TBA Press Releases

TBA Selects Attorneys for 2018 Leadership Law Class

30 lawyers from across the state join six-month leadership training program

NASHVILLE, Dec. 12, 2017 — The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) announces that 30 attorneys from across the state have been selected for its 2018 Leadership Law program. 
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. 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:
Jeffrey Allen, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Nashville
Raquel Bellamy, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC, Nashville
Casey Bryant, Latino Memphis, Inc., Memphis
Sarah Campbell, Tennessee Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Solicitor General, Nashville
Ryan Durham, Boston, Holt, Sockwell & Durham, PLLC, Lawrenceburg
Spencer Fair, London & Amburn, PC, Knoxville
Justin Faith, Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon, PLLC, Chattanooga
Theodore Goodman, Murfree & 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 Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, Nashville
Jenney Keaty, Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, Nashville
Sarah Kennedy, Estes & Kennedy Law Offices, PLLC, Athens
Hannah Lowe, Trammell, Adkins & Ward, PC, Knoxville
Keating Lowery, First Tennessee Bank National Association, Memphis
Laura Martin, Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh, PLLC, Memphis
Jill McCook, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Knoxville
Jesse Morris, Rubenfeld Law Office, PC, Nashville
Gary Peeples, Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC, Memphis
Ryan Porter, Jackson Chamber, Jackson
Brandon Reedy, Rainey Kizer Reviere & Bell, 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
Joshua Wallis, The Landers Firm PLC, Memphis
Janika White, The Walter Bailey Law Firm, Memphis
Jason Yasinsky, Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC, Memphis
Photographs and additional biographical information are available for class members on request. 
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Tennessee Bar Association Voices Support for Indigent Representation Reform

TBA President Lucian Pera Applauds Supreme Court for Leading the Effort

The Tennessee Supreme Court announced Oct. 3 that it would support efforts to reform the state's indigent representation methods. Below is the full statement from Tennessee Bar Association President Lucian Pera in response to the announcement:
"The TBA applauds the Supreme Court’s strong leadership on indigent representation reform. We look forward to partnering with the court and others interested in making real improvement on the status quo. 
For too long Tennessee has been at the very bottom of the heap nationally in the way we fund representation of indigent defendants, as well as juveniles caught in the system. The court's recommendations regarding rates and caps is a step in the right direction. Frankly, it is a small step, and it is not enough; but it is a start. 
In appointing the Task Force on Indigent Representation, and now forcefully endorsing its recommendations, the court is leading the way to serious indigent representation reform. Beyond simply raising rates and caps, the court is putting the pieces in place to really improve the system for all Tennesseans.
Tennessee's lawyers care deeply about improving the representation of people in need. Under the Constitution, all Tennesseans have a constitutional right to a lawyer in criminal cases. The TBA looks forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Court to move Tennessee in the right direction."
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3 Honored With Tennessee Bar Journal Joe Henry Award

Raybin, Amundsen, Levy Honored for Excellence in Legal Writing

NASHVILLE, June 19, 2017 — Nashville lawyer Benjamin K. Raybin, Memphis Lawyer Amy J. Amundsen and former Nashville lawyer Jeffrey L. Levy were honored on Friday with Justice Joseph W. Henry Memorial Award for Outstanding Legal Writing at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual Convention in Kingsport.
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. Raybin received the award for his article “Pardon Me: How Executive Clemency Works in Tennessee (and How It Doesn’t),” published in the August 2016 issue. Amundsen and Levy were honored for their point/counterpoint articles, “Confusion / Clarity: Two Family Law Attorneys on How to Balance Best Interests of Children and Doctor-Patient Privilege,” published in May 2016.
Raybin is an associate at Raybin & Weissman, P.C., where he practices primarily criminal defense and civil rights law. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University, where he was a member of the Law Review. He clerked for Judges Jane B. Stranch and Gilbert S. Merritt, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He has successfully argued cases in front of the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
Amy practices law with Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC in Memphis. She is a graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She has served as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Family Law section, president of the Memphis Bar Association, president of the Memphis chapter of the American Inns of Court and is one of the 100 Diplomates in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. For the past 15 years she has chaired the Alimony Bench Book Committee of the TBA Family Law Section.
Levy has been a family law practitioner in Nashville, but recently relocated to South Carolina and is in the process of retiring. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, he is a past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Family Law Section and of the Nashville Bar Association’s Domestic Relations Committee. He has also a past chair of the TBA’s Family Law Code Committee.
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 the members of the bar. The winners were chosen this year by a panel which included Judge Brandon Gibson of the Western Section Court of Appeals, TBA President Jason Long, Dean Gary Wade of the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law and Dean Melanie D. Wilson of the University of Tennessee College of Law.
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Sarah Sheppeard to Take Office as TBA Vice President

Lewis Thomason Shareholder to Lead the Association in 2019-2020

NASHVILLE, June 14, 2017 — Knoxville attorney Sarah Y. Sheppeard will take office as vice president of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) at the group’s annual convention this week in Kingsport. Sheppeard was elected to the office by TBA members earlier this year and will assume the presidency in 2019.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this office and to be part of the TBA leadership team,” Sheppeard said.
Sheppeard is a shareholder with Lewis Thomason in Knoxville with more than 37 years of legal experience. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1979 and prior to joining Lewis Thomason was a founding member of the Knoxville firm Sheppeard and Mynatt, P.L.C.
Active in the TBA for many years, Sheppeard has served on the association’s Board of Governors since 2014, and has also previously served as chair of the Litigation Section and CLE Committee. She is a Tennessee Bar Foundation Fellow, a TBA Young Lawyers Division Fellow and received the Tennessee Bar Association’s President’s Award in 2010.
Sheppeard has been a lecturer with the Tennessee Law Institute since 1988. She was chair of the Tennessee Judicial Evaluation Commission, was for 15 years an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law, and was previously a member of the Tennessee Law Review. A past-president of the Knoxville Bar Association, she is a Fellow in the Knoxville and American Bar Foundations. Sheppeard served on the Advisory Commission to the Tennessee Supreme Court on Rules of Practice and Procedure. In 2014, she was presented with the Knoxville Bar Association’s highest honor, the Governors’ Award.
The 2017 TBA Annual Convention will be held June 14-17 at the MeadowView Marriott Resort. Taking office along with Sheppeard will be President Lucian Pera of Adams and Reese LLP in Memphis and President-Elect Jason Pannu of Lewis Thomason in Nashville. The annual 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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Jason Pannu to Take Office as TBA President-Elect

Lewis Thomason shareholder to serve as president in 2018-2019

NASHVILLE, June 13, 2017 — Nashville lawyer Jason Pannu will take office as president-elect of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) at the group’s annual convention this week in Kingsport. After serving a year as president-elect, Pannu will lead the association as president beginning in 2018.
Pannu will be taking office as the TBA transitions into the leadership of a new Executive Director, Joycelyn Stevenson.
“I want to thank retiring Executive Director Allan Ramsaur for all his years of leadership and dedication to the Tennessee Bar Association. The organization would not be where it is today without Mr. Ramsaur’s stewardship. He is truly a legend in our profession,” Pannu said. “I am delighted to welcome incoming Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson and look forward to working with her as we transition to a new era for the Tennessee Bar Association.” 
Pannu is a shareholder in the Nashville office of Lewis Thomason, where he practices primarily in the areas of business and commercial litigation with an emphasis on the construction industry. He also practices in the areas of professional liability and employment law disputes. Pannu, who received his law degree in 2002 from the University of Alberta, previously practiced as a barrister and solicitor in Toronto, Ontario.
At the TBA, Pannu has served as secretary and on the Board of Governors of the TBA from 2008 through 2015. He is a Fellow of the TBA’s Young Lawyers Division and was a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Law Class. Pannu is a member of the TBA’s Special Committee on Law Practice by Foreign Lawyers. As vice president, he holds a seat on the TBA Board of Governors and its Executive Committee. He is also active in the Nashville hockey community having served as counsel for various local youth hockey organizations and coached high school hockey.
The 2017 TBA Annual Convention will be held June 14-17 at the MeadowView Marriott Resort. Taking office along with Pannu will be President Lucian Pera of Adams and Reese in Memphis and Vice President Sarah Sheppeard of Lewis Thomason in Knoxville. The annual 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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Lucian Pera to Take Office as TBA President

Adams and Reese LLP Partner to Lead the Association for 2017-2018 Bar Year

NASHVILLE, June 14, 2017 — Memphis lawyer Lucian T. Pera will take office as president of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) at the group’s annual convention this week in Kingsport. Pera previously served as president-elect during the 2016-2017 bar year.
“The TBA is one of the strongest state bars in the nation. It matters to the daily work and lives Tennessee lawyers, the courts, and their clients. And so, as a Tennessee lawyer, it’s the highest honor I can think of to serve as TBA President,” Pera said.
Pera is a partner in the Memphis office of Adams and Reese LLP, where he practices in the areas of commercial litigation, media law, and legal ethics and professional responsibility. Adams and Reese is a multidisciplinary law firm with approximately 300 attorneys and advisors in 18 offices across the southern United States and in Washington, D.C.
A Memphis native, Pera has practiced law in his hometown since 1986. He practiced law for 20 years with Armstrong Allen PLLC before joining and helping open the Memphis office of Adams and Reese in 2006. Pera graduated from Princeton University with honors and earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1985.
Pera has been active in the TBA since his first year of law practice, beginning in the bar’s Young Lawyer Division and rising to serve as YLD president in 1993-1994. For almost a decade starting in 1995, he led the bar’s legal ethics committee, which wrote and successfully proposed to the Tennessee Supreme Court a completely revised set of lawyer ethics rules patterned after the American Bar Association’s model rules. At the same time, he also served on the ABA “Ethics 2000” Commission, which overhauled the model rules for the entire United States in 2002.
Pera has also been active in the American Bar Association (ABA), serving in its policy-making House of Delegates since 1990 and serving as ABA Treasurer from 2011-2014. Currently, he serves as chair of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility, the home of the ABA’s core lawyer ethics and professional responsibility committees. He also currently serves as president of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. TCOG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to improve citizen access to public information and open government in the state.
The 2017 TBA Annual Convention will be held June 14-17 at the MeadowView Marriott Resort. Taking office along with Pera will be President-Elect Jason Pannu of Lewis Thomason in Nashville and Vice President Sarah Sheppeard of Lewis Thomason in Knoxville. The annual 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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Judge Susano to Receive TBA’s Drowota Award

Knoxville Judge Honored for Work Supporting Juveniles, Disabled Rights

NASHVILLE, June 13, 2017 — Knoxville Judge Charles D. Susano will be honored this week with the prestigious Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award.
Susano was selected for his many years of service on the courts – he has served on the Court of Appeals since 1994, and until 2015 was Chief Judge – as well as for his advocacy. A paraplegic since 1992, Susano also has been a champion of rights for disabled individuals, and has been a major supporter of the youths in residence at Knox County Juvenile Court.
“He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing,” said TBA Vice President-Elect and former Susano law partner Sarah Sheppeard. “Judge Susano has given, and continues to give, so much to the judiciary, the legal system and his community. He embodies all of the qualities the Drowota Award seeks to honor. I cannot think of a more worthy recipient.”
Susano graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1958 and from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1963. He served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960. Prior to his appointment to the courts, he practiced law in Knoxville for three decades. 
Susano will accept the award during the Tennessee Bar Association’s Lawyers Luncheon on June 16 at its annual convention in Kingsport.
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. Thanks to a donation by 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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Book Examines ‘Strategic Civility’ of Sen. Howard Baker

New Edition of Memphis Attorney Bill Haltom’s Book is Especially Timely Today

NASHVILLE, June 9, 2017 — A book examining the qualities that made the late U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. successful and beloved during his long career is now available in a second edition from the Tennessee Bar Association. 
The Other Fellow May Be Right: The Civility of Howard Baker from Memphis lawyer William H. “Bill” Haltom Jr. not only looks at details of the statesman’s life and career but also examines Tennessee’s changing political climate.
“Thoroughly researched, breezily written, and timely, The Other Fellow May Be Right is an important reminder that relentless partisanship and search-and-destroy tactics are not the only way to conduct the public’s business — or our own,” Nashville lawyer Gary C. Shockley writes in a review published in the Tennessee Bar Journal. “One Tennessean chose the opposite path and followed it to his country’s highest offices and greatest honors.”
Haltom will sign copies of the new book on June 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. during the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual convention in Kingsport.
“The late Sen. Howard Baker remains the role model for civility in these uncivil times,” said Haltom. “I am delighted that the TBA Press has published the updated edition of my tribute to this great man.”
The book is now available for sale from the Tennessee Bar Association’s TBA.org website as well as Amazon.com.
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Nashville Lawyer Named New TBA Executive Director

Joycelyn Stevenson Brings Experience as Bar Leader to Position

NASHVILLE, June 1, 2017 — The Tennessee Bar Association today named Nashville lawyer Joycelyn Stevenson as its new executive director. 

A shareholder with Littler Mendelson PC with a practice focused on labor and employment law, Stevenson has been a leader in the Tennessee legal community, serving as president of both the Nashville Bar Association and the Lawyers’ Association for Women ‐ Marion Griffin Chapter. She is the first African‐American woman to lead both organizations and will be the first African-American woman to direct the TBA.

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Monroe County Child Advocate Named 2017 CASA Volunteer of the Year

Award given to John Porter at Nashville ceremony

NASHVILLE, Jan. 30, 2017 — John Porter of Vonore has been named the 2017 CASA Volunteer of the Year by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD). The award recognizes Porter’s six years of service as a volunteer for CASA Monroe. 
Nashville lawyer Cherrelle Hooper, chair of the YLD Children’s Issues Committee, presented the award to Porter at a recent dinner in Nashville. Alisa Hobbs, executive director of CASA Monroe, also was on hand.
Porter was recognized for his unrelenting advocacy on behalf of clients and his dedication to doing the “actual work” of volunteering. Porter is a retired software developer and business owner who experienced “incredible success” in his professional life, according to Hobbs. But Porter made a decision to commit himself to a retirement of service, and made it clear that rather than serving on boards of directors, he wanted to work directly with the people who need it most.
Porter was said to go “above and beyond” on many occasions, such as when he provided a client family with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. He handled many juvenile justice cases and would travel great distances to visit those young people, even when they were in detention centers or therapeutic homes. He speaks fondly of one case, in which a juvenile delinquent with an uncertain future grew to become a decorated Marine. The two still keep in touch, Hobbs says.
When Porter is not advocating for his CASA clients, he is volunteering for Meals on Wheels, where he takes on all tasks, even washing dishes.
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