TBA Law Blog

Posted by: TBA News on Mar 28, 2019

Journal Issue Date: Apr 2019

North Carolina Supreme Court's newly sworn-in Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (pictured below, center) celebrates with Senior Associate Justice Paul Newby and Associate Justice Robin Hudson. Beasley, a University of Tennessee College of Law graduate, is North Carolina’s first African-American woman to serve as chief justice. Photo courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings attorney Racquel Martin has been selected as a fellow to the 2019 National Employment Law Council (NELC) Academy. Founded in 1995, NELC is a non-profit organization charged with enriching minority bar members who represent management in the field of labor and employment law. Martin works in the firm’s Nashville office as a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group.



Former Butler Snow partner Beth Sims has joined FB Financial as the new general counsel. She replaces longtime executive Will Martin who has retired. Sims joined Butler Snow in 2012 after working for Miller & Martin. She rose to head Butler Snow’s securities team where she focused on securities laws, banking and mergers and acquisitions. Before attending law school, she worked as the access to justice coordinator at the Tennessee Bar Association.



Tara Lay has joined the Nashville office of Burr & Forman and will practice in the Intellectual Property Group. Lay previously worked remotely from Nashville for Carolinas-based McNair Law Firm. She was brought onboard as part of Burr & Forman’s acquisition of that firm. Lay is a registered U.S. patent attorney and practices in the areas of patents, copyright and trademarks.




Lewis Thomason has named four new shareholders. Brian S. Faughnan, in the Memphis office, focuses his practice on ethics, commercial litigation and appellate litigation. J. Wallace Irvin, in the Nashville office, focuses his practice on construction law with an emphasis on representing architects and engineers against professional liability allegations. Whitney Henry Kimerling, in the Nashville office, regularly represents businesses and individuals in a variety of litigation-related practice areas as well as representing financial institutions in loan transactions and counseling small business clients. Christopher B. Sullivan, in the Memphis office, handles civil and criminal litigation, including medical malpractice defense, health care liability and fraud, transportation and personal injury.



FordHarrison recently named two attorneys in its Memphis office as partners in the firm. Frank L. Day Jr. devotes his practice to helping clients accomplish business objectives through employment law litigation and counseling. Russell W. Jackson represents management in employment-related matters. He also works closely with employers to ensure compliance with complex laws governing the employment relationship.



Amber Griffin Shaw has joined the law firm of Harris Shelton as a member and will manage the firm’s new office in Tipton County. Shaw, who has made Covington her home for the last nine years, previously was a member of the Gordon Shaw Law Group where she practiced with J. Houston Gordon. The move comes as Gordon begins winding down his practice for retirement. Shaw will continue to focus on catastrophic personal injury, fraud, class action, products liability and business litigation cases. The new Harris Shelton office is located at 114 West Liberty Ave., Ste. 202, Covington 38019 and can be reached at 901-476-7100.



Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland presented the city’s 2019 Luminary Awards to 10 women who have made an impact on the growth and progress of the city. Among the group is retired Memphis lawyer and current Rule 31 Mediator Jocelyn Wurzburg, who was recognized for her longtime civil rights activism and legal work.



The Nashville law firm of Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin has added William C. Scales Jr. to its office as an associate attorney. He will practice in the firm’s Litigation and Employment Law sections focusing on commercial contract disputes, business litigation and non-compete litigation. Prior to joining GSRM Law, Scales was with another Nashville firm and a partner at Whitfield & Eddy Law in Des Moines, Iowa.



Gov. Bill Lee has announced new members of the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments, as well as the appointment of Adams and Reese attorney Gif Thornton as the council’s chair. The council is responsible for recommending candidates to the governor to fill vacancies for Tennessee’s appellate courts. Other TBA members serving on the council are Sarah K. Campbell with the Office of the Attorney General, David Golden with Eastman Chemical Company, Rosemarie Hill with Chambliss Bahner & Stophel, Michelle Long with the Tennessee Department of Health and Cheryl Rice with Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis.

Dwight E. Tarwater, former general counsel to Gov. Bill Haslam, has rejoined his former law firm in Knoxville. With his return, the firm also has changed its name from Paine Bickers to Paine, Tarwater and Bickers. Tarwater was one of the founding members of the firm when it was established in 1987. In 2014, he joined the Haslam administration and served as general counsel through the former governor’s final term. Back in private practice, he will focus on trial and appellate defense work in the fields of mass tort, product liability, pharmaceutical and commercial law.



Legal Aid of East Tennessee has named three new members to its board of directors. Ashley E. Bentley is an attorney with Kizer & Black Attorneys in Maryville where she focuses on domestic relations and family law, adoptions, juvenile issues and criminal defense. Katherine Priester is clerk and master for Sullivan County, a post she has held since 2013. Prior to her appointment, she practiced law as a sole practitioner in Kingsport for more than six years. Amy Kathleen Skelton practices law with her father at the Law Office of Mark A. Skelton in Rogersville. She focuses on family law, estate planning and probate. She also serves as municipal judge for Surgoinsville and Church Hill.

Bass, Berry & Sims has hired William “Trey” L. Moore III as senior public policy counsel. He will represent clients before the Tennessee General Assembly and the executive branch. He also will advise companies, organizations and associations on state legislative and regulatory issues. Prior to joining the firm, Moore served as vice president of government relations at Acadia Healthcare and as a lobbyist with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.



Harrison D. McIver III, CEO of Memphis Area Legal Services, has retired after leading the organization for more than 20 years. During his tenure, MALS’ budget nearly doubled, staff grew to 50, the firm created new partnerships with Methodist Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, and new programs addressing the needs of homeless veterans and seniors were launched. At the Tennessee Bar Association, McIver has served on the Access to Justice Committee and as a member of the House of Delegates.

Patrick Hillard has joined the Memphis law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson as an associate. He will focus on commercial and business litigation. Hillard recently graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law where he was a Herff Presidential Scholar.



Batson Nolan, with offices in Clarksville and Springfield, has hired Kiel Kovalcik as a new associate. He will focus on litigation and insurance defense work. Kovalcik graduated from Belmont University College of Law in 2018. Prior to joining the firm, he was a law clerk for the 21st Judicial District in Williamson County. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was an infantry rifleman and completed a tour to Afghanistan.



Mozianio “Trey” S. Reliford has joined Neal & Harwell as an associate. He has experience in complex white collar and regulatory defense, securities, antitrust, employment and intellectual property law. Reliford previously was an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City, where he represented financial and technology companies in commercial and securities litigation. He also served as a law clerk to Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins and as a legal intern in the Nashville District Attorney’s Office. He earned his law degree from Stanford Law School in 2015.



Butler Snow lawyer Benjamin A. Whitehouse has been named to Captive Review’s 2019 Ones to Watch list. He is one of seven industry professionals named to the annual list, which includes regulators, lawyers and insurers who have risen to prominence in their fields. Whitehouse is a member of Butler Snow’s business department and practices in the Regulatory and Government Relations Practice Group. He focuses on general insurance and captive insurance matters. 



The first class of “Leadership Tennessee NEXT” has been announced. TBA members among the group are Jamie Ballinger with Baker Donelson in Knoxville and Tim Hughes with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services in Nashville. The program, run by Leadership Tennessee, is designed to offer early-to-mid career professionals in-depth personal and career development while fostering a better understanding of Tennessee.

The Knoxville office of Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan recently made two personnel announcements. Alyssa Y. Minge, who has been with the firm since 2009, was promoted to membership in the firm and was named assistant managing member of the Knoxville office. Minge maintains a broad insurance defense practice, practicing in the areas of professional liability, products liability, motor vehicle accident/transportation, workers’ compensation, premises liability and complex litigation. The firm also has hired M. Patrick O’Neal, who will focus on general liability, professional liability, product liability and workers’ compensation. Originally from Mississippi, O’Neal graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in December 2015.