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M. David Rudd

Vice President for External Relations Tammy Hedges

Interim Dean

Katharine T. Schaffzin

Executive Editor Ryan Jones

Contributing Writers


Art Direction and Design

Published By

Professor DeShun Harris Ryan Jones

Archer Malmo University of Memphis Division for External Relations

Trey Clark Jim Kiihnl

To submit story ideas, alumni updates or for other ML related inquiries, please contact Executive Editor Ryan Jones at rjones1@memphis.edu.

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law 1 North Front Street Memphis, TN 38103 901.678.2421 memphis.edu/law

The University of Memphis does not discriminate against students, employees or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by the University of Memphis. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Michael Washington, Director for Institutional Equity, mswshng1@memphis.edu, 156 Administration Building, 901.678.2799. The University of Memphis policy on nondiscrimination can be found at http://policies.memphis.edu/UM1381.htm. UOM1033-FY1819/6M-PAULSEN





Dean’s Letter

The Women of Memphis Law

5 News + Events 10 Go To Law School!

See The World! By Ryan Jones

From Memphis Law to boundless international destinations! We look at the importance of an international perspective through the eyes of a current student leader with an international background and a young alumnus who has practiced across Europe and the Middle East. Maiar Salameh and William Terrell (JD ’13) take us on an international journey to the law.


A Judicial Matriarch: The Honorable Diane K. Vescovo (JD '80)

By Ryan Jones

20 Leading Ladies

The majority of the student organizations at Memphis Law are currently led by women, mirroring a trend we are seeing across the law school, from a majority-female incoming class last year to all “dean-level” leadership being comprised of women. These strong female students are leading their respective organizations toward future success.

22 From Protests to Policies:

#MeToo Moving Forward

Sexual harassment and gender discrimination are nothing new. Recent movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought the issues to national prominence once again. ML takes a look the evolution in the public's attitude about what appropriate behavior towards women really is and the progression of sexual harassment laws throughout society.

By Ryan Jones

42 Raising the Bar

By Professor DeShun Harris

Professor Harris, the law school’s recently hired Director of Bar Preparation, gives readers insight into bar passage trends around the country and what Memphis Law is doing to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve and raise our stature.

32 Alumni Notes 38 Faculty Accomplishments 41 The Right Direction

Meet three female faculty members who are directing their respective programs and departments to newfound success at Memphis Law.



Message from the Interim Dean


very issue of our law school magazine is a product that I am proud to share with our alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students, peers and prospective law students across the country. However, this is the 10th issue, and as such, is something of a memorable milestone in our short-but-illustrious publication’s career. This magazine has garnered a great deal of praise and numerous awards over the last several years, much to our delight, but I am particularly happy to usher in this 10th issue and share more about why it is so special and timely.

Throughout the country, women are breaking down barriers across a wide cross-section of businesses and industries, and the legal community is no exception. Women have made their way into leadership positions throughout our traditionally maledominated industry, blazing a trail for those who would succeed them. For years, we saw incoming classes composed predominantly of male students, and as such, we tended to graduate more men than women, resulting in more male attorneys in the workforce. This was true of most law schools, not just Memphis Law. I am proud to share with you that Memphis Law has found itself in the midst of an exciting, female-driven time in the life of our law school. Across the entirety of the law school’s spectrum, strong women are leading the way and occupying more leadership positions than ever before. Last year, for the first time in our school’s history, we welcomed an incoming class consisting of more women than men. Additionally, our faculty is now majority female, with 14 of our 26

“ 4


professors being women. On that same note, we are being led by a contingent of women at the top of our law school, with all of our “dean-level” leadership positions (associate deans, assistant deans, etc.) currently being held by women. And to top all of this off, the majority of our student organizations are being led by women as well, which you’ll see for yourself in this issue’s student profile feature. So, we truly are at a unique time in our law school — while at the same time businesses, government agencies and professions across the country are experiencing a sea-change in their makeup as well, with more and more women assuming positions of leadership across the board. It seems only fitting that at a time when our culture is seeing more women in leading roles, our law school is experiencing the same. And I’m happy to celebrate our award-winning magazine has reached a milestone 10th issue with a variety of features, stories and photospreads celebrating many of the amazing women of Memphis Law.

Best regards,


Interim Dean & Professor of Law

Women have made their ways into leadership positions throughout the traditionally male-dominated legal industry, blazing a trail for those who would succeed them.”

2019 LAW REVIEW SYMPOSIUM THE 2019 University of Memphis Law Review Symposium, “Barriers at the Ballot Box: Protecting or Limiting the Core of the American Identity?,” was held in March of this year. The symposium sought to analyze whether structural and procedural barriers are modern-day attempts at disenfranchisement or needed protections on the fundamental right to vote. A diverse and dynamic roster of speakers examined both structural and procedural barriers facing voters.

STUDENTS RECEIVE PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS HAWK ALLEN, SECRETARY of the Public Action Law Society (PALS), and Joshua Warren received the Champion of Justice Award at the Memphis Bar Association’s 2018 Pro Bono Awards Luncheon. This award recognizes law firms, legal departments, judges, attorneys and law students who have demonstrated their commitment to pro bono service and the pursuit of access to justice for all.

DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Law School names Professor Demetria Frank as Director of Diversity and Inclusion

News + Events

3+3 LAW & PHILOSOPHY DEGREE at the University of Memphis and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law recently formed an accelerated BA/JD program called the 3+3 Accelerated BA/JD Program. This will allow students to complete their Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and juris doctor (JD) degree in six years instead of the typical seven. Undergraduate scholarships also apply to the senior year of the BA/first year of the JD program.


was named as the law school’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion last semester, while still remaining a member of our faculty as well. Her main goals consist of continued TIP program growth and success, growing the Office of Diversity to be an institutional resource for faculty and staff issues regarding climate and equity, and developing stronger pipeline programs to the law school. Additionally, she will assist our admissions team with diversity recruitment efforts.




MEMPHIS LAW HOSTS REGIONAL SRBLSA CONVENTION Black Law Students Association (BLSA) chapter proudly hosted the SRBLSA 48th Annual Southern Regional Convention in February. The conference brought together regional attorneys, judges and students to take part in valuable panel discussions, workshops, wellness sessions and more.


Additionally, four Memphis Law students (Corrine Alexandria Jones, Tanisha Johnson, Irris Joyce Williams and Joseph Buggs) placed fourth (out of 15 schools) in the Southern Regional BLSA Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition. The Southern Region of the National Black Law Students Association (SRBLSA) is the largest of NBLSA’s six regions with more than 40 chapters and 1,700 law students in: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

THE MEMPHIS LAW Sports and Entertainment Law Society hosted guest speaker Jay Kogan, senior vice president of legal affairs at DC Comics, in Fall 2018. Mr. Kogan gave a presentation titled “Even Superheroes Need Lawyers,” to a crowd of students and alumni in Wade Auditorium.



was selected for a prestigious Army JAG Corp internship in their 2L Summer Law Internship Program. She was one of only 75 law students in the entire nation selected to participate. Each summer, the Army JAG Corps hires 2L law students to work as legal interns in hundreds of offices across the United States. Interns also have the opportunity to complete their internships abroad in Germany, South Korea and Japan among several other countries. For 60 days, these summer interns work as temporary civil service employees performing a variety of legal tasks.

named a “Top School for Health Law” by PreLaw magazine, with the publication citing the University of Memphis Institute for Health Law and Policy’s strong ties to neighboring medical communities, such as hospitals, as well as state and federal agencies. A comprehensive curriculum and faculty, as well as the availability of externship opportunities and clinical learning situations were, also deciding factors in the PreLaw award and ranking.







at Memphis Law The University of Memphis School of Law is proud to welcome two new faculty members to the law school

Professor DeShun Harris joins the law school as an assistant clinical professor of law and the director of Bar Preparation.

Professor Katy Ramsey is the

law school’s new director of our Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic and serves as an assistant professor of law as well.

LAW SCHOOL LIBRARIAN HOWARD BAILEY RETIRES staff member Howard Bailey, head of access services, announced his retirement in January of this year. Howard has worked at the law school since 1987, making him the longest-serving law school library staff member. The law school is extremely grateful to Howard for his dedication and service throughout his time serving the law school community.


The law school’s legal clinic also hired Britney Wright as a paralegal for the Neighborhood Preservation Clinic.

MLK50: A UOFM LAW REVIEW SPECIAL EDITION The University of Memphis Law Review is proud to announce the recent publication of Volume 49, Book 1 entitled MLK50: Where Do We Go From Here? In April 2018, the law school partnered with the National Civil Rights Museum to host a symposium commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This special edition book features a unique collection of essays written by the panelists who participated in that symposium. Each essay takes a differing

perspective on the question: Where do we go from here? The authors analyze that question from our viewpoint today, fifty years after Dr. King’s tragic death in Memphis, under the lens of four relevant topics: criminal justice, voting rights, confronting persistent poverty, and twenty-first century activism. If you would like to purchase a copy of this special edition, please contact Preston Dennis at lawreview_businesseditor@memphis.edu.




Lead National Legal Education Organizations at Memphis Law are leading the way forward in legal education as president of their respective national legal education organizations in 2019. Professor Danny Schaffzin, associate professor of law and director of experiential learning, is currently serving as the co-president of the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA). Professor Jodi Wilson, interim associate dean for academic affairs, director of legal methods and associate professor of law, is currently serving as president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD). TWO OF OUR FACULTY



Law School Diversity and Pre-Law Day 2019 School of Law Office of Diversity and Inclusion presented the 2019 Diversity and Pre-Law Day in February. This year’s event, “Pushing Law Schools and the Profession Toward Cultural Competence,” focused on two main objectives. First, recruit diverse prospective Memphis Law students by bringing together the Law School and Memphis legal community. Second, promote community and cultural competence in local attorneys. A number of current students, law school staff and faculty, and law school alumni participated in the day’s programs and the day’s keynote speaker was University of Wyoming College of Law Professor Darrell Jackson, author of “Black Men in Law School: Unmatched or Mismatched,” and director of the Prosecution Assistance Program at the University of Wyoming College of Law.





MEMPHIS LAW TEAM students Mary Kaitlyn Cornett and Thomas Koelbl, were semi-finalists at the ABA Tax Section 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge. An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cuttingedge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. The six best teams from the JD Division and the four best teams from the LLM Division compete at the Section of Taxation 2019 Midyear Meeting, where each team defends its submission before a panel of judges representing the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials. The competition, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Forum, is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community. On average, more than 60 teams compete in the JD Division.

The Memphis Law team of Tyler Hutton and Jake Morris also assisted by judging a round in the competition.


Memphis Law Hosts ABA Arbitration Regional Competition

Student Affairs Meredith Aden was recognized at the recent Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) conference with the ALWD Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes individuals who go above and beyond in their service on ALWD committees. Dean Aden was nominated for her work on the revision subcommittee of the survey committee, which oversaw a substantial revision and expansion of the national legal writing survey.


School of Law was proud to host the ABA Regional Arbitration Competition in November of last year. This competition provides students with arbitration education and training and promotes arbitration advocacy. The competition simulates a realistic arbitration hearing and participating students learn how to be an advocate representing a client in arbitration, including preparing and presenting an arbitration case in full, with opening statements, witness examinations, exhibit introductions, evidentiary presentations and summations.


ML — MEMPHIS LAW MAGAZINE TAKES HOME AWARDS AT CASE at the regional CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) conference in 2019. CASE is a national higher education association focused on advancement, communications and external relations efforts for universities across the country. The Spring 2018 volume of ML took first place in the category of Periodical/Magazine Cover and the Winter 2017 volume took second place for Online Innovation/Experimentation.


Pillars of Excellence at FedExForum of the Pillars of Excellence Awards, presented by the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter of the University of Memphis Alumni Association. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, August 24, at FedExForum in downtown Memphis. This year’s honorees are Judge Robert L.


“Butch” Childers (JD ’74), Judge Bernice Donald (JD ’79), Richard Glassman (JD ’72), R. Hunter Humphreys (JD ’77), Connie Lewis Lensing, and Charles T. Tuggle, Jr. Additionally, The Bobango family, consisting of John A. Bobango (JD ’83) and Lisa W. Bobango (JD ’83), will be honored as this year’s “Friends of the Law School.”

For more information about the event, visit alumni.memphis.edu/pillars2019.




HAT’S NOT THE typical sales pitch most people would use to sell someone on becoming an attorney, but maybe it’s something more students interested in Memphis Law should consider. For two individuals, one a current student and one a young alumnus, that international path to the law is more of a reality than most would think. Maiar Salameh is a current 2L student at Memphis Law. She grew up in Collierville and went to Rhodes College for her undergraduate degree. With the majority of her family still residing outside of the country, she has also spent much of her life traveling to see them and absorbing the lessons that international travel has to offer. As a Palestinian-American Muslim woman, she has a unique perspective on life in America, as well as what she can contribute to society as a future attorney. Maiar is one of the celebrated women at Memphis Law who currently lead one of our many student organizations. As president of the International Law Society, she’s passionate about helping other law students gain perspective on the world and what it means to work together across racial, religious and ideological platforms. Her unique viewpoint has allowed her to excel in law school, and her internships with non-profit immigration law firms in Seattle and Memphis are helping put her on a path to practicing law internationally after graduation. A little further up the international legal path is William Terrell (JD ’13). He was presented with several opportunities to further his legal career on an international level after law school at the UofM, living out in practice what current students like Maiar hope to achieve for themselves someday soon. Not too long after wrapping up at Memphis Law, he went to work as an associate attorney at the Memphis firm of Glassman, Wyatt, Tuttle & Cox, PC. It was a quick path to a job that many young attorneys would be happy to have, and Will excelled during his few years there. But an opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom as a Pegasus Scholar with the American Inns of Court presented itself to him in 2016 and across the pond he went for a crash course in the English legal system. After his Pegasus program ended, Will came back to America, but in what has to be the most “Memphis” way possible, he




soon found himself with a new job taking him back overseas. Soon after returning from London he heard about an opportunity with FedEx in Dubai and after emailing the FedEx hiring director for that job, he found out the position had been filled. But a couple of months later he found himself at BBQ-Fest in the FedEx tent that very same director, who wasted no time in telling him that the position was open again and encouraged him to apply. Two short months later, Will started working for FedEx as an International Legal Advisor in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where he was responsible for addressing a variety of legal challenges with the TNT/FedEx integration, as well as supporting internal FedEx Express International departments in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent. ML got a chance to talk with both of these internationally-focused individuals to get a glimpse of what an international perspective and experience can add to one’s education and practice.


Higher education used to be exclusively for men, so the fact that women are not only attending school here but taking leadership positions and are the ones shaping the future of Memphis Law is pretty phenomenal. Q: Why is it important to have a

student organization such as the International Law Society (ILS)?

A: Our goal as a student organization is to

expand people’s worldview beyond what they see and hear about in their daily lives, because their daily lives are not actually possible without the global world. I think a lot of people around the world see the United States as a very egocentric country. Our own citizens often forget that we are just a part of North America, which includes 22 other countries and 9 dependent territories. There is a perception that the U.S. forgets about everyone else, as long as we get what we want. International law in general is important to help remind people that we cannot function without the rest of the world. We are interconnected, whether we like it or not. International law is important to things as simple as allowing planes to fly from New York to Paris, to something as intricate as the World Trade Organization allowing low-cost access for our exports to markets in the world and vice versa. We establish ground rules together, we level the playing ground together, we even solve global problems with global solutions together (ex. global warming, terrorism). ILS tries to bring in the perspectives of other nations and how they work together with the U.S. We do this through academic panels on things like immigration, the environment, the military and many other topics. We encourage study abroad summer semesters, watch documentaries on real life issues happening in other countries, and we strive to learn to understand and empathize.

Most importantly, we learn to listen. You don’t have countries as great as the United States without the help of every other country in the world.

Q: What are your goals for the

organization, both during your tenure as president and hopes for the future?


I just want to get more people involved and excited about the global world, whether it is through academic means or fun and interactive events. We’re already working towards achieving this goal via our studentveteran panel held earlier this semester, our event focusing on Israel/Palestine community discussions, and our cultural fashion show. All branches of the military, except for the Coast Guard are represented in our studentveteran panel, and the veterans themselves are diverse according to race, sex, political affiliation, etc. During the Israel/Palestine discussion, we hope to get both Israelis and Palestinians on equal ground where they can share a stage and share their perspectives on their view of the problem. Underlying this entire event is a message of open mindedness and open communication. This is a professional forum where ILS and the Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA) both seek to educate, inform and provide a space for open dialogue in a respectable way. However, the event I am most excited about is the fashion show. Its goal is to foster diversity and represent the diverse population in our school and the Memphis area. We also want to raise general awareness of different cultures and hope to meet

these goals through an interactive cultural exchange of fashion. Fashion is a strong representation of a person and can be both personal and cultural. It is more than just a piece of fabric, but traditions and customs that have been passed down and celebrated through clothes. These kinds of events help people think critically about issues, but all in a professional, fun and respectable way.

Q: Memphis Law places a lot of emphasis on diversity, so how does having an “international” perspective help make you a better, and more diverse, law student or future attorney?

A: It helps me think outside the box and

use my skills in a way that helps me be able to empathize with others, value diverse perspectives and cultures, understand how events around the world are interconnected and solve problems that transcend borders.

Q: What experiences have you

had with international travel or international legal work so far?


I, myself, am “international.” I am a Palestinian American Muslim, with a dual citizenship from the U.S. and Jordan with the advantages of a U.S. education. I grew up in an affluent suburb on the outskirts of Memphis, Tennessee, and then I went to college in the heart of Memphis. Ninety-five percent of my family lives on the other side of the world, so my immediate family and I try to visit them every three years, if possible.



Maiar Salameh continued from page 11

I had a summer internship in Morocco during the summer of 2016. My last two internships have been in non-profit immigration law firms, one located in Seattle and one here locally. Also, this summer I am looking to volunteer in Jordan with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and to better my Arabic to use as a concrete skill once I start applying for jobs after law school.

Q: What plans do you have for practicing international law after graduation? What would your ideal situation look like?


My ultimate goal in life is to work in a U.S. Embassy abroad or in the United Nations, and to become a diplomat. For these kinds of jobs, it is necessary to understand, appreciate and learn about different cultures. I’m not sure how I would get there right now, but I see myself first starting out at an immigration firm or working for the U.S. government. I have even thought about taking the foreign service exam after taking the bar exam. Right now, everything is up in the air, but I am excited to experience the journey and adventures that my life holds for me after law school.

Q: Women at Memphis Law have an

even larger spotlight than ever before, with a majority female incoming class last year, as well as all “dean-level” leadership being women, and the majority of our student organizations being led by women. How does it make you feel to be a part of such a strong contingent of women at the law school?


I am very honored just to be included with all the other strong, independent women in the “spotlight.” Higher education used to be exclusively for men, so the fact that women are not only attending school here but taking leadership positions and are the ones shaping the future of Memphis Law is pretty phenomenal. It goes to show that the only restrictions that are put on people who are “different” are restrictions that people in the status quo are pushing. I hope this leads to even more diversity within the school, and this diversity leads to more inclusivity.



W I L L I A M TE R R E L L J D ' 1 3

Q: Did you have any expertise

that particularly qualified you to travel to Dubai and the Middle East for your position with FedEx?

A: I don’t know if there are any qualifications

that prepare you for working in the Middle East or Africa. I learned two things very quickly — no matter where you go in the world, the law is the law and a contract is a contract. If you can read and interpret information, you can adjust to the particular needs of the location. One of the biggest differences, I believe, is the commitment to the rule of the law. Some places, like Dubai, are committed to that principle and other locations are not as committed. When working abroad, it is extremely important to know your geopolitical environment because it can significantly impact your experience.

Q: What was your role for FedEx Express during your time there? What were you there to do and what sorts of things did you find challenging in that role?


to me. It made me realize that people around the world can be so different but so similar at the same time. Having that experience made me realize that people want better opportunities for their families, desire to work for an ethical company and want to know that what they do matters. All of this is universal and is very enlightening.

Q: How did working abroad improve your

ability to be a professional and an attorney?


My ability to adapt and deal with different circumstances is much better having worked abroad. I can mentally prepare myself better for certain situations after having that experience and seeing different viewpoints. One particular experience I recall is when we arrived to work one day and learned that several Middle Eastern nations, including the United Arab Emirates, had severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar. On the fly, we had to reroute all of the business directed to Qatar from Dubai. It was my first experience dealing with a geopolitical event and its impact on business.

In Dubai, I worked as the senior legal counsel and was responsible for a variety of legal affairs in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Primarily, I dealt with service providers to the company in Africa and handled the legal integration efforts of FedEx Express and TNT, a company FedEx had acquired, in those countries. My biggest on-the-job challenge was managing the geopolitical and cultural realities of the region while also balancing the desire of a multinational corporation for growth and expansion. Being in another country was beneficial for me because I learned a lot about the culture of Dubai and surrounding areas. It gave me a different perspective and I know I can apply that learning and those teachings to my current position as an attorney at FedEx Logistics here in Memphis.

experience tremendously! I was only a few hours away from the conflict in Syria and I knew people who were directly impacted by it. One of my closest friends in Dubai was from the Kashmir region and I learned about the international conflicts affecting the people there. Seeing firsthand the impact of some of these global events and learning about them in a personalized way influenced the way I view things. They all have different meanings than they did before I left.

Q: Give us an example of a memorable

Q: What is the biggest misconception

A: Visiting different FedEx locations

The biggest misconception about working in that region is that it is unsafe; I never felt that in Dubai or in any of my travels through

situation unique to your time in the Middle East, professionally speaking.

throughout the region was very memorable

Q: How did the experience change your worldview, if at all?

A: It definitely changed my worldview

about working in that region?



I encourage all law students to have an open mindset. The experiences I had in Dubai were life changing and I will remember them forever. the Middle East. Security is important to the leaders and the people of those countries. Even in places like Egypt, where news outlets have widely reported on security incidents, if you visit the capital city of Cairo, you would never feel that walking around. My wife Rebekka and I visited Istikal Street in Istanbul, for example, and we realized that people do not walk around in constant fear. Of course, there is a need to be careful and watch

your surroundings, but that is no different from the commonsense precautions you would take in any big city in the U.S. I also found it very interesting that American culture is very popular, especially American food and music. Dubai has a minimum of five Cheesecake Factory restaurants. My first week in Dubai, our government relations person took me to get my UAE Visa and to show me around. We were talking, and

he asked if I had ever eaten the most delicious hamburger in all of America. I thought on this and assumed he was talking about a famous place in L.A., New York or something. Nope, he was talking about Five Guys!

Q: Any advice for a law student

looking to work internationally?


Don’t be afraid to take risks. I would start by studying abroad,

preferably U.K. law. Outside of America, most of the world adopted the British legal system. If you have a working knowledge of British law, you increase your chances of working in an international center like Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore. I encourage all law students to have an open mindset. The experiences I had in Dubai were life changing and I will remember them forever.





The Honorable Diane K. Vescovo (JD '80)



everyone is inevitably connected somehow. Did you go to the same high school? Did your cousin date so-and-so’s brother? Have you worked together at some point along the way? Perhaps you used to live down the street from each other? If you’re from here, it’s happened to you. The city is like one big family. So, it’s not surprising that someone born and bred here would carry that family mentality over into their career. The life, story and career of Judge Diane K. Vescovo (JD ’80) is similar in that it’s tied together with Memphis, the community and, ultimately, the essence of family. From her family’s history in the Memphis legal profession, to her strong love and support for her University of Memphis family, as well as her impact on the Memphis legal community as Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Tennessee — Judge Vescovo has planted a family tree in the Memphis legal community, with roots that reach far and wide. Three generations. That’s how deep Judge Vescovo’s family is 14


embedded in the Mid-South legal community. Her father, Lloyd Kirkland, 90, still practices law, sharing office space and an assistant with her husband, Mike McLaren, a partner at Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee PC. Her son Nicholas Vescovo (JD ’11) is an attorney at the firm of Lewis Thomason, and her nephew Brian Shelton is an attorney with Carter Shelton in Nashville. Factor in the unofficial “family” of former law clerks and legal externs she’s overseen over the course of her storied career, and the Vescovo family impact becomes even more impressive. With her recent reappointment as Chief Magistrate Judge, one would think that Judge Vescovo might be aiming to surpass her father’s mark of practicing well into her 90s. However, family once again takes top priority, and the expanding cadre of grandchildren are calling on her to spend more time with them. That is why she is targeting May 2020 as her retirement date, meaning that she will not finish out the full term of this recent appointment. Instead, she’ll have more time to devote to her family, traveling the world with her husband, playing tennis and maybe even finding a new pet to indulge her love of animals.

Judge Diane Vescovo and family, including her husband, parents, children and grandchildren, in her chambers



A LEGAL JOURNEY Memphis City Schools,” Judge Vescovo is quick to note. “I went to Willow Oaks Elementary, Colonial Junior High and Overton High School.” She also attended the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, making her a complete Memphis public school success story.


But that journey to success all started with her father.

person we know,” Vescovo notes. “My entire family trusts his answers. He’s still a source of knowledge for the attorneys in my family.” Judge Vescovo says her father was (and still is) very adept at helping her to really learn about the answers to her questions herself, rather than just telling her straightaway.

“My dad has been my greatest mentor and role model,” Judge Vescovo says. “There are a lot of young attorneys who have no mentor or no one to turn to when they have a question. But my dad was always there for me and was not only a great mentor for me in the law, but also a role model for me in life.”

“If I was working on a case and had a question, I’d come and ask him about it and he would say ‘Well, let’s go see if we can find the answer,’” she says. “And he would walk over to his books and we’d find the exact statute and answers to my questions together. He knew the answer already, but he wanted me to find it and read it. He was always teaching, and I think there’s a valuable lesson in that.”

She fondly notes that he’s always been a teacher, something she’s taken to heart herself when dealing with her children, grandchildren and her many law clerks over the years. “We all think he’s the smartest

In fact, fresh out of law school and practicing with her dad, she worked with him on one of the most “Memphis” cases you could imagine. “One of the first cases that I worked on with my dad dealt with the estate



of Elvis Presley v. RCA Record Tours,” says Vescovo. “My dad handled the specific case in Tennessee where the Presley estate sued the Mid-South Coliseum for the unrefunded ticket proceeds for Elvis’ last scheduled concerts in Memphis.”

notes. “The State of Tennessee ended up intervening and claimed it was unclaimed property that escheated to the State, so that is what the Court ultimately upheld.”

Somewhat ironically, Elvis’ own hometown was the only jurisdiction in which the estate did not win its case.

The State of Tennessee Treasurer intervened as plaintiff pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (UDUPA). Chancery Court denied the State’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the unrefunded ticket proceeds did not constitute abandoned property under the UDUPA. The court further granted partial summary judgment to the Presley estate. However, the State of Tennessee and the Coliseum appealed, and the Court of Appeals for the Western District of Tennessee found that the trial court was in error and that the State of Tennessee, pursuant to the UDUPA, was entitled to the proceeds, less any reasonable expenses incurred by the Coliseum Board.

“We won in Chancery Court but ultimately lost on appeal,” she

They may have lost, but what a way to start your legal career — along-

Prior to his death, Elvis had booked and sold tickets for shows in five different cities across the country. Once he passed away, however, those shows were all canceled, and refunds were issued when fans turned in their tickets. The estate went to each of the five states and jurisdictions and filed suit there seeking the unrefunded ticket proceeds. Mr. Kirkland, with the help of his daughter, handled the case here in Memphis for the estate, where they sued the Mid-South Coliseum and the City of Memphis.

A TRUE-BLUE FAMILY side your father, working on a case for Elvis Presley, in Memphis. It wasn’t long before her career blossomed even further, however. She made the decision to leave the family firm in 1987 for a promising opportunity with International Paper as litigation counsel. “When International Paper relocated their corporate headquarters here, some of their top executives stayed behind in New York for a while, so they hired an assistant litigation counsel to serve here in Memphis, so that was an amazing opportunity for me,” says Vescovo. But it is in the role of Magistrate Judge that most of the Memphis community knows Judge Vescovo. Interestingly, she was appointed as a Magistrate Judge on her second attempt, which she notes was a blessing in disguise. “At the time, the open Magistrate Judge position was going to be half in Memphis and half in Jackson,” she says. “I was one of the top five finalists but thank goodness I didn’t get it because I would have had to split my time going back and forth between

both cities every week.” But when a position reopened in 1995, Vescovo was ready. With encouragement from several local attorneys, as well as that of Judge Julia Gibbons, who at the time was Chief Judge for United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, she applied and was successfully appointed. “I tell other attorneys, ‘I didn’t get it the first time around, but I did the next time,’” says Vescovo. “My name was out there and that made a difference.” She’s now served three full eight-year terms, with her newest term just beginning, and has been the Chief Magistrate Judge for a number of years. Her expertise and connection to the legal community in the Mid-South is something that nearly everyone can agree upon and is noted by those who have watched her grow throughout her entire legal career. “Judge Vescovo has a fine mind, a diligent work ethic, and all the common sense that is a valuable asset for an outstanding jurist,” according to Judge Gibbons, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.



and blood relatives may make up their closest family, but for Judge Vescovo, her ties to the University of Memphis are almost as strong. Over the years, her support and dedication to the law school, as well as the greater University of Memphis, have created a true-blue family of friends and supporters affiliated with the UofM.

This dedication is noted across the legal community, as well.

does the city,” says Vescovo of her belief in the benefits of the University having a thriving law school. She’s often found herself in a position to help define the future of the University of Memphis School of Law, but Vescovo has also been an integral part in getting the law school to where it is today. She notes that three of her proudest accomplishments have been her role in the law school moving downtown to its new home in the beautifully restored historic building at 1 North Front Street, her part in conceptualizing and

“She’s loyal to her law school alma mater and has made valuable contributions to its educational and organizational success,” notes Judge Gibbons. She’s been involved with the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter since 2000, where she’s served as president, and in many other esteemed roles, MLK50 Symposium with Mike McLaren, Eric Holder such as a member of & Judge Bernice Donald (JD '79) the Law School Dean implementing what is now the Selection Committee, the ABA Pillars of Excellence Awards Dinner, Accreditation Committee, the and co-chairing the committee Law School Grand Opening Gala that oversaw the Grand Opening committee (as co-chair) and many more. She’s also served as a member Gala of the building itself — which of the University of Memphis Board was in most Memphians opinions, the event of the year in 2010. of Visitors, the Tiger Scholarship Fund Board of Directors and the “Judge Vescovo has accomplished National Board of Directors for seemingly impossible things with the UofM Alumni Association. ease,” notes Richard Carter, past “Our law school serves the entire city Memphis Law classmate and fellow past-president of the Law and as it thrives and does well, so MEMPHIS L AW | SPRING 2019


School Alumni Chapter. “As president of the Law School Alumni Chapter, she reinvigorated the Board and when we moved towards the opening of our new law school, I knew exactly who I wanted as chair of the Grand Opening Gala. She grabbed the reins and took off at a gallop, knocking the Gala out of the park, and orchestrating what stands as the greatest alumni event our law school chapter has ever hosted.” With the Pillars of Excellence Awards entering it’s 10th anniversary, it’s also a particularly apt time to reflect on how that came to be. “I worked with Judge Vescovo on many Law School Alumni Chapter Board activities



throughout the years and was always amazed as “It was Gary Smith’s idea to recognize attorneys to her vision to honor legal professionals/pillars in the Memphis area legal community from of our community,” said Amy Amundsen, partner America’s greatest generations who had made at the law firm of Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, significant contributions in their civic and PLLC, and a longtime Law School Alumni professional lives to the practice of law,” Judge Chapter board member alongside Judge Vescovo. Vescovo recalled in an interview. “As I recall, I came up with the name ‘Pillars of Excellence’ “Pillars” evolved from what started as the Law to describe the recipients and to tie in the Alumni Dinner, which was Judge Vescovo’s imagery of the new law school’s historic pillars.” vision and project, starting in 2004. That annual dinner had a successful three-year The event has been so overwhelmingly run in its original format before the planning successful that it is now celebrating its 10th committee for the dinner, which Judge Vescovo anniversary this September, with tremenchaired, conceived of the Pillars of Excellence dous growth and great amounts of money concept and implemented that new event. raised for scholarships every year.




mediation as well, something UofM in my law clerk selection.” she is quite proud of and The number of former law clerks and legal externs that have worked continues to advocate for. for and learned from Judge “I do truly believe that a negoVescovo over the years is a legal tiated settlement is better than community all its own. One which a jury verdict,” says Vescovo. undoubtedly is helping to teach “Judges quite often ask me at and foster further generations the last minute to meet with all of legal minds in the Mid-South, parties to reach a resolution of a passing on the important lessons case short of trial, even if it’s not they were taught during their the case I’m assigned to. And I time with Judge Vescovo. really do think that’s one of my strong points and something I’ll Additionally, most local attorneys hopefully be remembered for.” would quickly recognize Judge Vescovo’s countless contribuWant a prime example of her She’ll be remembered for more tions and leadership in the fields legacy? Look at her dedication than just that though. When she of e-discovery, technological to her law clerks. Taking a page was first appointed to the bench, advancements and mediation. from her father’s book, she truly Vescovo was the first female seeks to educate her young federal magistrate judge in the “Judge Vescovo has spent clerks and teach them how to be Western District of Tennessee, countless hours working with the best legal minds possible. but trends are changing, both the Memphis Bar AssociaShe’s also managed to tie this locally and nationally, in terms of tion on educating lawyers on important aspect of her legal women in the legal field. That’s the latest technology and the outreach back to the Univerdue in no small part to role law,” notes Amy Amundsen. sity of Memphis School of Law, models and mentors like Judge combining her UofM dedication Vescovo taking the lead and That acknowledgment of with her legal community impact, making an impact, whether continuing to educate the legal by committing early on in her that is through her efforts in community is one that has not career to do one-year term law supporting the University gone unnoticed by her fellow clerks, and only choosing from of Memphis and the law judges either, as evidenced by UofM law school graduates. school, or her dediremarks from Judge Gibbons cation to educating when asked about Judge Vesco“I served as a judicial law clerk and guiding her law vo’s impact. “She’s been devoted for a one-year term with Judge to promoting education and cama- clerks and legal Harry Wellford and I found it to be raderie in our legal community externs, or her invaluable,” says Judge Vescovo. natural ability and has contributed in countless “And I was determined that I ways,” Gibbons remarked. could find talented, skilled and qualified law clerks JUST from So many local attorneys have the University of Memphis School benefited from her expertise in of Law,” she notes. “And so, I just limited myself to those from the thing for a person to define on their own. It’s usually something best summarized from a distance and by those individuals who have witnessed one's hard work and dedication over the years. As such, one can’t expect Judge Vescovo to define her own legacy easily. However, the Memphis legal community will have no such difficulties when gauging her impact.

to educate attorneys and practitioners about various nuances and trends in the law. When you think of “family,” you often think of the head of the family that teaches, mentors, guides and watches over the entire group. For years Judge Vescovo watched her father do that with not only her legal career, but the careers of her family members also practicing law. Those lessons of mentoring and teaching are important gifts that she in turn has given to the Mid-South legal community. It will be hard to fill those shoes after she’s stepped down from the bench to enter the next phase of that “family” life — spending as much time as possible with all of those wonderful grandchildren and the rest of her beloved family.



Leading LADIES

THIS YEAR THE MAJORITY of the student organizations at Memphis Law are led by women, mirroring a trend we are seeing across the law school, from a majority-female incoming class last year, to all “dean-level� leadership being comprised of women. These strong female students are leading their respective organizations towards future success.



Top row: Lauren Hutton, 3L: Student Bar Association, President | Halle Hicks Priester, 3L: Honor Council, Chief Justice | Whitney Snow, 3L: Volume 49 The University of Memphis Law Review, Managing Editor | Escarlet Escobar, 3L: Moot Court Board, Chief Justice | Alexandra T. Chunn, 3L: Association for Women Attorneys, President | Amber Campbell, 2L: Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Inc., Justice | Josselyne Bustillo, 3L: Hispanic Law Student Association, President | Page Smith, 3L: Student Bar Association, Vice President Bottom Row: Brande L. Boyd, 3L: Black Law Students Association, President | Whitney Robinson, 3L: Volume 49 The University of Memphis Law Review, Editor-in-Chief | Alexandria Christian, 3L: Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL), President | Allie Lynn, 3L: Street Law, President | Angela M. Polk, 3L: Memphis Law +1, President

* Editor's Note: Memphis Law student

Maiar Salameh should have been included in this article and photoshoot. ML deeply regrets the oversight. ML would like to thank the firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC for the use of their beautiful facilities for this article.



From Protests to Policies:

#METOO Moving Forward




exual harassment and gender discrimination are nothing new. For decades, women have reported instances of harassment, only to have their reputation and credibility questioned, while a historically high tolerance for this sort of behavior has meant that there have been very few repercussions for the accused. For years, these women were faced with too few options. They could stay quiet and remain employed, or they could dare to speak up and become instantly shunned, demoted or forced to leave their jobs.

“FOR YEARS, MANY WOMEN accepted it as a job hazard. Now, with raised consciousness and increased selfassurance, they are speaking out against the indignities of work-related sexual advances and intimidation, both verbal and physical.” If you read that quote and thought it was from something written in the last year, you’d be surprisingly mistaken. It is from a 1975 New York Times article titled: “Women Begin to Speak Out Against Sexual Harassment.” That was over 40 years ago, so this is clearly not a new fight. But starting in 2017, the #MeToo movement helped push all of these issues back into the national spotlight.

What happened in the years between that 1975 story and recent movements, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, was a long evolution in the public’s attitude about what appropriate behavior towards women really is and the progression of sexual harassment laws throughout society. “Sexism is an entrenched norm that we have tolerated for centuries,” notes University of Memphis School of Law professor Alena Allen. “The power of #MeToo has been in challenging the norm that women must accept sexism, and when a critical mass speaks out, that’s when change begins to take root.”



The Early Work


o one is under the impression that discrimination or sexual harassment is anything new. But there was not even a specific term to define it in our society until the mid-70s, when Lin Farley, former director of the women’s section of Cornell University’s Human Affairs department, coined the term “sexual harassment.” In fact, Cornell was at the center of much of the sexual harassment focus at the time. A former university employee named Carmita Wood filed a claim for unemployment benefits after she resigned from her university job due to unwanted touching from her supervisor. The university refused Wood’s request for a transfer and denied her the benefits based on the grounds that she quit for her own “personal reasons.” Ms. Wood, along with Farley and other members of the Cornell Human Affairs department formed a group called Working Women United and hosted various events where female community members could share their stories of harassment, which revealed that the problem extended far beyond the university setting. All of this eventually culminated in mainstream culture with that 1975 New York Times article, followed by national pieces in Ms. Magazine, TIME Magazine and the successful 1980 comedy, “Nine to Five,” starring Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, where three female office workers exact revenge on their sexist boss. With greater public awareness of the issues, it is no surprise that the first sexual harassment cases made their way to court. In one of the more high-profile early sexual harassment cases, Alexander v. Yale,



students at Yale alleged that their professors were propositioning them for sex in exchange for better grades. At that time, the Second Circuit recognized that under Title XI, schools must address sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to declare the case a pivotal moment in Title XI history.

"The power of #MeToo has been in challenging the norm that women must accept sexism, and when a critical mass speaks out, that’s when change begins to take root."

Professor Alena Allen

Feminist attorneys continued to advance the issue forward. Catharine MacKinnon, who is often cited as one of the reasons that the U.S. judicial system began to see its way toward viewing sexual harassment as a form of discrimination, helped develop important legal theory by naming and distinguishing two types of harassment: those which produce a “hostile working environment” for women, and the “quid pro quo” type,

where career opportunities are offered in exchange for sex. Equally important was Eleanor Holmes Norton, the director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who was an influential figure in overhauling workplace equality law to recognize sexual harassment as a violation of women’s rights. By 1977, there had been several court cases which confirmed that a woman could sue her employer for harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, using the EEOC as redress. In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in and upheld these three early cases with Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, a groundbreaking case based on complaints from Mechelle Vinson, a bank employee whose boss intimidated her into having sex with him in bank vaults and basements repeatedly. Then in 1991, Anita Hill came forward and the country’s attention snapped back towards the issue once again. In what is arguably one of the most famous sexual harassment cases in American history, Ms. Hill testified against her boss, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. At the televised Senate confirmation hearing, Ms. Hill testified that when she worked for him during his time as head of the EEOC (which happens to be the federal agency that fields claims of workplace sexual harassment) Thomas barraged her with discussions of sex acts and pornography. Though Thomas denied the allegations and was eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court, Ms. Hill’s testimoney had immediate consequences in our society. After the hearing, sexual harassment complaints filed with the EEOC doubled, and payouts from court settlements increased as well.

Make Way For #MeToo IN LATE 2017, allegations came out that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had harassed and assaulted dozens of women during his career as a powerful media magnate. In the months following the allegations, thousands of women echoed similar experiences with workplace harassment and sexual assault using the hashtag #MeToo, which grew into a national movement for women’s rights. The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, with 41 of them involving allegations of sexual harassment, reflecting a more than 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over the 2017 fiscal year. Additionally, the EEOC also recovered nearly $70 million suing companies on behalf of victims of sexual harassment in the 2018 fiscal year, which was a 47 percent increase from 2017. “Victims of harassment are now more willing to speak up about harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement,” says Mary Morris, clinical assistant professor of law at the University of Memphis and a former litigator at Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC specializing in employment law. “The proliferation of voices has helped ease some of the stigma that can be associated with sharing a story of harassment.” Representatives from the EEOC, which saw reports of harassment rise 12 percent from 2017 to 2018 and estimated that perhaps 75 percent of instances of harassment claims go unreported, agreed. “As the #MeToo movement continues to spur a national dialogue regarding workplace sexual harassment, the EEOC is firmly committed to ensuring that workers

are free from a sexually hostile work environment,” Delnar Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, told Marketwatch. “The

Clinical Assistant Professor Mary Morris

"The proliferation of voices has helped ease some of the stigma that can be associated with sharing a story of harassment." EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for failing to protect employees from unlawful harassment.” “If nothing else, the stigma around victimization has been shattered and some of the shame has been alleviated for a lot of individual victims,” Ms. Franklin-Thomas said. “A lot of people have been mobilized by outrage over things that have happened to them and have been more willing to talk about it.” Laws are starting to be passed and legislation is moving through both the federal and state levels of government. The mid-term elections saw an unprecedented number of women elected to political offices. Corporations have begun to alter their policies and national conversations have started to turn towards more expansive reform and creative solutions. However, there is still a long way to go, both legislatively and culturally.

A CHANGING LEGAL LANDSCAPE Though we are only a few months into 2019, it has become clear that the #MeToo movement was not just a one-year phenomenon, particularly from a law and policy standpoint. The Associated Press recently reported that half of all state legislative chambers updated their sexual harassment policies in 2018, with many looking to make changes this year. “We have seen laws passed in several states that strengthen protections against harassment,” said Emily Martin, vice president at the National Women’s Law Center. “I would be surprised if any of these laws passed, or were even introduced, in the absence of the #MeToo movement. There were a reported 125 pieces of legislation across 32 states addressing sexual harassment in the legislature last year alone. Across the nation, over 90 state lawmakers have resigned or been removed from office, faced discipline or other repercussions, or been publicly accused of sexual misconduct since 2017, according to an ongoing tally managed by the Associated Press. Additionally, a new federal law took effect in January of this year which extended sexual harassment protections to congressional interns, gave victims access to confidential advisers and made lawmakers personally liable for financial settlements related to harassment or retaliation.



State and Local Level Changes NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS Outlawing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) was one of the first policy ideas to pop up in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein at the start of the #MeToo movement. In some ways, it seems like an obvious solution — NDAs can keep employers from detecting serial offenders and can keep survivors silent about their experiences. Many states have taken action on this front, prohibiting or restricting the use of confidentiality or nondisclosure clauses in settlements of sexual harassment claims. Related laws have already been passed in Arizona, California, New York, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington, and at least three other states (Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia have proposed similar legislation. Washington specifically prohibits employers from requiring NDAs as a condition of employment. California, Arizona and Washington also passed laws that limit the power of NDAs to protect those who have been accused of sexual harassment and assault in civil trials.



Additionally, Florida limited the use of NDAs with regards to subpoenas, while Arizona restricted public money to be used in a sexual harassment settlement with NDAs. And in our own state of Tennessee, a state law was passed that prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an NDA as a condition of employment. The law applies to both public and private employers and to all employee agreements signed after May 15, 2018. WORKPLACE TRAINING “The #MeToo movement has led to a much broader realization of sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Regina Lambert Hillman, clinical assistant professor of law at the University of Memphis and a longtime litigator of sexual harassment and employment lawrelated cases. “It has resulted in an increase in employee harassment training and understanding of prohibited workplace behaviors and, in many instances, led to the implementation of strict policies/ procedures/protocols for addressing sexual harassment complaints.”

In Michigan, new laws require lawmakers in both chambers to participate in annual training, which is an upgrade from previous years, where House members were only required to take anti-harassment training once post-election, while Senators (who can serve up to eight years in the state) were only required to receive training once every four-year term. Likewise, in Missouri, the Senate had previously only required lawmakers and their staff to go through sexual harassment training once upon starting their job. The state’s new policy, updated within the last year, now requires senators and staff to take a computerized training program within 30 days of starting work and again every other year. Their congressional policy goes even further by mandating annual in-person training for representatives and staff. “Interestingly, the EEOC recommends not just training on how to avoid a harassing situation and how to respond to one,” notes professor Morris, “but also ‘bystander intervention training.’ The idea is not just to reach potential harassers and victims, but also to reach coworkers who may be in a position to help mitigate the problem.”

"Congress introduced the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act, which proposed to prohibit employers from using arbitration as a means to resolve sexual harassment disputes."

Federal Level Changes


here has been some notable action at the federal level as well, though much of the legislation is still pending final passage. For example, Congress introduced the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act, which proposed to prohibit employers from using arbitration as a means to resolve sexual harassment disputes. As of press time, the legislation had support on both sides of the aisle, as well as that of every attorney general in the U.S., but

it currently resides in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Additionally, the Ending Secrecy About Workplace Harassment Act of 2017 is currently in the House and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. That bill would require annual reporting by employers of the number of settlements with employees regardless of discrimination on the basis of sex, including verbal or physical sexual harassment, and for other purposes.

Another proposed federal law is the EMPOWER Act, which stands for “Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace Harassment through Education and Reporting.” The full Senate has not voted on it yet, but if passed, it would have five major effects. First, it would establish a confidential tip line at the EEOC. Second, it would revise the tax code so that taxpayer money could not be used to fund harassment settlements and so that individuals will not face negative tax consequences when they receive settlement money or a money judgment on a harassment claim. Third, it would require public companies to report their settlement payouts in their filings with the Security Exchange Commission. Fourth, it would require companies to implement sexual harassment prevention programs. And finally, it would restrict the use of NDAs. Capitol Hill is close to passing legislation regarding how it handles discrimination in its own house. Dubbed the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA), it is designed to hold members liable for their own bad behavior. The law represents a bipartisan response to the onslaught of sexual harassment allegations plaguing Congress and the resulting avalanche of resignations. In short, the new

CAA amends the CAA of 1995 in an effort to create greater accountability and better resources for victims of sexual harassment and alleviate taxpayer burden by making lawmakers personally liable for compensatory damages in their harassment cases. In the past decade alone, U.S. taxpayers paid more than $17 million in awards and settlements brought against the legislative branch under the CAA of 1995. A surprising aspect of federal law that has already changed is the tax code. “You might not expect the Internal Revenue Code to overlap much with the #MeToo movement, but tax laws drive behavior in a variety of ways,” says Morris. “Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, employers could settle a sexual harassment claim, enter into a confidentiality agreement with the claimant, and then treat their settlement payments and attorneys’ fees as deductible business expenses. Now, under the new law, employers can deduct those expenses only if the settlement agreement does not involve a confidentiality agreement. Employers now have to choose between deducting those expenses or entering into an agreement that will keep the harassment claim confidential — they can no longer do both.”



In her Oscars speech last year, actress Frances McDormand closed her remarks with a demand for the industry to embrace inclusion riders. They are basically stipulations that actors and actresses can have inserted into their contracts that require a certain level of diversity among a film’s cast and crew. Outlier Society Productions, a company owned by prominent actor Michael B. Jordan, adopted this very inclusion rider concept for its projects going forward. It is yet to be seen if more major studios and production companies will follow, but mounting pressure exists for them to do so. A number of publications, including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair and others under the Conde Nast umbrella, have adopted a new code of conduct for working with models. This new code requires that models on their sets be over the age of 18 and that all nudity or sexually suggestive photos are agreed upon beforehand and recommends that models not be left alone with photographers on set. Though the code of conduct is voluntary, the Model Alliance is pushing a set of enforceable industrywide standards know as the Respect Program.

Private Sector and Hollywood WE’VE SEEN PROACTIVE steps from many large corporations and businesses over the last year intended to change the culture of workplace harassment. At a number of large technology companies such as Google, Facebook, ebay, AirBnb, Microsoft, Uber and Lyft, employees now all have the option to bring their sexual harassment claims to court. These companies, some of the largest and most high-profile companies in the U.S., all eliminated mandatory arbitration agreements when settling sexual harassment claims. Uber and Lyft have even announced plans to release a safety report on information they receive about sexual assault and misconduct through their services. Investment banks have taken steps to revise their culture as well, with many now advising their clients to include “Weinstein clauses” or require a “#MeToo rep” in their deals. These are statements attesting to the fact that no managers, directors or executives have been accused of sexual



harassment. Some companies have even won the right to “claw back” money from a merger if subsequent #MeToo allegations come out. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that many venture capitalists are also considering a “#MeToo clawback” clause for investors as well. The publishing firm of Simon and Shuster added a “morality clause” to contracts this year. Those contracts now allow the publisher to require authors accused of sexual misconduct to return their advance, according to the trade publication Publishers Lunch. Additionally, Penguin Random House and Harper Collins have also added morality clauses to their publishing contracts. Some of the most notable changes have taken place on the film sets and fashion runways of Hollywood. Some of these changes have the potential to fundamentally change how the film industry operates and how movies are made in the future.

In another code of conduct example, the Screen Actors Guild also publicized their own code for the first time that defined sexual harassment and warned that employers who allowed harassment in their workplaces could “violate the terms of our collective bargaining agreement.” This code also calls for an end to professional meetings and auditions in private homes or hotel rooms. According to the Hollywood Reporter, many lawyers for actors are demanding more specific protections regarding nudity scenes disclosed on nudity riders, including the ability to sue for leaked footage. These riders now often contain detailed narratives and descriptions of the scenes so that no future misunderstandings arise.

Unintended Consequences THE POSITIVE CHANGE harnessed by this movement has empowered women to speak up about harassment in the workplace and forced powerful companies and executives to take the issues more seriously. But there have been some unintended consequences as a result of all the change.

MENTORING Many companies seeking to minimize the risk of sexual harassment or misconduct appear to be simply reducing or greatly minimizing contact between female employees and high-level male employees and executives, which effectively deprives the women in these instances of valuable mentorship and exposure. A survey from the Lean In Initiative found that the number of male managers who are uncomfortable mentoring women has tripled since the #MeToo movement started in late 2017. That means more women than ever are being deprived of collaboration, interface and interaction with mentors that could lead to growth and opportunities for women in the workforce. For Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who set up the Lean In Initiative foundation, these findings are something to worry about. “If men think that the way to address workplace sexual harassment is to avoid one-on-one time with female colleagues — including meetings, coffee breaks and all the interactions that help us work together effectively — it will be a huge setback for women,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “The most successful managers I’ve seen have genuinely cared about their colleagues,” says professor Morris. “Building a collegial relationship based on trust goes a long way in making employees feel free to raise a red flag when something goes wrong, often before it reaches the ‘lawsuit level.’” Without these mentoring relationships in place, women and their workplaces could suffer greatly.



any critics of the recent movements note that women of color and those in lowwage jobs are being mostly left out of the conversations taking place, as well as the solutions being presented. Even though the original #MeToo hashtag was first created and used by a black woman over 10 years ago, the faces of the movement today all too often tend to be white and affluent. The businesses and industries getting most of the media attention also tend to fall within the high-level realms of politics, Hollywood and TV journalism. But the female employees of hotels, restaurants, factories and other blue-collar workplaces that often bear the brunt of sexual harassment and abuse are frequently left out of the discussion. Some statistics from the National Women’s Law Center of the EEOC looking at complaints from the past several years show some alarming points about the need for these portions of our society to get their fair share of the movement’s attention and results as well.

EEOC FINDINGS: Per 100,000 women workers, black women filed sexual harassment charges with the EEOC at nearly 3 times the rate of white, non-Hispanic women. More than 1 in 3 women who filed charges alleging sexual harassment also alleged retaliation. 1 in 17 women also alleged discrimination based on race. Industries with the highest numbers of sexual harassment charges filed by women include: - Food services - Retail - Healthcare/social assistance - Administration - Waste Management - Manufacturing In every one of those industries, black women are disproportionately represented among women who filed harassment charges. Perhaps Tarana Burke, the activist that started the #MeToo movement, summed up the need for diversity within the movement best. “What history has shown us time and again is that if marginalized voices — those of people of color, queer people, disabled people, poor people — aren’t centered in our movements then they tend to become no more than a footnote. I often say that sexual violence knows no race, class or gender, but the response to it does...ending sexual violence and harassment will require every voice from every corner of the world and it will require those whose voices are most often heard to find ways to amplify those voices that often go unheard.”




Workplace harassment training across all sectors is an important place to start.

IT’S CLEAR THAT the issues of women’s rights, advances in specific sexual harassment laws, and an evolution of cultural awareness in some sectors is underway, but many activists counter that the #MeToo movement has had little effect on the broader problems of sexual abuse, violence and harassment in the everyday circles of women’s lives. In other words, there is a concern that real change is only happening at the highest levels of society.

“Employers hoping to create best practices and respond successfully to the changing workplace environment are implementing employee sexual harassment training and clear

Recent reforms, scandals and legislative updates have not shown a consensus that abusers from all walks of life should be held accountable for their misdeeds and conduct. Rather, a sense of common acceptance has been formed that perpetrators of these crimes or accusations should just be kept out of extremely high-level positions of power. However, the majority of women do not have the financial savings or the power of Hollywood actresses to force the sort of change we’ve seen play out in the media. So, although #MeToo has been top-of-mind across the world for the past few years, many say that it has failed to help the ordinary woman. As we enter the next stages, where the movement’s issues become the norm, activists say that more attention should be paid to expanding reforms and implementing creative solutions, so that smaller businesses, independent workers, low-wage and skilled workers, and others that sometimes fall out of the perimeter of standard protections will be able to take advantage of these changes as well.



• Implement written policies/ procedures/protocols for initiating and conducting an investigation when complaints are brought.

• Assure employees that

investigation of claims will be confidential, prompt, efficient, thorough, fair and balanced.

the previous year and how much they paid, as well as other legislative mandatory reporting initiatives already advancing at state and federal levels, some progress is already being made. It is also critical that victims and witnesses of sexual harassment be comfortable about reporting what they have seen or experienced, without any fear of retaliation by their employer. This fear has kept countless women from coming forward over the years and is the reason that adequate safeguards should be provided to ensure that these people can come forward and help prevent any other harassment or abusive conduct in the future. University of Memphis professor of law Ernie Lidge discusses the issue at length in his University of Louisville Law Review article, “The Necessity of Expanding Protection from Retaliation for Employees Who Complain About Hostile Environment Harassment.” Professor Lidge goes into detail about the unfortunate situation an employee seeking to prevent or stop harassment or discrimination finds herself in. She can either ignore the unlawful activity or risk retaliation by his or her employer.

sexual harassment policies,” notes professor Regina Hillman. She suggests employers take the following actions in the workplace:

• Address harassment

• Ensure investigators are

impartial and without actual or perceived conflict of interest.

• Implement remedial actions where needed.

claims in a timely manner.

• Implement an anti-retaliation

enforce EEOC policies.

Transparency will be a key in allowing any changes to flourish. With some legislatures already proposing public companies be required to report to shareholders the number of sexual harassment settlements they’ve made in

• Update and aggressively • Increase the quality of

existing anti-harassment training with a focus on employee education to define, identify and report sexual harassment.


“Anti-retaliation laws, as a practical matter, provide less protection for complaints of harassment,” professor Lidge notes. If workplaces are to continue to become safer places as a result of the #MeToo movement, there needs to be a lower threshold for protection for when an employee steps forward to oppose unlawful conduct of any sort, according to professor Lidge.


Title VII only applies to employers with fifteen or more employees and does not cover independent contractors, freelancers and people who work in the ever-growing “gig economy.” Sexual harassment laws must cover smaller employers and more workers. 2.CHANGE THE LEGAL STANDARD FOR PROVING SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that sexually harassing behavior must be “severe or pervasive” in order to violate Title VII. This vague standard has been interpreted inconsistently in various lower court jurisdictions.


Under Title VII, money damages to victims are capped at $50,000 to $300,000, depending on the size of the employer. The cap must be lifted so that damage awards can be based on the harm done, not on the size of the employer held responsible. 4.EXTEND THE TIME TO FILE A COMPLAINT.

Federal law requires that Title VII complainants file their case within 180 or 300 days of when they had been harassed or assaulted. That may not be enough time for survivors to process their experience, decide to file and find a lawyer.


The Supreme Court has narrowly defined who is a supervisor, making it harder to prove a case against a boss who controls the daily work environment but lacks the authority to hire and fire employees. 6.EMPOWER SURVIVORS.

Policymakers must help survivors stand on sturdy ground once they’ve come forward. 7.END MANDATORY ARBITRATION AND COLLECTIVE-ACTION WAIVER CLAUSES.


The law should require that these agreements explicitly exempt sexual harassment and other criminal behavior so as not to discourage reporting of sexual harassment and assault. In settlement agreements, employers should not be allowed to require nondisclosure of complainants’ experiences of sexual harassment.


It has become clear through the ongoing public conversation that there is a baseline misunderstanding of the differences between sexual harassment, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct. A robust public education effort would help workers better understand the issues.



Are Women the Future of Leadership?


recent New York Times analysis found that over 200 prominent men have lost their jobs over public allegations of sexual harassment, since the groundbreaking article regarding Harvey Weinstein was published.

Nearly half (43 percent) of those men were succeeded by women. Of those, one-third were in the news media, one-quarter in government, and one-fifth in arts and entertainment. That’s a drastic shake-up from past trends and it shows that women are starting to gain power in organizations that have been jarred awake by harassment, with potentially long-range effects.

According to a report by Ernst & Young, women are projected to own nearly one-third of all businesses in the world by 2028, with half of these in developing markets. The sweeping levels of change were extremely evident in the most recent midterm elections, which saw a historic new class of diverse lawmakers who will dramatically reshape policies across the country. This class of lawmakers has a record number of women, people of color and LGBTQ representatives. There were 102 women elected to the House of Representatives and 15 women elected or appointed to the U.S. Senate. Thirtynine of them are brand new members and six of them are poised to lead House committees during this new term, with two women already leading committees in the Senate.

“Policy changes happen when policymakers institute progressive policies,” says Memphis Law professor Allen. “The record number of women who ran and were elected to political office suggests that influence is here to stay. Sustainable change only happens if women are in positions of power and use their position to change the norm.” “I think we have seen these newly elected women being very vocal, which is the only path towards lasting change.” The nation is clearly responding to recent trends, and women are leading the way.



Alumni Notes ’76 ’70

Larry Rice has earned the distinction of being named a Mid-South Super Lawyer in family law by Super Lawyers every year since 2008 and has been included in the Top 100 Lawyers in Tennessee in all fields for multiple years.

John I. Houseal was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of health care law, insurance law, mediation, construction litigation.




Charles Hill was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation, labor and employment litigation – employment law – management, employment law – individuals.

David C. Porteous was selected for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America 2019 edition in the areas of corporate and real estate law. ’73

B. Douglas Earthman was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of real estate law, securitization and structured finance laws.

R. Hunter Humphreys was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of real estate law. Russell Jones recently negotiated Garth Brooks’ contracts for his record-breaking tour, which in 2017 became the most successful outing in North America with a reported 6.4 million tickets sold.

John (Johnny) Eddie Miller recently published “Managing Contractual Risk Issues In Commercial Contracts” in Contract Management Magazine.


David C. Scruggs was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of Administrative/Regulatory Law, Litigation and Controversy Tax and Tax Law. He also spearheads the firm’s annual Evans & Petree Law Firm Scholarship in Honor of Percy Harvey, Esq. This scholarship was established by the Evans & Petree Law Firm specifically to help students from diverse backgrounds finance their legal education at the University of Memphis School of Law and to enhance the diversity of attorneys in the legal profession.

Lancelot Minor was selected for inclusion in the 25th edition of The Best Lawyers in America for 2019 in three practice areas: banking and finance law, commercial litigation and real estate law. He was also selected and listed in the 2018 edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers. ’78

Doug Quay was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of tax law and corporate law.



Judge Jon P. Schaefer retired after serving for 35 years as Shelby, Ohio Municipal Court Judge.

Jocelyn Wurzburg was named as the 30th recipient of the Association for Women Attorneys (AWA) Marion Griffin-Frances Award.





W. Kerby Bowling was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the fields of administrative/ regulatory law and labor law – management.


Lynn A. Gardner was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of real estate law.

Gary Humble was elected as a municipal judge of Signal Mountain, Tenn. in the Fall of 2018. Andrew Raines was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of tax law. He was also named the Best Lawyers 2019 Tax Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Memphis. Raines

Randall B. Womack has been named a member of the Memphis & Shelby County Air Pollution Control Board of Directors. He was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of environmental law, environmental litigation. ’81

Frank N. Stockdale Carney was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of employment benefits (ERISA)law, litigationERISA, tax law and trusts and estates. Kelly O. Finnell recently authored “Ownership Transitions: ESOPs Compared to Other Strategies,” which appeared in the July 2018 edition of the WG&L publication, Estate Planning. He also presented this paper to the Business Enterprise Institute’s Annual Conference in 2018. Steve McCleskey was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of trusts and estates. ’82


Russell “Rusty” J. Hensley was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of corporate law as well as mergers/acquisitions law.


Joseph T. Getz was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of construction law and construction litigation. He was also selected to the 2018 Mid-South Super Lawyers list in the field of construction litigation. Paul Lawler was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of tax law, trusts and estates. Charles McGhee of the law firm Shea Moskovitz & McGhee, was recently named in the 25th edition of The Best Lawyers in America for his high caliber of work in the practice area of family law. This distinction ranks him among the top five percent of private practice attorneys in the nation, as determined by his peers. ’86

William L. Bomar was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of personal injury litigation – plaintiffs, personal injury litigation – defendants, medical malpractice law – plaintiffs, medical malpractice law – defendants. Rodney J. (Rod) Hatley has been recognized as one of the “Top Wealth Managers of San Diego” in San Diego Magazine for 2019. He was also recognized as one of the “Best Attorneys: Estate Planning” by San Diego Metro Magazine in 2018. Additionally, he was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who.



Alumni Notes ’91

Robert L. Greene was recently promoted to Senior Director of Real Estate Legal Services and Associate General Counsel in the legal department of O’Reilly Auto Parts.


Amy J. Amundsen, partner at the law firm of Rice Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC, was honored recently with the highest award bestowed upon a Memphis attorney, the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer’s Lawyer Award. This honor is awarded to a member of the Memphis Bar Association who has practiced law for more than 15 years and who exemplifies the qualities in the “Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct.” Daniel T. Robinson, Jr. was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of corporate law.


Elizabeth B. Stengel of Evans Petree PC was elected as the first female president of the Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel. She was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of construction law and construction litigation and was selected to the 2019 Mid-South Super Lawyers list in the field of construction litigation. ’88

James Stephen King had a recent win in successfully defending N.J. Ford in the Galilee Cemetery case.

Steven W. Maroney was elected to a four-year term as Republican Party State Executive Committeeman for Tennessee’s 27th District. ’93


Caren Beth Nichol was selected to the 2018 Mid-South Super Lawyers list in the field of family law. She was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of appellate practice, commercial litigation and family law mediation. She was also selected as an honoree for the Memphis Business Journal’s Super Women in Business class of 2018. ’94

Glynna Christian was appointed to the National Housing Partnership Foundation (NHPF) Board of Trustees. Kevin C. Cox was listed in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of trusts and estates. ’96

Sidney H. Scheinberg was promoted to Executive Vice President of Dallasbased law firm, Godwin Bowman PC.

Charles W. “Chip” Cavagnaro, Jr. was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of labor-law management and litigation – labor and employment.



Alan Crone founder and attorney of The Crone Law Firm was named a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters.

C. Michael Adams, Jr joined the law firm of Evans Petree PC as a shareholder, focusing his practice primarily in the areas of estate planning, taxation, will and trusts and probate administration.





Kirk Caraway, partner at the law firm of Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham, PLLC, has been named a top-rated lawyer in labor and employment by American Lawyer Media. Additionally, he has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America and was chosen by Avvo as a top-rated lawyer.


Kerryann M. Cook was recently elected by her peers to serve as one of four defense liaison counsel for the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL). Don L. Hearn was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation.

Rae Oliver Davis was nominated by the President of the United States to be the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She was confirmed by the Senate in January 2019. Davis

Heather Kolasinsky was recently appointed to the steering committee of Working Group 1 (WG1) at The Sedona Conference for a three-year term that began in January 2018. Heather was selected because of her capacity for dialogue and working to achieve consensus, subject matter expertise, her record of significant contributions to WG1 meetings and drafting team efforts and demonstrated commitment to the mission of The Sedona Conference. The Sedona Conference is the best-known think tank in eDiscovery.

John David Willet was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of construction litigation. ’98

Ronald T. Catelli has recently opened his own firm, The Catelli Law Firm, LLC, in Red Bank, New Jersey. Brian Faughnan’s Faughnan’s legal blog, “Faughnan on Ethics,” was included in the ABA Web 100, one of only 35 blogs included in the list. ’99

M. Andrew Wohlfarth was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of trusts and estates. Wohlfarth,

L. Clayton Culpepper III was selected to the 2018 Mid-South Super Lawyers list in the field of business litigation. He was also selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the areas of commercial litigation and banking and finance litigation .

Wade Hinton is now the first-ever vice president of diversity & inclusion at Unum, a Chattanooga-based insurance corporation. Hinton

Christopher C. Lamberson was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of real estate law. Michael L. Russell has launched Russell Dispute Resolutions, PLLC, a firm that provides mediation and arbitration services across the state of Tennessee. Russell was most recently a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP.


Caulpepper III


William L. Bomar was included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of personal injury litigation – plaintiffs, personal injury litigation – defendants, medical malpractice law – plaintiffs, medical malpractice law – defendants.



Alumni Notes


Matt Brinner has been included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of real estate law.

in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation and employment law – management.

Aaron J. Nash was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law.


Brian L. Yoakum was selected by Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine to the 2018 Rising Stars list in the field of business litigation. He was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of construction litigation. ’06

George V. “Harley” Steffens, IV was selected by Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine to the 2018 Rising Stars list in the field of real estate. He was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of real estate law. ’07

Ensley Hagan was recently appointed as judge for Wilson County General Sessions Court, Div. III. Katy C. Laster Laster was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 in the area of labor and employment litigation.



Andre Mathis was awarded the Sam A. Myar, Jr. Memorial Award at the Memphis Bar Association’s Annual Dinner. The award is named for the late Sam Myar who died in 1959 at the age of 39, and it is given each year to an attorney who is 40 years old or younger and who has rendered outstanding personal service to the legal profession and the Memphis community. Andre was also included


Laura Bailey, of the Crone Law Firm, was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a list published by Thompson Reuters annually. ’09


Katie Kiihnl Leonard, a partner at the law firm of Boyd Collar Nolen & Tuggle in Georgia, was recently elected to the State Bar of Georgia’s Board of Governors. Jonathan Nelson was elected as a member of the firm Bass, Berry & Sims PLC. Nelson represents companies in cases involving breach of contract actions, shareholder derivative actions, breach of fiduciary duty claims, commercial tort actions and other business disputes. In addition, he also advises clients facing product liability claims, mass torts and related litigation. Josh Short was recently promoted to executive VP and general counsel of ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education. Judge Mary Wagner was one of 25 Americans nominated and selected to participate in the 2018 American Swiss Foundation Young Leaders Conference. ’10

Amber Floyd was selected as one of five nominees for the 2018 National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division Outstanding Young Woman Lawyer award.

Hite McLean III has joined the firm of Glankler Brown as an associate. His practice concentrates on the area of civil litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Lyle Gruby has accepted a position with the Department of Justice Honors Program, where he will be working in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division, specifically in the fraud section.

Bridget Warner has been promoted to Divisional Deputy City Solicitor in the Child Welfare Unit in Philadelphia, Penn.

Zachary Johnson is now working with the law firm of Nahon, Saharovich, and Trotz, after clerking for Judge Ross Dyer in the Criminal Court of Appeals.

Shannon Wiley has been named as a Member at the firm of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC. Wiley

Kendra Lyons has joined the firm of Butler Snow LLP and will focus her practice on healthcare law, commercial contracting, regulatory compliance and advice, and mergers and acquisitions. She will practice with the firm’s business services group.


Laura Deakins Deakins has been named as the 2019 President of the Association for Women Attorneys Memphis chapter. ’12

Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston, P.C., is pleased to announce that Megan ‘McKenzie’ Reed has joined the Memphis-based law firm as an associate. She will be involved in multiple practice areas including litigation.

Jessica Farmer Ferrante of the law firm Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC, was recently recognized by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys as a 2018 Top Family Law Attorney. Bill O’Connor is now the Associate Counsel, Director of Compliance and Data Privacy Officer for EBSCO Industries, Inc.




Benjamin R. Law has joined Gentry Locke’s Roanoke office as an associate. He will practice on the firm’s Business & Corporate team.

Rachael Bakowicz recently accepted a position with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Pablo J. Davis has joined Dinsmore & Shohl LLP’s main office, in Cincinnati, Ohio, as Counsel with the Commercial Litigation Department, where he specializes in federal practice related to the False Claims Act.

Hunter Yoches has recently become an associate at King & Ballow in Nashville, Tenn., in their litigation section.

Regan S. Sherwood joined the firm of Evans Petree PC as an associate. Sherwood

Tyler G. Tollison joined the firm of Evans Petree PC as an associate.





D.R. Jones Professor D.R. Jones was a commenter and participant at the Privacy Law Scholars’ Conference held in June 2018 at George Washington University Law School. Professor Jones was the co-chair of Local Arrangements for the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting held in Memphis in October 2018. Professor Jones discussed her latest scholarship at the Works in Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium (WIPIP) at the University of Houston in February 2019.

Lynda Black Professor Lynda Black enters her fourth year serving as the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) for the University of Memphis. She has been appointed to a two-year term on the newly formed fivemember Intra-Conference Transfer Rule Waiver Committee for the American Athletic Conference. Professor Black was subsequently named as chair of this committee.

Donna Harkness

Professor Donna Harkness published a feature article, “Supported Decision Making: The Missing Piece in the Puzzle of Planning for Clients with Diminished Capacity,” in the September 2018 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. She also participated in the National Business Institute’s two-day seminar on “Trusts: The Ultimate Guide” in December 2018, authoring materials and presenting on the topics of “Legal Ethics” and “Special Needs Trusts.” Finally, she was a presenter at the Community Legal Center’s “Last Minute Ethics CLE,” on the topic of “Ethical Issues Arising in Representation of Elderly Clients."



Daniel Kiel Professor Daniel Kiel was awarded the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Chapter Pillars of Excellence Faculty Award at the annual Pillars of Excellence Awards Dinner. Additionally, his documentary, “The Memphis 13,” was honored with the Excellence in Film award by the National Association of Multicultural Education. Finally, professor Kiel’s book chapter, “Two Attempts, One Fate: Desegregation and Consolidation as Strategies for Reducing Educational Inequality in Memphis,” was published in the book, The Dynamics of School District Consolidation: Race, Economics, and the Politics of Educational Change.

William Kratzke Professor William Kratzke’s casebook in Corporate Tax (CALI) made its online debut. His “Basic Income Tax” textbook was edited and republished.

Regina Hillman Professor Regina Hillman spoke at the Belmont Law Review Symposium on employment law, where she also submitted her article, “Title VII Discrimination Protections & LGBT Employees: The Need for Consistency & Certainty PostObergefell,” for their Spring Symposium volume.

Andrew McClurg Professor Andrew McClurg was interviewed by David Brancaccio, host of National Public Radio’s Marketplace, regarding his statutory proposal in a Hastings Law Journal article to make it easier to prosecute elder financial exploiters, which was adopted by the Florida legislature. McClurg’s account of his first-year of law school was included in a new book, Beyond One L (Carolina Academic Press).

Steve Mulroy Professor Steven Mulroy just published a new election reform book, Rethinking U.S. Election Law: Unskewing the System, from the academic publisher Edward Elgar Press. He has accepted an invitation to author a chapter in a new election law book coming out in 2019. He served on the Association of American Law Schools Program Committee, helping to plan the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting. He recently led a successful Memphis referendum campaign effort which preserved an election reform (instant runoffs) discussed in his book. He has also made frequent guest appearances on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel as a legal commentator on a variety of topics. Professor Mulroy was also named as an Attorney4Justice through the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Initiative.

John Newman Professor John Newman had his article “The Antitrust Jurisprudence of Neil Gorsuch,” published in the Florida State University Law Review. Additionally, his article “Procompetitive Justifications in Antitrust Law,” was accepted for publication in the Indiana Law Journal and his article “Silicon Valley Rhetoric: Three Myths Debunked,” was published in the Antitrust Chronicle.

David S. Romantz Professor David Romantz published “Reconstructing the Rule of Lenity,” in the Cardoza Law Review. The article examines the history and demise of the rule of lenity and argues for a renewed and updated rule to further its important due process objectives. He also served as an advisory member for the Public Safety Institute at the University of Memphis. Professor Romantz was also a team member on the ABA Site Team Law School Accreditation Committee and a member of the Faculty Athletics Committee at the University of Memphis, as well as a hearing officer for TUAPA at the University of Memphis.

Professor Newman also received the Best Junior Paper award at the 2018 Academic Society of Competition Law annual conference. Additionally, professor Newman presented at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s hearing on antitrust and consumer protection issues in the twenty-first century, while also presenting at the University of California (Irvine) School of Law’s Antitrust Roundtable series and at the Section on Antitrust and Economic Regulation panel discussion at the AALS annual meeting in January 2019.



Faculty Accomplishments

Danny Schaffzin Professor Danny Schaffzin began his one-year term as co-president of the Clinical Legal Education Association on January 1, 2019. Schaffzin served as CLEA’s co-vice president and president-elect in 2018. Professor Schaffzin completed a two-year term (2017-18) as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law School’s Clinical Section. Professor Schaffzin co-presented a keynote presentation, entitled Memphis Fights Blight — Insights from a Collaborative Campaign, at the Bad Buildings Summit in Charleston, West Virginia, in November 2018. He also presented as part of two concurrent panels at the Center for Community Progress’ 2018 Reclaiming Vacant Properties

Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fighting Together: How Memphis and Cleveland are Redefining Collaboration to Eliminate Property Blight, and Partnerships in Service of Distressed Neighborhoods: Law School Community Development Clinics. Additionally, professor Schaffzin served as Senior Faculty for the second Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy hosted by the Law School in Spring 2018. He also led a two-session workshop, Navigating the Complexities of the Clinical Teaching Market at the AALS Conference on Clinical Education in Chicago in April 2018. Finally, Professor Schaffzin began serving a two-year term as the president of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Memphis in the Summer of 2018.

Jodi Wilson Professor Jodi Wilson was recently named as interim associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Memphis School of Law. Additionally, she currently serves as the president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD). Interim dean Wilson has also recently received the Patricia H. and Dan S. Murrell Ethics and Professionalism Teaching Award, as well as the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) President’s Distinguished Service Award, and the ALWD Outstanding Service Award.



The Right Direction Meet three female faculty members who are directing their respective programs and departments to newfound success at Memphis Law.

DeShun Harris Assistant Professor of Clinical Law, Director of Bar Preparation Demetria Frank Assistant Professor of Law, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Katy Ramsey Assistant Professor of Law, Director of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic



Faculty Opinion/Editorial

Raising the Bar


n recent years, declining bar passage rates have been seen across the nation. The July 2018 bar exam cycle posted the lowest Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) score in 34 years. That posting is particularly significant because the written (or state) portions of the bar exams tend to track the MBE, meaning that low MBE scores will generally mean lower essay scores, and thus, fewer passing applicants. Unfortunately, the declining bar passage rate impacted Memphis Law as well. Which begs the question: Why are bar rates declining?

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the organization that creates and scores the MBE (and is responsible for creating other test materials for states and has a large role in licensing), has argued the declining bar passage rates are due in part to declining entering credentials of students now taking the bar exam, particularly lower LSAT scores. Law schools, including many vocal deans, have argued that bar passage rates are declining because the bar exam, a paper and pencil test requiring vast memorization, is outdated for a generation raised on smartphones, computers and the internet. Yet, even with these declining pass rates, some law schools have managed to greatly exceed the bar pass average in their respective states. We hope to become one of those schools through change.

Change has arrived at Memphis Law and with that change, we hope to see our bar passage rates improve. Using what we know through research and data



gathering, we have and will continue to adopt changes for our students’ success. There is a strong correlation between final law school grade point average and bar passage. For many institutions, those students falling in the bottom quartiles will struggle to pass the bar exam on the first try. It may be the case that if a student has struggled to learn the law in law school, they will likely struggle to do so on the bar exam. To combat this, we started extending students' understanding of the bar exam and the necessary learning techniques into the first-year curriculum. This spring we are offering all first-year students a course titled “Legal Analysis.” In that course, students learn about each component of the bar exam and have an opportunity to see how the subjects they are taking now are tested on the exam. The hope is that this early exposure will help students see the need for better study skills and recognize the work they are doing today can benefit them in the future. As an institution, we started investigating how to potentially incorporate a more robust academic support program to support our first-year students (and maybe even for our second-year students). Our bar efforts also include extending opportunities for third-year law students. We currently offer a spring third-year bar course. In that course, students learn the different components of the bar exam and develop strategies to prepare for each component. This spring we offered, for the first time, a one-credit course that covered all MBE-tested topics across seven days. The course was designed to be an intensive boot camp-like experience to expose students to bar questions and begin their preparation for the subjects. We hope to continue extending our

Professor DeShun Harris

bar-focused efforts by repeating this course, while also evaluating the possibility of a bar course offered in the fall. The idea behind extending bar preparation into the third-year law students’ fall is to give our students more time to learn how to prepare for the bar exam, instead of waiting until the spring, which may be too late. Bar preparation not only means ensuring our students have the capacity to work hard in preparing for the bar exam, it also requires a concentrated effort from our faculty. They have the opportunity to attend workshops that explore what is tested on the bar exam and how to create assessments that are bar-like, which may be used in the classroom. Many are already engaged in providing our students with more bar-like assessments. Because most graduates prepare for the bar exam completely alone and online, we want to increase opportunities for our students to interact with others. Thus, we will enlarge our summer bar preparation efforts for our graduates preparing for the bar exam. Last summer our students had several bar workshops available to them. These workshops explore each component of the exam and provide practical advice about preparing for the bar exam. We hope to expand these workshops to provide more assessments, feedback and stress management activities. We will also extend the reach of the law school by engaging our alumni in mentoring our bar takers. Bar takers can benefit from the support of alumni as they prepare for the bar exam. Change is happening here at Memphis Law. We plan to be back at the top of Tennessee state bar passage soon.




Saturday, August 24, 2019 | FedExForum


Honorable Robert L. “Butch” Childers (BBA ’71, JD ’74) | Retired Circuit Court Judge Honorable Bernice Bouie Donald (BA ’74, JD ’79) | U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Richard Glassman (BS ’69, JD ’72) | Glassman, Wyatt, Tuttle & Cox, P.C. R. Hunter Humphreys (JD ’77) | Glankler Brown, PLLC Connie Lewis Lensing | Sr. VP Litigation, FedEx Express Charles T. Tuggle, Jr. | Executive VP & General Counsel, First Horizon National Corporation

Friends of the Law School

The Bobango Family John A. Bobango (JD ’83) & Lisa W. Bobango (JD ’83)




Non-Profit Org



Profile for University of Memphis

Memphis Law Spring 2019  

Memphis Law Spring 2019