III, who has served on the LAET Board since in 2002. The Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award was presented to Susan R. Gruber, who kept regular office hours in LAET’s Chattanooga office during the past several years. Hamilton County Chancellor Jeff Atherton served as master of ceremonies and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Roger A. Page gave the keynote address.

Andrae Crismon, managing attorney of the Murfreesboro office of Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, was selected for the Center for Non-Profit Management’s “30 in Their 30s” leaders. Crismon was recognized at a dinner in September.

Baker Donelson shareholder George T. “Buck” Lewis has been named chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. The committee is responsible for developing and assessing pro bono programs and policies that affect lawyers’ ability to provide free legal services. Lewis, who practices in Memphis, is a past chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and a past president of the TBA.

Jill Bartee Ayers was recently sworn in as Circuit Court Part IV judge by Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer. She will serve the 19th Judicial District, which includes Robertson and Montgomery counties.

Leah Roen is the new director of pro bono services at Memphis Area Legal Services. She joins the agency after 26 years in private practice at her own firm and at Thorp, Fones & Frulla, which has since dissolved. Roen graduated from the University of Florida and earned her law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law.

Jonathan Cole, a shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Nashville office, has been elected president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP). He is the first Nashville lawyer to be elected to the position. In this role, he will oversee programs providing leadership training, networking and information sharing for bar leaders across the country and abroad. Cole previously served as president of the Nashville Bar Association and chair of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division.

Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Bill Young of Nashville as chancellor in the 20th Judicial District. Young had been associate attorney general in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office since 2014. During that time he was responsible for handling work with the Tennessee General Assembly, the executive branch and other state offices. Young served as administrative director for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts from 2013 to 2014 and solicitor general from 2011 to 2013.

The Nashville Bar Foundation has named 24 attorneys to its 2016-2017 Leadership Forum. The nine-month professional development program offers an opportunity to learn, collaborate and network. TBA members among the group are Justin Campbell, Thompson Burton; Allison Cooley, Legal Aid Society; Mandy Floyd, Bone McAllester Norton; Courtney Grande, Bass, Berry & Sims; Jessica Hill, Frost Brown Todd; Ryan Holt, Sherrard Roe Voight & Harbison; Martesha Johnson, Metro Public Defender’s Office; Sara Anne Quinn, Butler Snow; Ben Raybin, Raybin & Weissman; Josiah Reid, Lewis Thomason; Gil Schuette, Sims Funk; Roger Scruggs, Littler Mendelson; Alexis Soler, Federal Public Defender’s Office; Lauren Spahn, Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton; John Spragens, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein; and Maia Woodhouse, Baker Donelson.

Memphis lawyer Brian S. Faughnan has been appointed to a two-year term on the board of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, a non-profit organization of lawyers and academics who focus their practice on ethics and professional responsibility, risk management, legal malpractice and the law of lawyering. Faughnan practices with Lewis Thomason in the area of ethics and professional responsibility, commercial and appellate litigation, and media law.

The U. S. Commission on Civil Rights recently announced the appointment of nine Tennessee Advisory Committee members. TBA members among them are professors Brian Krumm and Valerie Vojdik with the University of Tennessee College of Law, and Nashville lawyers J. Gregory Grisham with Ford & Harrison, Justin Owen with the Beacon Center of Tennessee and Daniel Horwitz. Each will serve a four-year term and be responsible for reporting on and recommending action on state and local civil rights issues such as justice, voting, discrimination, housing and education.

The Nashville law firm of SIMS|FUNK has hired Michael O’Neill to be of counsel with the firm. O’Neill’s experience includes 10 years as a partner with the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emory handling complex business litigation matters. He earned his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. He is licensed to practice in California and Tennessee.

After 35 years in the same location, the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has moved its Tullahoma office to 281 Industrial Blvd. All phone numbers remain unchanged. Six employees work at the office providing free legal assistance to low-income individuals in Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Moore and Warren counties.

Knoxville lawyer Eddy Pratt has been elected to a three-year term on the board of the East Tennessee Historical Society. A shareholder with Baker Donelson, Pratt focuses his practice on personal injury, products liability, construction and general commercial disputes. He also has been city attorney for the city of Norris since 1989.

The Nashville law firm of Raybin & Weissman has relocated to newly renovated offices in the Fifth Third Center in downtown Nashville. The firm’s new address is 424 Church St., Suite 2120, Nashville, TN 37219. Phone and fax numbers remain the same.

Two juvenile court judges were honored by the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for exceptional service in advancing juvenile justice. Madison County Judge Christy R. Little and Henry County Judge Vicki Snyder were presented the McCain-Abernathy Memorial Award at the group’s annual conference in Memphis. Both judges serve general sessions courts with juvenile jurisdiction.

William J. “Bill” Hardegree and Nicholas B. Latimer have joined the Jackson law firm of Spragins, Barnett & Cobb as associate attorneys. Hardegree earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 2015. He will focus on business and tort litigation. Latimer earned his law degree from the University of Memphis in 2012. He will focus in the areas of residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy-creditor’s rights, probate and estate planning, and general business law.

Bass, Berry & Sims recently announced the addition of Samar S. Ali who will assist clients with international business operations from the firm’s offices in Nashville and Washington, D.C. Ali has experience serving in a variety of international roles including helping a previous employer establish a presence in the Middle East, serving as a third-party mediator for Syria and working as Tennessee’s assistant commissioner of international affairs. She also served as a White House fellow, clerk to U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gilbert S. Merritt and an attorney with Bone McAllester Norton. Ali earned her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and is the chair of the TBA International Law and Practice Section.

Leadership Middle Tennessee has announced the members of its 2017 class. TBA members among the group are Jay Ingrum, an attorney with Phillips & Ingrum Attorneys at Law in Gallatin, and Brenda Gadd, public policy coordinator at the TBA. The 10-month program, now operated through Cumberland University, features business, community and nonprofit leaders from 10 counties in the Nashville area. Gadd also recently was named to the new Nashville Council on Gender Equity, which is charged with identifying gender inequity problems and recommending solutions on a range of issues, including access to health and child care, economic opportunities and family services.

The YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee has named Judge Aleta Trauger as one of its 2016 Academy for Women of Achievement. The distinction honors women who, through excellence and leadership in their chosen fields, serve as role models for other women. Trauger serves on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Stites & Harbison attorney Stephanie Taylor was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Chancellor’s Alumni Advisory Council of the University of Nebraska. Taylor earned her undergraduate degree in music and her law degree from the university. She spent nearly two decades performing as a violinist and fiddle player while building a law practice. She now works as an entertainment and music industry attorney in the Stites’ Nashville office.

Clinton lawyer Bruce Fox with Fox & Farley was named president-elect of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association at the group’s annual meeting. He will take office as president in June 2017. The Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association also recently announced that it reverted back to its original name, forsaking the Tennessee Association for Justice name.

Karen Turnage Boyd has been named site coordinator for Sullivan County’s future Family Justice Center. Boyd previously worked in private practice and as a mediator. The center is slated to be fully operational in July 2018.

The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter honored Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby as a Special Distinguished Alumna at its 2016 Pillars of Excellence Awards Ceremony and Dinner in August. Kirby graduated from the law school in 1982 and is the first Memphis Law graduate to serve on the state Supreme Court. Others recognized by the group were Memphis lawyers G. Pat Arnoult with Evans Petree; Saul Belz with Glankler Brown; John Dunlap and Henry Klein with Apperson Crump; Jef Feibelman with Burch, Porter & Johnson; Philip Kaminsky with Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh; and former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

Nashville lawyer Gabe Roberts was named the 2016 Nashville Emerging Leader in the legal services category by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville. Roberts, an attorney with the Bureau of TennCare, serves on the TBA Health Law Section’s Executive Council.


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. 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. For information on paid Professional Announcements, contact Ayla Buckner at 800-647-1511 or ads@llm.com.