The Torch Spring 2024

Page 1

NSL on Music Row A Tribute to Alumni and Students Involved in Music City’s Music Industry SPRING 2024


NSL on Music Row

Making Music While Gaining a Legal Education. Alison Prestwood ’09 –Performer and Legal Practitioner

NSL Musicians

NSL Alumnus Dennis Disney ’22

Embraces Life as an Entertainment Lawyer Opening a New Firm on Music Row

NSL Entertainment Lawyers

From Law Student to Legal Professor

Amy Bryson Smith ’96 Shares How She Combined Her Love of the Law, Business, Education, and Music, Into One Successful Career

NSL Music Industry Professionals

Meet: NSL Director of Recruiting & Alumni Affairs Stacey Angello

Meet: NSL LSV I Professor Chris Hugan


Get to Know: NSL 4L Amy Parker

2023 NSL Rigorous Writing Winners

NSL Class of 2027: How it Started and How it’s Going

NSL 2L Students Negotiate NFL Contracts in National Competition



Alumni Profile Julie Alley ‘18

Bar Exam Success List

In Memoriam

Class Notes

Board & Faculty

Board & Faculty Notes


William C. Koch, Jr.



Kristin Smart


Nancy Humphrey DESIGNER

Bob Delevante


Many historic institutions call Music City home. The WSM Barn Dance – now known as the Grand Ole Opry – began broadcasting in 1925. Fourteen years earlier, in 1911, the Nashville YMCA Night Law School began providing working men and women an opportunity to earn a law degree. Over the years a significant number of these men and women have worked in Nashville’s music and entertainment industry before, during, and after earning their NSL law degree.

Nashville is an international hub of creativity. Along with the artists, songwriters, and musicians, thousands of talented professionals are involved in publishing, rights management, production, and distribution. More than 190 recording studios and 80 record labels are located in Nashville. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce reports that the music and entertainment industry in the Nashville area supports more than 56,000 jobs and contributes $5.5 billion to the local economy every year.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
~ Plato

advisors and counselors. They are Grammy winners. They are also leading music business educators.

Lawyers are often typecast in songs and story. Harlan Howard and Richard Johnson wrote a song in 1962 asking, “Will your lawyer talk to God for you?” More recently, a chart-topping bluegrass song written by Paul Craft and Billy Edd Wheeler pleaded, “[M]ay there be no lawyers in heaven, O Lord, let’em go somewhere else when they die.” I am confident that neither of these songs were about NSL lawyers. So confident, in fact, that we presented Chief Justice John Roberts with an autographed copy of “No Lawyers in Heaven” when he visited our School in 2019.

This issue of The Torch celebrates our graduates and students who have played and are playing leading roles in Nashville’s creative, dynamic, and diverse music and entertainment industry. To borrow a line written by Thom Schuyler, “God bless the boys [and girls] who make the noise on 16th Avenue.”

It should come as no surprise that NSL graduates have distinguished themselves in every facet of the music and entertainment business. They are performers. They are legal Nashville School of Law would like to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone at Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios in the Music Row area. They allowed us to capture our cover photo in their beautiful “Studio A.” Thank you for everything!

Cover photo taken by Peyton Hoge.

On the cover: (Back row) Marie McGlone ’24, Doug Smith ’25, Mariam Stockton ’10, Spencer Lambert ’19, Amy Stansell ’12, Dennis Disney ’22. (Front Row)

Lydia George ’27, Amy Smith ’96, Matt Zehr ’24 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 22 23 24 26

NSL On Music Row

A Tribute to Alumni and Students Involved in Music City’s Music Industry

“They walk away from everything just to see a dream come true, so God bless the boys who make the noise on 16th Avenue.”

Lyrics of the popular 1982 country song, “16th Avenue,” written by Thom Schuyler and performed by Lacy J. Dalton, tell the familiar story of hopeful musicians moving to Nashville in pursuit of success and overcoming the tough challenges of the music business.

The song refers to what is known as “Music Row,” nestled between 16th and 17th Avenues. It is Nashville’s hub for recording studios, record labels, and music publishing companies. It was established in the 1950s when Owen and Harold Bradley opened the first recording studio – Quonset Hut. Down the street, Cedarwood Publishing started its business, and within a few years, RCA’s music offices and iconic Studio B became part of this vibrant neighborhood.

Music legends like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Taylor Swift, just to name a few, have recorded chart-topping hits on Music Row.

These days, the area has transformed itself to welcome a variety of music genres that go beyond just country. It now includes pop, rock, gospel, and Americana, showcasing the diverse music scene in Nashville.

In the middle of it all are Nashville School of Law alumni and students who have helped strengthen the reputation of Music City.

In this issue of The Torch, we recognize our talented musicians, savvy entertainment lawyers, music industry professionals, and those who aspire to be involved in the music industry.

We want to extend our sincere regrets to those individuals working in the music industry who were inadvertently excluded from this edition. A mass email was sent to all NSL alumni to involve our graduates who work in this field. If you did not receive an email, we kindly ask that you send us your updated information to

A. Behind the scenes of our cover photo. B. 16th Ave. S. Nashville, TN. C. Photographer Peyton Hoge takes cover photo for The Torch. D. NSL alumna Amy Stansell ’12 visits with fellow alumni. E. NSL alumni catch up at Ocean Way Nashville Studios. F. ASCAP on Music Square West. G. NSL alumni and students visit before cover photo session. H. Music Row historical marker near roundabout.


At just 13 years old, NSL alumna Alison Prestwood ’09 picked up her first bass guitar, and she’s been playing the instrument ever since.

Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, Prestwood originally played classical guitar. But by age 15, she was playing bass in her first band. She played throughout high school and college, graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in music.

Prestwood was certain that music was her calling, but she wasn’t set on moving to Music City.

“I decided to move to Atlanta. I did that because I didn’t think I liked country music. My dad would say, ‘You need to move to Nashville.’ But I moved to Atlanta for about 11 years, playing R & B and pop in local clubs,” said Prestwood.

By the time she packed her bags for Nashville, in 1993, Prestwood had more than 15 years of stage experience and an undeniable passion for playing music. She visited the Bluebird Café to meet other musicians and started playing showcases across the city.

“One day, a drummer I met called me because Rodney Crowell was doing a rehearsal, and his bass player flaked out; so, he (my friend) said, 4

Making Music While Gaining a Legal Education

Alison Prestwood ’09 – Performer and Legal Practitioner

‘Get down here right now, it is an audition.’ I was one of the first down there, and I got the gig. So that was the first thing I did — playing on the road with Rodney Crowell.”

Prestwood’s incredible talent has earned her four Academy of Country Music (ACM) nominations for Bass Player of the Year, allowed her to play on more than 13,000 songs recorded in Nashville studios, and has put her on stage with top artists like Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Olivia Newton-John.

While she enjoyed her career, Prestwood always knew that she belonged to a lineage of musicians who had paved the way for her, and she realized the cyclical nature of the recording world.

“I was very aware that the music business is generational. I was aware of my age, and I was wondering if it was going to cycle out. I felt, well, I need to find something that I can do for the rest of my life that is not age related, and I always wondered if I would love the law as much as my father did,” she said.

Prestwood’s father, Alvin, was first in his class at the University of Alabama School of Law and had his own law practice for more than 40 years. In 2005, while Prestwood continued to play music, she also decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and enrolled at Nashville School of Law.

“I was sitting in the front row, in one of my first classes, and I looked over and saw (songwriter) Wade Kirby ’09, whom I had played sessions for, and after class I asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ and he asked the same thing. So, we ended up studying together a lot in those four years.”

Prestwood admits she loved learning the law. She was confident when presenting a case and would purposefully choose to sit in the front row during class, anticipating the possibility of standing alongside one of her NSL professors in a real courtroom someday.

Like her father, Prestwood graduated at the top of her NSL class in 2009. She passed the bar and joined a law firm in Franklin, Tennessee. Her work involved family law, conservatorships, and guardianships. It was meaningful, and she felt she was making a difference in the lives of

those she represented.

“I moved my mom here, and caring for her gave me a background where I understood the importance of conservatorships. I took my life experience and used it to help others, whether it be caring for a parent or going through a challenging family circumstance,” said Prestwood.

She practiced law for close to 10 years until she realized she felt a strong passion for her music once again.

Nowadays, she is back in the studios and back on the road. Prestwood retired her law license in May 2023, so she can dedicate her life to music. However, she credits her NSL days for giving her confidence in knowing there is nothing she can’t handle, including a recent show that had some pretty high expectations.

“This past October, Vince Gill’s manager called me and asked me to play with Vince to open up for the Eagles (whom Gill has played with for seven years) in Pittsburgh. Steely Dan was supposed to open, but someone got sick, so Vince decided to open for himself. It was out of nowhere and we didn’t have time to rehearse, and that man (Vince) has standards. I probably studied for that opening as hard as I studied for Dean Koch’s Con Law exam, which was insane,” she said, laughing.

When asked what her career highlights have been, Prestwood said, with gratitude, that she feels good about her work with conservatorships, and she is proud to have been nominated so many times by the Academy of Country Music for Bass Player of the Year. You could say, helping people and making music is definitely her jam.

Alison Prestwood ’09 Prestwood with her dad’s law office sign

Caleb Gaw ’26

NSL 2L, Construction Firm Owner / Middle TN Realtor

“I have been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. I recently picked up piano. My favorite part about being a musician is that music is a universal language. No matter the differences

NSL Musicians

“ ”

in culture, language, race, religion, or family, all share the language of music. It is a way to connect with others, where without music, one may never have the chance or opportunity. And to be a musician allows me to speak that universal language to others and share in unique experiences and moments.”

Max Fagan ’94

Assistant District Attorney, 19th Judicial District, Supreme Court-designated Special Judge for Davidson, Sumner, and Williamson County

“I have played music all my life. I play guitar and have performed with Porter Wagoner, Johnny

Cash, Ernest Tubb, Barbara Mandrell, Don Williams, John Conlee, and more. In the early 80s, I joined two great friends, Ron Combs and Randy Moore, and formed the group, ‘The Knott Brothers.’ We continue to perform, though on a less frequent basis. After I became a judge, I performed at the National Judicial College in Reno, with a group of judges singing parodies I had written for our final banquet. We won first place among the 150 judges who attended. My favorite thing about being involved in music is enjoying the people who are enjoying the music and themselves. It is fun to bring happiness to others through music.”

Wade Kirby ’09

Nashville Songwriter

“I had a No. 1 song while I was at NSL that got nominated for a Grammy award for song of the year in the ‘country song’ category. All good,

except I had a moot court case on the night of the Grammys which were in Los Angeles, and NSL had some pretty strict policies on being absent. So, I went to my professor and said, ‘I got nominated, and it would be really cool if I could be there.’ He asked what I was doing here (in Nashville). He said he would switch my case, but I had to make sure all the work was done properly. So, I am at the Grammy awards, sitting behind Paul McCartney, and I am texting during the commercial breaks to my team in moot court trying to line up my depositions and get ready for my case that I had to do when I got back. The singer from Coldplay (Chris Martin) and “The Rock” were standing there in front of me talking, and I am sitting there working on

my moot court case thinking to myself, who is gonna believe this?”

Marie McGlone ’24

NSL 4L, Professional Fiddler

“I started playing the fiddle when I was 7 years old. Santa Claus brought me a fiddle for Christmas that year. I grew up playing bluegrass, inspired by my dad being a deadhead and introducing me to ‘Old and in the Way.’ My dad was also an attorney. He is retired now. Being able to perform has definitely been an outlet

throughout law school. Many of my classmates know that if I show up to class with makeup on my face, I probably am coming from a gig or going to a gig. I have been clerking for an entertainment attorney since 2022, and I hope to get hired on with him when I graduate from NSL.”

Patrick McGuffey ’90

Former Principal Trumpet – Nashville Symphony

“With great art and sculpture, you can see it, but you have to be there to see it. You can imag-

(NSL Musicians continued on next page.)


(NSL Musicians continued from previous page.)

ine it, but only when you are there before it, can you see it. But with music, it lives anew after being consigned to the library shelves and can be heard the way it was played in the day and time that it was written. To be able to imagine yourself playing the trumpet, on a trumpet part that was composed by a great composer, you are playing the same music that great composer composed for it to be played the first time. That is a legacy not thought about by many, but to me, that is what the great opportunity to be able to play the trumpet has always been.”

Sydney Raines ’21

Attorney at Steinger, Greene, & Feiner

I’ve been singing ever since I can remember. At the age of 7, my parents had me sign up for formal piano lessons. Before starting at NSL, I went to Belmont University with the goal to ‘make it in

“ ”

Julie Downs Payne ’22

Attorney at Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, PC

“Like many folks, I grew up playing the piano and singing in church. Unlike many folks, I also played the accordion. Yep, that happened. During college, I started dabbling in guitar. Rather than go to law school after undergrad, I auditioned for a country band and got a gig as a touring background vocalist. I’m good, but not great, and certainly not compared to the talent

in this town. However, I am a strong writer and transitioned into composition once the road gig started winding down. When I made the decision to go back to law school, I was working predominantly as a session composer in TV/ film. The creativity of music has always been the draw for me. You literally make it up.”

music’ after being accepted to their School of Music. After two years, I resolved to pursue my dreams as a singer on the side while making the switch to a music business degree. From artist to manufacturer to consultant, I have truly enjoyed every aspect of the music industry that I had the privilege to be a part of. While at NSL, my only musical endeavors were therapeutic. In between studying on Saturdays, I would slide open the closet doors where I housed my upright Baldwin piano and have a little concert for one. My favorite thing about being a musician is you are all that is required. It’s just you and your instrument. You can create anything your ears, heart, and brain can imagine. It is also an incredible way to self-regulate.

James Tiller ’04

Attorney at James Tiller Law

“I feel that singing and music have aided me profoundly in connecting in a human way with people, rather than just responding to people

from my attorney persona, which seemed less ‘feeling’ to me. In doing so, I feel it has assisted me in having empathy and compassion for my clients who are living a song, which is often not a happy one. I am more connected with my music and sharing it with others than ever before now. While music is demanding, as is pursuing a legal career, I believe that the balance of artistic expression and intellectual rationalism is a powerful combination that makes for a more functioning and fulfilling person.”

Matt Zehr ’24

NSL 4L, Middle TN Realtor

“Music is in my blood. Both my parents were musicians. I took formal guitar lessons from a blues/rock guitar instructor and began playing in our church when I was 13. After graduating from the Atlanta Institute of Music, I started playing in Nashville. I appreciate having a medium of artistic expression. It is fun to write your own songs, perform and collaborate with

different musicians. (NSL) graduation is the last song of a set. Passing the bar is the encore. After graduation, and passing the bar, I have a lot of catching up to do with my 4-year-old son, 1-year-old daughter, and my beautiful wife, whose love and support has helped me get through law school. I’m excited to see where God takes me in the next chapter of my life practicing law.”

Additional NSL Musicians, former and current, include:

Rob Clark’ 13, Caesar Cirigliano’ 07, Eddie Davidson ’89, Van Santos ’20, Austin J. Wilson ’24, Eric Wood ’14.


NSL Alumnus Dennis Disney ’22 Embraces Life as an Entertainment Lawyer, Opening a New Firm on Music Row

Find out How NSL 3L Doug Smith Contributes to the Growth at Shrum Disney & Associates

DDennis Disney ’22, a graduate of Nashville School of Law, has quickly made a name for himself as an entertainment lawyer on Music Row. Despite graduating from law school just a few years ago, Disney has been a Nashville music industry executive for the past four decades.

While in law school, Disney was the Chief Operating Officer at Maximum Artist Group, LLC, working with and representing top talent in faith-based music and entertainment.

“NSL being in Nashville, and not that far from Music Row, creates great opportunities, in my opinion. And the law school, as respected as it is across the state, is even more so in the music business. In fact, people are always impressed with the fact that I worked full-time and went to law school at the same time,” said Disney.

Being a husband, father, and grandfather, Disney had plans to further his career after graduating from NSL. Whether it meant joining a boutique law firm or starting his own practice, Disney aspired to have his name proudly displayed on the front door.

A former colleague, turned friend, Barry Shrum was a Nashville attorney who worked with Disney on a legal matter for Disney’s client. When Disney passed the bar exam, the two talked about joining forces, and eventually opened Shrum Disney & Associates on Music Row in November 2024.

“We have a lot of the same philosophies. And since he (Shrum) has 30-35 years of entertainment and intellectual property legal expe -

rience, and I had the 40 years of music and entertainment real world experience, we thought we would complement one other by creating our own firm,” he said.

Shrum Disney & Associates focuses on providing expertise in complex negotiations, contracts, copyrights, trademarks, business and commercial law, wills and estates, and litigation services to ensure their clients achieve the most favorable results.

“I work with people who impact culture. They are authors, artists, musicians, producers, actors, filmmakers, and more. And I want to have an impact on them. I want to help them do what they do better, faster, cheaper, smarter, with more impact. What better way to do that than as their lawyer,” Disney said.

Helping Disney build the firm, is NSL 3L Doug Smith. He worked at the Youth Sports League in Nashville for 12 years when he decided it was time to move into the legal profession.

Smith was hired as the firm’s paralegal and director of business administration, jumping right into the fast-paced work.

“That first week (at the firm), there was a lot of self-doubt. But having gone through two years of law school, taking Legal Skills and Values classes, understanding how to appropriately research, I felt confident that I could figure it out,” said Smith.

“That is the unique thing that NSL provides, giving you the chance to get experience like this (in a law firm) during the day and then come to classes at night. I am glad to get this real experience and

In a short amount of time, Shrum Disney & Associates has acquired plenty of new business. The firm has set lofty goals, with an eye toward growing the firm to 10 or more associates in the next few years.

“Entertainment is the most entrepreneurial industry you can think of. If you can dream it, you have a chance of making it work. And that’s one of the cool things about marrying entertainment and the practice of law – no day is ever the same and, in some cases, no two hours are the same. It’s pretty amazing,” said Disney.

Disney & Associates, 16th Ave. S Nashville, TN
attend NSL at the same time. I know I’ll hit the ground running when I graduate from law school.” Doug Smith ’25, left, and Dennis Disney ’22

NSL Entertainment Lawyers

Zach Scott Gainous ’18

Sessions Guitarist and Attorney with The Fruitful Firm

“I enjoy the diversity of the work, not just the diversity of the genres of music, but also the clients themselves and what they need. It might be that one day I’m helping negotiate a

“ ”

music industry have unique income structures stemming from how royalties can flow and

area of law. It just so happened that my good friend, Scott Safford, had recently left the legal department at Sony Music, and we started talking about whether we were stupid enough

record deal or music publishing contract for a music artist, and the next day I’m helping a filmmaker, director, or scriptwriter protect their copyrights from infringement, and then later in the week I might help a hit songwriter with their estate planning documents or help the songwriter’s widow or heirs with probate or inheritance issues.”

Sadie Guzik ’24

NSL 4L, NSL Librarian and Legal Assistant with Angello Law Firm

“I did community musical theater as a child. One of the characters I performed as was a defense attorney for the big bad wolf in a production called, ‘The Big Bad Musical.’ At that point, I knew I wanted to combine both my interests in entertainment and the law. When I discovered entertainment law was an

option in the legal field, I believed this was a great combination of my interests. In the future, I would like to help performers, in any area of entertainment, with their legal needs.”

Spencer Lambert ’19

Attorney with Lambert Law Firm

“My practice handles transactions around music publishing, catalog sales, label relations, touring affairs, really any transaction based in music, film, books, etc. Individuals in the 8

how IP rights can change, so a trust can be very valuable to these clients. As for entertainment law, we have very defined processes in our country in how we deal with real property. Our practices surrounding intellectual property need quite a bit of work. I want to be part of the solution. I love helping clients build a career and assist them in setting up healthy business practices along the way.”

Kelley Moody ’24

NSL 4L, Commercial Real Estate Category Manager

“I have been surrounded by visual artists and musicians throughout my life, even spending some time as a musician myself. I believe strongly in the importance of the arts in shaping our

culture and am interested in supporting artists to protect their intellectual property interests and in securing favorable terms in contracting. For the last 20-plus years, I’ve been negotiating contracts for the procurement of goods and services for multiple large global corporations and would like to use that experience, along with my law degree, as a means of supporting the integrity of the arts going forward.”

Jonathan Motley

NSL Professor of Negotiation & Drafting of Music Industry Agreements and Attorney with Safford Motley, PLC

“I have practiced entertainment law directly since 2009, although my practice before 2009 would hit elements of it. I was a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings back then, and I had grown a little tired of specializing in one

to try to build something together. Entertainment law incorporates all types of law. It favors the lawyer who enjoys mastering various types of law. As long as you are not pigeonholed as one type of entertainment lawyer, you see the whole spectrum of legal issues.”

Mariam Stockton’ 10

Entertainment Attorney with Neal and Harwell, PLC

“I am primarily a litigator representing a diverse range of clients – from artists, producers, labels, music business managers, and other entertainment litigation. I am fortunate to practice in this arena with my partner, Bill Ramsey. Our entertainment clients rely on our

expertise in handling all aspects of entertainment litigation, ranging from crisis management in high-profile entertainment matters to royalty disputes, copyright/trademark infringement, contract disputes, celebrity stalking matters, and much more. I can unequivocally say that my accomplishments in this field are directly attributable to the grit and vigor instilled in me during my time at NSL as I balanced my full-time job while studying law.”

Additional NSL Entertainment Lawyers, former and current, include:

Amanda Lillard Colohan ’16, Ramona DeSalvo (former NSL Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Jonathan Fagan ’16, Chris Hugan ’03 (more on Mr. Hugan – page 13), Leighton Linning ’15, John Ouellette ’16, Marcus Shute ’14, Michael Smallbone ’08 and NSL Professor of Immigration Law, and Jesse Waterman ’12.

While attending Nashville School of Law, alumna Amy Bryson Smith ’96 developed a strong admiration and appreciation for higher education. She hoped to one day use her knowledge and experience to support others in their pursuit of learning.

“I loved being in law school. I just loved learning. But, as much as I enjoyed learning about the law, my dream was to teach it,” she said.

Born and raised in Nashville, Smith attended Donelson Christian Academy and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Belmont University. In college Smith met and fell in love with her husband, Jeffrey.

“My husband was in a band, so we were very involved in the Christian music industry, and not just the music side but the business side of things too,” she said.

Exposed to the music and business industries, Smith was also connected to education. She worked as a high school teacher at Davidson Academy during her first few years at NSL.

She admits she knew how to study, yet as a young student, Smith quickly realized the importance of relying on her fellow NSL classmates who had real life experience.

From Law Student to Legal Professor

Amy Bryson Smith ’96 Shares How She Combined Her Love of the Law, Business, Education, and Music, Into One Successful Career

“In my opinion, Nashville School of Law is built to encourage the growth of teamwork and collaboration. If we wanted to survive law school, we had to learn to lean on everyone around us,” Smith said.

In her fourth year of law school, Smith decided to join the Nashville law firm, Chernau, Chaffin & Burnsed (which later became Chaffin, Burnsed, and Smith, PLLC). She stayed with the firm after graduating from NSL and passing the bar, eventually becoming a partner. For many years, Smith practiced corporate law and represented individuals and companies in the music and entertainment industry.

As her children grew older, she was offered a role to serve in-house as general counsel for a Christian nonprofit corporation. This role gave her more time to spend with her family.

“I loved the practice of law, don’t get me wrong, I loved every part of it, but my dream was always to teach, and in particular I always wanted to teach at Belmont,” she said.

In 2001 due to Smith’s desire to be back in the classroom at her beloved Belmont University, she became an adjunct professor.

Sixteen years later, the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business offered Smith a full-time position as an assistant professor in their music business department.

“In my role as associate professor of Music Business, I typically teach legal classes such as Music Industry Contract Law and Copyright Law. It is so fun and important to incorporate

what I learned in my career from both my law firm days and my in-house days,” she said.

Now, reflecting on her time as a legal professor, Smith fondly recalls her instructors at Nashville School of Law.

“I still think the (NSL) faculty are second to none because who better to learn from than those who are doing it every day. I loved Torts with Mr. Davidson. He was great,” Smith said.

“I always laugh and tell my students some of my (NSL) horror stories which I won’t tell you,” she said, laughing. “I was scared to death of my Contract Law professor, Mr. Lewis, and, ironically, now I teach this course to undergrad students.”

Smith has not only fulfilled her lifelong dream of teaching the law, but she has also advanced her role at the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, becoming chair of the Music Business Program in 2022. She is especially grateful to share her success and love of Belmont with her husband and two daughters, Bailey and Brynnan, who both attend the university.

“Every day I could cry because I am just so happy. As I leave the house, my husband will often say, ‘Well, go have fun at your dream job.’ I am beyond grateful that I am getting to live my dream.”

Jeffrey Smith, Brynnan Smith, Bailey Smith, Amy Smith ’96

Amy Bryson Smith ’96

NSL Music Industry Professionals

Shauna D. Balfour Anderson ’14

Shauna D. & Company, LLC

“In my current position in the music industry, specifically in film and advertising business affairs, I am responsible for managing the business aspects of music licensing and

“ ”

I oversee legal affairs and licensing issues involving terrestrial radio, streaming, motion picture finance, podcasting, and live events.”

Lydia George ’27

NSL 1L, Business Affairs Administration at Concord Label Group

the recorded music space. Music publishing is a really interesting nuance of the industry, too.”

Colton McGee ’16

SVP of Business and Legal Affairs at Concord, Recorded Music

“I work primarily on the record label side of the music business as in-house counsel to multiple record labels within Concord. A

synchronization for film, television, and advertising projects. My role involves working closely with filmmakers, production companies, advertising agencies, and music supervisors to secure the rights to use music in their projects. This includes negotiating and drafting licensing agreements that outline the terms and conditions for the use of the music. Overall, my position in film and advertising business affairs requires a combination of legal knowledge, negotiation skills, and a deep understanding of the music industry to facilitate the successful synchronization of music with visual media.”

Lannie Cates ’94

Divisional General Counsel of Media for the Educational Media Foundation, parent company to the K-LOVE / AIR 1 radio network

“When I was an NSL student, I served as Director of Legal Affairs with the Benson Music Group, a faith-based record label. Taking the road less traveled, my time at NSL served as a launchpad from which I have been very blessed to explore my own career path. Prior to closing my law practice in 2023, I maintained a private entertainment and media practice for more than 27 years representing a varied roster of entertainment clients. Currently,

“As a Berklee College of Music alum, I am a shameless music theory nerd. It’s beautiful that, even without words, music offers a translation of a story that’s told, received, and developed over time. Being in a rights

management role gives me the unique opportunity to work with a team that sustains a musician’s legacy. Not only do we get to be a helping hand for active musicians realizing their potential by way of releasing new music, but we get to nurture a renaissance of music from a bygone era. I would like to be an attorney in

large portion of the music business is built on copyrights/intellectual property and the rights associated with each. Understanding the applicable statutes/law and case rulings surrounding such have a significant impact on this business and is crucial to staying ahead of the curve.”

Lamar Moore ’19

Vice President, Senior Credit Officer, Entertainment Division of City National Bank

“The primary ways I use my J.D. degree are around intellectual property (IP), secured transactions, and contract law. When banks


lend money, they typically take collateral. In the music industry, the primary collateral is IP. So, understanding IP (specifically copyrights) and related royalties is key. Understanding secured transactions is vital to limit risk for the bank. I coordinate loan documentation, including work with other outside counsel, to obtain the correct, accurate documents to ensure all loans are documented to fully protect the bank’s interests in the credit relationship.”

Nathan Nicholson ’24

NSL 4L, Owner of a Music Publishing Company

“I grew up around the music business. My father is a songwriter. What drew me to music publishing was my love of songs. I got to see how the process started from creating work tapes to making demos to pitching songs. There are a lot of unique challenges coming

in the music business. Artificial intelligence may change songwriting forever. There are countless legal issues related to technology that are impacting human creativity right now. I would like to help make sure that humans continue to have an economic incentive to create music down the road.”

Mary Katelyn Price ’26

NSL 2L, Legislative Liaison for the TN Dept. of Tourism

“Music plays a significant role in Tennessee’s tourism, a connection I witnessed firsthand through my experience in tour press and events. Joining the department’s PR team (initially) allowed me to see the intersection of music and tourism, evidenced by campaigns like ‘For the Love of Tennessee, Travel Safe’ with artists Drew and Ellie Holcomb and

initiatives like Tennessee Songwriters Week and Tennessee Music Pathways. During this time, I decided to pursue my law degree, which has led me to my current role as the department’s legislative liaison. In this capacity, I cultivate relationships with legislators and industry stakeholders, analyze tourism-related legislation, and develop strategies to advance the department’s legislative priorities.”

Amy Stansell ’12

Vice President and in-house counsel for in:ciite Media / Studio

“I began working in the music industry prior to attending NSL. My beginning was one that shaped and motivated my desire to attend law

school. I was a road manager who doubled as an artist manager for some of my clients in the faith-based music world. I left the world of artist management and joined Indelible

Creative Group, now in:ciite Media. We have four divisions: music label services, live and simulcast events & sales, film & television property development and production, and its production studio, in:ciite Studios. Every one of these areas requires the creativity of contract drafting and review from partnership agreements, sponsor agreements, and trademark work.”

Vince Wilcox ’12

Assistant Professor at Trevecca Nazarene University’s Skinner School of Business

“ ”

“Like many people in the music business, I wear multiple hats. In addition to a small law practice focusing on entertainment contracts, most of my week is spent as an assistant

professor teaching music business and pre-law courses. In my spare time I play solo guitar covers of acoustic favorites around the community. The knowledge and insight I gained at NSL inspired me to write and publish two books that I use as texts: ‘How to Make a Living in the Music Business’ and ‘Introduction to Music Industry Law.’”

Additional NSL Music Industry Professionals, former and current, include: Tali Canterbury ’16, Benjamin J. (BJ) Goss ’16, Dan Smith ’23.


Meet: NSL Director of Recruiting & Alumni Affairs Stacey Angello

Long before NSL alumna Stacey Angello ’11 became a lawyer, she had a vibrant career as a country music and contemporary Christian singer.

Performing at Opryland in the 80s, she moved back to her hometown near Chicago to finish her college degree. Still making trips back and forth to Nashville, Angello was cutting demos in hopes of pursuing a career in music.

“Bob Angello, the music producer and owner of Angello Sound Studio – who was working with me and whom I eventually married –asked me what I was going to do with all the recordings I was making. I told him I didn’t know, and he said, ‘Well, if you want a record deal, you can’t get one living in Chicago, you’ve got to be here.’ So, I finished college and moved back to Nashville.”

Angello recalls that she was Bob’s first recording session in his studio. Taking his advice, Angello settled in Nashville in 1994. After performing in a few showcases, she wound up singing on two separate music tours, one with Jennifer McCarter, the other with Jo Dee Messina.

“My guitar and my voice were my passports. I used that to go and travel. I have been all over the world. Here in the U.S. I have performed in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.”

In 2000, Angello became the music minister at St. Edwards Catholic church in Nashville. While she continued to sing, she obtained her real estate license and then decided to acquire her law license.

She attended Nashville School of Law from 2007 to 2011, graduating third in her class.

“I wanted to practice entertainment law, but my experience in the music business told me that the more established artists, who had leverage when negotiating contracts, were hiring big law firms.”

What Angello didn’t expect was how fast she would build her own solo practice once she became a lawyer.

“Father Breen (from St. Edwards) made an announcement in church letting everyone know I passed the bar. And then I heard, ‘Hey, can you do a will for me?’ And so, I did. I did not intend to do that type of work, I thought I would do mostly entertainment law, but these opportunities just started happening,” she said.

“You are always trying to develop trust with your clients, and when people meet you through church and then they see you every week, they don’t ever feel like they can’t contact you. All my clients know where I am on Sunday, so if they want to talk with me, they just come to me after mass, she said, laughing.

Singing will always be part of Angello’s life. She admits being a lawyer can take a toll, so singing in church every week creates harmony in her life.

“Most of the things I deal with are contentious – there is arguing all the time and there is always conflict. So that is why my music is important. I will sing in church forever because that is my joy.”

Even though she had two successful careers, Angello found herself back at NSL becoming a member of the staff. Former Associate Dean Virginia Townzen asked Angello to help with a self-study project for the School. Then, the library manager retired, so she took on that work too. By the time Dean William C. Koch,

Jr. led the law school, Angello was involved in student accommodations, internships, and the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses offered at NSL.

“I like to help the students with accommodations because I think they are challenged the most with issues that other people may take for granted, and if I can help them to express and communicate what they know about the law – providing them a little more time or a quite space to do that – then I am happy to help them,” Angello said.

Whether it be NSL students, parishioners at her church, or legal clients, Angello says her work is most fulfilling when she is able to help people.

“I would not be a lawyer without the Nashville School of Law. I think a lot of people who are here feel that way. I would not have wanted to go to school during the day and sacrifice not only the time but the money it would have cost. I have said this very often, but when I took the bar exam, I sat next to someone who graduated from Vanderbilt Law School, and they were taking the same test I was. So, for me, I am a lawyer because of this school, and that is why I am honored to be part of this staff too.”

Bob and Stacey Angello will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year. She continues to sing in church every week and represents clients at her private practice in Old Hickory.

Stacey Angello ’11 Behind the scenes at the Grand Ole Opry

Meet: NSL Professor of Legal Skills and Values I Chris Hugan

Music has been a part of Chris Hugan’s life for the past 40 years. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1985 with a degree in chemical engineering but spent a lot of time in the school’s music department. He received a full scholarship to attend the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California, for a year.

After receiving his diploma from the Musician’s Institute, he spent several years in Los Angeles working as an engineer at recording studios by day and playing guitar at nightclubs at night. When Nashville was beginning to become a location for other genres of music besides country, he decided to move to Tennessee in 1992.

Discovering there wasn’t much nightclub work in Nashville, he got a day job at a bank and

played guitar in Printer’s Alley in the evening, often six nights a week. He ultimately built a recording studio in East Nashville with a friend and worked with some of Nashville’s finest songwriters to create demos.

“I feel fortunate to have worked with so many great musicians. I love songs, and to hear those great songs right out of the songwriters’ mouths when they were creating them and getting the demos together … it just doesn’t get any better,” he said.

But during the 1990s “life events happened,” and Hugan realized that he needed to pivot.

“One day I was sitting in the recording studio thinking about what I wanted to do. I knew enough about the music publishing business from being there, and about the record business, and I thought, ‘I think I want to become an entertainment lawyer.’”

So, he enrolled in Nashville School of Law and continued to play guitar when he could. During his fourth year at NSL, he worked as a runner at Evans, Jones & Reynolds, who later hired him after graduation in 2003 as an associate. He worked there for seven years. “They remain some of my best friends in the law business,” he said.

Hugan, who has been in private practice since 2014, practices mostly entertainment law, with some business law and probate work sprinkled in. “Most of my clients are longestablished clients, and I get some by word of mouth,” he said.

In 2018 he joined the NSL faculty where he teaches Legal Skills and Values to first-year law students. Although he doesn’t play music in clubs anymore, he remains involved with the Nashville Jazz Workshop where he is an emeritus board member.

Hugan tells his NSL students that songwriting and legal writing really aren’t that far apart.

“There really are some parallels between songwriting and legal writing – mostly economy of words,” he said. “Some students come into law school and feel like they need to write with authority and use big words in order to be a lawyer. I tell them you can certainly start cutting words from your writing and do it more simply. Truman Capote said he believed more in the scissors than he did in the pencil, and I try to teach them that.”

Hugan, who has four grown children, lives in Madison, Tennessee, with his wife, Bernadette. His son-in-law (Alex Hall) recently released his first record on Sony/Monument Records and performs regularly at the Grand Ole Opry.

Top row: Alex Hall and Chris Hugan ’03, Bottom row: Brianna Hall, Preston Hall, and Bernadette Hugan

Chris Hugan ’03

Get to Know: NSL 4L Amy Parker A

my Parker has been a writer and editor for the past 20 years, working as a ghostwriter, freelance book editor and since 2008 writing and co-writing more than 70 books for children, teens, and adults.

Parker, a fourth-year student at Nashville School of Law, has also collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her son. Two of the collaborations are recipients of Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies.

“While I was in college I did an internship for Tommy Nelson, the children’s division of Thomas Nelson Publisher (now part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing) and fell in love with the publishing industry in general. After college I would write anything I could get my hands on, but I really loved writing children’s books because interaction with children is so pure and so rewarding,” she said.

Parker said it didn’t take long to become comfortable with the subject matter.

Some of Parker’s books include the “Thank you God” series, with books about Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, and the “God is Series,” including “God is Love” and “God is Hope.”

Four years ago, Parker decided to step out of her comfort zone and enroll in NSL.

“I had no expectations going into law school,” she said. “I’ve worked in publishing, and aside from doing a few contracts, I didn’t really have any feel at all for the legal field. I had no idea what to expect,” she said.

“I was also comfortable in my job. I knew what I was doing,” she said. “If you want a humbling experience, I highly recommend going back to school in a foreign field after 20 years of doing something else.”

“A lot of my classmates had already worked in the legal field, and they had a grasp, or at least context, for what we were addressing every night in class. I had none, and that was a little bit jolting.

“But regardless of our ages (and backgrounds), we started in the same place – as 1Ls at NSL,” she said, adding that when her classes began in 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she opted for classes through “Zoom School of Law” for a while.

Parker said she is impressed with the caliber of NSL’s professors.

“We’re taught by judges and attorneys, people who are out in the field during the day, minute-by-minute applying their legal skills, then coming into the classroom at

night to teach us. That was surprising to me.”

Parker said another pleasant surprise has been the camaraderie among her classmates.

“I was expecting the cliché dog-eat-dog law school student competition kind of thing. If that exists at NSL, I have not seen it. We are all working day jobs. We have families. We’ve all bonded together and help each other out. We’ve all become friends and a support group for each other.”

Parker said she is still deciding what she wants to do with her law degree, but she is leaning toward serving children.

“I’ve served them through books before, but I feel like they fall through the cracks and are underserved in our legal system, so I’d like to take that same passion I have for kids and apply it to the legal field. I need to get up every morning and love what I do, and I think serving kids and families would be a great way to do that.”

Parker, who has two adult sons, lives with her husband, Daniel, in Murfreesboro.

For more information about Parker’s books visit

Amy Parker ’24
Amy Parker ’24 signs books at Providence Christian Academy in Murfreesboro.

2023 NSL Rigorous Writing Winners

The Rigorous Writing Exercise (RWE) is a project all Nashville School of Law students embark on as a requirement of graduation. Working with a volunteer mentor from the legal community, students research and write a 15- to 20-page paper on the topic of their choice.

Our 2023 Mentor of the Year award recipient is Teresa Luna’07.

The honor is conferred in recognition of a mentor’s exceptional service to the Rigorous Writing Exercise program.

Luna graduated cum laude from Union University, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History. She also received an M.S. degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis,

graduating magna cum laude. Luna is a member in the Spragins, Barnett & Cobb Litigation Group in Jackson.Each year, the students’ submissions are evaluated by a panel of legal writing experts, who determine finalists and award winners.

The RWE award is named for Robert L. Ballow, Esq., who has endowed the award with a generous contribution that allows for a cash award to the top three finalists annually. Mr. Ballow graduated from the School in 1963.

These Nashville School of Law 4L students have been recognized for their writing achievement in the annual Robert Ballow Excellence in Writing Awards – a result of their performance in the Rigorous Writing Exercise.


1st Place:

Addie Toy / Teresa Luna

2nd Place:

Preston Garrett / Stephen Knight

3rd Place:

Marti Stuart / Jeffrey Campbell

The Finalists:

Josh Hunter / Nathan Nichols, Christina Rice / Dana Looper, Nikkie Kiene / Jacques Cabell, Ayla Loeb / Eddie Herbert

Sign up to be an RWE Mentor at deans.

Front row: Ayla Loeb, Addie Toy, NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr., RWE Director Lisa Helton, Christina Rice, and Marti Stuart. Back Row: Josh Hunter, Preston Garrett, and Nikkie Kiene. Listed below are NSL student winners and their mentors.

NSL Class of 2027: How it Started and How it’s Going

July 2023

Nashville School of Law 1L Peter Berends is a case coordinator at the Law Office of Hall & Associates in Madison. His boss, Wes Hall, is a 2018 graduate of Nashville School of Law, and his colleague, Jasmine Patton, is a second-year student at NSL.

So, when Berends attended the NSL Orientation in July of 2023 as an incoming first-year student, he made sure to get off to a good start.

“I wanted to be here as early as I could,” Berends said.

Which is why he showed up an hour before the day started.

“I had mixed emotions coming in. I know a couple lawyers who went through law school and didn’t pass the bar on their first try, so I am coming into this with some humility, but I am going to give it my all,” said Berends. “It’s exciting, it’s daunting – it’s all the things.”

The two-day orientation was filled with lessons in ethics, legal writing, and how to be successful in law school. NSL Writing Coach

Dr. Thorunn McCoy, Advanced Legal Studies Professor Chuck Shonholtz, and NSL 2L Dr. Elizabeth Helton, visited with the students, as did a panel of current students who offered advice on how to succeed while at NSL.

Members from the American Board of Trial Advocates shared why it is important to have integrity and show respect when our students become lawyers. And Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee delivered the Oath of Professionalism, a requirement of all new NSL students.

One of the highlights for students was getting to know Justice Lee and NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr. over lunch.

“Orientation is an exciting time for the students and the school because it marks the beginning of a life-changing journey. Having lunch with them provides an opportunity to narrow the distance between them and the school. We talked about their backgrounds and their reasons for studying law. They were particularly interested in how our careers evolved in unexpected ways,” said Dean Koch.

March 2024

Fast forward eight months. We check back in with 1L Peter Berends who, along with his classmates, has worked through seven months of law school. We asked him how he is feeling about his first year at NSL.

“The simple answer is great. I love the classes. I love the professors. I have loved meeting classmates. However, there are many layers beneath that simple answer,” said Berends.

Still working at the Law Office of Hall & Associates, Berends has figured out how to balance being married, working full time, and attending his night law classes.

A. Dean Koch welcomes NSL’s Class of 2027

“To think back on day one and see what I know now is humbling. Not only have I learned what the professors have taught in regard to the areas of law we take, but the language of the law, how to study the law, how to manage the time and stress balancing all of it, while working full time. (which has its own challenges and headaches). I really can’t believe we are coming up on finals here in the next two months,” he said.

Berends will take a couple months off during the summer, hoping to recharge as he moves toward becoming an NSL 2L.

B. Peter Berends ’27 and classmates at NSL Orientation C. NSL students take Oath of Professionalism D. NSL Class of 2027 E. NSL Courtyard during orientation

F. NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr. and TN Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee G. NSL students gather in hallway during orientation

17 D B F G

NSL 2L Students Negotiate NFL Contracts in National Competition

Nashville School of Law 2L Jake Downard has always been a huge fan of football. During some online research, Downard randomly came across a promotion for this year’s 10th Annual Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition (TPFNC).

“I was fascinated. I reached out to the student committee that oversees and coordinates the competition to let them know I was interested in competing, and they invited NSL to register and participate,” said Downard.

Since the competition registers teams of law students, Downard knew exactly who he wanted as his teammate —NSL 2L Tanner Cox. The pair traveled to New Orleans in January to take part in the competition.

“We competed against the University of Denver. Jake and I represented Brian Burns in his efforts to sign a new contract with the Carolina Panthers. Throughout the negotiation we showcased great awareness of our player’s

situation and provided solid statistical analysis. About halfway through the round, the opposing team made a crucial mistake that we were able to capitalize on,” said Cox.

Forty-eight teams compete in six rounds of simulated contract negotiations. Competitors are assigned to represent an NFL player or a team during a negotiation. They use real-life

contract scenarios and current NFL free agents, and each side is given objectives or goals.

Experts in the NFL serve as judges for each negotiation.

As first-time competitors, Downard and Cox went up against returning teams in two out of their three rounds, taking a win against Strum College of Law (Law School of the University of Denver).

“We’ve already talked with Dean Koch about reviving the Sports and Entertainment Law Society at NSL. We plan on returning (to the competition) next year, we would love to bring another team from NSL, and we’d love to share everything we learned with them and help them prepare,” said Downard.

“When Jake and I started this process, we had no clue about the support we would receive or the connections we would make. Thanks to Dean Koch’s support and doing well in the TPFNC, a lot of potential doors have been opened. I hope that we can turn connections into opportunities, and we will continue to work hard to pursue and take advantage of those opportunities and make NSL proud,” said Cox.

The TPFNC is held annually in the spring academic semester. The TPFNC is held annually in the spring academic semester. We want to give a special thank you to Bob Boston, Partner at Holland & Knight, and Adolpho Birch III, Senior VP of Business Affairs and Chief Legal Officer with the Tennessee Titans, for helping our students sharpen their negotiating skills.

NSL 2L students Jake Downard, left, and Tanner Cox at the Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition (TPFNC) Jake Downard ’26, NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr., and Tanner Cox ’26

Scholarship News 2023-2024

George Albright

Kendall Warden

Todd J. Campbell/Middle District Court

Danielle Aucoin

Matthew DiPietro

Taylor Jordan

Luther E. Cantrell, Jr.

Jordan Long

Ali Sovine

Justice Cornelia Clark

Access to Justice Memorial (Pro Bono)

1L Josh Mayorquin

2L Jamie Schultz

3L Charlena Fuqua

Class of 1974

Patricia Hartman

Class of 2022

Jennifer Burch

Ryan Head

Taylor Jordan

Kasie Ray

Charlotte & Tom Cone

Dawn Bradley

Sydney McDaniel

Amy Parker

Savannah Reynolds

Abby Roberts

Ally Stembridge

W. P. Cooper

Daimon Duggar

East Tennessee Foundation, Tennessee Judicial Conference

J.S. “Steve” Daniel / Suzanne

G. Keith Scholarship -

Elizabeth Nicklas

Chancellor Irvin Kilcrease Scholarship

– Shante Piche

Jo Ann Fenters

Keneath Galyon

Judge Charles Gilbert

Jake Downard

Paul Holbrook

Erica Augustin

Jonathan Carrera-Perry

Dillon Estes

Nikkie Kiene

Brittany Luttrell

Chassity Martin

Dakota Vermillion

J. G. Lackey, Jr.

Kaitlin Ligon

Josue Valdes

Sharon Lee Community Involvement

Matthew Thomas

Phyllis O’Connor

Batol Abdullah

Heather Curtis

Ryann Freemon

Elizabeth Nicklas

Tanaya Wilcox

Carol & John Rochford

Danielle Aucoin

Caleb Barber

Levi Briley

Kimberly Cates

Torri Daniels

Allie Garcia

Nicole Gheorghe

Nathan Griffith

Anna Hall

Stephanie Hargraves

Marilyn Harrison-Bates

Sarah Holley

Jenna Jackson

Lindsay Jaggers

Tyler Kent

Presley Langley

Kendall Ray

Rudy Jordan Echols

Scottish Rite

Avery Alsup

Jamie Schultz

Drew Vernon

Judge Phil Smith

Diane Tress

Trustee & Faculty

Will Anderson

Brian Bagby

Emily Bain

TaTiana Butler

Caroline Cathey

Justin Colwell

Tanner Cox

Victoria Davis

Amanda Harrington-Sargent

Ryan Head

Bryan Johnson

Anna Laws

Sarah Lewis

Caleb Lockert

Naomi Maccaro

Timothy Maurer

Josh Mayorquin

Shante Piche

Hayley Pogue

Kovan Saleem

Stephanie Snow

Will Spellings

Zaia Thombre

Caitlin Turner

Chris Yates

Tulley Award

Feliks Abrahamyan

Allison Leigh West




Nashville School of Law Alumna

Julie Alley ’18 Faced a Challenge Even Greater Than Graduating Law School M

She Credits Her NSL Experience With Helping Her “Outwit, Outlast, Outplay” Other Contestants on Reality Television.

ost Nashville School of Law students will tell you, working during the day and attending law school at night is challenging. In fact, it may be the hardest thing some of them have ever accomplished. NSL alumna Julie Alley ’18 felt the same way, until she decided to fulfill another lifetime goal – being a contestant on her favorite reality TV show, CBS’s Survivor.

“I honestly would think about being on Survivor while I was sitting there in (law school) class at night. I would sit there and think – ‘I am going to be on that show.’ And my classmates would be like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I would say, ‘I think I can be on Survivor.’ It was a longtime passion of mine,” said Alley.

The single mom from Brentwood attended NSL when she was 40, teaching art during the day, parenting her then two middle school children, and coming to campus every night to learn about the law.

In 2018 Alley graduated from NSL, passed the bar, and started her legal career at a Nashville law firm.

Five years later, she got a call from CBS and before she knew it, she was on the sandy beaches of Fiji, joining 17 other contestants to compete on Survivor Season 45.

“I still remember when I first went to tribal council on the show, and I got my torch, and it had my initials – JA – on it, and I thought, ‘This torch is made for me, I really am on Survivor,’ and that was amazing.”

The game of Survivor tests a person’s physical, mental, and emotional endurance. Once on the secluded island, contestants build their own makeshift camp, hunt for their own food, get little to no sleep, and take part in a series of games. If they win the “challenges,” they receive rewards like flint to make fire, a full meal, and sometimes immunity at a tribal council where someone is voted off the island.

Alley was part of the eight-member Reba tribe, and quickly formed an alliance with three other

Photo credit: CBS Survivor Julie Alley’18

members: Dee Valladares, Austin Li Coon, and Drew Basile. She was the oldest contestant to play on Season 45, so she knew creating trust with others would be necessary if she wanted to make it to the end of the game.

“My game (strategy) was all about relationships, and I bonded with each person. How are you going to see that on TV? Well, you start to see that at the end (of the season). And I think that was how I got through my days at NSL. I don’t do life alone. Relationships got me through both law school and Survivor. I think that is what I brought to the game. You can’t do it alone, so I decided to trust in a distrusting game.”

Alley said her favorite challenge was winning the tree puzzle with fellow contestant Drew Basile who kept telling Alley to “block everyone out,” as they worked together to solve it.

“I didn’t volunteer to do it, but we did it, and I thought, man, in all the years of watching Survivor – to compete in a classic puzzle and win was amazing. You know, everyone has their checklist, and for me, I could have gone home after that episode (No. 2). I was happy. I was so happy.”

As hard as the challenges looked on television, Alley said they were 100 times harder to perform in real life. She said there were nights the group didn’t sleep at all and only ate coconut and rice. Yet, once they received “tree mail,” as

“...This torch is made for me, I really am on Survivor, and that was amazing.”

it is called, letting them know what challenges they would have to do that day, Alley would have to get busy strategizing, meeting with her alliance, and reminding herself not to get paranoid about whether her name would be written down at tribal council.

“There was one day when we didn’t have anything to do, and all I could think about was how hungry I was. I thought about going fishing and then thought about how much energy that would take to get just a little bit of food,” she said.

“(On the show) You start seeing some of us who made it past 20 days, and there is a lot of us just lying there on the bamboo. My daughter watched and said, ‘You don’t ever just sit around.’ She knows I just go, go, go, but when you are out there, on the island, you’ve got nothing left.”

Alley spent a total of 24 days playing Survivor. And while she said all the contestants seemed to run on pure adrenaline, she credits her experience at NSL with giving her the ability to overcome obstacles on the island.

“You learned (at NSL) how to deal with a stressful environment and stressful situations. I would say it (NSL) really did prepare me for the game, which is weird to say, because you think you’re just going to law school to become a lawyer,” said Alley.

“All of it (law school) was hard, but I loved it – I loved learning. I thought the professors were fabulous. I loved my classmates. We really

bonded. It got long in the fourth year, that extra third night was tough. However, I felt well prepared. I did what they (my professors) said and passed the bar. I have nothing but good memories of NSL.”

Survivor Season 45 filmed from April to May 2023 and aired from September to December. Alley came in fifth place, out of the 18 contestants. She remains close with all her castmates, booking trips for mini-reunions and events.

Back home, Alley remains close with some NSL classmates, too. She continues to love, support, and encourage her children – daughter, Taylor, and son, Christopher – who remain her biggest fans. And she is a Trust and Wealth Advisor at Pinnacle Bank in Nashville.

“Survivor was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. When you are home, as a fan, on your couch, you’re getting all the information – so it is easier to say – ‘Oh, I would have done this, or I would have done that.’ But when you are out there (playing) and you have none of the information, and you are hungry, haven’t slept – you are in your rawest form – you have to imagine playing like that,” said Alley.

“I felt like I did better than I expected on the physical challenges. I was just trying to not get voted out. Next time, I am going for the (immunity) necklaces (which keeps a player safe during a tribal council). The amount of game play that goes on is mind blowing. So, if you are a (Survivor) fan, like me, it exceeds your expectations.”

Photo credit: CBS Survivor Julie Alley’18 Julie Alley ’18 at her NSL Graduation Ceremony

Bar Exam Success List

Congratulations to these Nashville School of Law alumni who passed the July 2023 Tennessee Bar Exam

Megan Joeanne Allen

Heather Rose Asbell

Lavinia Maria Becker

Leanne Jablonski Bender

Abigail Lynne Burnham

Cannon Elizabeth Cameron

Marie Antoinette Cherry

Kati Ann Coats

Sjon-Paul Lee Conyer

Erin LaKay Moyers Currier

Matthew Tyler Daniels

Dennis Disney

Katelyn Page Donovan

Richard Thomas Dunn

Matthew Reagan Fiser

William Augustus Godwin

Lydia Kate Gregory

Kimberly Ann Guffy

Jeanne R. Hawkins

Jonathan Ray Hesser

Jennah Dyer Huff

Elizabeth Frances Kelly

McKenzie Nicole Lynch

Jessica Leonore Malecki

Emily Faye Matheney

Mariah Lynn McCallister

James Karl McMillen

Arumun Nyamor

Benjamin Gerald Owen

Erica Nicole Paschall

Joshua Nathan Pearce

Mary Beth Rast

Chelse Brianna Reed

Quinn James Rodriguez

Noah Tyler Rudloff

Amber Nichole Schlatter

Summer Jackson Skelton

Tyler Alexander Stanfield

Ashland Dillon Stonemetz

Giselle Aida Sutherland

Joseph Davis Swafford

Adam Nicholas Tune

Michael Anthony Webster


In Memoriam:

NSL Alumnus Michael Austin Fitts ’80 passed away in November 2023, at the age of 88. Fitts was the State Architect of Tennessee for close to 40 years, retiring in 2010. One of his most notable projects was the restoration of the State Capitol and Legislative Plaza. Many may not know there is a special liner under one of the fountains on the plaza that needed repair. In this photo, you will see the work of Mr. Fitts who was a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Engineering and School of Architecture. He decided to pay tribute to his alma mater by lining one of the fountains with the logo of his beloved university.

Clarence Eugene Bennett (1972)

James Cameron Davis (1949)

Bobby J. Ellis (1976)

Hon. Charles William Fentress (1969)

Steven F. Glaser (1987)

James L. Harper (1955)

Stephen Ray Huey (1992)

Sandra Anderson James (1988)

Charles Clifton Martin, Jr. (1967)

John Byram Maynor (1968)

Maria Jeannette Merrill (2009)

Thomas Theodore Miles (1968)

George Robert Morrison (1950)

Hon. Seth W. Norman (1962)

William “Bill” Edward Porter (1965)

Bernard Raymond Schklar (1962)

Richard Sebastian (1992)

Billy Joe Shoulders (1950)

Donald Wilson Walker (1982)

Thomas Wesley Williams (1976)

Gary Wood (1981)

The Nashville Bar Association will hold their Spring Memorial Service on Thursday, May 23, 2024, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Downtown Presbyterian Church, 154 Rep. John Lewis Way N. Tennessee State Representative Bill Beck’89 will be honored.



Kevin Kennedy of The Kennedy Law Firm in Clarksville received the Golden Gavel Award at the National Trial Lawyers Summit for the second

year in a row. This award is in recognition of the legal internship program at the Kennedy Law Firm in Clarksville. High school, college, and law school students have taken part in Kennedy’s legal internship program for decades, receiving experience in the legal profession.


Thomas Overton has been named a top DUI lawyer in Nashville by Forbes Advisor


Forbes Advisor named Rob McKinney one of Nashville’s top 10 DUI lawyers.


Gov. Bill Lee announced Shawn Fry as judge of the 13th Judicial District Criminal Court.



Trudy Bloodworth was recognized by Forbes Advisor as a top DUI lawyer in Nashville.


Liz Alvey has been named legislative director of Gov. Bill Lee’s administration. Alvey previously served as legislative counsel in the governor’s

office. Prior to this role, she worked with the Tennessee State Senate since 1999, serving as senior policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

David Veile has been elected as a Circuit Court Judge for the 21st Judicial District in Williamson

County. Prior to this election, Veile was a partner at Schell & Oglesby, LLC in Franklin.


Travis Jones received the George F. Hixson Fellowship from the Kiwanis Club. Named in honor of the first president of Kiwanis

International, the award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the club and their community.

Nichole Dusché was named Brentwood City Judge.

James Dunn has joined Frost Brown Todd’s Nashville office as counsel. Dunn was most recently the executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. He will help expand FBT’s government relations footprint in Tennessee while also working on federal projects.


Amanda Gentry was named by Forbes Advisor, as a top DUI lawyer in Nashville.

Gov. Bill Lee announced Julie Heffington as judge of the 22nd Judicial District Circuit Court.


Gov. Bill Lee announced Ashleigh Travis as judge of the 19th Judicial District Circuit Court.



MNPD Commander Carlos Lara will oversee the new Metro Police Southeast precinct in


Antioch. Promoted in May, Lara made history as the department’s first Latino commander.


Jessica Schultz continues her work with the Animal Law Firm as they expand to help animals in Tennessee.

Erica Paschall opened her own firm in downtown Paris, Tennessee. Paschall Law specializes in family law, civil litigation, landlord/tenant litigation, and criminal law.


The class of 2024 beautifully handcrafted wooden NSL seal – to NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr. The artist, Anthony Augustin, is the father of 4L Erica Augustin. The seal is 4 feet in diameter and weighs approximately


Scott Fielding co-authored “An Introduction to Operating Expenses in Commercial Leases,” in the January/February edition of Probate

Fellow with the Napier Looby Bar Foundation.

Trevor Howell joined Miles Mediation and Arbitration’s panel of mediators and arbitrators. In addition to employment and labor, Howell will be working in the areas of general business disputes, class actions, personal injury and False Claims Act. Miles Mediation is in Brentwood, with offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia,


As of Jan. 1, Hunter Mobley was named Chief Culture Officer at Equitable Trust Company. He will also maintain his previous role of Trust & Estate Advisor.

Ed Lanquist is the current President-Elect of the Tennessee Bar Association. He will be sworn in as President in June. Recently, he was listed in Chambers USA, America’s Leading

2023 Litigation – Patent “Lawyer of the Year” in Nashville. Ed was selected to Mid-South Super Lawyers, Top 50 attorneys in Nashville and Top 100 attorneys in Tennessee (2023). He is the outgoing chair of the Board of Directors of Hands On Nashville. In that role he led their merger with United Way of Greater Nashville and was recently named to the United Way Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

a member who has provided exceptional leadership. It is an incredible honor for the leader of our School.

Eric Osborne has been named a Nashville Bar Foundation Fellow. Osborne was honored at this year’s Nashville Bar Foundation Fellows Gala on March 23.

Clark Spoden was elected to the seven-member Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Nashville. Organized in November 1913, the Rotary Club of Nashville holds weekly meetings to stay current on community events and to exchange ideas to improve positive, lasting change.

Stephanie Williams was elected as the Democratic nominee for the Davidson County Circuit Court Judge, Division IV, District 20. Williams obtained more than 66% of the votes, almost twice as many as her

the Fourth Circuit Court of Davidson County (and former NSL Professor of Family Law), who passed away in September 2022.

May 25, 2024 Graduation
7, 2024
Friday, June
To make a donation, please visit NASHVILLE SCHOOL of LAW 4013 Armory Oaks Drive Nashville, TN 37204 615.256.3684 Have some news to share? Send your update to

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.