Will focus on civility, civics education, importance of impartial judiciary
NASHVILLE, June 12, 2012 - Nashville lawyer Jacqueline B. Dixon took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's 130th president at the association's annual convention in Memphis on Friday. After being sworn into office by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark, Dixon laid out her vision for the year, which will include a focus on civics education, civility in the profession, pro bono efforts and working to preserve an impartial judiciary.
"I love our profession and I love being a lawyer," Dixon said, adding that when she started practicing she didn't have to worry about school debt and finding a job like recent graduates do. To help these young lawyers, Dixon announced a mentoring initiative that will create a clearinghouse of programs already available and encourage lawyers to reach out to new members of the profession.
Dixon also announced a series of three programs, one to be held in each grand division of the state over the course of the next year, focusing on civility in the courts, government and diverse communities. Each program will include a discussion on the limits of public discourse and solutions for addressing the lack of civility in society.
Finally, Dixon announced that the TBA would adopt a program created by Memphis lawyers to educate the public about the legal system and the importance of preserving an impartial judiciary. The program, Law Rules, equips lawyers to speak to community and business groups, civic organizations and students.
Dixon is a shareholder in the firm of Weatherly McNally & Dixon PLC
, where she focuses on family law, personal injury, wrongful death, and probate cases. She also is a Rule 31 listed family mediator. Dixon earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1986, and an undergraduate degree from Carson-Newman College. She is a native of Grainger County, Tenn.
Dixon has long been active in the Tennessee Bar Association, having served as president of the Young Lawyers Division in 1997 to 1998, on the association's Board of Governors for 11 years and as chair of the Membership Committee for six years. During her tenure as chair of the Membership Committee, the TBA grew by 3,000 members, which Dixon attributes to the outstanding member benefits offered by the association. She also serves on the TBA's Access to Justice Committee and Public Education Committee.
Dixon has a long history of participating in and supporting pro bono work to help low-income individuals obtain greater access to civil legal services. She is a past chair of the TBA's Access to Justice Committee, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and Nashville Pro Bono Inc. In 2008, she chaired the annual fundraising campaign for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She received the Nashville Bar Association's Joseph G. Cummings Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year award in 2009.
Her commitment to Tennessee's legal profession has included service as a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Commission to Administer the Tennessee Lawyer's Assistance Program, and the State of Tennessee Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation.
Her community involvement includes service on the Carson-Newman College Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2008, and service on the board of First Steps Inc. -- a non-profit that provides services to children with special needs -- for more than 15 years, including a term as president of the organization.
Taking office along with Dixon was President-Elect Cynthia Richardson Wyrick
of Sevierville and Vice President Jonathan O. Steen
of Jackson. Wyrick is a member in the firm of Ogle, Gass & Richardson PC
. She practices in the areas of wrongful death, workers' compensation, personal injury, medical malpractice, wills and estates, and adoption, custody and child support. Steen is a partner in the firm of Redding, Steen & Staton PC
, where he practices general civil litigation, with a focus on medical malpractice, legal malpractice and products liability defense; commercial and business disputes; and appellate advocacy.
The 2012 Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention was held in conjunction with four other legal organizations -- the Tennessee Alliance for Black Lawyers (TABL), the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women (TLAW), the Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ) and the Tennessee Judicial Conference. This joint meeting structure allows the groups to address common issues and concerns. It also offers opportunities for additional education, long-range planning, and recognition of attorneys who have performed outstanding legal work and community service.