TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Tba People on Jan 2, 2012

Journal Issue Date: Jan 2012

Journal Name: January 2012 - Vol. 48, No. 1

The Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis has hired a number of new lawyers. TBA members among the group include Carol Brass, a graduate of Columbia Law School, who will practice in the area of health care regulatory law; Brian Clifford, a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, who will practice in the area of employment law; Christopher W. Hayes, a graduate of the Vermont Law School, who will work in the area of environmental compliance and regulatory matters; Morgan Jones, a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law and formerly an attorney with Husch Blackwell in Chattanooga, who will handle commercial real estate; Laura P. Merritt, a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law and a former associate with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, who will focus on intellectual property and commercial disputes; Walter Judkins “Judd” Peak, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate and former associate with Frost Brown Todd, who will practice in the area of employment law; Kathy Pennington, a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School and former clerk for U.S. District Court Chief Judge Todd J. Campbell in the Middle District of Tennessee, who will handle corporate real estate matters; Jatin Shah, a graduate of the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center at Touro College and the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University and a former tax specialist for Ozburn-Hessey Logistics in Brentwood, who will work in the firm’s real estate practice; and Richard Westling, a graduate of the Tulane Law School and former principal with the Washington, D.C., office of Ober Kaler, who brings 20 years of experience to the firm’s white collar defense work.

The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners has elected Knoxville lawyer Howard H. Vogel as chairman. Vogel, who has been a board member since January 2007, will serve a two-year term, overseeing all board activities. Vogel is a former Tennessee Bar Association president. He practices with O’Neil Parker & Williamson PLLC in Knoxville.

Ashonti Davis and Lin Ye have joined the Nashville office of Miller & Martin PLLC. Davis, a 2009 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, will practice in the firm’s Litigation Department as a member of the appellate practice group. Prior to joining the firm, she completed a judicial clerkship with Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge John W. McClarty. Ye will work as an associate in the firm’s Corporate Department and handle international transactions, health care, financial and general corporate law. Born and raised in China, Ye holds legal degrees from Chinese institutions, in addition to a 2011 law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Prior to joining the firm, she served as a clerk with a law firm and court in China, as well as with a state circuit court judge in Illinois.

Nashville lawyer Darlene T. Marsh has been elected president of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys and was inducted as the first female president of the group at its annual meeting Oct. 13-15, 2011, in San Diego, Calif. In addition, Lawrence R. Ahern III was inducted into the college as a fellow, and elected co-chair of the college’s Bankruptcy Committee. Both are partners with Burr & Forman LLP in Nashville. Marsh practices in the Commercial Real Estate and Banking Group, as well as the Environmental Law Group. Ahern practices in the Corporate Group and Litigation Group, with a focus on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, commercial finance and banking.

Kortney D. Simmons, a native of Memphis, has joined the Jackson office of Divorce Incorporated, which also has offices in Collierville. Simmons graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2011.

The Nashville law firm of Howard, Tate, Sowell, Wilson, Leathers & Johnson PLLC has named Nathaniel Cherry to membership in the firm. Cherry devotes his practice to litigation defense, representing clients in the areas of products liability, personal injury, workers’ compensation, professional negligence and insurance. Cherry earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2003.

James M. Haley IV has been elected as the new chairman/managing member at Miller & Martin PLLC. He will succeed Melvin J. Malone, who has served in that capacity for the past two years. Haley is a partner in the firm’s Chattanooga office. He focuses his practice in the areas of real estate, banking and commercial lending.

James Warren White, executive director of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee for the past eight years, has been named a partner in the Nashville firm of Jones Hawkins & Farmer. He will focus his practice in business litigation and representation of clients before state government. A native of Tullahoma, White joined the General Assembly legal staff in 2000, serving as counsel to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee before becoming executive director of the Fiscal Review Committee in 2003. Prior to that, he was in private practice for 14 years, focusing on business litigation and administrative law. He received his law degree from Georgetown University in 1986.

Gil Schuette has joined the Nashville law firm of Walker, Tipps & Malone PLC following his graduation from the University of Tennessee College of Law in May 2011. Before attending law school, Schuette served in the U.S. Marine Corps and conducted more than 100 combat missions in the Iraq War. He also served as senior Marine advisor for an Iraqi infantry company.

University of Tennessee College of Law adjunct professor Mark Stephens recently received the Stephen B. Bright Public Defender Award from the Southern Public Defender Training Center. The award honors those who raise the standard of representation for poor people in the South. Stephens was praised for his work both nationally and in Tennessee and honored for his contributions to developing a leadership program at the center. The award is named for Bright, a former advocate in residence with the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the law school.

Meghan C. Dougherty has joined the Nashville office of Neal & Harwell, where she will focus on civil litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Dougherty served as law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in the Southern District of Georgia. She also was an associate with Fields, Howell, Athans & McLaughlin LLP and Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP, both in Atlanta. She earned her law degree from the University of Georgia in 2007.

The American Bar Association (ABA) Board of Governors, sitting as the members of the National Judicial College, elected Nashville lawyer Matthew J. Sweeney to a three-year term on the National Judicial College Board of Trustees. He will represent the ABA Board of Governors on the college through June 2013. Sweeney is a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.

The Tennessee Association of Property Tax Professionals held its annual meeting in Nashville this past August and elected officers for the new year. TBA members among them are President Chad Tindell, Knox County’s delinquent tax attorney, and President-Elect Sanford Madison “Matt” Roberts, Williamson County’s associate delinquent tax attorney.

James “Jim” M. McCarten has joined the Nashville office of Burr & Forman LLP as a partner. He previously served with a law firm in east Tennessee that he founded, and litigated tax cases at the U.S. Department of Justice. He began his tax career at the public accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand. McCarten has a broad range of experience, including representing clients during audits; crafting tax structures for new businesses; counseling clients on the tax aspects of business exit strategies, succession issues, executive compensation packages and estate plans; and counseling families on special needs planning. He has served as chair of the TBA’s Tax Section and as a trustee of the Paul J. Hartman State & Local Tax Forum, the Tennessee Federal Tax Institute and the Advanced Institute on Corporate Taxation.

The Knoxville law firm of London & Amburn PC recently announced it has elevated three lawyers to shareholder status and named three new lawyers as associates. Shareholders are Mark A. Castleberry, R. Scott Durham and Dan T. Swanson. New associates are Brian Z. Schott, J. David Watkins and Erin B. Williams. The firm also announced that Heidi A. Barcus has been certified as a specialist in medical malpractice by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization and the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys.

Alexander J. Davie recently started his own legal practice in Franklin, which will focus on corporate, finance and real estate matters. He will work primarily with emerging companies, investment advisers, entrepreneurs and startups. Davie previously served as general counsel to a private investment fund manger in the Nashville area. He earned his law degree in 2003 from the Duke University School of Law.

Springfield lawyer Garth Click has opened a new law practice, to be known as Click Law, where he will focus on family, criminal, estate, probate and social security disability matters. Prior to opening the firm, Click practiced with Larry Wilks in the Law Offices of Larry D. Wilks. Click is active in the TBA Young Lawyers Division, serving as a member of the board and as a district representative.

Arnett, Draper & Hagood in Knoxville has welcomed Paul E. Wehmeier as an associate attorney in the firm. Wehmeier will handle employment and labor law. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2011. Prior to attending law school, he worked for the Indiana departments of Labor and Agriculture.

Burr & Forman LLP has announced that Lauren E. Kilgore has joined its Nashville office as a new associate. Kilgore works in the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group, handling transactional entertainment law and intellectual property matters. Kilgore earned her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, where she served as technology editor for the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law. Prior to law school, she worked in Nashville’s entertainment industry.

Jackson attorney Brandon O. Gibson, who practices with Pentecost & Glenn PLLC, was appointed to the Post-Conviction Defender Oversight Commission by Gov. Bill Haslam. Gibson is a 2000 graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. Her practice focuses on employment litigation defense, civil rights defense, governmental tort defense and commercial litigation. She also is listed as a Rule 31 civil mediator by the Tennessee Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Chattanooga lawyer Christopher T. Varner has joined the firm of Evans Harrison Hackett PLLC as a member. He will focus his practice in the areas of civil litigation, business and contract disputes, and insurance defense. He previously worked with Gearhiser, Peters, Cavett, Elliott & Cannon PLLC. Varner earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1996. He currently is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Board of Governors and is president-elect of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Miller & Martin PLLC and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) hosted the second annual “50 Women You Need to Meet” event in October. The brainchild of Miller & Martin member Lynda Hill, the project helps women develop a network across a diverse cross-section of Nashville’s business community. More than 100 area women attended the event.

The Nashville firm of Stites & Harbison PLLC has hired Matthew Kroplin to work in its Business Litigation Service Group and Patrick Warfield to work in its Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group. Kroplin has three years’ experience as a business litigator, handling tort and insurance defense, contract disputes and zoning. He formerly served with Frost Brown Todd LLC, Wilkes & McHugh PA, the Tennessee Attorney General’s office and the Tennessee General Assembly. He earned a masters degree in public administration from Tennessee State University and a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School. Warfield joins the firm after serving in the environmental and tobacco enforcement divisions of the Tennessee Attorney General’s office, and clerking for Senior U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr. and Tennessee Circuit Court Judge and Chancellor James G. Martin III. He earned his law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Prior to beginning law school, he was a sixth-grade science teacher.

Nashville lawyer Gulam R. Zade has joined the firm of Garfinkle, McLemore & Young PLLC after graduating from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in May 2011. Zade was born in Russia and remains fluent in Russian and other Eastern European languages. The firm also announced it plans to expand its consumer bankruptcy practice and increase its capabilities in representing clients in complex debtor-creditor cases.

The Chattanooga firm of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC has added four newly licensed lawyers as associates: Ryan W. Barry, Kisha L. Cheeks, Calvin B. Marshall and Kirby Waddell Yost. Barry, a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, focuses his practice on estate planning and elder law. Cheeks will practice in the areas of intellectual property, consumer financial services and litigation. She earned her law degree from Samford University. Marshall is a member of the firm’s business section, practicing health care law and business law. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia. Yost works in the areas of business and real estate law. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

On Oct. 20, 2011, Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) unveiled its new Pro Bono Attorneys Hall of Fame with eight inaugural inductees: T. Maxfield Bahner, Bruce C. Bailey and William C. Carriger with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC; Thomas A. Caldwell with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC; Charles W. “Buz” Dooley with Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC; Marcia M. Eason with Miller & Martin PLLC; and attorney at law Harold A. Schwartz Jr. Inductees were selected based on their history of pro bono representation, advocacy for equal access to justice and support for LAET.


Memphis lawyer and TBA senior counselor JOHN EVANS MCKEE JR. died Nov. 21, 2011, at the age of 88. McKee, a native of Chattanooga, graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1949 and relocated to Memphis where he spent almost 60 years practicing law. His first association was with the law firm of Nelson, Norvell and Floyd. He retired from Lewis, McKee and Hall. He also was active in the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Association, serving on various committees. The family requests that memorial donations be made to Second Presbyterian Church, 4055 Poplar Ave., Memphis 38111 or the charity of one’s choice.

Memphis civil rights lawyer RUSSELL X. “TOMMY” THOMPSON died Nov. 24, 2011, of cancer. He was 84. Thompson was born into a poor family during the Depression, dropped out of school in the eighth grade and ran away from home. He later moved to Memphis and earned a law degree in 1965 from the then Southern Law University. He was the first white lawyer for the Memphis chapter of the NAACP and represented the “Invaders,” who allegedly caused chaos during a march led by Martin Luther King Jr. in support of the city’s striking sanitation workers. Thompson later opened the first integrated law firm in Memphis. He was still working a week before his death when he learned he had cancer in his liver, kidneys, lungs and brain.

Retired Circuit Court Judge ELMER DAVIES JR. died Nov. 27, 2011, at the age of 85. Davies earned his law degree from Tulane Law School in 1952 and went on to work as the attorney for Davidson County and as a district attorney general from 1972 to 1982. In 1982, he took office as circuit court judge in the 21st Judicial District. He held that position until 1989. After retirement, Davies found a second career in food and hotel management. After studying culinary arts in France, he worked for hotels and restaurants in various locations. His final venture was the purchase of a hotel in the South Pacific. Memorials may be made to The Lucy Lee Davies Educational Trust, c/o First National Bank, 206 South 1st St., P.O. Box 289, Pulaski 38478, Attn: Tish Lochridge.