TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Sharon Ballinger and Stacey Shrader on Mar 21, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Apr 2009

Journal Name: April 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 4

Memphis law School names dean, Vanderbilt starts new search

Dr. Kevin Smith was appointed dean at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in February. Smith had been serving as the interim dean since October 2007 and was one of four candidates being considered for the position. "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to work with faculty, staff, students, University officials, alumni and friends of the law school at this transformational time in the law school's history," Smith told The Daily News.

Edward L. Rubin
is stepping down from his position as dean of Vanderbilt University Law School effective June 30. He said he will continue to teach and write as a member of the faculty. Rubin became the law school's 14th dean and the first John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law in July 2005. Accomplishments during Rubin's tenure as dean include the addition of 16 new faculty members; a 40-percent increase in student applications; a rise in median LSAT scores; the creation of a new admissions program through which applicants for admission are interviewed by alumni; a jump in the U.S. News and World Report ranking from 17 to 15; and a substantial increase in the school's annual fund.

Louisville, Ky,. attorney Sheryl G. Snyder has been elected to Frost Brown Todd's executive committee, where he will help oversee operations of the firm. Snyder is chair of the firm's Appellate Practice Group and has made appellate oral arguments in more than 50 reported decisions, including the Oklahoma City bombing civil litigation. He practices primarily in the areas of business, contract, antitrust, securities, RICO and intellectual property law.

The Memphis firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC has announced that David E. Goodman Jr. and Debra A. Wiles recently were named members of the firm. Goodman joined the firm in 2001, following graduation from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He has been focusing his practice on municipal and criminal law, as well as personal injury, employment and commercial litigation. Wiles joined the firm in 2002 following graduation from the University of Memphis School of Law. A certified public accountant, she practices in the area of business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, securities, real estate, probate and estate planning, and municipal law.

Miller & Martin PLLC has promoted four of its associates to member status. Neil A. Brunetz litigates general civil matters for the firm. He earned his law degree in 2001 from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Kyle W. Eiselstein, a 2000 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, focuses his practice in the area of civil litigation with an emphasis on complex commercial disputes. He also represents individuals with significant personal injury claims. Ian K. Leavy handles labor and employment law with a focus on immigration procedures. He earned a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2000. Camille Webb Steward focuses her practice in employment law and general litigation. She also handles commercial and tort actions through arbitration. She completed her law degree in 2000 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

The Rutherford-Cannon County Bar Association recently elected new officers. They are: President Darwin Colston with Mitchell & Mitchell; Vice President and solo practioner Tim Hogan; Secretary Thomas Santel with Cope, Hudson, Scarlett, Reed & McCreary; and Treasurer and solo practioner Diana Burns. All are from Murfreesboro.

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC recently elected four attorneys to membership in the firm. In the firm's Nashville office, Bob Brewer practices in the areas of intellectual property and technology, with a particular emphasis on development, commercialization and transfer of rights. He earned his law degree in 2000 from Stetson University College of Law. Joshua Denton focuses on antitrust and trade practices; debtor-creditor relations; and class action, real estate and commercial litigation. He received his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1999. Brian D. Roark chairs the firm's Litigation Technology Committee and handles complex commercial, health care, securities and software litigation. He earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina in 1999. In the firm's Memphis office, Clarence A. Wilbon represents national companies and financial institutions in commercial cases and employment disputes. He serves on the firm's Law School Hiring and Diversity committees and is a founding member of the firm's African-American Affinity Group. He earned his law degree in 2000 from the Brandeis School of Law.

Two new attorneys have joined the litigation practice of Bass, Berry & Sims in Memphis. Annie T. Christoff graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2007 and served as a clerk for District Judge Jon Phipps McCalla in the Western District of Tennessee. Prior to attending law school she spent four years as a high school teacher in Memphis. Nolan M. Johnson earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2007. He served as a law clerk to Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Holly M. Kirby prior to joining the firm.

Memphis attorney Amy J. Amundsen recently was selected as a fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She also recently spoke at the National Continuing Legal Education Institute in Vail, Colo., on the topic of how to protect divorce clients during hard economic times. Amundsen has practiced family law in Memphis for the last 21 years at the firm of Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC. She earned her law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1988.

David N. Burn has joined the Nashville firm of Drescher & Sharp, practicing in the areas of corporate and securities law and commercial bankruptcy. Burn has practiced law for over 28 years and has been an arbitrator for FINRA (formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers) since 1989. Prior to joining the firm he worked at Stokes & Bartholomew.

The new firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP " formed as the result of a recent merger between Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP and Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry PLC " has named six Tennessee attorneys to partnership in the firm. Tara L. Cleare, a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, practices in the firm's health care section and focuses on a wide range of regulatory, operational and transactional matters. Andrew Elbon practices in the areas of employee benefits, executive compensation and health information privacy. He earned law and masters degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. Catherine Grow, a graduate of the William & Mary Law School, handles business transactional work including business formation, contracts, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Jonathan D. Rose practices in the areas of intellectual property, civil litigation and appeals. He received his law degree from Harvard and a masters degree from Murray State University. Eric W. Smith represents clients in the areas of business, tort and real estate litigation. He graduated from the William & Mary Law School. Joycelyn A. Stevenson represents clients in litigation and dispute resolution matters, primarily involving labor and employment, health care and business litigation. She received her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School. Of particular note, Cleare and Stevenson are the first women of color to be elected partner in the firm's nearly 100-year history. Both have worked at Boult Cummings for their entire legal careers.

Knoxville's Watson, Roach, Batson, Rowell & Lauderback PLC recently announced that Emily A. Cleveland and Sarah Larkin have joined the firm as associate attorneys. Cleveland is a 2008 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. Larkin is a 2008 graduate of the New England School of Law.

The Bristol Bar Association has elected a new president and officers for 2009. David W. Tipton with Tipton & Jones takes over as president. Daniel Coughlin with Massengill & Caldwell PC is now vice president and Joseph Wesley Edens with Icenhour & Edens is secretary/treasurer.

The East Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women has elected a new board of directors for 2009. TBA members among them are President Debra House with Legal Aid of East Tennessee; President-elect Wynne Hall with Paine, Tarwater, Bickers & Tillman LLP; program chairs Leslie Muse and Dawn Coppock; membership chairs Karen Crutchfield with Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee; Tennessee Lawyers Association of Women representative Donna Holt; IOLTA grant review representative Heather Anderson with Howard & Howard PC; and community outreach chair Sharon Frankenberg.

The Chattanooga Bar Association elected new officers and board members for 2009 at its annual meeting in January. TBA members among them are President and Criminal Court Judge Barry A. Steelman; President-elect John T. Rice with the John Rice Law Firm; Secretary-Treasurer Ira M. Long Jr. with Weill & Long PLLC; and Immediate Past President Cynthia D. Hall with Franklin, Cooper & Marcus PLLC. Board members are RoseMarie Bryan with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC; Harry Cash with Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison PC; Stephen T. Greer with the Greer Law Firm; Robin Miller with Gearhiser, Peters, Lockaby, Cavett & Elliott PLLC; and M. Craig Smith with Miller & Martin PLLC.

The association also recognized a number of award winners at its annual meeting. Jeffrey M. Atherton with Burnette, Dobson & Pinchak received the Ralph M. Kelly Humanitarian Award for exemplary service to the Chattanooga community. Barry Abbott with Cavett & Abbott PLLC was honored with the 2008 President's Award. Mike St. Charles with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC was given the Albert L. Hodge Volunteer Award for exemplary volunteer service to the association and the legal community. And Mike Luhowiak with Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams received the Harry Weill Zealous Practice of Law Award for energetic and enthusiastic service to clients.

The Jackson law firm of Pentecost & Glenn PLLC has added two new associates to its office. Ryan K. Porter earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 2007 and worked at Jackson Energy Authority and the City of Jackson prior to joining the firm. Melissa K. Van Pelt received her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2008. Both will be practicing in the areas of civil rights and employment defense.

Jeremy M. Cothern has joined the Murfreesboro law firm of Cope, Hudson, Scarlett, Reed & McCreary PLLC as an associate. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law and clerked for Chancellors Daryl Fansler and John F. Weaver of the Knox County Chancery Court prior to joining the firm.

Chief Deputy Knox County Law Director Joe Jarret recently presented "Ethical Issues for the Local Government Attorney" on behalf of the Tennessee Bar Association; published "E-Discovery: Challenges for the Public Risk Manager" in the Public Management Journal; and presented "Local Government Legal Challenges" on behalf of the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC recently announced that Jonathan O. Harris, an employment attorney in its Nashville office, has been elected a shareholder in the firm. From 2000 to 2001, Harris served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber in the Eastern District of Missouri. He earned his law degree from Washington University School of Law in 2000.

The Nashville School of Law has named R. Eddie Davidson a civil litigation instructor at the school. A legal veteran of 20 years, Davidson operates a private catastrophic injury practice in Nashville where he focuses on interstate trucking litigation, natural gas and fuel explosions and nursing home litigation. He is currently a faculty member with the National College of Advocacy and has taught at Harvard Law School. He graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1989.

Nashville-based Rothschild and Associates has announced the addition of a new partner, Mary Beth Ausbrooks, and the new firm name of Rothschild, Nave and Ausbrooks. A board-certified bankruptcy attorney, Ausbrooks worked in the Nashville office of Clark and Washington PC before joining the firm, which focuses on complex consumer bankruptcies.

J. Matthew Blackburn has joined the law firm of Cornelius & Collin LLP as an associate where he will focus on representing businesses and individuals in civil litigation. Blackburn earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2008.

Father and son team Larry and Lance Bridgesmith have joined the Nashville office of Miller & Martin PLLC after previously working for Waller, Lansden, Dortch and Davis LLP. Larry will join the firm as of counsel in the labor & employment department and represent businesses in the areas of employment, labor and human resource management. He also will continue to advise organizations on ways to resolve conflict as director of a graduate program at Lipscomb University's Institute for Conflict Management. Larry earned his law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1979. Lance will join the firm as a member in the corporate department and focus on private placements, mergers and acquisitions, securities/broker-dealer regulation, corporate compliance, operations contracts, corporate formation and new business ventures. He earned his law degree in 1999 from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Wilson & Associates has named Jason Mangrum, supervising attorney in its Nashville office, to the same position in its Knoxville office. He will now manage both offices. A native of Nashville, Mangrum graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1996. His practice includes foreclosure, bankruptcy and general commercial litigation.

Former Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers has been named pro bono director of government affairs for The Jason Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to prevent youth suicide. Summers will continue to maintain his full-time practice as a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP while serving in a volunteer capacity with the foundation. Summers has been involved with the foundation for more than a decade and currently chairs its board of directors.


Knoxville lawyer WARREN BUTLER, a founding member of the Butler, Vines, and Babb law firm, died Feb. 28. He was 78. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, he practiced at the firm for 40 years. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to FISH Hospitality Pantries, 800 Northshore Dr., Knoxville TN 37919.

Jackson lawyer TIMOTHY BRYAN LATIMER died of a sudden unexpected illness March 3. He was 50. Latimer was a partner with Utley & Latimer and a 1984 graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. in Waverly. Donations may be made in his honor to the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church on the 45 bypass in Jackson.

Knoxville lawyer CECIL D. MEEK JR. died Feb. 28. He was 74. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1959. In his nearly 50 years of practice, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney, practiced with the law firm of Stone and Bozeman, and was in private practice. In 1974, he became one of the founding members of the law firm of Haynes, Meek, Jones and Summers (now Haynes, Meek, Summers and Stanuszek). In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.