Awards presented at TBA Convention in Memphis
NASHVILLE, June 29, 2015 – The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) recognized five lawyers who provided especially distinguished service to the legal community during the past year. Each was recognized by then President Jonathan Steen.
Franklin lawyer Shauna Billingsley was honored for her work developing and implementing the public education initiative “Civics Enrichment for Kids." As chair of the TBA Public Education Committee, Billingsley led the effort to create curriculum to educate middle school students on the unique role of the three branches of government, with a particular focus on the judicial branch. Billingsley is the city attorney for the city of Franklin.
Nashville lawyer John Farringer was recognized for his work on the issue of Medical Legal Partnerships (MLP). As chair of a special working group, Farringer oversaw a major educational and public relations effort to educate lawyers, doctors and the public about the benefits of these unique arrangements that integrate the expertise of the health care and legal professions to address social and legal issues impacting the wellbeing of patients. Farringer is member with the law firm of Sherrard & Roe where he focuses on complex business and commercial litigation.
Knoxville lawyer Mary Beth Maddox was honored for testifying before the state legislature on issues related to workers’ compensation. This past session, the legislature considered a proposal that would have replaced the current workers’ compensation system with company-established private injury funds. The TBA needed experts to point out problems with the proposal. Maddox answered the call to testify before the committee considering the issue. Maddox is an attorney with the law firm of Frantz McConnell & Seymour where she primarily handles workers’ compensation cases.
Knoxville lawyer Jerry Martin was recognized for chairing the TBA Construction Law Section this year and testifying before the state legislature about the section’s proposal to refine portions of the lien law. The legislation ultimately passed. Martin is a solo practioner who focuses his practice on construction, insurance, commercial, torts, personal injury and general civil litigation.
Finally, Athens lawyer Bridget Willhite was honored for spearheading an effort to educate state legislators on the financial plight of small-town lawyers appointed to represent the interests of children and adults. The TBA has made raising reimbursement rates and establishing a better system for indigent representation one of its primary priorities. On a single day this spring, Willhite testified before the House and Senate Judiciary committees and put the issue on the state agenda. Willhite practices with the law firm of Carter, Harrod & Willhite, where she handles business, public utility, elder, real estate and personal injury law, as well as estate planning, probate and trust matters and general civil litigation.
The 2015 Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention was held in conjunction with several other legal organizations, including the Tennessee Judicial Conference, the Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ) and the Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (TLAW). This joint meeting allows legal groups in the state to address common issues and concerns and offers opportunities for additional education, long-range planning, and recognition of attorneys who have performed outstanding legal work and community service.
TBA President-Elect Jason Long (left) presents the award to Billingsley on behalf of outgoing President Jonathon Steen.
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TBA President-Elect Jason Long (left) presents the award to Farringer on behalf of outgoing President Jonathon Steen.
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TBA President-Elect Jason Long (left) presents the award to Maddox on behalf of outgoing President Jonathon Steen.
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TBA President-Elect Jason Long (left) presents the award to Martin on behalf of outgoing President Jonathon Steen.
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TBA President-Elect Jason Long (left) presents the award to Willhite on behalf of outgoing President Jonathon Steen.
Download a high resolution version of Willhite's photo