TBA Press Releases

Lawyers Complete 2019 TBA Leadership Program

Class of 35 graduates, selects Memphis lawyer for service award

NASHVILLE, June 18, 2019 — Thirty-five attorneys from across the state graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program during the association's annual convention in Nashville last week. The group spent the last six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.
 
At the graduation ceremony, Leadership Law co-chairs, Loretta Cravens and Trey Thacher, presented Memphis lawyer Tannera Gibson with the Larry Dean Wilks Leadership Award.
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Dean William C. Koch Jr. to Receive TBA’s Drowota Award

Former Justice Honored for Contributions to Access to Justice, Indigent Representation Reform and the Integrity of the Judicial System

NASHVILLE, May 22, 2019 — Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. will be honored next month with the Tennessee Bar Association’s prestigious Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award.
 
Named in honor of former Tennessee Chief Justice Frank Drowota, the award is the TBA’s highest honor given for service to the judiciary and has been presented annually for more than a decade.
 
Koch was chosen for his decades of service to the legal profession in Tennessee, including his local and national leadership of the American Inns of Court, as well as his work as chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force. In that role, he led an extensive listening tour that included nine public meetings and resulted in a comprehensive report with recommendations that led to additional funding for lasting and important changes around the state.  
 
Koch earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School.  He received his LL.M. in Judicial Process from University of Virginia School of Law.  After serving in leadership roles in state government, Koch was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 1984 and later to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2007 where he served until 2014.  When appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, Governor Phil Bredeson described Koch as fair and consistent with a strong commitment to the law and dedicated to the faithful dispensation of justice.  Koch has served as the President and Dean of Nashville School of Law since 2014.  He currently serves as the chair of the state’s Trial Court Vacancy Commission. 
 
He will accept the award during the Tennessee Bar Association’s Lawyers Luncheon on June 14 at its annual convention in Nashville.
 
The Drowota Award is given to a judge or judicial branch official of a federal, state or local court in Tennessee who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice as exemplified by the career of former Supreme Court Justice Frank F. Drowota III – the award’s first recipient, who died in April 2018. Thanks to a donation from Justice Drowota and a matching gift from the Frist Foundation, the award allows the recipient to direct a gift of $1,000 to the charity of his or her choice.
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Tennessee Lawyers and Law Student to be Recognized for Commitment to Public Service

Honorees to be Recognized at Upcoming Awards Luncheon

NASHVILLE, Jan. 9, 2019 — Two distinguished Tennessee attorneys and a recent University of Tennessee College of Law graduate will be honored with the state’s top public service awards at a ceremony this month.
 
The awards will be presented by the Tennessee Bar Association at its 2019 Public Service Luncheon on Jan. 19 at the Downtown DoubleTree Hotel in Nashville. Held each year as part of the association’s Leadership Conference, the luncheon also will feature remarks by legal community leaders including TBA President Jason Pannu and past American Bar Association President Robert Grey, Jr who currently serves as president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. 
 
Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award
The Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year will be awarded to Angie Bergman, who dedicated more than 425 hours of pro bono representation on behalf of a single client who argued he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial due to the overwhelming caseload of the public defenders assigned to him. She took on his case and brought exposure to the lack of funding the Metro Nashville Public Defenders Office, and how that underfunding leads to underrepresentation.
 
Former Metro Public Defender Dawn Deaner noted that while working on the case, Bergman had to digest years of scholarship on indigent defense issues in just a few months, as well as study her client’s complex history in the legal system.
 
“Angie maintains a busy practice at the firm for paying clients, and she is the mother of young children,” said David R. Esquivel, Bergman’s Bass Berry & Sims colleague who nominated her for the award. “With the many responsibilities she balances, I especially admire her sacrifice of hundreds of hours of advocacy in support of pro bono impact litigation that shined a light on a fundamental issue of justice in our state – the lack of adequate funding of public criminal defense.”
 
Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award
Adrienne Kittos, an attorney with Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), is this year’s Public Service Attorney of the Year. Kittos earned the recognition for her dedication fighting for immigrants under extraordinary circumstances.
 
“Adrienne has tremendous humility and grace, always shying from the spotlight and staying laser- focused on the needs of the clients before her,” said Spring Miller, Assistant Dean for Public Interest at Vanderbilt Law. “She has secured immigration protections and lawful permanent resident status for hundreds of victims of criminal activity and domestic violence, ensuring that those individuals and their families have the opportunity to live safe, healthy lives in the U.S.”
 
Kittos has worked with JFON for nine years and was the organization’s first full-time attorney on staff, and has seen it grow exponentially, even as immigration becomes an increasingly contentious political issue. In addition to the representation she offers, she also works in the community as an advocate and an educator on issues related to immigrant families. 
 
Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award
Amber Vargas will be recognized as this year’s Law Student Volunteer of the Year, for her tireless effort on behalf of victims of domestic violence. 
 
Vargas, a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, began as a volunteer during her undergraduate years at a shelter for domestic violence victims in Blount County. She moved on to helping represent similar families during an internship at Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS), the organization which hired her upon graduation. During her internship, she distinguished herself through her prodigious ability to connect with clients and make them feel comfortable and safe.
 
“Amber has always been able to look at a person and see where they are — emotionally, mentally and physically — and just relate to the person, make them feel safe, and make them feel like they have opportunities to be away from their abuser,” said Rachel Moses, an LAS attorney who mentored Vargas. “I feel like I was a better attorney because I had Amber on my side. We’re blessed to have her.”
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TBA Selects Attorneys for 2019 Leadership Law Class

35 Lawyers from Across the State Join 6-month Leadership Training Program

NASHVILLE, Dec. 12, 2018— The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) announces that 35 attorneys from across the state have been selected for its 2019 Leadership Law program. 
 
Now in its sixteenth year, Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. The class will meet for its first session in January, and then spend the next six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service. 
 
Class members are:
 
Constance Alexander, The Alexander Law Firm, Memphis
Sara Barnett, Spragins, Barnett & Cobb PLC, Jackson
Paige Bernick, Cornelius & Collins, LLP, Nashville
Ginny Bozeman, Shelby County Attorney's Office, Memphis
Amy Bryant, State of Tennessee—Division of TennCare, Nashville
Audrey Calkins, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Memphis
Bill Clayton, Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter, PLLC, Knoxville
Tannera Gibson, Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC, Memphis
Zachary Greene, Miller & Martin PLLC, Chattanooga
Will Hicky, William B. Hicky, Attorney at Law, Nashville
Ryan Holt, Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, Nashville
Tim Hughes, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Nashville
Thomas Hutto, Lawwell, Dale, Graham & Hutto, Columbia
Allison Jackson, Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, P.C., Knoxville
Martesha Johnson, Metropolitan Nashville Public Defenders Office, Nashville
Brittani Kendrick, Tennessee State Board of Education, Nashville
Whitney Kimerling, Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C., Nashville
Chambre Malone, Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Nashville
Alexander McVeagh, Hamilton County General Sessions Court, Chattanooga
Mitchell Panter, Paine | Bickers, LLP, Knoxville
Will Perry, Butler Snow LLP, Memphis
Lance Pope, Patrick, Beard, Schulman & Jacoway, PC, Chattanooga
Courtney Read, Watson Roach Batson Rowell & Lauderback, PLC, Knoxville
Melanie Reid, Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law, Knoxville
Justin Reynolds, Reynolds & Reynolds, P.C. , Savannah
Gil Schuette, Sims | Funk, PLC, Nashville
Leslie South, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Nashville
Latisha Stubblefield, Pilot Travel Centers LLC, Knoxville
TaKeena Thompson Sandifer, Adams and Reese LLP, Nashville
Nathan Tilly, Pentecost, Glenn, Mauldin & York, PLLC, Jackson
Wells Trompeter, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, Nashville
Jennifer Wade, Metro Student Attendance Center Juvenile Court, Nashville
Susan Neal Williams, Morgan & Morgan, Nashville
Kirby Yost, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C., Chattanooga
Carlos Yunsan, Tennessee Supreme Court, Knoxville
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Chattanooga Lawyer Takes Legal Writing Honor

Lype to Receive the Tennessee Bar Journal’s Highest Award

NASHVILLE, June 12, 2018 — Chattanooga attorney Bob E. Lype will be honored with the Justice Joseph W. Henry Memorial Award for Outstanding Legal Writing at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual Convention, held at The Peabody in Memphis this week.
 
The Joe W. Henry Award is given each year to a member of the Tennessee Bar Association who contributes the most outstanding article to the TBA’s monthly magazine, the Tennessee Bar Journal. Lype was chosen this year by a panel of judges for “How to Deal with Bullying, Threats and Physical Violence in the Workplace,” which was published in the April 2017 edition. This is Lype’s second time to receive the award – a rare feat in Bar Journal history.
 
Lype is the principal of the Law Office of Bob E. Lype & Associates, where his practice includes representation of employers of all sizes in labor and employment law matters, including compliance counseling and advice, as well as handling litigation and disputes. His practice also involves business litigation and insurance defense work. He is a 1990 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, with high honors, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.
 
The Joe Henry award is named for Justice Joseph W. Henry, a former chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, practicing lawyer, scholar, and writer with a rare talent for clear, forceful and often dramatic prose. The award was established in 1981 to encourage scholarly yet practical writing to benefit members of the bar. The winner was chosen this year by a panel that included Judge Brandon Gibson of the Western Section Court of Appeals, former University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Dean Peter Letsou and TBA President Lucian Pera.
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Lawyers Complete 2018 TBA Leadership Program

Class of 28 Graduates, Selects Nashville Lawyer for Service Award

Twenty-eight attorneys from across the state graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program during the association's annual convention in Memphis last week. The group spent the last six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.
 
At the graduation ceremony, Leadership Law co-chairs, Judge Brandon Gibson and Loretta Cravens, presented Nashville lawyer Raquel Bellamy with the Larry Dean Wilks Leadership Award. The award, named for former TBA President Larry D. Wilks, recognizes a class member with exceptional leadership qualities. Bellamy is an attorney at Bone McAllester Norton PLLC in Nashville where she focuses litigation and immigration law. She is the seventh recipient of the award. The recipient is selected by each year’s class based on the following leadership characteristics:
Demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities that enhance the Leadership Law experience for all class members.
Exhibits leadership-by-example qualities by fully engaging in all aspects of the Leadership Law program.
Promotes the Leadership Law program goals through service-oriented actions and initiatives.
Fosters consensus from differing opinions and ideas without regard to background or cultural status.
Enhances the education of other class members through thoughtful and respectful debate.
 
Graduating class members are:
 
Jeff Allen, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Nashville
Raquel Bellamy, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC, Nashville
Casey Bryant, Law Office of Casey Bryant, Memphis
Ryan Durham, Boston, Holt, Sockwell & Durham, PLLC, Lawrenceburg
Spencer Fair, London & Amburn, P.C., Knoxville
Justin Faith, Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon, PLLC, Chattanooga
Ted Goodman, Murfree and Goodman, PLLC, Murfreesboro
James Hollis, Siskind Susser PC, Nashville
Tanya Holmes, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis
Sam Hudson, Law Office of Samuel F. Hudson, Dunlap
Justin Joy, Lewis Thomason, Memphis
Aron Karabel, Waller, Nashville
Jenney Keaty, Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, Nashville
Hannah Lowe, Trammell, Adkins & Ward, P.C., Knoxville
Keating Lowery, First Tennessee, Memphis
Laura Martin, Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC, Memphis
Jill McCook, Baker Donelson, Knoxville
Jesse Morris, Rubenfeld Law Office, Nashville
Gary Peeples, Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC, Memphis
Ryan Porter, Jackson Chamber, Jackson
Brandon Reedy, Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, PLC, Jackson
Drew Reynolds, Spears Moore Rebman & Williams PC, Chattanooga
John Rice, Elmore, Stone & Caffey, PLLC, Knoxville
Michael Stanuszek, The Stanuszek Law Group, PLLC, Knoxville
Martin Trimiew, Willis Towers Watson, Nashville
Josh Wallis, The Landers Firm, Memphis
Janika White, The Walter Bailey Law Firm, Memphis
Jason Yasinsky, Nahon Saharovich & Trotz, PLC, Memphis
 
Now in its 15th year, Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. Over the course of six months, class members learn about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.
 
Photographs and additional biographical information for class members are available on request.
 
The 2018 Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention was held in conjunction with several other legal organizations, including the Tennessee Judicial Conference. 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.
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Newman Honored with Leech Award for Public Service

Leech Award Given by TBA’s Young Lawyers Division Fellows

NASHVILLE, June 7, 2018 – Memphis attorney Charles F. Newman will be honored with this year’s prestigious William M. Leech Jr. Public Service Award, to be presented by the TBA’s Young Lawyers Division Fellows at the association’s annual convention in Memphis on Friday, June 15.
 
“Charlie Newman personifies the William Leech Public Service Award, as a great civil rights lawyer, conservationist and visionary who has shaped the history of Memphis and Shelby County,” said TBA YLD Fellows Treasurer Bill Haltom. “He has both witnessed history and made history.”
 
Newman’s remarkable career in Memphis includes his work assisting his mentor, Lucius Burch, in representing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1968 sanitation workers strike, as well as taking Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe, a landmark environmental conservation case, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971.
 
A graduate of Yale Law School, Newman has been with Burch, Porter & Johnson since 1965. He has previously been honored with the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter’s Pillar of Excellence Award, and was named “Memphian of the Year” by Memphis Magazine in 2016. Newman is also known for his mentorship of young attorneys, whom he famously meets with during daily lunches at the Little Tea Shoppe on Monroe Avenue.
 
The Leech Award is presented each year to a Tennessee lawyer who has given outstanding service to the legal profession, the legal system and the local community. It is awarded by the Fellows of the Young Lawyers Division, a nonprofit organization formed to support the development of young attorneys in the state. The award winner is chosen by the Fellows board.
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TBA, Commercial Appeal to Co-Host Gubernatorial Forum

Forum Will Take Place at TBA Annual Convention in Memphis

NASHVILLE, June 4, 2018 – The Tennessee Bar Association and The Commercial Appeal, USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee will co-host a forum on June 14 in Memphis, featuring the major candidates for governor of Tennessee. The event will coincide with the TBA’s annual Convention, held this year at The Peabody on June 13-16.
 
Media outlets covering this story for print publication will be allowed inside the ballroom. Video, including interviews and live reporting, will be limited to the exhibit hall. All individuals on the premises will be required to obtain a media pass from the TBA prior to the event. The event will be live streamed on the TBA website, TBA.org.
 
WHAT: Gubernatorial Forum hosted by the Tennessee Bar Association and The Commercial Appeal, USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee
 
WHEN: June 14, 2018, 8:30 a.m.
 
WHERE: The Peabody, 149 Union Ave.
 
Media inquiries in advance or on the day of the event should be directed to Katharine Heriges, TBA Communications Coordinator, at 615-390-9253.
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TBA Applauds Gov. Haslam, General Assembly for Funding Indigent Representation Reform

NASHVILLE, May 25, 2018 — Tennessee Bar Association President Lucian Pera today applauded Gov. Bill Haslam, the General Assembly and the Tennessee Supreme Court for their partnership in strengthening Tennessee’s commitment to indigent representation reform in the wake of adoption of a recurring allocation of $9.7 million in the FY 2018-19 budget, which the governor signed earlier this week.

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Justice Clark to Receive TBA’s Drowota Award

Justice Honored for Contributions to Access to Justice, Faith-Based Coalition

NASHVILLE, May 17, 2018 — Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark will be honored next month with the Tennessee Bar Association’s prestigious Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award.
 
Named in honor of former Tennessee Chief Justice Frank Drowota, the Drowota Award is the TBA’s highest award for service to the judiciary and has been given annually for more than a decade.
 
Clark was chosen for her decades of service to the legal profession in Tennessee, including the implementation of the Access to Justice Commission’s first-ever strategic plan in 2010, and creation of the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance (TFJA) in 2011. The TFJA aligns volunteer attorneys with faith-based social justice programs to help those in need.
 
“No one in Tennessee knows more about the Tennessee judicial system than Justice Clark,” said Margaret Behm of Nashville’s Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella PC. “Her entire professional life has been devoted to the service of others and the promotion of the rule of law.”
 
A native of Franklin, Clark earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University. She completed her law degree at Vanderbilt University in 1979. After practicing law for 10 years, she was appointed Circuit Court judge for the 21st Judicial District in 1989. Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court in 2005, she served as director of the Administrative Office of the Courts for six years.
 
She will accept the award during the Tennessee Bar Association’s Lawyers Luncheon on June 15 at its annual convention in Memphis.
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