TBA Law Blog


Posted by: TBA News on Jan 1, 2017

Journal Issue Date: Jan 2017

Journal Name: January 2017 - Vol. 53, No. 1

A group of Tennessee attorneys were sworn in to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in November as part of the 33rd Annual TBA Academy. Along with the admissions ceremony, the attorneys took part in other networking and educational activities at the Supreme Court and on Capitol Hill. One highlight of this year's event was when TBA President Jason Long made the motion for admission of his wife, Carol Anne Long.

A group of Tennessee attorneys were sworn in to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in November as part of the 33rd Annual TBA Academy.
Front row, from left: Jack Combs, Rachel Stutts,
Heidi Barcus, Jim London.

Second row: Brian Cummings, Carol Anne Long,
Aubrey Givens, Alice Alexander, Amber Shaw.

Back row: William Choppin, Jason Long,
Gerald Melton.
?Photo by Allan Ramsaur.

Allan F. Ramsaur, long-time executive director of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA), will begin stepping back from day-to-day responsibilities for administration of the association. The TBA will immediately begin a search for a new executive director. Ramsaur will assist in the search for and retention of a new executive director and will transition into the role of emeritus director.

In that new role, Ramsaur will continue to answer to the TBA Board of Governors and represent the association in governmental affairs and court administration issues, work on issues in ethics and professional responsibility, develop policy, oversee financial administration and focus on important strategic initiatives in continuing legal education, technology and evolving legal markets, until his full retirement in June 2018.

“You would be hard pressed to find an individual who has done more to advance our profession, promote access to justice, and facilitate an understanding of the legal profession in the past 20 years,” TBA President Jason Long said. “We are eternally grateful for Allan's dedication and skill in leading the association.”

Ramsaur's career-long interest in legislative affairs began with his work for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health, continued with his role as counsel for the legal aid clients at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and as the first executive director of the Nashville Bar Association. Most recently, Ramsaur lead the TBA’'s effort to rewrite the state’s conservatorship law to enhance protections for wards and streamline administration.

“I have always considered it a rare privilege to work with some of the best and brightest lawyers who, at the height of their careers, come to the association to do good,” Ramsaur said. “Being able to assist in their success is  rewarding beyond measure.”

The TBA also announces several other staff changes. Katharine Heriges is the new communications coordinator. Since November 2015 she has been the TBA’s public education and Young Lawyers Division coordinator, a position now held by Lauren Hopper Lee. Lee has been a continuing legal education coordinator for the association since 2013.

Abigail A. Phillips replaces Lee as a CLE coordinator, joining the TBA this month. Previously, she was a legal assistant at the Nashville law firm of Watkins and McNeilly PLLC. She earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2014, and this spring will complete a post-bachelor certificate in paralegal studies.

Elizabeth Slagle Todaro will step back from serving as programs director for the TBA and shift her primary focus to access to justice initiatives, a role she has held since 2012. Skip Rudsenske, who joined the TBA in 2016 as coordinator of the Legal Assistance Volunteers for Patent Applicants (LAVPA) program, will add programs management to his duties.

The YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee Board of Directors named Sharon K. Roberson as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer. Roberson joins the YWCA from Direct General Corporation, where she served as senior vice president and general counsel.

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) held its Annual Meeting & Elections Dec. 8. TBA member Annie T. Christoff is the new secretary/ treasurer. She is with Bass Berry & Sims and will become MBA president in 2019.

Also at the event, former TBA president and Lewis Thomason shareholder William “Bill” H. Haltom was honored with the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyers’ Lawyer Award. It is given annually to an MBA member who has practiced law for more than 15 years and exemplifies the aims and aspirations embodied in the association's Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct. Haltom has served as president of the Tennessee Bar Association, president of the Memphis Bar Association, chair of the Board of Editors for the ABA Journal, and spent 16 years as chair of the Editorial Board of the Tennessee Bar Journal. Haltom is also an author and regular columnist for the Tennessee Bar Journal.

Several Tennessee-based blogs were named by the ABA Journal to its Blawg 100, a listing of its 100 best blog picks for a legal audience for 2016. Knoxville family lawyer K.O. Herston made the list for the second year in a row. Herston, the author of “Herston on Tennessee Family Law,” practices with the Herston Law Group and focuses the blog on legal developments in Tennessee family law.

Nashville litigator Todd Presnell’s blog “Presnell on Privileges” made this year’s list as well. This blog offers facts and analyses about rulings from federal and state courts around the country on attorney-client privilege issues. It also covers privilege-related lawsuits, legislation and op-eds.  Stites & Harbison PLLC’s blog, “Trademarkology,” was selected to the Blawg 100 for the third year in a row. According to the firm, the blog’s goal is “to provide readers with insight and guidance regarding selecting a brand name or logo and protecting it with a federally registered trademark.” 

The ABA Journal has been identifying the best blogs for lawyers for the past 10 years through its ABA Blawg 100. Other law blogs from Tennessee attorneys can be found on the TBA.org website at www.tba.org/law-related-blog-directory.

Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands recently announced that staff attorney Sam Keen has moved from the Clarksville office to the Nashville office, where he will be working on housing issues. Andrae Crismon, managing attorney of the Murfreesboro office, was recently recognized by the Rutherford/Cannon County Bar Association with a Volunteer Service Award for volunteering at the Free Legal Clinic at Greenhouse Ministries at least 10 times in the past year.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings lawyer Nathan Ridley is the new Nashville Bar Association (NBA) president. TBA members among the officers who also began their terms at the Dec. 8 banquet are?Erin Palmer Polly, president-elect; Marnie Huff, second vice president; Stephen Young, treasurer; and Lela Hollabaugh, general counsel. Jocelyn Stevenson, is now immediate past president. Lauren Paxton Roberts is the Young Lawyers Division president. Newly elected  board members are: Laura Baker, Law Office of John Day; Tracy Kane, LeanKit Inc.; Brant Phillips, Bass Berry & Sims; Eric Smith, Nissan North America; DarKenya Waller, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands; and Stephen Zralek, Bone McAllester Norton.

Also at the NBA banquet, the 2016 John C. Tune Public Service Award was given to Nashville lawyers Bill Harbison and Abby Rubenfeld. Harbison, immediate past president of the TBA, and Rubenfeld, immediate past chair of the TBA’s LGBT Section, were instrumental in advancing the case used by the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm marriage equality. Butler Snow attorney James A. Beakes III was also honored. He is the 2016 Volunteer of the Year, chosen by the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Beakes received the award based on his involvement with the Legal Aid Society’s “desktop clinic.” On behalf of Butler Snow, Beakes partnered with the Society to promote and organize a weekly virtual clinic, providing legal services to those in need in local rural communities including Williamson, Hickman, Cheatham and Dickson counties.

The Knoxville Bar Association held its Annual Membership Meeting & Elections Dec. 8. Amanda Busby began her term as the new president. Other officers elected were President-Elect Keith H. Burroughs, Treasurer Wynne Caffey-Knight and Secretary Hanson R. Tipton. KBA members also chose three new board members from among six who were running. The new board members are Kathryn St. Clair Ellis, Stephen Ross Johnson and Mary D. Miller.

Nashville attorney William L. Norton III, partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, received the 2016 Outstanding Turnaround Professional Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA). Norton, who was honored at the TMA Mid-South Commercial Law Reception in November, is one of the original founders of the Tennessee Chapter of the TMA and served as its first president and on the original board. He focuses his practice in the business bankruptcy area. He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt Law School.

The firm’s Nashville office also announced the hiring of Alé Dalton and Brian Epling as associates. Dalton has joined Bradley’s Healthcare team, assisting clients with transactional, operational and regulatory matters. She earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served as executive editor of the Tennessee Law Review. She was recognized by the UT Center for Leadership and Service with a graduation service medallion, by the College of Law with a gold pro bono distinguished service recognition, and by the Tennessee Supreme Court as a 2016 Law Student for Justice.

Epling has joined Bradley’s Litigation team, helping clients to navigate the complex realm of financial services litigation. Before joining the firm, he clerked for the Hon. Joseph H. McKinley Jr., in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, and the Hon. Eugene E. Siler Jr., in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he served as an editor for the Kentucky Law Journal.

Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter PLLC announced two new additions to the firm, associates Kate Hutcherson and Eliza Scott. Hutcherson earned her law degree from William & Mary Law School in 2016. Her primary areas of practice are employment and labor law litigation and general civil litigation. Scott graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2015. Her practice is focused primarily in contracts, estate planning, and mergers and acquisitions.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III has named James R. Newsom III as special counsel and lead attorney in the attorney general’s Memphis regional office. Newsom previously served as chancellor in the 30th Judicial District, special master for the Chancery Court and in private practice for more than 30 years with Harris, Shelton, Hanover Walsh and its predecessor firm. He was appointed to the bench in 2015 by Gov. Bill Haslam.


Compiled by Linda Murphy, Stacey Shrader Joslin and Katharine Heriges. 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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