TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Tba People on Sep 26, 2008

Journal Issue Date: Oct 2008

Journal Name: October 2008 - Vol. 44, No. 10

Miller & Martin PLLC member and the Tennessee Bar Association's immediate past president, Marcy Eason, was elected to the executive council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents at the American Bar Association meeting in August. The conference represents presidents from more than 400 bar associations. Eason focuses her practice in civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial litigation, lender liability, and products liability at the firm's Chattanooga office. In 1979, she received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

U.S. District Court Judge Bernice B. Donald of Memphis received the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's inaugural Liberty Achievement Award. The Liberty Achievement Award raises awareness of the importance of diversifying the legal profession by honoring lawyers and judges who actively promote diversity within the legal community. Donald is an active member of the ABA and assumed the office of secretary at the conclusion of the annual meeting.

Former TBA President Howard Vogel was honored at a reception during the ABA annual meeting for his selection to the American Bar Association Board of Governors. The reception was hosted jointly by the TBA, the University of Tennessee College of Law, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and the Vanderbilt University Law School.


John L. Farringer IV has joined the Nashville law firm of Sherrard & Roe PLC as an associate in the litigation practice group. He will represent clients in complex business disputes including contract negotiations, business tort actions and shareholder litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Farringer was an attorney with Walker, Tipps & Malone and served as law clerk to U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr., senior judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. He received his law degree in 2002 from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC recently announced it elected eight new shareholders in its Tennessee offices. They are: Ashley Meredith Lowe in the Knoxville office's Government Regulatory Actions Group; in Memphis, Lodie V. Biggs in the Real Estate Group, R. Spencer Clift III in the Bankruptcy & Restructuring Group and Beverly S. Gates in the Securities/Corporate Governance Group; in Nashville, Samuel T. Bowman in the Government Regulatory Actions Group, and Tara Ertischek and Mark L. Miller in the Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions Group; and in the Tri-Cities, Matthew D. Davison in the Labor & Employment Group.

Former Tennessee Attorney General Knox Walkup, now a partner in the law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP, received the Francis X. Bellotti Award during the National Association of Attorneys General's summer meeting. Walkup is only the seventh recipient of the award, which recognizes a former attorney general whose work has furthered the organization's mission. Walkup's nearly 20-year career in public service included time as Tennessee's solicitor general and chief counsel and staff director of a U.S. Senate subcommittee. He joined the Nashville office of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in 1999 and chairs the Government Affairs and Regulated Industries Practice Group.

Powell lawyer Joseph G. Jarret was recently appointed chief deputy law director for Knox County. In other news, he recently presented "Ethical Challenges for the Municipal Attorney" on behalf of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association during their annual conference in Memphis, and published "Public Officer Liability" in Public Management Journal.

The Memphis law firm of William M. Jeter PLLC has formed a partnership with Adam M. Nahmias and has retained former Arkansas attorney James D. Lawson. All three specialize in construction litigation, although the firm also has general business and major insurance clients in west and central Tennessee. Lawson practiced in Little Rock for 22 years with the Hilburn Firm. The firm will now go by the name of Jeter & Nahmias PLLC.

Apperson, Crump & Maxwell PLC Chief Manager Thomas R. Buckner and Gary Smith of Gary K. Smith & Associates PLLC, both of Memphis, recently announced that the firms would merge practices to create the newly constituted firm of Apperson Crump. The merger expands Apperson Crump's practice areas to include plaintiff representation in catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, insurance bad faith, product liability and medical malpractice cases. The Smith firm has relocated its offices from Peabody Place to Apperson Crump's offices at 6000 Poplar Avenue.

Stephen H. Biller has joined the Memphis law firm of Luckett Pinstein Ridder PC as of counsel. Biller focuses his practice on employment and commercial and business litigation. He earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1965.

Memphis lawyer Effie V. Bean Cozart with Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC; Nashville lawyer James Albert Crumlin Jr. with Bone McAllester Norton PLLC; and Knoxville lawyer Benjamin W. Jones with Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC graduated from the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's 2008 Leadership Academy on Aug. 9. They were among 22 participants in this year's class. The TIPS Leadership Academy provides participants with the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to lead the legal profession and to improve leadership service in the community as a whole.

The board of directors of the Tennessee Justice Center has elected three new members and re-elected returning members. The new members are David P. Cañas, shareholder with Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner PC; Christopher E. Coleman, associate with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP; and Alexandra MacKay, member of Stites & Harbison PLLC. All are from Nashville. Cañas represents clients in commercial litigation, dispute resolution and bankruptcy matters. Coleman focuses his practice in the areas of antitrust, employment law, and personal injury torts. MacKay practices intellectual property law and handles transactions and litigation involving trademarks, licensing and copyrights, and has experience in federal and state courts, and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She currently serves as co-vice chair of the TBA's Access to Justice Committee.

The Arkansas firm of Wilson & Associates PLLC has promoted associate partner J. Skipper Ray to the position of supervising attorney for its Closing Commitment & Curative, Title Policy and Eviction departments. A native of North Little Rock, Ray earned his law degree from the William H. Bowen School of Law in 2000. He practices in the areas of foreclosure and eviction law at the firm, which serves real estate and mortgage banking clients in Arkansas and Tennessee.

Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC has hired Chad A. Naffziger as an associate in its Jackson office. Naffziger's practice focuses in the areas of business and commercial law and insurance defense. He received his law degree from the John Marshall Law School in 2008. While in law school, he served as a member of the John Marshall Law Review.


In other news from the firm, Rainey Kizer recently moved its East Memphis office to downtown Memphis at the Morgan Keegan Tower, 50 North Front Street, Suite 610, Memphis, 38103. All phone and fax numbers remain the same.

Morgan Adams, founding partner of the Law Offices of Morgan Adams in Chattanooga, has been elected chair-elect of the American Association of Justice's Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. Adams is a member of the association's board of governors and has chaired its interstate trucking litigation seminar since 2005. His firm handles commercial vehicle litigation and other serious injury cases. Of note, he presented TBA's first webinar on "Handling a Tractor-Trailer Case in Tennessee."

Nashville lawyer and founding MGLAW partner Robert Gonzales has announced that he is departing the firm in October to start a new company. Gonzales will use his expertise in guiding companies through financial restructurings and wind downs to open a firm that will provide debt and equity financing and advice to financially distressed companies. Gonzales cofounded MGLAW in 1997 with Bob Mendes. He earned his law degree from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1994.

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands recognized its outgoing board president Kathryn Edge at a recent board of directors meeting in Nashville. Executive Director Gary Housepian presented Edge with an award for her dedication and commitment to the agency. Edge, an attorney in the Nashville firm of Miller & Martin, has served in the post for the last year. She earned her law degree in 1983 from the Nashville School of Law.

Nashville attorney Phillip Miller served as course advisor for the national Case Workshop Program on Focus Groups presented in September by the American Association for Justice. He has served as a course advisor or faculty member for 12 other national professional development programs presented by the association's National College of Advocacy. Miller also sits on the board of trustees for the college, which provides training and education to trial attorneys. Miller has practiced law since 1980 and is certified as a trial specialist. He holds a law degree from the Nashville School of Law.

Memphis lawyer Edward J. McKenney Jr. with Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC was elected treasurer of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association at the group's annual meeting in June. An alumnus of the Memphis State University School of Law, McKenney has practiced law in Memphis for over 30 years. At the firm, he serves in the alternative dispute resolution, litigation, labor and employment law and municipalities and government relations practice groups.

Franklin attorney Kim R. Helper has been elected district attorney general for the 21st Judicial District in a special election following the death of former District Attorney General Ron L. Davis. Helper also recently was named secretary of the Williamson County Bar Association. She earned her law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1993.

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC has announced that Traci D. Fant has rejoined the firm as an associate in the Taxation & Estate Preservation Section. Fant will focus her practice in estate planning, estate administration and probate, and elder law. She earned her law degree from the Washington University in 1998, and is licensed to practice in Tennessee and Georgia. Prior to rejoining the firm, she served as in-house legal counsel for a Chattanooga company.

In other news, the firm has established an endowment at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to honor the legacy of its late senior partner, John C. Stophel. The funding will be used to hold the annual Chambliss Bahner & Stophel Student Recognition Banquet, which will present high-potential business students to the business community and community-at-large.

Melody McAnally, an attorney with the Memphis office of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC, recently received the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project's Curtis E. Coker Access to Justice Award at the annual convention of the Mississippi Bar Association. She was recognized primarily for her work on a divorce and child custody case. McAnally recently relocated to Memphis.


Davidson County public defender ROSS EUGENE ALDERMAN, 56, was fatally wounded when his motorcycle was hit by a car on Aug. 9. A former assistant U.S. attorney and assistant federal public defender, Alderman was named Nashville's public defender in 1999. In his early years, he served as a staff attorney for Rural Legal Services Inc. and worked in the Davidson County public defender's office, which he later came to lead. Alderman earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1976. He was a former president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Criminal Justice Section. He is survived by his wife, Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ross Alderman Indigent Defense Foundation, Bill Hubbard, Trustee, 201 4th Avenue North, Suite 1420, Nashville, TN 37219.


Compiled by Sharon Ballinger and Stacey Shrader. 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 sballinger@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.