Posted by: Michelle Greenway Sellers on Nov 1, 2020

Journal Issue Date: Nov./Dec. 2020

Journal Name: Vol 56 No. 9

Since my last column, the Tennessee Bar Association has been hard at work. In September, the TBA helped sponsored the Equal Justice University Conference, surveyed our members on important government affairs issues, and held virtual meetings of the House of Delegates and Board of Governors. 

In October, Chief Diversity Officer Mary Beard presided over the first meeting of the Diversity Task Force.  The TBA is also working on a joint program with the Tennessee chapters of the American Inns of Court. The TBA has held more than 50 virtual CLE events and roundtables, including our Health Law Forum in October.  

We are in the process of finalizing our legislative agenda for next year and will resume our COVID-19 roundtables with our practice group sections. We also started our membership appreciation series. The TBA looks forward to highlighting many more members and their accomplishments this year. We are finalizing plans for our virtual town halls across the state and I look forward to meeting with you all very soon.    

This year has been a year of reflection on our health, our families, how we work, our safety, and in some instances, our purpose. The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of our community and those we cherish the most. 

Mourning Our Members

Since my last column we have also mourned the loss of several of our dear members. Details about their lives have been reported in TBAToday and in Passages (page 14). It is important that we remember them, reflect on their contributions to our community and celebrate their lives. My prayers are with their families, friends and coworkers as they adjust to life without them.  

I’d like to highlight one of our beloved TBA members who we recently lost who also had the distinction of being the first woman to serve as president of the Tennessee Bar Association, Judge Pamela Lynn Reeves. She is featured on page 30 in this Journal. As the first of only eight women since 1881 to serve as president of the TBA, an inspiration to me personally and I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge her for being such a trailblazer. Pam will always be remembered for all of her “firsts.” In addition to being the first female TBA president, Pam was the first female U.S. District Court judge in the Eastern District of Tennessee, first female Chief U.S. District judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, first female chair of the Knox County Election Commission, first female president of the American Association of Mediators — and I’m sure we could add so many more firsts to this list. Her ability to be the “first” in so many circumstances opened doors and opportunities for others. 

One thing we all know about Pam is that she was highly qualified for these leadership positions and her service was always exemplary. Pam was a wonderful mother, wife, leader, attorney, mediator, judge and friend. Her smile could light up a room and she always had a kind word for others. Her contributions to the world are outstanding, but I will always remember Pam as an amazing woman and friend who always offered a smile, words of encouragement, and wanted an update on my family. 

We are all better for having lived in a world with Pam Reeves. I would like to thank Pam’s family for sharing her with us for so many years. She will forever remain in our hearts.

I, like many of you have no idea what the future holds or when we can all come together again. In the meantime, I will continue to listen, work with the board to advocate on issues important to our legal practices, and honor the great work of those who paved the way for so many of us. 

MICHELLE GREENWAY SELLERS is a partner in the Jackson office of Rainey Kizer
Reviere & Bell PLC. You can reach her at MSellers@RaineyKizer.com.