NASHVILLE, June 26, 2009 — Memphis lawyer Danny Van Horn took office as the Tennessee Bar Association’s vice president last Friday at the association’s annual convention in Memphis. He will take office as president-elect next year and then as president in 2011. Van Horn is the youngest member of the TBA ever to become president, and he brings a great deal of enthusiasm and new ideas to his term in leadership.
Van Horn practices law at the Memphis firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC, where he focuses on commercial litigation, including business torts, unfair competition, insurance disputes and product liability. He earned his law degree in 1997 from Vanderbilt University Law School and returned to Memphis to work for Armstrong Allen PLLC. He joined Butler Snow in 2005.
Van Horn has been extremely active in the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA). He served in the TBA Young Lawyers Division for many years and was named its president in 2005. Following that assignment, he joined the TBA Board of Governors as the District 9 Representative. This past year, he chaired the group’s Continuing Legal Education Committee, which plans legal education seminars for lawyers around the state. He also was recognized last week with the prestigious President’s Award from outgoing TBA President and Memphis lawyer Buck Lewis for his service to the TBA and the legal community.
Van Horn also has been active in the American Bar Association, serving as a member of the Standing Committee on Membership, a member of the House of Delegates and YLD Assembly speaker, the second highest national YLD officer. In addition, he is a member of the Memphis and Mississippi bar associations.
Among his many accomplishments, Van Horn has distinguished himself in the field of pro bono service. Two years ago, he launched an effort to raise funds and attorney involvement in free clinics for HIV-positive patients. In addition, he is the co-founder of the Atticus Finch Referral Network. Named for the lawyer who took on an unpopular case in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, the network links attorneys willing to provide free legal advice with needy Memphians. He also served on the Memphis Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and was received Memphis Area Legal Services’ Pro Bono Service Award in 2006. Finally, this past year, Van Horn was instrumental in passage of new Supreme Court rules that will provide greater funding for legal aid agencies in the state.
In the community, Van Horn has been active in the Phoenix Club, the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, serving on boards and in other positions of leadership.
In speaking about plans for his year as president, Van Horn says he would like to educate more people about the state’s legal system, improve the juror experience, expand the Atticus Network across the state, increase the association’s use of social media, and launch a mock trial program for new and young lawyers who want to hone their litigation skills.
TBA Names Other Officers
Taking office along with Van Horn were President Gail Vaughn Ashworth of Nashville and resident-Elect Sam Elliott of Chattanooga. Ashworth is a founding partner of the Nashville firm of Gideon & Wiseman PLLC, where she practices civil litigation law. Elliott is with the Chattanooga law firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Lockaby, Cavett & Elliott, where he handles civil litigation.
Memphis Area Lawyers Honored
A number of Memphis lawyers were honored for their service to the legal profession and the community at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual meeting in Memphis last week.
At the 3rd Annual TBA Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala, awards were presented to the law firm and corporate legal department that best exemplified extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals, pro bono service and the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service this past year. The Hardison Law Firm of Memphis was recognized for its longstanding commitment to pro bono work, including participation in the Memphis Bar Association’s Attorney of the Day Program and free Saturday legal clinics, the Memphis Advance Directive Initiative, and disaster legal assistance clinics. The firm was also one of the first in Memphis to adopt a formal pro bono policy.
The corporate award went to the FedEx Legal Department for its partnership with Memphis Area Legal Services. Department lawyers donated more than $52,000 to MALS, sponsored 10 CLE programs to provide free training to volunteer and staff attorneys, and made its attorneys available to serve on various boards and committees. Department attorneys also participated in the Federal Court Pro Bono Panel, and the Memphis Bar Association’s Attorney of the Day Program and free Saturday legal clinics. See pictures from the gala or learn more about the initiative.
Linda Warren Seely, a managing attorney with Memphis Area Legal Services, received the TBA President’s Award for her service to the TBA and legal community. Seely was recognizing for her work on the 4/4 Pro Bono Public Service Day, which made free legal advice available to Tennesseans across the state on April 4. The 4/4 service day served over 1,300 Tennesseans in need of legal counsel and involved more than 800 volunteers around the state. Seely was instrumental in planning the Memphis clinic, which served close to 150 residents and involved 100 volunteers.
David M. Cook with the Hardison Law Firm was recognized for his work on the 4/4 Pro Bono Public Service Day, which made free legal advice available to Tennesseans across the state on April 4. Cook planned five clinics at area nursing homes and recruited attorneys to draft free living wills and advance directives for elderly residents.
The following Memphis lawyers were inducted as Fellows of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. The group, which is composed of former leaders of the division, works to support young lawyers in the state.
Chad A. Dickson, FedEx Trade Networks
Nichole E. Soule, Attorney at Law
Edward L. Stanton, Federal Express
Finally this past weekend, a number of Memphis lawyers graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program, which equips Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and communities. This year’s class was comprised of 35 attorneys from across the state. On Saturday, class members helped more than 50 clients at a free legal clinic in Memphis operated by Memphis Area Legal Services. Among the graduates were:
- Taylor Cates, Burch Porter & Johnson
- Sara Flowers-Dent, AutoZone, Inc.
- Terrence Reed, Federal Express Corporation
- Kristine Roberts, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz
- Lew Wardlaw, Martin Tate Morrow & Marston
- Monica Wharton, Regional Medical Center
The 2009 Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention was held in conjunction with four other major Tennessee legal organizations -- the Tennessee Judicial Conference (TJC), the Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ), Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (TLAW) and the Tennessee Alliance for Black Lawyers (TABL). 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.
Learn more about the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative
See photos from the event
For photographs or additional biographical information on any of the officers or award winners, please contact the TBA at (615) 383-7421