Vanderbilt Law Magazine Winter 2020 Issue

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Vanderbilt’s Clinics Give Students a Deep Dive into Legal Practice



In his previous life as a touring musician, Bryan Davidson, Class of 2021, fell in love with the American landscape while driving across the country. “I was inspired to use my abilities to better protect our resources,” the Memphis native says. Davidson was drawn to Vanderbilt’s signature Energy, Environment and Land Use Program. Receiving the Elliott E. Cheatham Scholarship and the Hugh Jackson Morgan Scholarship made it possible for him to attend and pursue a public interest career without the burden of excessive debt. To learn more about the impact of giving, contact Scotty Mann, associate dean of Development and Alumni Relations, at or (615) 343-4534.

CONTENTS Editor Grace Renshaw



Contributing Writers Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Kent Halkett ’81, Paul Ney ’84 (MBA’84) Design and Art Direction Tim Kovick/Corporate Design Photography Susan Adcock, Sandy Campbell, Daniel Dubois, Steve Green, Joe Howell, Anne Rayner, John Russell, Susan Urmy, Deb Varallo, Terry Wyatt Editorial Contributors Matt Anderson, Eileen Cunningham, Brandy Drinnon, Brierra Miller, Sarah Parker Poteete, Seth Robertson VLS Webmaster Brandy Drinnon Dean & John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor Chris Guthrie Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations Scotty Mann Cover Illutration by Neil Webb

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On the Grid

Jim Rossi, Judge D.L. Lansden Professor of Law, studies energy regulation

What Is Property?

Christopher Serkin, Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Professor of Law, focuses on land use regulation.

A Deep Dive into Legal Practice

Students learn practical skills in Vanderbilt’s clinics.

24 G.S. Hans Launches Stanton

Foundation First Amendment Clinic Vanderbilt Law School Office of Development & Alumni Relations 131 21st Avenue South Nashville, Tennessee 37203 Tel: 615-322-2606 Fax: 615-322-5730 Vanderbilt Law is published semi-annually by Vanderbilt Law School in cooperation with Vanderbilt University Division of Communications, 2100 West End Ave., Suite 1100, Nashville, TN 37203, which also provides online support. Articles appearing in Vanderbilt Law do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the law school or the university. Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action. Please recycle. Copyright © 2020 Vanderbilt University

25 Cara Suvall Launches Youth Opportunity Clinic 25 Emily Reid ’18 at Rising for Justice

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DOD General Counsel Paul Ney ’84 (MBA’84) on the Rule of Law in International Security Affairs The Conservative Case for Class Actions An excerpt from the new book by Brian Fitzpatrick

Up Front


Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. visits VLS Daniel Diermeier named VU Chancellor Alumni news featuring Sue Kay ’79 and Ashley Wiltshire ’72, Wesley Dozier ’19 (BA’16), Emily Lamm ’19, Megan Mitchell ’19, Alex Gardner ’19 and Gideon’s Promise Fellows Faculty news featuring Nicholas S. Zeppos, Owen Jones, Randall Thomas, Rebecca Allensworth, Ganesh Sitaraman, Sean Seymore, James Blumstein and W. Kip Viscusi Student news featuring Katie Cohen ’21 and Matthew LaRue ’20

Speaking of Alumni with Scotty Mann


2019 Distinguished Service Award: Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch ’78 (BA’75) 35 2019 Commencement


Judge Thomas Varlan ’81 by Kent Halkett ’81


2019 Distinguished Alumnus Sam Bartholomew ’73 39 Class Notes


In Memoriam


Fred P. Graham ’59


Judge John T. Nixon ’60





Dear alumni and friends:



inal exams for the fall 2019 semester were well underway when we received the exciting news that Daniel Diermeier, an internationally renowned scholar who comes with an impressive record of institutional accomplishment as provost at the University of Chicago, will be Vanderbilt’s next chancellor. Daniel cites Vanderbilt’s “collegial, interdisciplinary spirit” as the quality that “truly differentiates Vanderbilt from its peers.” As our collegial environment is a differentiating factor for students choosing among top law schools, this observation resonated with me. I look forward to working with Daniel after he joins Vanderbilt next summer. Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente has been an excellent leader as Vanderbilt completed a careful and diligent chancellor search with help and input from every school. We are also fortunate to welcome Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos, who has been named to the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus Chair, back to our faculty next fall. When I joined the Vanderbilt law faculty in 2002, Sue Kay ’79 had recently been named our first assistant dean for clinical programs. By that time, Sue had taught the Criminal Practice clinic for 20 years. In 2004, Sue was promoted to associate dean for clinical programs; her title recently changed to associate dean for experiential education, a recognition of the true scope of her responsibilities. Sue also manages our Trial Advocacy program and supervises students pursuing internships with local, state and federal government legal departments and nonprofits. Sue has now taught here for almost 40 years, mentoring generations of law students and clinical faculty members. Clinics are where students connect theory to practice. They gain invaluable professional experience through our seven clinics, often representing a client for the first time. With Sue’s help and guidance,



we have launched four exciting new clinics in recent years and recruited outstanding faculty to teach them. Karla McKanders, Gautam Hans, Lauren Rogal and Cara Suvall, who teach our Immigration Practice, Stanton Foundation First Amendment, Turner Community Enterprise, and Youth Opportunity clinics, respectively, have joined Michael Bressman (BA’89), who teaches our Intellectual Property and the Arts clinic, and Mike Newton, who teaches our unique Intellectual Law Practice Lab, to expand the opportunities for our students to gain practical experience while doing interesting and meaningful work. The experience our students gain by serving clients who otherwise might not have access to legal services, with expert guidance from our clinical faculty, makes them better lawyers and better people. Our impressive array of clinics and enthusiastic, highly qualified faculty are featured as the cover story in this edition of Vanderbilt Law. Two of our clinics—the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic and the Turner Community Enterprise Clinic—are donor-funded, for which I’m profoundly grateful. This fall Paul C. Ney Jr. ’84 (MBA ’84) became the first VLS graduate to deliver our prestigious Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law, endowed in honor of the late Professor Jonathan Charney, who held the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Chair in Law until his death in 2002. Jon was renowned for his expertise in boundary disputes; the lecture that honors him allows us to bring important government officials and scholars to speak about their work and current issues in international law. Paul gave a standing-room-only audience of students, faculty and alumni an inside view of his work as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense and the types of legal issues his office addresses on behalf of the four branches of the U.S. military. He has graciously allowed us to publish a condensed version of his talk in this edition of Vanderbilt Law.

Brian Fitzpatrick, who clerked for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and practiced law before joining the legal academy, has written a provocative book, The Conservative Case for Class Actions, that advances an argument that may seem counterintuitive: that class action lawsuits are congruent with political conservatism. I hope you will enjoy the excerpt from Brian’s introduction so much that you rush out and buy his book, which is clever, erudite and readable. Last spring, we honored Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch ’78 (BA’75) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit with our 2019 Distinguished Service Award; Jane left a lucrative career litigating complex ERISA cases to join the federal bench in 2010. We also posthumously honored Sam Bartholomew ’73 as a very deserving recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Sam was a founding partner of Stokes Bartholomew and an influential leader in the state and local legal communities whose impact is reflected in Nashville’s modern airport and professional football team. I’m grateful for the contributions Jane makes every day as a federal judge and for Sam’s tremendous legacy of community leadership. One of the great rewards of my work as dean is learning about the important contributions our graduates make as advocates and leaders in the communities where they live and work. As always, thank you for supporting Vanderbilt Law School and Vanderbilt University. Sincerely yours,

Chris Guthrie Dean and John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law






aniel Diermeier, an internationally renowned political scientist and management scholar, has been elected Vanderbilt University’s ninth chancellor. His appointment was announced by Board of Trust Chairman Bruce R. Evans. His term as chancellor will begin on July 1. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Guggenheim fellow, Diermeier was the provost at the University of Chicago, where he previously served as dean of the Harris School of Public Policy. “Vanderbilt is among the world’s most prestigious universities, bringing together extraordinary faculty and staff with exceptional students to teach, discover and improve the lives of people everywhere. What truly separates Vanderbilt from its peers is the willingness of its various parts to work together, as one, to magnify impact toward a shared mission,” Diermeier said. Diermeier was elected chancellor after an extensive search launched in April 2019



following then-Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos’ decision to step down on Aug. 15. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente was appointed interim chancellor beginning Aug. 16. Wente will continue to serve as both interim chancellor and provost until June 30, 2020, when she will resume her role as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Diermeier is David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, where he previously served as dean. His pioneering scholarship grapples with major questions facing society, including democratic governance, formal political theory, comparative political institutions, corporate social responsibility, private politics, and crisis and reputation management. As dean, Diermeier led the transformation of the Harris School into the third-ranked public policy school in the nation. He launched a strategy that doubled student enrollment while increasing selectivity, a successful fundraising effort that included funds for the new $80 million Keller Center, a 50-percent growth in faculty and the recruitment of diverse students, faculty and staff. As University of Chicago provost, Diermeier was responsible for all university academic and research programs, which include the university’s $2.5 billion budget and those of its medical center and associated laboratories. During his tenure, Diermeier and his team reorganized the university’s financial management structure. He also led ambitious faculty expansion efforts culminating in the creation of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering in 2019. Recently, he and his team pioneered a new model of funding for Ph.D. students. A native of Berlin, Diermeier earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University

of Rochester in 1995. He also holds master’s degrees in philosophy and political science from the University of Southern California, the University of Munich and the University of Rochester. Diermeier has published four books and more than 100 research articles in leading academic journals, mostly in the fields of political science, economics and management, as well as in other areas ranging from linguistics, sociology and psychology to computer science and applied mathematics. His 2011 general audience book, Reputation Rules: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset, is widely read and consulted in academia and business. He has collaborated and consulted extensively internationally in both the public and private sectors and speaks five languages.



Internationally renowned scholar Daniel Diermeier named Vanderbilt University chancellor

Dean Chris Guthrie talks with Chancellor-elect Daniel Diermeier at a campus reception Dec. 6 following the announcement of Diermeier’s appointment by Board of Trust Chairman Bruce R. Evans.


Nicholas S. Zeppos named to Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus Chair

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. participated in a wide-ranging conversation with Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit at Vanderbilt Law School on Sept. 10. Roberts cited the two judges for whom he worked as a law clerk—Judge Henry Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then-Justice William Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States—as the major influences on his writing, describing Friendly’s style as “comprehensive elegance that leads you through the thought process” and Justice Rehnquist’s as “geometric and structural.” Noting that he considers his three sisters, none of whom are lawyers, when writing legal opinions, he said, “Writing should be accessible to smart laypeople.”

Roberts fielded questions from students and faculty addressing how he works with his four law clerks and his transition from an advocate for clients in private practice to the judicial role. He also emphasized personal advice then-Justice Rehnquist offered his clerks: “If you want to spend time with your young children, you have to do it when they’re young.” More than 240 VLS students, faculty and alumni attended the event, which was supported in part by the Cecil Sims Lectureship Fund.

Vanderbilt University has recognized Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos for his leadership and legacy by naming him a University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science and appointing him to the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus Chair. “Nick is an extraordinary legal scholar and teacher. His heart has been, and will always be, with students and Zeppos faculty,” Provost and Interim Chancellor Susan R. Wente said. University Distinguished Professors hold full-status appointments in at least two schools. The Political Science faculty voted unanimously to create a new faculty appointment in their department for Zeppos in addition to his appointment in the law school. “During the time Chancellor Emeritus Zeppos served fulltime on our faculty, he was one of our most cited faculty members and one of our leading teachers, receiving the law school’s prestigious Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award six times,” said Dean Chris Guthrie. “Our faculty and students will benefit enormously from his teaching and scholarship. We are thrilled to have him back as a faculty colleague.” Vanderbilt also is naming one of its newest residential colleges, slated to open in 2020, the Nicholas S. Zeppos College.



Owen Jones named to newly endowed university chair Owen Jones has been named to the Glenn M. Weaver, M.D., and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain and Behavior. The new chair was endowed by the Glenn M. Weaver Foundation in honor of Dr. Weaver and his wife, Mary Ellen Weaver. Dr. Weaver practiced clinical psychiatry for 55 years, impacting generations of patients. His distinguished career included service as clinical professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine, director of the psychiatry department at Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital and an expert witness in hundreds of trials throughout the United States.

“My research focuses both on how brains work, which involves neuroscience, and how brains evolved to work, which involves evolutionary biology—and how insights from both of those fields might inform legal policy.”


— Owen Jones



Jones is one of the authors of the pioneering textbook Law and Neuroscience. His research focuses on the intersection of law and brain science. He has published more than 50 scholarly articles, book chapters and essays in leading law and scientific journals, and directed or co-directed more than 50 interdisciplinary academic conferences around the country. With four grants from the MacArthur Foundation, totaling over $7.6 million, Jones designed, created and directs the national

Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. The network partners selected legal scholars and brain scientists at leading universities to explore systematically both the promise and the limitations of using new neuroscientific techniques to improve criminal justice. Since 2011, this network team has published more than 75 brain-scanning and conceptual works, including numerous discoveries in the domains of mental states, memories, punishment decisions and adolescent brain development. In one set of projects examining decision making related to punishment, Jones and colleagues at Vanderbilt and other institutions discovered the brain activities involved when jurors distinguish knowing and reckless states of mind; the interactions of rational and emotional brain regions when individuals are determining whether to punish someone, and if so, how much; and the brain activities that separately correlate with assessing harms, discerning mental states, integrating those two, and choosing punishment amounts. Jones earned his law degree at Yale Law School and his B.A. at Amherst College. Before joining the legal academy, he was a law clerk for Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and practiced law with the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling. He was named to the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law in 2010. In 2014, he received the 2014 Joe. B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor Award, which recognizes Vanderbilt faculty for accomplishments that bridge multiple academic disciplines and yield significant new knowledge from research. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “I’m grateful to the Glenn M. Weaver Foundation for funding a chair specific to the important field of law and brain science,” said Dean Chris Guthrie. “Owen Jones is a pioneer in the study of law and neuroscience and a co-author of the first textbook in the field. The Glenn M. Weaver, M.D., and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain and Behavior is a fitting recognition for his career accomplishments in this evolving field of study.”


Ganesh Sitaraman and Suzanna Sherry of Vanderbilt and Mark Tushnet of Harvard discussed policies aimed at addressing the growing politicization of the Supreme Court on Oct. 1 in an event sponsored by the Vanderbilt chapter of the American Constitution Society and the Program in Law and Government. Sitaraman discussed his proposal, outlined in a Yale Law Journal article, “How to Save the Supreme Court,” co-authored with Daniel Epps, to tap the entire federal courts of appeals by selecting panels of nine appellate judges at random to serve two weeks at a time. “This approach prevents a conservativeor liberal-majority panel from cherrypicking cases designed to advance their own agendas,” he said.

Sean Seymore appointed to the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law of Technology, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame with an Arthur J. Schmitt Presidential Fellowship, and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame with an Allen Endowment Fellowship. After earning his law degree, he practiced patent law with Foley Hoag in Boston. An active member of the American Chemical Society, Seymore was appointed the law school’s first Enterprise Scholar in fall 2013 and to the inaugural cohort of Chancellor Faculty Fellows. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute. SANDY CAMPBELL


ean Seymore has been named to the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law. Seymore’s appointment was announced Sept. 16. The New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law was established in 1997 by numerous VLS alumni based in the New York area, along with a match from Vanderbilt University, to support distinguished legal scholars at the law school. More than 50 alumni contributed to this fundraising initiative, led by co-chairs Richard S. Aldrich Jr. ’75 and Robert W. Brundige Jr. ’69. Seymore joined the Vanderbilt law faculty in 2010, having previously taught at Washington & Lee University School of Law, where he was an assistant professor of law and earned the designations of Alumni Faculty Fellow and Huss Faculty Fellow for his scholarship and teaching. Seymore earned his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Tennessee as a Tennessee Scholar, a master’s in chemistry from the Georgia Institute




James Blumstein co-directs multidisciplinary research team

Rebecca Allensworth named to Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence Rebecca Allensworth has been named to the Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence. The three-year appointment recognizes faculty for outstanding contributions in the classroom. Allensworth teaches Contracts, Antitrust Law and a seminar on the jurisprudence and scholarship of Richard Posner, for whom she clerked. She is a four-time winner of the HallHartman Outstanding Professor Award for excellence in teaching. The Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence was endowed in 2004 by the late Carlton Tarkington ’63 (BA’59), who founded a boutique investment firm, Edinburgh Investments, in Nashville after retiring from a



successful sales career with West Publishing, a leading legal publisher. The three-year chair rotates among deserving faculty. “I’m grateful to Carlton Tarkington for enabling us to recognize faculty for their teaching,” said Dean Chris Guthrie. “The Tarkington Chair is a fitting legacy memorializing Carlton’s career, and Rebecca Allensworth is a worthy recipient. She’s extremely effective at employing the Socratic method in the classroom.”

University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy James Blumstein is co-leader of a team of researchers from Vanderbilt Health and the schools of law, medicine and management that received a five-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and test “safe harbor” standards of care. One goal of the project is to reduce the number of unnecessary medical procedures performed primarily to reduce legal liability, Blumstein a practice known as “defensive medicine.” Blumstein will co-direct the research initiatives with Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Alan Storrow. Other team members include University Viscusi Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics and Management W. Kip Viscusi and Assistant Professor Benjamin McMichael, JD/PhD’15, of the University of Alabama School McMichael of Law. “Our project integrates the perspectives of experts in law and policy, emergency medicine and risk management to examine medical liability,” Blumstein said. “The aim is to develop medical malpractice ‘safe harbors’ by establishing standards of care that are accepted by both medical and legal policymakers.”

Article co-authored by Randall Thomas selected as one of the Top 10 Corporate and Securities Articles for 2018


precedents that undergird American corporate governance law. Thomas and Cox look at the 1980s, when four important cases—Revlon, Weinberger, Unocal and Blasius—established solid precedents that courts applied in cases addressing corporate governance, fiduciary duties of directors, and the relationship between boards and shareholders. They contrast that decade with the early 2000s, during which more than 96 percent of publicly disclosed mergers attracted litigation brought by shareholders, contending that, in recent years, the Delaware courts themselves have chipped away at the precedents set during the 1980s, which they term “the Golden Age of Delaware corporate law.” Their article examines the ways in which the precedents in these four foundational cases have been weakened by subsequent Delaware Supreme Court decisions.


elaware’s Retreat: Exploring Developing Fissures and Tectonic Shifts in Delaware Corporate Law,” an article co-authored by Randall Thomas, John S. Beasley II Chair in Law and Business, with James Cox of Duke Law School, was selected as one of the Top 10 Corporate and Securities Articles published in 2018. Selected articles are reprinted in Corporate Practice Commentator. This is the 13th article written or co-authored by Thomas selected for inclusion in the prestigious annual compendium of Thomas leading scholarship in corporate law. Thomas directs the Vanderbilt Law and Business Program. In their article, Thomas and Cox address a power struggle between corporate boards of directors and activist shareholders that played out in courts throughout the nation, and its impact on Delaware courts’ accepted role of establishing and maintaining the legal

Sue Kay ’79, associate dean for experiential education, with Ashley Wiltshire ’72, who spent his entire 37-year legal career at the Legal Aid Society of the Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Wiltshire was a featured speaker at a Nov. 8 celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Legal Aid Society.

Wesley Dozier ’19 (BA’16) named Equal Justice Works Fellow Wesley Dozier is working at Just City, a Memphis, Tennessee-based legal nonprofit that advocates for reform within Tennessee’s criminal justice system, as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. He is one of 76 EJW Fellows selected from more than 450 applicants. Dozier is devoting his two-year fellowship to representing clients seeking to eliminate financial obstacles to expungement, a formal process by which a criminal charge is removed from the public record. He is also developing a process to enable volunteer attorneys to more easily help indigent clients complete and file the paperwork required to expunge their records. Many eligible applicants cannot seek expungement, Dozier says, because they owe fines and court costs that they are unable to pay. “People should not be trapped with a criminal record because they can’t afford to pay fines and court costs,” Dozier said. A Memphis native, Dozier realized he wanted to pursue a career in social justice law after watching his own family members go through the criminal justice system when he was a child and subsequently learning about the criminal justice system from a Dozier structural perspective as a Vanderbilt undergraduate student. At VLS, he was named the Class of 2019 Garrison Social Justice Scholar, receiving a two-year scholarship that also provided stipend support for summer work in the public interest. He was also selected for the Cal Turner Center for Moral Leadership in the Professions. Dozier was honored at Commencement with the Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Award, which goes to “the student of the senior law class who is not only well-versed in the law, but who shows the highest conception of the ethics of the profession.”



The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality New book co-authored by Ganesh Sitaraman


obust public options for retirement, banking, child care and other broadly beneficial services—beyond health care—would position more Americans to participate equally in society, argues Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his new book, The Public Option (2019, Harvard University Press). Sitaraman and his co-author, Yale law professor Anne Alstott, define public options as government-provided goods or services that are universal and affordable and that coexist with private alternatives. “We have had public options all around us for generations—from public schools to public swimming pools—we just don’t think of them that way,” said Sitaraman. “Public options have always been a powerful way to expand opportunity and increase equality, while retaining space for competition and markets.” Their book offers a detailed examination of public options, past and present, as well as proposals for other domains where a public option

could address crucial gaps, such as child care. According to Sitaraman, Americans tend to think of public options as solutions to market failures—programs the government implements to ensure equal access for everyone. But he added that they also can promote healthy competition in areas where limited private options are available. “In about a quarter of rural America, there isn’t moderatespeed internet,” Sitaraman said, “and in a huge part of the country there’s no competition when it comes to high-speed internet.” Using the successful example of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sitaraman and Alstott propose a public option for broadband, arguing that it would add competition, improve access and help local businesses.

In addition to health care, public options already being discussed by policymakers include expanded college tuition financing and a revival of banking through the post office. “Public options provide a way to navigate between our interest and commitment to markets and competition and our need for greater equality and freedom in the country,” he said. “They allow us to achieve both of these things at the same time and I think that’s why they’re so compelling today.” Sitaraman is a Chancellor Faculty Fellow, professor of law, and director of the Program in Law and Government at Vanderbilt.

Matthew LaRue ’20 wins 2019 ABA Water Resources Student Writing Competition Matthew LaRue won first place in the 2019 Student Writing Competition sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. LaRue’s article, “The Stream of Commerce,” was published in Natural Resources & Environment, the section’s quarterly magazine. In his article, LaRue proposes that “navigable waters”—the jurisdictional term for classifying which waters are within the scope of the Clean Water Act, which ambiguously defines “navigable waters” as Waters of the United States or WOTUS—would better achieve the purposes of the CWA by encompassing all of the nation’s commercial waters. This interpretation, he asserts, would help ensure that the CWA is applied more consistently by the Environmental



Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. “The goal of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters,” LaRue stated. “The CWA requires states to identify and list the navigable waters within their boundaries where water quality is a concern and then restrict the discharge of pollutants into navigable water. But Congress has never clarified the Act’s jurisdiction, which means the definition of the ‘navigable waters,’ and thus the scope of the CWA, is subject to change with each successive administration.” LaRue says the article grew out of a discussion in his Environmental Law class, taught by Michael Vandenbergh, who holds a

David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law. “Professor Vandenbergh encouraged the class to come up with an alternative theory for the interpretation of ‘navigable waters,’” he said. “I took Professor Vandenbergh’s suggestion as a challenge. The most plausible theory I came up with was that ‘navigable waters’ should incorporate any body of water that is associated with commerce.” “The Stream of Commerce” was published, along with other winners of the 2019 ABA Water Resources Law Student Writing Competition, on the section’s website on Aug. 27, 2019.


2019 graduates Sam Heller and Jordyn McCarley named Gideon’s Promise Fellows

W. Kip Viscusi (center), University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics and Management, was awarded the Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research by Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente (left) and Faculty Senate Chair John McLean (right) during the 2019 Fall Faculty Assembly. Viscusi is the author of more than 360 articles and over two dozen books. The co-founder and co-director of the Vanderbilt Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics, he is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on benefit-cost analysis. His research focuses on a wide range of individual and societal responses to risk and uncertainty, including risky behaviors, government regulation and tort liability. His latest book, Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society (2018, Princeton University Press), shows how innovations in social science can radically inform policy and public affairs, thereby changing human lives for the better.

Katie Cohen ’21 awarded Helton Fellowship for international pro bono legal service Katie Cohen received a prestigious Helton Fellowship to work in summer 2019 at Global Rights Compliance, an international organization that provides advisory services and litigation support in human rights and international humanitarian law. Cohen was one of five 2019 Helton Fellows who received support from the American Society of International Law to do unpaid international legal work focusing on human rights. Cohen is the Raymonde I. Paul Scholar in Transnational Law for the Class of 2021. A native of Seattle, Cohen earned her undergraduate degree in linguistics at Dartmouth College

and then served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine before starting law school at Vanderbilt. She says her Peace Corps experience working with students and teachers in Ukraine cemented her desire to Cohen practice international law. Cohen spent fall 2019 as a legal intern with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, in New York.

Sam Heller and Jordyn McCarley are Vanderbilt’s Class of 2019 Gideon’s Promise Fellows through the organization’s Law School Partnership Project. Fellows are assigned to public defenders’ offices in communities nationwide where more public defenders are needed to serve indigent clients. Heller, who received the Hugh Jackson Morgan Scholarship, has joined the Heller Hamilton County Public Defender in Cincinnati. He grew up near Flint, Michigan, and says that city’s economic struggles motivated him to pursue personalized justice as a lawyer. “Growing up, McCarley I became aware that wealth and race play a disproportionate role in determining peoples’ lives,” he said. “I spent a substantial portion of my time as a student trying to figure how I could combat that unfairness.” McCarley, a native of Santa Clara, California, who received the M. Douglas Dunn Scholarship, has joined the Nashville Defenders, where she worked both summers during law school. She decided to pursue permanent employment as a public defender when a colleague “told me that being a public defender is waking up every morning and making an affirmative decision to see the best in people,” she said. “Public defenders are on the front lines of justice and have the power to make a change within the criminal justice system.”



Emily Lamm ’19 wins National LGBT Bar Association Writing Contest Emily Lamm won the National LGBT Bar Association’s Michael Greenberg Writing Competition with her article, “Bye, Bye, Binary: Updating Birth Certificates to Transcend the Binary of Sex,” published in the Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality in spring 2019. The award honors Michael Greenberg, a former National LGBT Bar Association Board member and Philadelphia attorney who died in 1996 from complications of AIDS and recognizes outstanding scholarship on legal issues affecting LGBTQ persons.

Lamm’s article addresses a practical issue affecting nonbinary and transgender individuals who do not identify as male or female: birth certificates that solely accommodate binary sex identifications and effectively assign gender identity at birth. “Approximately one-third of transgender individuals do not identify as either male or female,” she said. She proposes that gender designations on birth certificates be left blank until individuals can update their certificates themselves to

96 Vanderbilt Law students receive summer stipends

Students complete Pro Bono Pledge


Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller recognized 23 Vanderbilt Law students who completed the Pro Bono Pledge at an awards ceremony in April. The students logged a combined 6,908 hours of pro bono legal work and community service. To complete the pledge, students pursuing a J.D. must serve at least 75 hours; LL.M. students must serve at least 25 hours. Dan Lawless ’19 and Vanessa Zapata ’19, who were recognized for completing the pledge by the end of their 2L year, logged more than 75 additional service hours as 3Ls. Lawless logged the most service hours, 1,426, while at Vanderbilt. He has joined the Federal Defender of Northern Florida’s Capital Habeas Unit as a research and writing attorney. Zapata is working at the Tennessee Justice Center as a Barrett Fellow. Ten members of the Class of 2020 have already completed the pledge: Muna Abdallah, Amber Banks, Willoe DeFuccio, Alexandra Eason, Randy Hiroshige (MDiv’20), Taylor Knowles, Cameron McCoig, Joshua Minchin, Lucas Paez and Victor Wu.

Members of the J.D. Class of 2019 who completed the pledge include Caroline Cassidy, Devon Beverly, Wesley Dozier (BA’16), Lea Gulotta, Sam Heller, Hannah Keith (MBA’19), Holly Thompson and Tracy Yim, joined by 2019 LL.M. graduates Jianan Li, Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea and Shiqi Sun.



accurately reflect their gender identity. Birth certificates are particularly important, she says, because “the birth certificate is often required as the basis for establishing one’s identity. It’s the first legal document bestowed on most children and is often required to establish one’s identity to obtain a driver’s license.” Lamm received the Riley Scholarship and was managing editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review as a 3L. She has joined Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., as an associate.

Ninety-six Vanderbilt Law students received summer stipends to support their volunteer legal work with federal and state government agencies, in the chambers of federal and state judges, in the offices of federal attorneys general and state district attorneys and of federal and municipal public defenders, in state and municipal legal offices, with public interest and advocacy organizations, and in corporate legal offices. During summer 2019, these students worked in unpaid legal positions in 22 states, the District of Columbia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal and Switzerland. Summer stipends are supported by the law school, the Vanderbilt Legal Aid Society, the Amy and Frank Garrison Social Justice Law Fund, the George Barrett Social Justice Program, the Henricksen Charitable Trust, the McCune Charitable Trust, the Starrett Family Fund, the Paul Hartman Scholarship, the Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III Class of 1974 Public Interest Stipend, the Nichols Humanitarian Fund, the Program in Law and Government, the Grace Lorentzson Hyatt Public Service Grant, the Anne Riley Public Interest Fund, the Environmental Stipend Fund, the Law and Economics Fund and the Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program.

Alex Gardner ’19 wins Shannon Bybee Scholarship Award writing competition

Annie Cappetta and Eileen Bautista Fay

Annie Cappetta and Eileen Bautista Fay have been named Garrison Social Justice Scholars for the Class of 2021. Garrison Social Justice Scholars receive a supplemental annual scholarship for the second and third years of law school as well as stipend support for unpaid legal work with public interest organizations during the two summers prior to graduation. The scholarship, which is endowed by Amy Price Garrison (BA’79) and Frank M. Garrison ’79 (BA’76) through the Amy and Frank Garrison Social Justice Law Fund, is awarded to two first-year students who plan to pursue careers in public interest law. Fay spent summer 2019 working as a legal intern at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, and Cappetta divided the summer between the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco and South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center in Columbia.

Alex Gardner was one of two winners of the 2019 Shannon Bybee Scholarship competition sponsored by the International Association of Gaming Advisors. The annual writing competition recognizes the best scholarly research in gaming law produced by students as part of their law school coursework. Gardner wrote his prize-winning paper, “The History that Preceded Historical Gaming: How Parimutuel Wagering Won Its Place in America, as Typified by Kentucky,” for the Law and History seminar taught by Associate Professor of Law Sara Mayeux. The Bybee Award included a $2,500 prize, and Gardner’s article is posted on IAGA’s website. Gardner examined the history of parimutuel wagering, a form of gaming in which all wagers are pooled, and bettors compete against each other for a share of the pool, with the participants’ wagers determining the payouts. Today, parimutuel betting systems are used in state lotteries and horse racing in Kentucky, where horse racing and parimutuel wagering are both regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Gardner joined Jackson Kelly in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, as an associate following graduation.


Megan Mitchell ’19 won a Regional Public Interest Award from Equal Justice Works. Mitchell is one of eight regional winners recognized by Equal Justice Works for demonstrating their commitment to public interest law through their pro bono legal work as volunteers and in clinics and internships during law school. Mitchell has joined the Colorado Public Defender Agency in Denver.




On the Grid Jim Rossi, Judge D.L. Lansden Professor of Law, studies energy grid regulation and the important relationship between grid development and energy policy. BY GRACE RENSHAW

Jim Rossi realized he wanted to focus on energy regulation during what he recalls as a “transformative year” at Yale Law School, where he earned his LL.M. in 1994. “At the time, energy law was considered a narrow, mundane field,” Rossi said. “Most regulatory lawyers thought energy deregulation would reduce energy law to transactions, and that it would neither be an interesting or uniquely defined area of law.” Still, Rossi found the area compelling and sought the advice of a pioneering energy law scholar, Richard J. Pierce Jr., then at Columbia Law School, on launching his own career studying energy law. “Find another field,” Pierce told him. Today, Rossi’s choice to focus on energy law appears prescient. In the 25 years since he entered the legal academy, energy law has evolved into a complex regulatory regime that weaves together land use, environmental and interstate commerce law to form a



Jim Rossi was introduced by colleague J.B. Ruhl before his Feb. 26 chair lecture, “Grid Decarbonization and the Public Utility,” during which he discussed his current research.

complex quilt of overlapping and sometimes conflicting federal and state regulations. As awareness of climate change increased, so too did the demand for experts who understood the environmental impact of energy use and were capable of designing a practical policy roadmap to foster the development of renewable energy sources. Rossi’s research and expertise in federal energy regulation frequently inform policy decisions in the U.S. energy sector. As a consultant for the Administrative Conference of the U.S. Committee on Collaborative Governance, he helped develop a set of recommendations on how agencies should coordinate their responsibilities relating to the energy sector that were adopted by the conference. “To really address environmental harms, you have to work from the inside of energy industries,” Rossi said. “You have to understand the economics as well as the physical opportunities and constraints to succeed in bringing new energy sources online. For example, if you want to build a successful wind facility in the U.S., you need a way to get your power onto the grid, and you have to produce enough energy to provide returns to investors over time.”

Rossi describes the power grid as “a massive machine that operates on a synchronous basis. The power grid has been described as the most complex system ever built,” he said. “The grid is also responsible for about 40 percent of carbon emissions in the U.S.” His recent research offers regulatory strategies to expand the U.S. energy grid to accommodate sources of renewable energy and reduce the grid’s carbon emissions. In a 2017 Minnesota Law Review article, “Carbon Taxation by Regulation,” Rossi illuminated how utility regulations already incorporate many of the goals and features of carbon taxation, but fail to take full advantage of their potential to reduce carbon emissions. “Public utility regulation provides a principled forum for reducing carbon emissions from the energy grid while balancing economic efficiency and fairness considerations, including consumer protection,” he said. He recommended practical guidelines to promote more transparency and make more effective use of state utility regulation to integrate carbon reduction policies into interstate energy markets. Rossi’s recent Cornell Law Review article, “Energy Exactions,” co-authored with Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Christopher Serkin, addresses the role cities and local land use regulators can play in advancing clean energy initiatives. Rossi and Serkin propose using energy exactions, which are similar to fees local regulators use to finance roads, sewers and schools, as a tool that will allow cities to take responsibility for the energy impacts of their land use decisions. Use of energy exactions allows cities to identify their own power supply options for addressing growth, without relying entirely on a utility to supply energy or undertaking an expensive acquisition of the municipal power grid and running the local utility themselves. “Jim Rossi’s work in the areas of renewable energy, public utilities and federalism is particularly important at a time when we need a well-coordinated regulatory approach to energy sourcing and distribution,” said Chris Guthrie, Dean and John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law.

Rossi currently serves as associate dean for research, supporting the research of Vanderbilt’s law faculty, and he is affiliated with the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program. He was the 2013–14 FedEx Research Professor of Law. In addition to his LL.M. from Yale Law School, Rossi holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa and a B.S. from Arizona State University. Before joining the Vanderbilt law faculty in 2012, he was the Harry M. Walborsky Professor and associate dean for research at Florida State University College of Law. Rossi has also taught as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Texas School of Law and the University of North Carolina School of Law. Before entering the legal academy, he practiced energy law in Washington, D.C. He teaches Torts, Energy Law, and two seminars, Public Governance and Renewable Power. n

JUDGE LANSDEN was a teacher and county superintendent in White County, Tennessee, before studying law in the office of Snodgrass and Smith. Admitted to the bar in 1893, he joined the firm Snodgrass Fancher and Lansden. He was later elected to the Tennessee Supreme Court and served as chief justice for five years. His son, Dick Lansden, was a founding partner of the firm that became Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, now one of the oldest law firms in Tennessee. The Judge D.L. Lansden Chair in Law was established through a trust endowed by Dick Lansden (LLB’34, BA’33) and his wife, Martha Stanfill Lansden (BA’33), who was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vanderbilt.



What Is Property? Christopher Serkin, Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Professor of Law, explores the changing landscape of land use law and poses fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of property and how it is created.



Christopher Serkin became intrigued with land use law after moving from Vermont to New York in 1995. Serkin grew up in Marlboro, Vermont, population 900. He moved to New York after college and returned to practice law at Davis Polk & Wardwell after earning his J.D. at Michigan Law and clerking for two federal judges. He stayed after joining NYU Law as an acting assistant professor of lawyering, and then taught for eight years as a professor at Brooklyn Law before joining the Vanderbilt law faculty in 2013.



“I was struck by the fundamental differences in attitudes and background assumptions about land use regulation in New York, where you’re living so close together, and in Vermont, which is mostly rural,” Serkin said. “Vermont is one of the most liberal and progressive states, but many people there are quite opposed to land use regulations.” Serkin observed that battles over land use and other property rights often illuminate the tension between government regulatory power and private legal rights. “That intersection is what I find so fascinating,” he said. “People don’t like to be told what they can and can’t do on their own property. But they also like to tell their neighbors what they can and can’t do on theirs. I think people are equally concerned about under-regulation and over-regulation, often both at the same time.” Serkin was named to the Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law in 2019.

He has served as associate dean for academic affairs since 2017 and was associate dean for research from 2015 to 2017. In his writing, he has explored regulations that create property, such as taxi medallions and pollution credits, as well as the application of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which prohibits government from taking private property without just compensation. His recent Notre Dame Law Review article, “Penn Central Take Two,” uses Transferable Development Rights to examine how property created by government regulation should be structured to allow the government enough flexibility to adapt to changing needs and land use trends. New York City has a long tradition of granting development rights to private property owners to offset regulatory restrictions. Those TDRs can then be sold to neighboring property owners to build bigger and taller than would otherwise be permitted. “New York used

TDRs to build the innovative High Line Park and regularly uses them to facilitate historic preservation,” Serkin points out. “They can serve a valuable purpose.” But, he asks, should the existence of TDRs stop cities from changing their land use regulations in the future? In 2006, Midtown TDR Ventures bought Grand Central Terminal in order to acquire nearly 1.2 million square feet of TDRs that remained unused following the landmarking of the historic Beaux Arts structure decades earlier. “That original landmarking had, in fact, resulted in the most important Supreme Court case defining when a land use regulation rises to the level of a ‘taking’ of private property,” Serkin said. In Penn Central v. New York, the Supreme Court ruled that eliminating the development rights above Grand Central was not an unconstitutional taking, in part because the city had granted TDRs. Forty years later, after Midtown TDR Ventures acquired Grand Central and its TDRs, a developer purchased an adjacent lot and proposed a new building, One Vanderbilt, that would require purchasing almost $400 million of the remaining Grand Central TDRs. But before the transaction was completed, New York rezoned the lot, permitting the new building without the use of TDRs. Midtown TDR Ventures then sued the city, alleging an unconstitutional taking of the TDRs. “The same TDRs that prevented the original historic landmarking of Grand Central from being a ‘taking’ had now allegedly been taken by the city through its favorable rezoning of neighboring property,” Serkin

said. “This case brings up some important questions. Does the Takings Clause protect regulatory property from future regulatory changes that significantly impact its value? And should the existence of TDRs mean that New York can’t up-zone property without violating the Takings Clause?” Midtown settled its case. But Serkin suggests that people should not expect land use regulations to remain static. “It should matter that 40 years had passed since the TDRs were created,” he said. “Property interests are dynamic, and we should expect and plan for them to evolve and change over time.” Serkin has also explored the propertyrights implications of government failure to regulate, specifically in the context of climate change and sea-level rise. “In some circumstances, the Takings Clause imposes an affirmative obligation on the government to protect property,” he said. A strand of his current work examines changes in the politics of local land use law. “The conventional account is that conservatives are skeptical of regulations that impact private property, while liberals embrace regulations that limit harmful property uses,” he said. “But in the last decade, the progressive left has increasingly joined with the libertarian right in viewing local land use regulation as a problem to be overcome. At the same time, conservative suburbs are adopting impact fees and other land use regulations in ways that mark a real change from the traditional conservative attitude toward government.” Serkin earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Yale University and his J.D. at the University of Michigan, where he was a

Clarence Darrow Scholar. He was a clerk for Judge John M. Walker Jr. of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge J. Garvan Murtha of the District of Vermont. He spends summers in Vermont, where he is president and chair of the board of trustees of the Marlboro Music Festival founded by his grandfather, the renowned pianist Rodolf Serkin. Serkin is a co-editor of a leading casebook, Land Use Controls, which is in its fourth edition. He teaches Property Law and Land Use Planning. n

The Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law was endowed by Florence Ridley (MA’51), professor of English emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles, in honor of her parents, Granville Sumner Ridley Jr. and Elisabeth Howse Ridley. Granville Ridley earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt in 1914 and 1916, respectively, before serving as an Army commander in World War I. Ridley’s long and distinguished legal career in Nashville included appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court and serving as a special justice to the Supreme Court of Tennessee. He died in 1982 and was honored posthumously with the Distinguished Service Award in 1987. His wife, Elisabeth, taught in public schools and authored three popular books before her death in 1984. Florence Ridley is an eminent Chaucer scholar who earned her Ph.D. at Harvard and taught at UCLA for 36 years, where she won the Gold Shield Faculty Prize in 1978 and became the first female chair of the UCLA Academic Senate.



Deep Dive


into Legal Practice


Students gain practical experience, hone their legal skills, and serve clients who might not otherwise have access to legal services in Vanderbilt’s clinics.



“Clinics bridge the gap between the actual practice of law and the doctrine and theory students learn in other classes. It’s like learning to swim; you need to understand the mechanics of swimming before you get in the water, and you also need someone to work with you once you jump into the pool.” — Susan Kay ’79, Associate Dean for Experiential Education


Can an annotated version of a state’s laws that individuals are required to comply with be copyrighted, and potentially available only behind a paywall? That is a key question posed by Georgia v., a case currently pending before the Supreme Court. Working under the direction of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law G.S. Hans, students in Vanderbilt’s Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic drafted and filed an amicus brief this fall on behalf of two public advocacy groups, arguing that Georgia’s practice of copyrighting annotations to state law violates First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights of its citizens. The Official Code of Georgia is publicly available, but the annotated version, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, produced and sold by a division of LexisNexis, is considered authoritative. “Courts routinely cite the O.C.G.A; lawyers are required to use it, and it contains revisions to statutes and additional statutes that don’t appear in the publicly available Code,” Hans explained.

“The O.C.G.A. is revised and updated under the direct supervision of Georgia’s legislative branch.” The state sued for copyright infringement after the nonprofit purchased the 186-volume print edition of O.C.G.A., scanned it, and published it online, contending the definite state Code should be available to the public free of charge. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled in Georgia’s favor. The Eleventh Circuit reversed that decision on appeal, ruling that, as the authoritative source of state law, the O.C.G.A. was ineligible for copyright protection. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Dec. 2. Muna Abdallah ’20, a member of the student team that drafted the brief, noted that

other states also had copyrighted versions of the statutes governing their residents. “If citizens don’t have full access to the law and are unable to know the law in its entirety, their ability to participate in government is diminished,” she said. She and teammates Thomas Conerty ’20 and Alex Cull ’21 relished the opportunity to work on an amicus brief for the Supreme Court. “This was my first time writing an amicus brief, and it was for the Supreme Court,” she said. “I never imagined I’d be doing this kind of work in law school.” First Amendment Clinic students are also supporting the Human Rights Defense Center in its lawsuit against the local government in Marshall County, Tennessee, on behalf of prisoners in the county’s jails. Hans and his students served as co-counsel in the suit, which claimed that the Marshall County sheriff’s department engaged in unconstitutional censorship by refusing to deliver magazines produced by the nonprofit intended to educate prisoners about their legal rights. Students also helped draft an antidefamation bill recently passed in Tennessee that allows people facing defamation lawsuits to petition for dismissal on First Amendment



grounds. “The big challenge for us was to demonstrate why this is an important law to have, since the defendants of these lawsuits are often notorious and not sympathetic characters,” Hans said. Hans and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Cara Suvall, who launched the Youth Opportunity Clinic in spring 2019, both hit the ground running when they joined the Vanderbilt law faculty in fall 2018. They spent the fall semester identifying partners and clients that would allow their students to gain substantive legal experience and welcomed their first classes in January 2019. Suvall is an experienced public defender who had co-founded the Adolescent Defense Project, a practice providing holistic legal services to adolescents facing adult criminal charges, at the Bronx Defenders. She is passionate about using legal advocacy to support young people in reaching their goals; an important focus of the Youth Opportunity Clinic is serving teens and young adults whose prior contacts with the criminal legal system threaten their ability to succeed in school or to find stable employment or housing. Clinic students seek to help mitigate the continuing negative consequences of arrests and convictions for their clients. “Juvenile and criminal court involvement never happen in a vacuum,” Suvall said. “We connect with

partners and clients to figure out how contact with the criminal legal system is holding a young person back, and we help with those issues,” Suvall said. Suvall and her students work closely with several Nashville nonprofits to provide their clients with civil advocacy in both courts and schools. Students represent high schoolers in expulsion appeals and in getting the proper special education and other supports they need to succeed. Record expungement is a particularly important service in Tennessee, where criminal charges remain on an individual’s record even if no conviction results. “Under state law, people charged with criminal offenses must pay any court fees in full in order to be eligible for expungement,” Suvall explained. “For young clients, particularly those who are homeless or low income, that can be an insurmountable barrier.” Many Youth Opportunity Clinic clients face a daunting conundrum: They need to work to pay off their court debt, but struggle to get a job because their record shows criminal involvement. “Any contact with the criminal legal system can have lasting negative consequences. Some clients aren’t even aware they have a record, since they weren’t convicted,” Suvall said. During the clinic’s inaugural semesters, “each student has the experience of telling at

least one client that we could help them with their record. Our clients really appreciate this and find it motivating to continue the hard work to reach their goals.” Suvall’s students learn to develop rapport with clients who may have prior trauma histories or negative experiences with lawyers, and to explain legal concepts in accessible language their clients can understand. Ben Colalillo ’19 joined McCarter & English in Newark, New Jersey, after graduation, and he believes the skills he honed in the Youth Opportunity Clinic will help him as an associate in his firm’s insurance practice. “I chose Professor Suvall’s clinic because I could work directly with clients and see some immediate results,” he said. Colalillo worked with clients of a nonprofit that helps young people get job training and work toward independence. He and Jasmine Johnson ’19, a Weldon Wilson Scholar, also represented a student with special education needs facing a yearlong expulsion from school. Colalillo and Johnson gathered and analyzed their client’s medical and school


Continued on page 23

Michael Bressman



Students in Clinical Professor of Law Michael Bressman’s (BA’89) Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic won a trademark registration case in front of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in February 2019. A federal trademark examiner had refused to register the mark for BA BEEF for a company based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, that produces beef and other food products, ruling that “BA” was primarily geographically descriptive for Broken Arrow, and therefore BA BEEF could not qualify for federal registration under the Trademark Act. Working under Bressman’s supervision, the students successfully appealed the examiner’s refusal. “We argued that most people nationwide wouldn’t associate ‘BA’ with Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and the Appeal Board agreed in a procedural ruling,” Bressman said.


Karla McKanders

Students in Vanderbilt’s clinics have won cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, obtained postconviction relief on behalf of clients convicted of murder and other crimes, prosecuted trademark applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and appeared in every level of state, federal and administrative tribunal in the state of Tennessee.

Vanderbilt’s Immigration Practice Clinic and Clinical Professor of Law Karla McKanders were honored with the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s MidSouth Pro Bono Award for their work in finding pro bono attorneys for 36 individuals arrested in a 2018 Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid of a meatpacking plant in Morristown, Tennessee. McKanders’ students defend clients from deportation before the Memphis Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the federal courts of appeals. They have also traveled to New Orleans to represent clients in their asylum interviews before the Department of Homeland Security’s Asylum Office. Early in 2019, McKanders traveled to the San Diego/ Tijuana border with Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea LLM’19 and a student from Vanderbilt Divinity School to help asylum seekers. “We were able to observe the situation at the border firsthand and serve individuals in desperate need,” Manrique Barrenechea said.





Clockwise, Assistant Clinical Professors G.S. Hans, Lauren Rogal and Cara Suvall with Clinic students.

Clinics that Teach Substantive Skills Vanderbilt's seven clinics allow students to learn both the theory and practice of law in context. Clinic students assume the role of lawyer and work with actual clients and on real cases under the supervision of clinical law faculty. Students in the Criminal Practice Clinic represent adults charged with criminal offenses and children and youth charged with criminal offenses and delinquency under the supervision of Associate Dean for Experiential Education Susan Kay ’79, an expert in criminal procedure and legal ethics. Through the Immigration Practice Clinic, taught by Clinical Professor Karla McKanders, students provide direct representation to vulnerable low-income migrants from countries around the globe, dealing with humanitarian immigration issues such as unaccompanied minor children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected, or individuals seeking refugee status in the United States. McKanders also teaches classes in immigration and refugee law and policy. Working under the direction of Professor of the Practice of Law Michael Bressman (BA’89), students in the Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic represent individuals, businesses and organizations in matters involving trademark law, copyright law, cyberlaw, trade secrets and publicity rights. Bressman has more than 20 years of intellectual property practice experience. Students in the International Law Practice Lab draft treaties, legal and policy briefs, and legal guidelines for international courts. They also work under the supervision of Professor of the Practice of Law Michael Newton to develop legal and policy positions for governments and nongovernmental organizations addressing human rights, criminal justice and other transnational issues.



Newton is an expert on terrorism, accountability, transnational justice and conduct of hostilities issues. The Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic introduces students to civil litigation through cases implicating First Amendment rights of individuals and organizations that would otherwise be unable to afford counsel. Since Assistant Clinical Professor G.S. Hans launched the clinic in spring 2019, students have focused on civil litigation at the state and federal levels. This clinic was made possible by a grant from the Stanton Foundation. The Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic, taught by Assistant Clinical Professor Lauren Rogal, allows students to represent small businesses, startups and nonprofit organizations in a wide range of transaction matters, including entity formation, governance, tax organization, contracts employment, intellectual property and risk management. Rogal represented nonprofits in private practice before entering the legal academy. This clinic was funded through an endowment established by Cal Turner Jr. (BA’62), which also supports the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions. Students in the Youth Opportunity Clinic provide civil legal representation to help youth and young adults at risk for criminal legal involvement secure housing and employment and stay in school. Students represent clients in school disciplinary hearings, housing evictions, record expungement and more, working under the supervision of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Cara Suvall.

Continued from page 20

gain hands-on transactional experience. “Since I’d spent the summer doing litigation work, I wanted to see what transactional work entailed,” she said. “The mission of the clinic is compelling―to stimulate inclusive economic development in the community and serve nonprofits.” Lim and her partner helped a low-income entrepreneur formalize a business that provides commercial and residential cleaning services. They drafted customer contracts and produced a comprehensive guide to legal issues that the client faces, including worker classification, risk management, and taxation. Rogal’s students also facilitate community workshops on legal issues for small businesses. Lim and two other students conducted a workshop at Corner to Corner, a nonprofit that offers startup entrepreneurs a free 10-week crash course in business fundamentals. Students also conduct workshops through Conexión Américas’ Negocio Próspero program and Building Entrepreneurs for Success in Tennessee, which trains incarcerated women in business development. “The practical experience of helping people who really need legal services really motivated me,” Lim said. Susan Kay ’79 recalls that she was “in the first wave” of clinical law faculty when she was hired to teach Vanderbilt’s Criminal Practice Clinic in 1980. “The pedagogy surrounding clinical education has really advanced,” she said. “When I first started out, we were making it up as we went along.”

“When I first started out, we were making it up as we went along.” — Susan Kay ’79 Associate Dean for Experiential Education

Kay quickly established herself as a leader in clinical legal education nationwide and in criminal justice reform in Tennessee and Nashville. During the 1980s, she and her clinic students brought litigation to reduce jail overcrowding and improve conditions for prisoners in state institutions. She also testified before state legislators about the constitutional implications of a proposed bill to allow the use of the hormone treatment Depo-Provera on prisoners convicted of sex offenses. Over the course of her career, Kay has served on the Tennessee Bar Association Committee on Ethics and Professionalism; helped educate prosecutors and public defenders about domestic violence, sex trafficking and other issues affecting women and juveniles; and worked on


records and used the evidence they gleaned to convince school officials to significantly shorten their client’s expulsion, change his school placement, and update his education plan. “We learned a lot about good advocacy from watching Professor Suvall jump up and correct some wrong statements the school administrators made in the hearing,” Colalillo said. Lauren Rogal is now in her third year of teaching the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic, which supports nonprofit groups, social enterprises and small-scale entrepreneurs who cannot afford legal assistance. She touts her students’ successes in helping numerous nonprofit groups and social enterprises launch and scale their operations. “New organizations in particular face a bewildering array of legal options and obligations, and students learn to guide their decision-making based on the client’s goals and values,” she said. Last spring, three Community Enterprise Clinic students―Bridget Stewart ’19, Kyle Waldron ’19 and Richard Riles ’19― helped to establish Tennesseans for Historical Justice, a nonprofit that will investigate and chronicle civil rights cold cases. Students drafted the organization’s governance documents and initial contracts, prepared its application for tax-exempt status, guided board members through their first meeting, and advised directors on compliance with regulations governing 501(c)(3) organizations. “The Community Enterprise Clinic was my top choice,” said Eunice Lim ’21. Lim had spent summer 2019 as a litigation intern at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and took Rogal’s clinic this fall eager to



numerous committees and task forces related to various criminal justice reforms. “Sue has been a tenacious champion for criminal justice reform for four decades,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU Tennessee, which recognized Kay with its 2019 “Lifetime Achievement” award. “Long before the wider public saw the need for criminal justice reform, Sue was on the front lines fighting for better jail conditions and advocating in the courts for the most vulnerable among us―and winning!” Kay has headed Vanderbilt’s clinical education program since 2001. She also teaches Criminal Law and Evidence, and manages the law school’s Trial Advocacy program. Being

active in the local and state bar associations, Kay notes, is an important aspect of her work, connecting her with attorneys eager to teach as adjuncts and with clients for Vanderbilt’s seven clinics. “Clinics bridge the gap between the actual practice of law and the doctrine and theory students study in other classes,” she said. “They’re integral to the learning experience.” From Kay’s perspective, the future of clinical education has never been brighter. She views the American Bar Association’s recent move to increase the number of hours of practical skills training law students are required to take as an overdue endorsement of something she knew from the start: When students

do actual casework, they immediately develop a deeper understanding of the principles they are learning in theoretical courses. “Every case can be a wonderful teaching opportunity, and every moment a wonderful teaching moment,” she said. “We don’t know how any case is going to play out. Together, we figure it out, and it’s the best way for students to learn how to think through a case, investigate facts, interview clients, read statutes, and develop their understanding of how lawyers solve problems on behalf of their clients.” n

G.S. Hans, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Launched the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic in spring 2019



Hans had originally planned on a career in journalism. His interest in media started before kindergarten, when his parents, immigrants from India living in a Detroit suburb, made sure the family always subscribed to The New York Times. He joined the newspaper staffs at his high school and then at Columbia and worked at Random House before entering graduate school at the University of Michigan, where he earned both a J.D. and a master’s degree in information. He remains excited about the range of cases the First Amendment Clinic could support. “The First Amendment, at its core, is designed to limit the government’s ability to restrict free speech and assembly,” Hans said. “There’s a lot of Supreme Court case law interpreting what that means. Recently we have seen that the First Amendment can be used to go after government regulation. Most famously, that happened in the 2010 Citizens United case, where the Supreme Court found that some campaign finance laws violated freedom of speech principles.”

2 goals Two goals for the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic: Help people understand what the First Amendment actually does and defend their right to its protections.

G.S. Hans


Gautam Hans has two goals for the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic: help people understand what the First Amendment actually does and defend their right to its protections. After joining the Vanderbilt law faculty in fall 2018, Hans connected with national and local partners to find work that students in the First Amendment Clinic could do, under his supervision, which would afford them opportunities to develop and implement legal strategies, work with diverse clients to overcome challenges, and gain substantive legal work experience. Hans previously had worked on technology law and policy issues as the Ron Plesser Fellow and a staff attorney at the Center for Democracy and Technology in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C. He was a clinical teaching fellow at Michigan Law before he joined the Vanderbilt law faculty to launch the First Amendment Clinic. “I’d already dealt a lot with issues of civil liberties, online privacy and intellectual property,” he said. “I wanted to pursue a clinical teaching career that deals with the legal aspects of speech, information and technology.”


Cara Suvall, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Launched the Youth Opportunity Clinic in spring 2019 Interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline has been a priority for Cara Suvall since she observed the disturbing national trend firsthand as a staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders in New York. Her experience representing more than 700 clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies led her to create the Adolescent Defense Project, a pilot program at Bronx Defenders providing holistic representation to teenagers charged in adult criminal court in the Bronx. After moving to Nashville in 2016, Suvall worked as a staff attorney at A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, a nonprofit that promotes policies and legal protections for working families. She joined the Vanderbilt law faculty in fall 2018 eager to continue her focus on providing legal intervention to youth and young adults at risk for criminal involvement. “I wanted to push back against the school-to-prison pipeline and the lifelong

collateral consequences of arrest or conviction that young people in Nashville face,” she said. “Students in the Youth Opportunity clinic learn about and help address a gap in legal services for teens and young adults in their 20s by representing them in school disciplinary hearings, criminal record expungement, and public housing hearings. They provide civil advocacy to ensure our clients receive the education and other services they need to achieve stability and to access the opportunities that they choose to pursue.” Suvall earned her J.D. cum laude at Harvard Law School and her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a law clerk for Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

“I wanted to push back against the school-toprison pipeline and the lifelong collateral consequences of arrest or conviction that young people in Nashville face.” Suvall

— Cara Suvall, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law

As a legal fellow at Rising for Justice in Washington, D.C., Emily Reid ’18 helped a transgender client from Honduras secure a grant of bond and gain release from immigration detention. “Emily worked tirelessly on [her client’s] case, gathering affidavits from family, letters of support from the community, medical reports, photos and country conditions,” Rising for Justice reported. “Her arguments and her evidentiary submission were so strong that the judge overruled the Department of Homeland Security’s objection to bond and granted a low bond. Reid The immigration judge cited the strength of Emily’s motion and evidence in support of her decision.” As a member of the inaugural Immigration Practice Clinic class, Reid traveled to New Orleans with Clinical Professor of Law Karla McKanders to attend an asylum hearing for Sainey Darboe, a Gambian journalist persecuted after criticizing his home country’s government. Darboe applied for asylum in 2015 while visiting his brother in the U.S. He was granted asylum in 2017 after Reid delivered an oral summation at his asylum interview in New Orleans. “The Immigration Practice Clinic was the best learning experience I had in law school,” Reid said. “The clinic gives students the opportunity to work with clients one-on-one and to really navigate cases on their own.” Reid received both the Justice-Moore Family Scholarship and the Paul J. Hartman Scholarship.




DOD General Counsel Paul Ney ’84 on the Rule of Law in International Security Affairs



Paul C. Ney Jr., JD/MBA ’84, general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense, delivered the 2019 Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law in Flynn Auditorium Sept. 3. This is a condensed version of his talk, the full text of which has been published in the


October 2019 edition of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.

I feel particularly honored as the first alumnus of Vanderbilt Law School to deliver the Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law. In a May 27, 2003, Joint Resolution, the Tennessee General Assembly honored Professor Charney, who taught at Vanderbilt for 40 years, for “his manifold professional achievements, his impeccable character, and his stalwart commitment to living the examined life with courage and conviction.” His colleague, Jeffrey Schoenblum, drew a more colorful sketch: “Jon could at times, and quite proudly and purposely, be one ornery guy. He was for quality, for demanding performance. He was against sophistry, mintmarks, and other indicia of status not substantiated by tangible intellectual product of unquestionable merit.” In his spirit, I will try to avoid “sophistry” and “mintmarks.” My aims are to help you understand how international law affects the U.S. Department of Defense in practice and how DOD abides by the rule of law in international security affairs. We at DOD work with international law in many different ways. Our military forces assess and implement applicable laws of war every day. Our sailors navigate according to the law of the sea. We assist foreign partners by providing training, equipment, intelligence sharing and operational support, and, in doing so, we must comply with applicable domestic and international law. This includes, for example, ensuring that partner forces receiving U.S. assistance are vetted for credible allegations of gross violations of human rights. The lawyers in my office

also work closely with lawyers from other federal departments and agencies in formulating advice and articulating government positions on important legal issues. We work with the Department of State in the negotiation of treaties and in its conduct of U.S. foreign relations, especially as related to national and international security matters. We work with the Department of Justice on legal issues relevant to DOD that arise in U.S. courts. A large part of our job is giving legal advice that helps shape and implement defense policy. DOD lawyers play an essential role in ensuring that U.S. military operations comply with the law, including international law. We advise on relevant treaty terms

International law consists of a body of rules governing the relations between states. In general, international law is formed when states accept rules in treaties, conventions or agreements, or when rules develop over time in unwritten form known as customary international law, which includes general principles of law common to major legal systems of the world. First, I would like to focus on how international law, especially customary international law, is formed. Then I will discuss what it means to abide by and implement international law. There is typically a distinction drawn between the law of permissible grounds for

The Jonathan I. Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law honors Professor Charney, one of the world's preeminent experts on international law, who held the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Chair at Vanderbilt Law School until his death in 2002.

and customary international law rules. We give our clients—DOD civilian and military leaders—our best advice about how domestic and international law apply to the facts before them. Most of this activity is behind the scenes, and much of it involves classified information. However, just because our role is not as public as filing briefs or arguing in front of judges doesn’t mean we are any less dedicated to the rule of law.

resorting to force and the law governing the conduct of war. I will refer to the two together as the “law of war.” The United States is a party to the Charter of the United Nations, which generally prohibits “the threat or use of force,” but also recognizes the right of self-defense. The United States is also party to other treaties governing the law of war, such as the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare



and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Most countries are parties to the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions, but there can be significant differences in how states are bound by and interpret the requirements of international law. States may ratify different treaties, interpret the same treaty provisions differently, and have differing views on what customary international law requires. For example, the United Kingdom has held the view that humanitarian intervention, in certain circumstances, can justify using armed force in another state’s territory. Although there can be a compelling moral argument for military intervention in mass atrocity or genocide cases, the United States has not recognized a freestanding interna-

the longstanding principle of freedom of the seas. Professor Charney was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Third United Nations Conference that resulted in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. But the open-seas norm itself was once an invention. A Dutch lawyer, Hugo Grotius, conceived of the freedom of the seas four cen-

and opportunities to work on consensus understandings. One unsettled area is the extent to which rules that apply in the context of territory apply to cyberspace—a unique, manmade domain. A 2019 assessment by the Director of National Intelligence noted that “China has the ability to launch cyberattacks,” and Moscow is now staging cyber-

When it comes to activity in cyberspace, the United States must “defend forward,” engaging adversaries before their actions can affect intended targets.

Paul Ney has served as general counsel at the U.S. Defense Department since July 2018. He was welcomed by Dean Chris Guthrie and introduced by Professor Mike Newton when he

tional law right to use force against other states solely on humanitarian grounds. States can and do take different approaches to international law, and consensus on certain aspects may take time to develop. It took three diplomatic conferences more than three decades to achieve broad consensus on the establishment of a territorial sea out to a maximum breadth of 12 nautical miles and to recognize a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone—in part because many countries, led by the United States, were firmly dedicated to



turies ago, at a time when new seas, like new lands, were viewed as the property of those (Europeans) who discovered them. Grotius advanced a new understanding of international law that allowed the Netherlands—a Lilliputian state with a Gulliverian navy—to attain astonishing global power. He was so influential that international lawyers today often forget that freedom of the seas was once an untested concept in international law. Today, rapid advancements in technology and connectivity through cyberspace present unique national security challenges

attack assets to allow it to disrupt or damage U.S. civilian and military infrastructure during a crisis. When it comes to activity in cyberspace, the United States must “defend forward,” engaging adversaries before their actions can affect intended targets. We must be conscious of the fact that our actions in cyberspace must comply with existing international law and norms for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. International law principles apply in cyberspace, but which principles and how they apply are actively being discussed. There

Two students in the initial cohort of Bass Military Scholars join Class of 2022

is, nonetheless, some common understanding today on the applicability of international law principles to cyber operations. An action in cyberspace may, in certain circumstances, constitute a use of force. Likewise, the customary international law prohibition against intervention in the affairs of another state can apply to conduct in cyberspace. For example, cyber operations by one state that interfere with another’s ability to hold an election or that manipulate another country’s election results would be a clear violation of this prohibition. I did not have the privilege of having been taught by Professor Charney, but my classmate, Platte Moring ’83, who serves as my special assistant at the DOD, had the


Alyssa Hartley was a helicopter pilot based in Califiornia. Army veteran Devin Adams was a combat infantryman in Afghanistan and an airborne ranger field artillery officer in Italy.

delivered the Charney Lecture Sept. 3.

great pleasure of having taken several classes with Professor Charney, who also served as his thesis advisor. I was, however, a student of Professor Hal Maier, the other pillar of Vanderbilt’s twin towers of international law. In addition to being a brilliant scholar and teacher, Professor Maier established the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, and I am grateful to the journal and its editors for publishing these remarks.

Two of the seven students in the first cohort of Bass Military Scholars entered VLS this fall. Army veteran Devin Adams and former Navy aviator Alyssa Hartley are beneficiaries of a scholarship program specifically earmarked for military veterans. Scholars receive $25,000 per year to attend any of Vanderbilt’s five graduate and professional schools through the program, endowed in 2018 through a $25 million gift from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation. Five other scholars in the initial cohort are earning degrees from Owen Graduate School of Management, the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine. A graduate of U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Adams served as a private in the infantry in Afghanistan before earning his West Point degree. He hopes to focus on real estate law, with an emphasis on development and land use. During his eight years of service, he was also an airborne ranger field artillery officer in Vicenza, Italy, and a member of the West Point faculty. “The Bass Military Scholars Program allowed me to attend an amazing, collegial university in one of the most vibrant cities in America!” Adams said. Hartley was a helicopter pilot based in Coronado, California, for 10 years. “Some people, when they think of veterans, don’t picture me—they think of, maybe, a tough guy,” she told a CBS News reporter during an interview that aired Nov. 12 as part of a series focusing on military veterans. “I like that I get to add a different layer to what it means to be a veteran.” Hartley plans to focus on litigation, and she admits that law school presented a new set of challenges. “I flew missions where my life was on the line, and I could deal with that stress, no problem. But here

I’ve got a multiple choice quiz coming up, and I’m falling to pieces,” she said. All Bass Scholars participate in a formal mentoring program designed to impart military values, such as service and discipline, to other Vanderbilt students. “We bring a worldly perspective that’s been informed by sometimes three Hartley years, five years, even decades of service,” Hartley said. Adams, who initially washed out of West Point, emphasizes the importance of trying Adams again. “I failed the first time, but I still had the opportunity to succeed,” he said. “I did a tour as a private first class before returning to West Point.” Adams graduated and became an officer in May 2013. “The Bass Military Scholars Program brings incredibly talented military and Coast Guard veterans to some of the best graduate programs in the country,” said Lt. Gen. Gary Cheek, a retired Army officer who joined Vanderbilt in January 2019 to direct the program. “In addition to gaining a world-class education, our scholars serve as role models and mentors to the Vanderbilt student body and after graduation will apply their education and military experience in continued service to society. It’s an incredible program to be a part of.”



THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR CLASS ACTIONS In this excerpt from his provocative new book, Brian Fitzpatrick explains why conservatives should stop worrying and learn to love class actions.



My new book, The Conservative Case for Class Actions (University of Chicago Press), is about conservative principles. This is a matter I know something about; I have been a conservative my entire life. As an adolescent, I subscribed to National Review and read books by Dinesh D’Souza. Ever since my first semester of law school, I have been a member of the Federalist Society. After law school, I worked for two of the most conservative judges—Diarmuid O’Scannlain on the Ninth Circuit and Nino Scalia on the Supreme Court—as well as for one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate— John Cornyn of Texas. I have never voted for a Democrat for president in my entire life. One thing I have learned over the years is that what is good for conservative principles is not always what is good for big corporations. It often is, but not always. Consider what perhaps the most famous conservative academic of them all—the economist Milton Friedman— says on this question:


Over and over again you have the big businessman who talks very effectively about the great virtues of free enterprise and, at the same time, he is off on a plane to Washington to push for special legislation or some special measures for his own benefit. I don’t blame him from the point of view of his business, but . . . I do blame the rest of us for not recognizing that [the free enterprise] system is not going to be saved by [the] National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce—you name them—the big organizations and big business. They are almost always on the wrong side. In other words, “being pro-free enterprise may sometimes require that we be anti-existing business.” We see examples of the difference between conservative principles and the interests of big

business all the time. Consider states’ rights. Conservatives like to decentralize power by divesting it to the states; yet big corporations often lobby the federal government to start regulating things in order to override state laws the corporations don’t like. Or consider price controls. Conservatives hate governmentimposed price controls on goods and services because we believe the market knows better than any government bureaucrat what the right prices are; yet, in recent years, big corporations lobbied Congress for a price control on what lawyers could charge their clients in many personal injury cases, asking to cap lawyers’ fees at 20 percent of recoveries.

I believe we should add one more item to the list of things that may be good for conservative principles even though they may be bad for big corporations: class action lawsuits. Although class action lawsuits can be filed against anyone­—including the government­— my focus in this book is on class action lawsuits that are filed against corporations because these are the class actions that have become controversial in recent years. It should come as no surprise that corporations don’t like class action lawsuits. They cost them billions of dollars every year. For this reason, big corporations have been trying to get rid of class action lawsuits ever since we put them on the books in 1966. I like corporations. I happily represented corporations every day during my years as a practicing lawyer, and I still thank them frequently for all of the prosperity they bring our country. But they are wrong about class actions. As I explain in my book, class action lawsuits are not only the most effective way to hold corporations accountable, they are also the most conservative way to hold them accountable. In fact, there are only two alternatives, and neither of them should be the least bit appealing to conservatives.

“Being pro-free enterprise may sometimes require that we be anti-existing business.”

—Brian Fitzpatrick

Reprinted with permission of the author and University of Chicago Press.



The first alternative is to rely entirely on market feedback loops. If a company does something bad, won’t it lose customers? If so, then shouldn’t the fear of losing customers be enough to keep companies in line? Conservatives do like market feedback loops, but almost no conservatives think market feedback loops are sufficient to keep companies in line. Although conservatives are often caricatured as against all regulation of the market, this caricature is not true. Almost all conservatives know that markets need at least some rules. At the very least, we support rules requiring companies to honor their contracts, rules preventing companies from committing fraud, and rules prohibiting companies from forming cartels to fix prices. No one really thinks companies ought to be able to do whatever they can get away with. But someone has to enforce these rules. Who will do it if there are no class action lawsuits? Relying on each person a company steals from to enforce the rules is unrealistic: people sometimes don’t know about the theft, and, even when they do, the theft might not be worth enough to hire a lawyer. Class actions

overcome these problems by letting one person sue for everyone else; this transforms an unprofitable lawsuit for a small amount of money into a profitable lawsuit for a lot of money. his brings me to the second alternative to the class action: the government. The government could file lawsuits against companies to disgorge all their ill-gotten gains. But when is the last time conservatives thought the government was the best solution to a problem? Conservatives believe that the private sector is better at doing most everything than the government is. We favor private schools, private highways and railroads, private prisons, private parks, private retirement accounts, private venture capitalists, and private insurers—just to name a few—rather than public ones. But that’s exactly why we should like class action lawsuits: they are privatized enforcement of the law. That’s why we often refer to class action lawyers as private attorneys general. As with just about everything else, we


should favor the private attorney general over the public one. The funny thing is, for most of American history, what I have said thus far was not particularly controversial. It was liberals who thought the government should police the marketplace and conservatives and libertarians who thought it should be private lawyers representing private citizens. Hence, in 1940, perhaps the most liberal president in American history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, vetoed a bill because he thought that it tilted enforcement of the law too far in favor of private lawyers over government agencies. As late as 1978, perhaps the second most liberal president in American history, Jimmy Carter,

Brian Fitzpatrick’s book, The Conservative Case for Class Actions, released in October by University of Chicago Press, builds on more than a decade of research. Since joining the Vanderbilt law faculty in 2007, Professor Fitzpatrick has published empirical studies of compensation in consumer class actions (NYU Journal of Law and Business, 2017) and of class action settlements and fee awards (Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 2010), as well as articles examining the future of class action litigation (“The End of Class Actions?” in the Arizona Law Review, 2015) and class action lawyers’ compensation (University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 2010). Professor Fitzpatrick graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Before entering the legal academy, he practiced commercial and appellate litigation at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., and served as Special Counsel for Supreme Court Nominations to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). He teaches Civil Procedure, Complex Litigation, and Federal Courts and the Federal System and has been recognized with the Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award.




A Conservative Legal Scholar Defends Class Actions

proposed abolishing most private class action lawsuits and replacing them with government lawsuits instead. During all this time, it was conservative Republicans in Congress and elsewhere who argued that, if laws were to be created, they should be enforced by the private bar not the government. Something changed in recent years. Today, most conservatives seem to want to get rid of class action lawsuits just like Jimmy Carter did in 1978. When a major class action case called AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion came before the U.S. Supreme Court a few years ago, many conservatives wrote to the Court and urged it allow companies to insulate themselves from class action lawsuits entirely by adding fine print to their contracts. The five conservatives on the Supreme Court readily agreed and have now put the class action lawsuit on the road to its demise. The same anti-class action sentiments reign supreme among Republicans in Congress, where proposals to abolish or seriously curtail class action lawsuits against corporations are frequently introduced and sometimes enacted. Why the change of heart? Why are today’s conservatives taking advice from Jimmy Carter? Part of the answer is the cozy relationship between today’s Republican Party and big corporations. But some of the opposition is more principled. Some conservatives complain that the underlying rules we have adopted in the market go too far, and, if the underlying rules go too far, then those who are trying to enforce them must be going too far as well. I completely understand this. We regulate companies way too much—well beyond the simple rules I mentioned above against breach of contract, fraud and price fixing. But the solution to this problem is not to kill all class action lawsuits; it is to get rid of the rules we don’t like—or, if that is not possible, to kill only the class actions that seek to enforce rules that we don’t like. We should not throw the class action out with the bathwater, but that’s precisely what the Supreme Court’s Concepcion decision threatens to do.

“No one really thinks companies ought to be able to do whatever they can get away with.” —Brian Fitzpatrick


ther conservatives oppose class actions because they don’t like that the lawyers who file these cases are motivated by making money. I find this remarkable. Conservatives normally love the profit motive! Indeed, it is one of the reasons why we want to privatize everything in the first place. Profit-motivated private citizens do a better job than salaried, tenured government bureaucrats do, and relying on private citizens to do things reduces the size of government and the taxes we have to pay to support it. So why have we turned our backs on the profit motive here? Some conservatives say that the profit motive has led the lawyers to abuse the system. Some of these claims are based on myths about class actions that I debunk in the book. It is certainly true that an unbridled profit motive can lead to destructive consequences. But this is true of any profit motive, including the profit motives of corporations. We aren’t afraid of corporate profit motives, and we shouldn’t be afraid of lawyers’ profit motives either. The challenge is to put rules into place to harness the good of the profit motive without the bad. We do this for corporations by regulating them. We can do the same for class action lawyers. What would the rules for class action lawyers look like? Many of them are already in place: Judges already have the power to dismiss meritless class action lawsuits as soon as they are filed, and they already must scrutinize the lawsuits before they go to trial, approve any settlements, and award the fees

the lawyers earn. Most judges exercise these powers wisely, but I offer a few suggestions in my book to make our system even better. I agree with our corporate friends that we may need some new rules altogether. Right now, you can bring a class action lawsuit for almost any violation of the law. But, as I noted, we don’t like a lot of the laws that we make companies comply with. Perhaps we should reserve the class action only for the good laws like breach of contract, fraud, and horizontal price fixing? Right now, class actions are too expensive and risky for companies to defend—one jury can resolve hundreds, thousands or even millions of claims all at once—and class action lawyers know it; this leads them to demand settlements from companies that may be more than the companies should have to pay. Perhaps we should make it even easier to dismiss meritless cases, break up class action trials into smaller pieces to reduce the risks, and require class action lawyers to share more of litigation expenses than they do now. I focused this book on conservatives because, if the class action is to survive, it is conservatives who need to be persuaded. We are the ones who are killing it. But if I can be persuaded, I think others can be as well. We can mend the class action; we don’t have to end it.



Speaking of Alumni BY SCOTTY MANN In recent months, we celebrated appointments for four new endowed faculty chairs. Jim Rossi became the inaugural Judge D. L. Lansden Professor of Law; his chair was created in 2018 through a trust established by Dick L. Lansden Jr. (LLB’34, BA’33) and Martha S. Lansden (BA’33) and honors Dick Lansden’s father, Judge D. L. Lansden, a former Tennessee Supreme Court chief justice. Chris Serkin became the first Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Professor of Law; his chair was made possible by a gift from Florence Ridley (MA ’51). Dr. Ridley, professor emeritus of English at UCLA, endowed the chair in honor of her parents, Granville Sumner Ridley Jr. (LLB 1916, BA

1914) and Elisabeth Howse Ridley. Owen Jones now holds the newly endowed Glenn M. Weaver, M.D. and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain and Behavior, made possible through the generosity of the trustees of the Weaver Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sean Seymore was appointed to our New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law. Thanks in part to Chancellor Emeritus Nick Zeppos’s Chancellor Chair Challenge, generous alumni and friends have endowed multiple new chairs in recent years, helping us maintain our law faculty, which ranks among the top 10 nationwide. If you are interested in investing in our amazing faculty, please contact me! Endowed chairs represent the pinnacle of

professional recognition for faculty, but they (and our students) also benefit from research and academic program endowments that enhance their productivity and reach. Making a Vanderbilt legal education affordable and accessible for our students is also an important priority. Since 2009, when Dean Chris Guthrie assumed leadership of the law school, we have doubled the number of endowed scholarships available to our students and received more than 25 significant gifts to enhance existing scholarship endowments. During the last half of 2019, we benefited from new scholarship endowment gifts from coast to coast, with generous contributions from Joe ’72 and

Ellen Torrence, Sara Finley ’85, Jim ’78 and Cindy Cuminale, David ’87 and Kathy ’88 Gelfand, Bob ’85 and Barbara Paulson, Neel ’94 and Carrie Chatterjee, the Class of 1969, in celebration of their 50th Reunion, Seward & Kissel, and Jim Cheek ’67. Jim has established the Cheek Business Law Scholarship with a seven-figure endowment that enhances our outstanding Law and Business Program. This gift continues Jim’s legacy of service to and support for VLS, which began the moment he graduated. We look forward to sharing more details about these funds and our ongoing efforts to reward merit and meet financial need in a coming edition of this magazine. While I am proud to celebrate the tremendous commitments above, we thrive thanks to the collective efforts of our entire community, from our energetic student volunteers, including our 3L Class Gift committee each year, to our devoted faculty and staff who give their money and volunteer time beyond the confines of their job descriptions, and to our thousands of alumni and friends, who make gifts of all amounts and work on behalf of our students and faculty as volunteers of every configuration. Thanks to all of you for your gifts and your interest and involvement in the Vanderbilt Law School community. Sincere regards –


Scotty Mann Email:

Chris Serkin is congratulated by Dean Chris Guthrie and Professor Jim Blumstein at the lecture celebrating his appointment as the inaugural holder of the Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law.



Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch ’78 (BA’75) U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit When Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch was sworn in as a federal appellate judge, her father and several of her law partners, including her husband, Jim Stranch, her brother, Dewey Branstetter ’81 (BA’78), and her son Gerard Stranch ’03, accompanied her to her interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee along with family friend and mentor George Barrett ’57. When Judge Stranch told the judicial committee that her family members and law partners had come to support her, Sen. Amy Klobuchar exclaimed, “Well, this certainly shows that you get along well with everyone and are able to work out conflicts in the workplace!” Stranch has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since November 2010. She was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama to fill the seat vacated when Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey ’68 (BA’64) assumed senior status. Before that, she practiced at Branstetter Stranch & Jennings, the Nashville firm founded by her father, Cecil D. Branstetter ’49, where her work on complex ERISA cases, representing classes of plan participants who lost their individual pension accounts due to fiduciary breaches, proved to be an excellent preparation for the federal bench. She has also taught labor law at Belmont University and served on the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.

Her pro bono work has included work on behalf of the Invisible Children and Child Mothers of Uganda Project and local projects such as Room at the Inn and feeding the homeless. As the mother of four children, she also logged years of service on PTA boards as well as with church and advocacy organizations.

Stranch graduated from Vanderbilt University summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and was elected to the Order of the Coif after earning her J.D. at Vanderbilt. She is a member of the Nashville, Tennessee, and American Bar Associations; the Lawyers’ Association for Women; and a Fellow of the Nashville and Tennessee Bar Foundation.


Judge Stranch is a member of the Oak Leaf Society, which recognizes legal Vanderbilt donors, and has served on the VLS Board of Advisors and supported the Firm Giving Program.

Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch with her family, (l-r) Gerard Stranch’03, Grace Stranch, James Stranch III, Abby Tylor and Ethan Stranch. WINTER 2020



COMMENCEMENT Congratulations, Class of 2019! On May 10, we celebrated the Commencement of 211 J.D. graduates, and 54 foreign attorneys received their LL.M. degrees. Two graduates, Hannah Frank and Clayton Masterman, received both a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Law and Economics. Five graduates earned a J.D./M.S.F, and two graduates earned a J.D./M.B.A. We honored Joshua Landis (BS’14) with the Founder’s Medal for First Honors. Wesley Dozier (BA’16) received the Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Prize, the only award whose recipient is chosen by the vote of the entire law faculty. Shannon Vreeland received the Chris Lantz Award for class leadership, and Wesley Dozier and Megan Mitchell shared the Damali A. Booker Award for legal activism and a commitment to confronting social issues. Twenty additional members of the Class of 2019 received awards or prizes recognizing their academic performance, contributions to journals and Moot Court, and citizenship.

Photos by Terry Wyatt





JUDGE THOMAS VARLAN ’81 A profile by Kent Halkett ’81 On May 9, 2003, Danni and Tom Varlan ’81 hosted family and friends for a celebratory dinner at their home in Knoxville, Tennessee, featuring homemade Greek dishes. Earlier that afternoon, Chief Judge R. Allen Edgar had sworn Tom in to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Tom became Tennessee’s first Greek American federal judge and the first Knoxville native to sit on the federal bench in Knoxville in more than 60 years. Those of us who know Tom considered his prestigious appointment predictable and well-deserved. Born and raised in Knoxville, Tom graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Tennessee. At Vanderbilt, he was a managing editor of the Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif. He joined Sutherland Ashill & Brennan in Atlanta in 1981, but public service was in his blood. He had spent a semester as a legislative intern with State Sen. Victor Ashe during college; when Ashe was elected Knoxville mayor in 1988, he tapped Tom to serve as the city’s law director. Tom served for more than 10 years before joining Bass Berry & Sims in Knoxville as a partner in 1998. In 2002, Sen. Bill Frist and former Sen. Fred Thompson recommended Tom to

President George W. Bush to fill a vacancy in the Eastern District. As a federal district judge, Tom has presided over countless trials, including matters of constitutional and social significance. In 2012, Tom held the Tennessee Valley Authority liable for the 2008 coal ash spill at the TVA plant in Roane County, a spill that raised public consciousness nationwide on the effects of coal ash on the environment. He was the sentencing judge for Michael Benanti after his conviction as the mastermind of a bank robbery scheme in which Benanti and his accomplice held banking officials’ families, including children, hostage in their own homes. Tom finds sentencing guilty criminal defendants the most challenging aspect of

judging, because it directly impacts their life and liberty, in contrast to civil damages that merely affect the pocketbooks of civilly liable defendants. Tom was chief judge of the Eastern District from 2012 through April 2019 and served a three-year term on the Judicial Conference of the Supreme Court, the policymaking body for the federal court system. He recently traveled to Timor-Leste to teach Timorese judges and prosecutors about emerging trends in anticorruption and financial crime prosecution strategies. Tom likens his time on the bench to law school, where students are constantly exposed to challenging issues and new areas of law. He frequently hires law clerks from Vanderbilt and enjoys mentoring them. Judge Varlan called the federal judgeship “truly my life’s goal” 16 years ago. He says that being a federal judge is a “fantastic job” that has lived up to his lofty expectations. The Eastern District has been truly fortunate to have Tom serve his community with such honor and distinction. Kent Halkett ’81, a friend and classmate of Judge Varlan’s, attended his investiture.

Left, Judge Varlan with classmate Kent Halkett. Right, Judge Varlan poses with a recent edition of Vanderbilt Law during his visit to Timor-Leste, where he conducted training sessions for Timorese judges and prosecutors.



Samuel W. Bartholomew Jr. ’73 (July 6, 1944­–Jan. 18, 2018) Samuel W. Bartholomew Jr. ’73 was a leader in Nashville’s legal and business communities throughout his career. A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Bartholomew and his wife, Vicki, settled in Nashville, where Sam became a founding partner in Stokes Bartholomew, after he earned

Bartholomew’s distinguished career included serving on the boards of Fannie Mae, to which he was appointed in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, of three major banks and Corrections Corporation of America, and as a Federal Land Commissioner. He promoted state and local economic development as director-general of Tennessee’s first trade mission to France and by negotiating with airlines to create a hub in Nashville. He served on the board of the Tennessee European Economic Alliance, as a trustee of the Tennessee Technology Foundation, on the Tennessee Economic Education Council, and as chairman of the Nashville Business Incubation Center.


his J.D. Order of the Coif.

Vicki Bartholomew (second from right) and her son, Sam (Bo) Bartholomew III (EMBA’05), and daughter Anne Dickey pose with the plaque presented in honor of the late Sam Bartholomew Jr. ’73 by Dean Chris Guthrie.

Bartholomew loved sports. In addition to being instrumental in bringing professional football to Tennessee, he helped organize the Nashville Rugby Club, was a founding member and director of the Nashville Sports Council and Music City Bowl, served as chairman of the 1996 Tennessee U.S. Olympic Committee, and founded the Golf Club of Tennessee.

During his first 10 years of practice, he taught corporate law at VLS, and later served on the Board of Advisors and chaired the Dean’s Council. In a 2004 interview with the Nashville Business Journal, Bartholomew was asked what he thought the most common misconception of the legal profession was. “Honest, ethical attorneys are the norm, not an oxymoron,” he replied.

The Class of 1973 has established a scholarship in Bartholomew’s honor to recognize his successful career, his positive impact on his community and classmates, and his commitment to Vanderbilt. The Sam Bartholomew Leadership Award will support deserving students with a demonstrated record of leadership, with a preference for students who served in the U.S. Military or other uniformed services.




James Bennett Miller is co-chairman of the board of directors of Ameris Bancorp with William Millard Choate (BA’74). Both were elected in July 2019.

Ben C. Adams is now serving as emeritus executive chairman at Baker Donelson, where he continues his estate planning and corporate practice at the firm’s Memphis, Tennessee, office. Ben served as his firm’s chairman and CEO for 21 years.

1971 Robert King has been appointed assistant secretary for post-secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Robert was previously president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

1974 Scott J. Johnson (BA’71) retired June 30 from law practice after 45 years. Scott headed the eminent domain practice and practiced commercial litigation and mediation with Holland & Knight in Orlando, Florida.

1976 Lucinda Smith has retired from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands after 16 years of service. Lucinda was director of the organization’s Volunteer Lawyers Program.

1977 Judge Richard Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals was honored with the 2019 Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award by the Nashville Public Education Foundation. The award recognized Richard’s “fierce advocacy for civil rights in public education.”

1979 Leigh Walton has been elected a fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel. Leigh is a partner with Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville. She joins James H. Cheek III ’67 as a member of this elite organization.

1980 Dudley West has joined Miller & Martin in Nashville. Dudley formerly practiced with White & Reasor. He currently serves as a member of the Metro Nashville Sports Authority.

John J. Cross III has left his position as associate tax legislative counsel at the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Tax Policy. He had been at the Treasury Department since 2006, except for a stint at the Securities and Exchange Commission to serve as the first director of the newly created Office of Municipal Securities. John now lives in Fairfield, Connecticut. Lance Davidson received the 2019 Award of Excellence from the Scottsdale, Arizona, Bar Association for his service to the legal community. Lance is a principal of Lance S. Davidson in Scottsdale, where he practices real estate law. He served as 2017–18 president of the Scottsdale Bar Association and continues to serve ex officio on its board.

1982 John Beaulieu Grenier has joined Jones Walker in Birmingham, Alabama, as a partner. Beau was managing partner and board chairman at Bradley for more than 17 years. Miriam (Missy) Matrangola has been elected 2020 president of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries. Missy has been a member of ASPPA’s leadership council since 2016.


Darby Dickerson is serving as 2020 president of the Association of American Law Schools, which has 179 member schools. Darby joined the John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 2016 and has since brought about a successful merger of the law school with the University of Illinois at Chicago, creating the first public law school in Chicago. Before joining John Marshall as dean, she was dean and the W. Frank Newton Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law. Before that, she was interim dean and dean at Stetson University College of Law in Florida from 2003 to 2011. In 2016 National Jurist magazine named Darby one of the “most influential people in legal education.” In 2018 she received the Section Award for Lifetime Contributions to Legal Writing from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning. Her many contributions to the field of legal writing include writing the first edition of the ALWD Citation Manual. She is a past president and current board member of Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers. In 2005 she received the prestigious Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the Darby Dickerson Award for Revolutionary Change in Legal Writing, named by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) to honor her contributions to legal writing.

1983 Stephen Pate (BA’80) has been appointed by the State Bar of Texas to a three-year term on its Pattern Jury Charges—Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment Committee. Steve is a member of Cozen O’Connor in Houston and serves on the board of regents of the American College of Coverage Counsel. Steven Zager (BA’79) has joined King & Spalding in Austin, Texas, as a partner.

1984 Drew Parobek (BA’80) has been a partner at Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1991. He leads





the firm’s banking practice and recently concluded a term as president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. A listing in the last issue of Vanderbilt Law erroneously stated that Drew had just been named a partner at his firm. Our apologies for the error.

1986 Cynthia Y. Reisz (BA’80) is presidentelect of the American Health Lawyers Association. Cindy’s two-year term will begin in July 2021. She is a member of Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville, where she serves on the executive committee.

1987 Danny Feldman has joined The Neutral Solution, a mediation law group in Birmingham, Alabama, where he will mediate personal injury cases.

1988 Denson N. Franklin III has been named senior vice president and general counsel of Vulcan Materials Co. in Birmingham, Alabama. D. had previously worked with Vulcan for more than 20 years as its primary outside counsel as a partner with Bradley.


Robert Patterson McKinney has been promoted to senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bob joined B&W in 2015.

1989 Tracy A. Powell has been appointed a council member-at-large of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association. Tracy is a member at Sherrard Roe. Jennie Scudder-Levin has been promoted to senior counsel at Motley Rice based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, where she handles environmental contaminant and medical device and opioid litigation.

1990 Rene Augustine has been named acting deputy assistant attorney general responsible for international and policy at the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Rene had previously served as a senior counsel in the Antitrust Division. Stephen Russell Davis has been appointed to the board of directors of Heron Therapeutics, a biotherapeutics company. Steve has served as COO and a director of Academia Pharmaceuticals since 2015. Lynn Ellenberger has joined FeganScott to open and oversee the firm’s Pittsburgh office. She has spent her career advocating for victims of sexual abuse and harassment, employment discrimination and civil rights violations.

1991 Adolpho Birch III was featured as a panelist in the Chancellor’s Lecture Series discussion, “College Athletics, the Draft and the Business of Professional Sports” on April 24. Adolpho is senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs for the National Football League. C. Runcie Clements has been promoted to chief legal officer and legal counsel of Cumberland Trust in Nashville. Roger Wylie has been named managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend. Roger is a patent attorney based in the firm’s Seattle office.

1992 John C. Herman has formed HermanJones, a new firm that will serve big-case litigation clients, in Atlanta. John started the Atlanta office of Robbins Geller in 2008. Jon Lewis has joined The Neutral Solution, a group of mediators and arbitrators in Birmingham, Alabama.

1993 Robert R. Niccolini (BA’90) is serving as president of the American Health Lawyers Association. Robert is a shareholder with Ogletree Deakins in Washington, D.C.

1994 Judge Sheila Jones Calloway (BA’91) was featured in a podcast, Movers and Thinkers, produced by WPLN, Nashville’s public radio station, discussing her perspective on juvenile justice and a restorative justice program she has started. Sheila and her husband, Paul Butler Calloway Jr., have a son, Paul III.

1995 Richard W. Littlehale is serving as assistant director of the Technology and Innovation Division of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Rich has spent his entire 24-year career at TBI.

1996 Matthew H. Ahrens, a partner at Milbank in New York, was one of two attorneys at his firm honored with the Lawyers Alliance for New York’s 2019 Cornerstone Award for outstanding pro bono legal services to nonprofits. Andrew R. McCarroll (BA’90) has been named to the board of trustees of the Hutchinson School in Memphis, Tennessee. Andy is general counsel and a principal with Southeastern Asset Management in Memphis. Reggie O’Shields has been promoted to executive vice president and director of enterprise solutions at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Amy M. Pepke has been appointed to a three-year term on the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Amy is a

member of Butler Snow’s health care litigation practice.

group at Bass Berry & Sims. Ryan is based in Nashville.

Monique Winkler has been named associate regional director of the San Francisco Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Monique joined the SEC’s division of enforcement as a staff attorney in 2008.



Andrew Mac has become an adviser on diaspora issues to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Andrew heads the Washington, D.C., office of Asters USA. His parents immigrated to New York City, where he was born, from Western Ukraine. Andrew worked as an attorney at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Kyiv and with the Ukrainian law firm Magisters before returning to the U.S. in 2011 to establish a Washington, D.C., office for his firm following a merger. He joined Asters as a partner in 2018.

Jennifer Karrels Menzie has been promoted to chief operating officer and corporate counsel of Cumberland Trust in Nashville.

1998 Kevin Ghassomian has joined the tax and wealth planning practice at Venable as a partner based in both New York and Los Angeles. Cat Moon (BA’92) was named to the 2019 Fastcase 50 for her work as director of innovation design with Vanderbilt Law School’s Program on Law and Innovation. During summer 2019, Cat presented at the Legal Design Summit in Helsinki, Finland. She has also been recognized for her blog, Legal Problem Solving, which addresses the evolution of legal services from a “design thinking” perspective. Follow Cat on Twitter at @inspiredcat. Amanda Wilson is a shareholder with Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed in Orlando, Florida. She had previously worked for Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and taught as an adjunct professor at Emory Law.

Bradley Davenport has joined Doerner Saunders Daniel & Anderson in Oklahoma City, where he practices oil and gas litigation of counsel.

Andrea Perry was named to Nashville Business Journal’s 2019 Best of the Bar. Andrea focuses on real estate financing and development at Bone McAllester Norton.

2001 Matthew Neil Bathon has been elected a partner at Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on intellectual property and trade disputes. Walter W. Davis has been confirmed as the first judge and leader of a new statewide business court by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Walt was previously a partner with Jones Day in Atlanta.



Trent Cotney (BS’96) has been named general counsel for the National Roofing Contractors Association. Trent is the founder of Cotney Construction Law, which now has offices in 10 states.

Wendy Kay Erdly has been appointed chief of staff for the New York State Department of Financial Services. Wendy previous served as special counsel for ethics, risk and compliance with the New York State Liquor Authority.

Cristina Eubanks O’Brien married Philip Edwin Pietrowski Jr. Oct. 12 in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Christina is vice president and real estate counsel for Kindred Healthcare in Louisville. Jessica Golden Royko officiated at the ceremony. Eric Su has joined Crowell & Moring in New York as a partner in its labor and employment group. Ryan D. Thomas has been named co-chair of the health care practice

Jeanette Armington White has been appointed to the Texas Privacy Protection Advisor Council by Gov. Greg Abbott ’84. Jeanette is associate general counsel for CoreLogic and lives in Keller, Texas.

2003 Andrae P. Crismon Sr. has been promoted to director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program at Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.




1972 Sarah Kathryn Laird has been elected partner at Bradley in Nashville, where she focuses on real estate law. Matthew Mauney joined Goodwin as a partner in the private equity group. He was previously a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. Abbey Mansfield Ruby has joined Waller in Nashville as a partner in the finance and restructuring team.



David A. Bartz has joined Butler Snow’s Nashville office, where he focuses on companies conducting business in the energy sector.

The Public Interest Office celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Legal Aid Society with a panel discussion featuring alumni who had been active in the LAS. Moderated by Associate Dean for Experiential Education Sue Kay ’79 (far right), the panel included (l-r) Scott Tift ’08, a civil rights litigator with Barrett Johnson Martin & Garrison in Nashville; Kendall Kerew ’98, a clinical law professor at Georgia State; former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell ’79, who began his career as a public defender; and Dave Kozlowski ’74, director of advocacy at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Ashley Wiltshire ’72, former executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, also delivered a talk. Ashley worked at LAS for 37 years.

Andrae succeeds Lucinda Smith ’76, who retired from Legal Aid after 16 years. He was previously managing attorney of the Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro office.

2004 Michelle Bedoya Barnett has been appointed to a four-year term on the Jacksonville Aviation Authority board of directors by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Michelle is a founding shareholder with Alexander DeGance Barnett.

2006 Tranny Arnold has been appointed to the Alabama State Banking Board for a six-year term by Gov. Kay Ivey. Tranny is senior corporate counsel at BBVA Compass in Birmingham, which he joined in 2012. Tyler Roderick Edmonds has been appointed an associate judge of the First Judicial Circuit in Union County, Illinois. Tyler had served as Union County state’s attorney for more than



10 years when he was selected for the judicial seat. Matthew McCarthy and his wife, Alex McCarthy (MA ’07), welcomed a baby boy, David Max McCarthy, July 10. They live in Minneapolis, where Matt is vice president and senior counsel at U.S. Bank.

2007 Alan Stuart Bean has joined Starnes Davis Florie in Nashville as a partner. He focuses on liability and personal injury cases. Ashley Ebersole has joined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner as a partner in the firm’s investigations, financial regulation and white-collar group, based in Washington, D.C. Ashley previously worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mark M. Hosemann has joined Butler Snow in Ridgeland, Mississippi, as a partner. Mark earned an LL.M. in taxation at the University of Florida

before returning to his hometown of Jackson to practice. He and his wife, Leslie, have two sons. Monica M. Pogula has joined Chamberlain Hrdlicka in Atlanta as an associate, focusing on labor and employment law.

2008 James R. Irving has been recognized by Louisville Business First among its 2019 Forty Under 40 local professional leaders. Jim is managing partner at Bingham Greenebaum Doll. He and his wife, Lauren, have two sons. Tracy Dry Kane has been promoted to chief administrative and legal officer at Endeavor Business Media in Nashville. Maximilian C. Karacz (LLM) has joined Addleshaw Goddard in Hamburg, Germany, as a partner. Max previously practiced of counsel with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in Hamburg.

J. Logan Murphy has been elected chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division for 2019–20. Logan is a partner at Hill Ward Henderson in Tampa.

2010 Rachel Ross Friedman married Nathaniel Casselman Lawson Sept. 19 in Birmingham, Alabama. Rachel is a litigation partner at Burr & Forman; Nathaniel directs the biomaterials division and teaches at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry. The couple was featured in the New York Times. Brian Sims has been elected partner at Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville.

2011 John Eason Jr. has been elected partner at Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville. Jacob Neu has been elected a partner at Bradley in Nashville, where he practices intellectual property law. Barbara Barreno-Paschall was appointed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to serve on the state’s Human Rights Commission. Her service began July 1. Barbara previously served as a senior staff attorney at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. She earned her master’s degree in public policy analysis at the University of Chicago after practicing employment law at Sidley Austin for four years. She and her husband and their daughter live in Hyde Park. Zachary Trotter has been named a partner at Waller in Birmingham, Alabama.


Caitlin O’Malley MacDowell has joined Womble Bond Dickinson of counsel. Caitlin and her husband, Justin MacDowell, live in Boston. M. Elizabeth Roper has joined the healthcare litigation group at Butler Snow in Ridgeland, Mississippi. John Spragens has founded Spragens Law in Nashville with his father, David Spragens. John previously practiced with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. The firm will represent consumers, whistleblowers and victims of abuse, discrimination, medical malpractice, serious injury and wrongful death.

2013 James Patrick Danly has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as a Republican commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. James has served as general counsel at FERC since 2017 and previously practiced in Skadden’s energy regulation group. Colin Ferguson has been elected a member of Dickinson Wright in Nashville. Carla Tabag married Daniel Martin on July 12 in Colorado Springs. Carla has joined Faegre Baker Daniels as a real estate associate based in Denver, and Daniel is an attorney in Colorado’s 18th judicial district.

2014 Lecelle Clarke has joined the public and regulatory law and environmental practice groups at Winstead in Austin. She previously served as an assistant attorney general in the Environmental Protection Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Daniel Kay married Avery McNeil June 29 in Putnam Valley, New York. Daniel and Avery are both criminal defense lawyers at Bronx Defenders in South Bronx. Amber Marrow-Jones has joined Business Talent Group in Austin, Texas, as manager of contracts. She previously worked at Ncontracts in Austin.

Alexandre Moreira (LLM) is serving as deputy national secretary of global protection in the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights in Brazil.

2015 Mark Foley has joined the University of Alabama System as secretary of the Board of Trustees. Mark was previously an attorney at Maynard Cooper & Gale in Birmingham. Jonathan Jasinski (MBA’15) has joined Harter Secrest & Emery in Rochester, New York, as an associate focusing on private equity and venture capital. Andrea Scheder has joined Faegre Baker Daniels in Minneapolis as an associate. She previously practiced at Winston & Strawn in Dallas.

2016 Samiyyah Ali has joined Wilkinson Walsh in Washington, D.C., as an associate. Samiyyah was a law clerk to Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor during the 2018–19 term, after clerking for Judge Sri Srinivasan of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Amul Thapar while he was serving on the District Court for Eastern Kentucky. Kevin Cavino has joined Koley Jessen in Omaha, Nebraska, as an associate.

Robert R. McLeod has joined Butler Snow in Nashville, where he will practice in the healthcare litigation group. Darrius Woods was a featured speaker at the 2019 Consumer Rights Litigation Conference sponsored by the National Consumer Law Center. Darrius is an Equal Justice Fellow with Atlanta Legal Aid and works with the nonprofit Standing for Your Neighbors to achieve housing stability for low-income families.

2018 Ryan Goer has joined K&L Gates as an associate in the banking and finance management group, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ryan previously practiced at Holland & Knight in Charlotte. Alexandra Ortiz has joined the commercial litigation practice at Butler Snow in Nashville. She clerked for Judge Thomas Varlan ’81 of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in 2018–19.

2019 Austin C. Brown (BA’15) has joined Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville as a commercial finance and real estate associate. Madison Crooks Haynes has joined Bradley in Nashville as an associate. Jackson Knouse has joined Lightfoot Franklin & White in Birmingham, Alabama, as an associate. Hayley Blair Myers has joined McAfee and Taft in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as an associate focusing on the healthcare industry. Caroline Barnett Shea has joined Husch Blackwell in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she will focus on corporate litigation.

Lynn Stopher married Rajiv Desai on June 22 in Louisville, Kentucky. Lynn is a staff lawyer at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, where she supports asylum seekers.


Desmond M. Dennis (BA’12) has joined Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Atlanta as a labor and employment associate. Leigh Katz married David Joseph Robles Oct. 5 in Nashville. Leigh and David live in Brooklyn, New York. Leigh works for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and David is an associate with Davis Polk & Wardwell.

2017 Zach Lawson has joined Burr & Forman in Nashville, where he will practice in the areas of criminal defense and government investigations. Niya McCray (BA’14) has been selected for The National Black Lawyers 2019 Top 40 Under 40, which recognizes outstanding black attorneys. Niya is a litigation associate with Parker Hudson in Atlanta.



Jay Ebersole, age 6, son of Ashley and Susan Ebersole, both Class of 2008, poses with his twin sisters Grace and Eliza, born Oct. 25, 2019. Ashley joined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner as a partner in the firm’s investigations, financial regulatory and white-collar group, based in Washington, D.C., in October after five years as an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission.





Bridge named in honor of the late Melvin Porter ’59 Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recently held a ceremonial signing for a bill naming a bridge in northeast Oklahoma City in honor of the late Melvin Porter ’59, who became the state’s first African American state senator. Melvin held his seat in the Senate for 22 years and was also the first black Oklahoma County Tax Assessor. He was elected president of the Oklahoma City NAACP a year after he returned to Oklahoma City from law school. He died in 2016.



Crowley Armour Davis Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee, died June 12. C.A. served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves from 1944 to 1959 and practiced law for more than 50 years before retiring in 2000. An avid outdoorsman, he was a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and past president of both the West Memphis Hunt Club and the Millington Hunt Club. C.A. is survived by his wife of 61 years, Patricia Davis, and three children.

Henry Cox McCall Jr. (BA’47) of Columbia, Tennessee, died April 17. A native of Nashville, Henry was a high school senior when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the Navy V-12 College Training Program and received officer training in naval science at Rice University, after which he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, serving on the destroyer USS Madison for two years. Henry was in Tokyo Bay on V-J Day and witnessed President Harry S. Truman sign the peace treaty with the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. He returned to Nashville in 1946 to attend Vanderbilt and moved to Columbia in 1952. He soon transitioned from legal practice to the insurance industry, where he pioneered the concept of underwriting and marketing to professional and trade groups through his company, Mid-South Benefit Plans Inc. In 1971, he and two partners established Financial Institution Services Inc., which pioneered selling club packages to bank customers. FISI had a meteoric rise, and in 1983, he took FISI public on the New York Stock Exchange.

Joshua Green (BA’46) of Jackson, Mississippi, died Aug. 11. Josh served from 1943 to1946 in the U.S. Army in Panama before earning his B.A. Phi Beta Kappa at Vanderbilt. After law school, Josh returned to Jackson, where he joined the family firm founded by his grandfather in 1874 and practiced law from 1949 until his retirement in 2015. He was admitted to practice before all Mississippi State Courts, the Federal District Courts of Mississippi, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He is survived by his daughter.



Henry began another successful career as a real estate developer in 1991. He is survived by his wife, Sue.

1951 Roy Wesley Hendrix Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee, died Jan. 13. Roy was a devoted family man and prominent attorney whose zest for life and manifold interests enriched Memphis, Shelby County and all who knew him. Roy joined the U.S. Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was set to deploy to the Pacific when World War II ended. He met and married Margie Langhart Hendrix while earning his undergraduate degree at Memphis State University. After law school, the couple returned to Memphis, where Roy practiced law. Roy was a founder of Thomason Crawford and Hendrix in 1967. Roy was a trained pilot, an avid horseman and a member of the Memphis Yacht Club. He is survived by his daughter, Lee.

1952 George Griffin Boyte (BA’50) of Humboldt, Tennessee, died Aug. 26. Griffin served in the South Pacific with the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He returned to Humboldt after law school and practiced law for more than 60 years. Griffin loved Humboldt and the practice of law. He served as city judge and city attorney, in the Tennessee Legislature, and on the Tennessee Constitutional Convention. He was president of the Tennessee and Gibson County Bar Associations, a fellow of the American Bar Association and an active member of the Tennessee Defense Lawyers. Griffin is survived by his wife of 66 years, Carol Dent Boyte, and three children. Douglas Murrey Fisher (BA’50) of Franklin, Tennessee, died April 7. Over the course of his 57-year legal career, Doug tried hundreds of jury cases to verdict. Doug worked as a sportswriter for the Nashville Banner as a high school senior and won his college tuition in a nationwide speech contest. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy near the end of World War ll. He worked as a staff writer for the Banner during law school. Doug served as an assistant district attorney for Davidson County, press secretary and executive counsel to Gov. Frank Clement, and legal adviser to

Gov. Buford Ellington. He co-founded Nashville law firms Clement Sanford & Fisher and, later, Howell & Fisher, and served two terms on the board of the Nashville Bar Association. The Nashville School of Law named a classroom for Doug in honor of his service as an instructor and on its board. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Tennessee chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Doug is survived by his wife of 41 years, Julie Fisher. William Jerry Flippin of Milan, Tennessee, died Aug. 3. He served in the 25th Infantry Division near the end of World War II in the Pacific theater. He then earned his undergraduate degree at Rhodes College. He met his wife, Sara Floyd, during law school, after which he became the fourth generation Flippin to return to Milan to begin his career. He started a solo practice which developed into the law firm of Flippin Collins & Hill. He was elected to two terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, where he was majority leader, and three terms in the state Senate, where he was Speaker of the Senate for part of his second term. As a lawyer, he represented individuals and local corporations in litigation across the nation. He was a fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the Tennessee Bar Foundation, chairman of the Legal Section of the American Public Power Association, and an advocate of the American Board of Trial Attorneys. He is survived by three children.

1953 Donald Edward Wright (BA’50) of Madison, Georgia, died at home Nov. 19. Don served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War. He began his legal career as a civil trial lawyer in Tennessee but soon moved to Atlanta, where he practiced law for more than 50 years with Fisher & Phillips, a labor and employment firm. He was the firm’s managing partner through much of the 1990s and served clients in the areas of collective bargaining and labor disputes.

1955 Tom Avery of Memphis, Tennessee, died Sept. 10, at the Memphis courthouse. He was reputed to be the oldest


Legal affairs reporter Fred Graham ’59 dies at 88 Fred P. Graham, whose career as a legal affairs reporter, television anchor and author spanned more than four decades, died Dec. 28 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 88. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Graham earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea and Japan before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt. During law school, he worked as a reporter for the Tennessean. He continued his legal studies at the University of Oxford in England and then practiced law in Nashville, where he had attended high school, before moving to Washington to serve as chief counsel of a judiciary subcommittee under Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.) and as an aide to Labor Secretary W. Willard Wirtz. In 1965, Graham became the first lawyer assigned to cover the Supreme Court for the New York Times while the Court was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren. While covering the 1971 Pentagon Papers case, in which the Court blocked an attempt by the Nixon administration to prevent the New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing a secret history of the Vietnam War, Graham hid a copy of the documents in a freezer in his garage. His reporting also detailed cases arising from civil rights murders in the South, free press versus privacy issues and questions over prayer in public school and legal struggles over abortion rights and protections for criminal defendants. Graham joined the CBS television network in 1972 to report on the Watergate scandal. He spent the next 15 years working as the network’s legal correspondent to demystify the practices and deliberations of Supreme Court justices whom he described, at a time when no women sat on the high court, as “isolated men with limited political experience, lifetime tenure and long black robes.”

Graham wrote several books, including The Self-Inflicted Wound (1970), about the Warren Court; Press Freedoms Under Pressure (1972), about First Amendment law; The Alias Program (1977), about the witness protection program; and Happy Talk: Confessions of a TV Newsman (1990). He retired from Court TV, where he had become managing editor, in 2008. Graham is survived by his wife, Skila Harris, and three children from his first marriage.


Graham was laid off by CBS in 1987, when the network entered what he later described as its “infotainment phase.” He was a local news anchor at WKRN-TV, the ABC affiliate in Nashville, for two years before joining Court TV, a new network launched soon after television cameras were allowed in newsrooms to provide live coverage of criminal trials. His coverage of the trial of O.J. Simpson, a former professional football player accused of killing his ex-wife and her friend, vaulted the network to national prominence. He later covered the 1992 acquittals of four Los Angeles police officers who were videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King during an arrest.





Judge John T. Nixon ’60, Jan. 9, 1933–Dec. 19, 2019 Judge John T. Nixon ’60, a senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, died Dec.19 at his apartment in Los Angeles. In a tribute published in The Tennessean, Aubrey Harwell Jr. ’67 (BA’64) called Judge Nixon “a champion of civil rights from Selma in the 1960s to Nashville in the 1990s.” Nixon earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and served in the U.S. Army before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt in 1960. He practiced law in Anniston, Alabama, for two years and then served as Anniston’s city attorney for two years. “in one of his first acts on becoming city attorney in Anniston in 1962, he established a biracial commission and came to the attention of then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who invited him to Washington, D.C., in 1963 to discuss civil rights,” Harwell wrote. Nixon joined the CIvil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in 1964, after prosecuting an Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader for shooting into a black church. “In his first six months on the job, he spent 125 days in Selma, working to ensure the safety of voting rights activists, most notably Martin Luther King Jr., Nixon had occasion to use his local knowledge when, amidst reports of a potential assassination attempt on King, he ran into the same Ku Klux Klan leader he had prosecuted in Anniston,” Harwell wrote. PHOTO PROVIDED BY VARALLO PUBLIC RELATIONS

After returning to private practice, he served as a staff attorney in Tennessee’s Office of the State Comptroller from 1971 to 1976, when he moved to Nashville to practice law. Nixon served as a Tennessee Circuit Court judge from 1977 to 1978 and then as a judge in the Tennessee Court of General Sessions from 1978 to 1980 before he was appointed to a seat on the Middle District of Tennessee in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. He served as the district’s chief judge from 1991 to 1998, when he took senior status. He took inactive senior status in 2016. “Nixon was fundamentally shaped” by his experiences fighting for civil rights in Alabama and “took his law clerks on an annual pilgrimage to Selma to witness the yearly observance of Bloody Sunday,” Harwell wrote. He is survived by two daughters.

practicing attorney in Shelby County. He was a founding partner of Robinson Fisher & Avery with Vanderbilt classmate William H. Fisher III ’55 (BA’53) in 1965. Tom served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. In 1973, he was a lobbyist and chief draftsman for the Shelby County Restructure Act, which provided the foundation for the current county commission form of government. He later served three terms on the Shelby County Election Commission, and in 1981 was appointed by Gov. Lamar Alexander (BA’62) to serve as judge of the Circuit Court Division VIII. Tom returned to private practice after retiring from the bench. He is survived by his daughter.



Judge John Nixon, left, Inez Crutchfield and Judge Waverly Crenshaw Jr. ’81 (BA’78) at a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute luncheon, hosted by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Nashville Downtown.



Vaden Major Lackey of Nashville died March 19. Vaden served in the U.S. Navy from 1950–53 and then spent 18 years in the Navy Reserve, serving in the JAG Corps after earning his law degree. Vaden served one term in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He was general counsel and a board member at Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan and later served on the Middle Tennessee board of Union Planters Bank. He practiced as a partner in Denney Lackey & Chernau. After retiring in 1990, he practiced of counsel with Adams and Reese/Stokes Bartholomew. He was a talented businessman, civic leader and loyal Commodores fan. He is survived by three sons.

David E. Nelson Jr. of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died Sept. 28. A U.S. Army veteran who served in both World War II and the Korean War, David earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He was a partner in Wagner Nelson & Weeks and served on the boards of the Bonny Oaks Foundation and the Shriners Hospitals for Children. He is survived by a son.

After law school, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and attended Officer Candidate School, serving as a commander of the local Memphis Coast Guard Reserve during the 1960s. Dick practiced law in Memphis and was a juvenile court judge. In 1989, he went to Washington, D.C., to serve during the Gulf War, retiring to Memphis in 1996. In retirement, Dick was a commander in the Military Officers Association of America and the Military Order of the World Wars. He is survived by three children.



Richard H. Crawford of Memphis, Tennessee, died May 31. Dick earned his undergraduate degree at Rhodes College.

Judge Larry Barkley Creson Jr. (BA’58). of Memphis, Tennessee, died July 2. Larry served in the Air National Guard


and practiced law for 14 years before he was appointed an administrative law judge hearing Social Security disability cases. He retired in 2017 after 42 years. A talented artist, he drew the covers for Vanderbilt football programs and, later, political cartoons for the Memphis Business Journal. Larry helped pioneer soccer as a sport in Memphis and published The Simple Soccer Book. He was an Eagle Scout and a champion handball player. He is survived by his wife, Elaine Boyer Creson, and two daughters. Neil Papiano of Arcadia, California, died Feb. 14. Neil received an athletic scholarship to Stanford, where he earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1957 before attending Vanderbilt. He joined the Los Angeles firm of Oscar Trippett, the predecessor law firm to Iverson Yoakum Papiano & Hatch, where he served as managing partner until his retirement in 2014. Neil represented high-profile clients in the entertainment industry, including Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Joan Collins, Walter Matthau and Sondra Locke; in the thoroughbred horse industry, including Hollywood Park Race Track and Willie Shoemaker; and in the professional sports industry, including Charlie O. Finley, Steve Garvey and Willie Davis, as well as corporate clients. Active in civic life and politics, Neil often counseled and assisted state, city and county officials, including President Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California. Neil had a big presence that filled a room and was an encouraging coach and teacher. With his booming voice, big laugh and big heart, he improved the lives of many people. Neil is survived by everyone on whom he had an impact.

1962 Thomas Ray Allen (BA’60) of Orlando, Florida, died April 14. Tom received the Founder's Medal for his law class and then joined the U.S. Army JAG Corps, stationed at the Pentagon. After his service, he earned an LL.M. at Harvard Law School before entering private practice. Tom practiced law in Florida for 50 years, specializing in corporate and tax law and estate planning. He earned an LL.M. in taxation from the University of Florida in 1990. He was an avid traveler and sportsman. He is survived by three daughters.

Frank Bond Dodson (BA’55) of Kingsport, Tennessee, died Sept. 3. Frank practiced law in Tennessee for 40 years and was admitted before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy for 13 years and held a commercial pilot's license. He was a certified scuba diver and loved golf, skiing, tennis and bridge. He was president of the Downtown Kingsport Association. He is survived by a son.

1964 Robert Ellis Taylor of Franklin, Kentucky, died Feb. 6. After earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Bob served as the chief accountant for the Fairbanks Public School System. Bob earned his law degree at Vanderbilt, and he and his wife moved to Franklin, where he practiced law for more than 50 years and served as city attorney, commonwealth attorney, trial commissioner and the planning and zoning attorney, and represented the Simpson County Water District for 50 years. Bob was active in community organizations and chairman of the Simpson County Republican Party for many years. An avid pilot, he was one of six people to form the county airport. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Virginia Walkley Taylor, and two sons.

1965 Comer Lewis Donnell of Lebanon, Tennessee, died Oct. 24. Comer was Lebanon City Attorney, Watertown city attorney, Wilson County attorney and director of petroleum taxes for the state of Tennessee. In 1989 he was appointed and later elected public defender of the Fifteenth Judicial District; he served until Nov. 1, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Anne Evans Donnell, and two sons. Thomas Dunlevy Yeaglin of Germantown, Tennessee, died Dec. 3. Tom practiced with Armstrong Allen for almost 20 years before starting his own firm. He continued to practice law until 2019, when he concluded his 54-year career. Tom also taught in the night law school program at the University of Memphis. Tom is survived by his wife, Linda Robinson Yeaglin; his former spouse, Linda Warren, and his children.

1967 Walter Lee Davis Jr. of Johnson City, Tennessee, died Jan. 3. Lee studied accounting and real estate at Memphis State University before earning his law degree. He was an attorney, certified public accountant, real estate broker and certified specialist in estate law. After stints with a "Big 8" accounting firm and a publicly owned real estate developer, Lee entered law practice in 1974 in Mountain City, Tennessee. He moved to Johnson City in 1978 and practiced law there until his retirement from Hunter, Smith & Davis in 2014. His practice focused on estate planning and probate, real estate, and business and tax matters. He was active in the American, Tennessee, and Washington County Bar Associations, the Tri-Cities Estate Planning Council (where he served as president), and the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carla. William Bradford Reynolds of Seabrook Island, South Carolina, died Sept. 14 after a battle with cancer. He was 77. Brad earned his undergraduate degree at Yale and graduated second in his Vanderbilt Law class, serving as editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review. Brad started his legal career at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, where he practiced for three years before joining the U.S. Department of Justice in 1973 as an assistant to the solicitor general of the United States. In 1981, Brad was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s Civil Rights division. From 1985 to 1988, he also held the position of counselor to the U.S. attorney general. Regarded as one of the most influential and effective members of the Reagan administration, Brad tenaciously advanced the view that "discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, inherently wrong and destructive of democratic society." As counselor to Attorney General Edwin Meese, he provided legal and policy advice on critical issues involving all aspects of the Justice Department's activities and played a key role in investigating the Iran-Contra Affair. He returned to private law practice with Baker Botts. His career as an appellate specialist included 19 arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. Brad was an

avid golfer and ran several Marine Corp marathons in Washington, D.C. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Lynne Reynolds, and four children.

1968 Peggy A. Jones of Holly Springs, Mississippi, died Nov. 6 after a long illness. Peggy practiced law for 37 years before her retirement in 2005. She co-founded Jones & Schneller in Holly Springs and was the attorney for the Marshall County Board of Supervisors for many years. She was a founding member of the William C. Keady American Inn of Court and provided legal guidance to Grady W. Jones Co., a family business in Memphis, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas, owned by her brothers. She was an active and skilled equestrienne, an avocation she pursued throughout her life.

1969 William Emory Weems II (BE’62) of Nashville died July 9. Bill practiced real estate law in Nashville. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Weems, and two children.

1970 Edward Scruggs Kelly Jr. (BA’67) of Nashville died Jan. 2. Ed practiced law in Nashville for more than 40 years and served in the U.S. Army Reserve.

1972 William Hepburn Bristol of Pittsford, New York, died Nov. 5. Bill served as both a city court and county court judge in Pittsford during the 1980s and ’90s. He is credited with creating community service sentencing, a strategy to put nonviolent offenders to work rather than in jail that was later adopted by courts throughout the judicial system in New York state. A profile in Upstate Magazine described Judge Bristol as "tough, flamboyant, overbearing and fair." Bill’s impact on justice followed him into private practice. He taught criminal procedure at both SUNY Buffalo School of Law and the University of Rochester. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Leahy, and two daughters.




Edwin E. Wallis Jr. (BA’69), aka “Big Ed,” of Jackson, Tennessee, died March 7 after a long illness. Ed met Liz Butler, who became his wife, at Vanderbilt. Ed spent four years working for two Nashville law firms before Liz convinced him to move to her hometown of Jackson. He joined Moss & Benton in 1976 and spent 43 years practicing at the firm, which ultimately became Moss Benton & Wallis. Ed loved helping his clients, including those who could not pay him. He was a fellow in the Tennessee Bar Foundation, a president of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association and a member of the executive council of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys. He chaired the United Way campaign twice and served as chairman of the Lifeline Blood Bank. He did not miss a Vanderbilt home football game for almost two decades. Ed is survived by Liz and two children.

1973 Michael Armin Weiss of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, died May 27. He earned his undergraduate degree Phi Beta Kappa at Washington and Jefferson. At VLS, he was an editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. Michael practiced law at Doepken Keevican & Weiss and served as general counsel and secretary of the L.B. Foster Co., Rouge Steel and MK Rail. He was also managing director of Patient Centered Solutions. An active participant in civic organizations, he was a national chairman of the American Diabetes Association, president of the Allegheny Tax Society, and chairman of the Tri-State New Leadership Cabinet of Israel Bonds. He co-authored The Little Diabetes Book You Need to Read. He is survived by his wife, Gerri Weisband Weiss, and two children.

1974 Charles Lynn Almond (BA’71) of Houston, died Nov. 16. Charlie grew up in Cleveland, Tennessee. At Vanderbilt, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif and was managing editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. He joined Vinson & Elkins in Houston in 1974. He specialized in federal income tax matters and moved to the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, where he worked with Congressional, Treasury and Internal Revenue personnel on technical and tax policy issues



relating to public finance. In 1997, he returned to Houston. He retired from Vinson & Elkins in December 2011 but joined Bracewell a year later. Over the course of Charlie's 45-year legal career, he was committee chair of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Committee on Tax-Exempt Financing, and served on the board of the National Association of Bond Lawyers, as chair of the Bond Attorneys Workshop, and as a member of the American College of Bond Counsel. Charlie is survived by his wife, Margaret Stein Almond, and three children.

1975 Paul Sanford of Jacksonville, Florida, died July 17. Described by colleagues as “one of the last of the old-school influencers,” Paul spent his career as a lobbyist whose clients included insurance companies, business publications, the National Association of Theater Owners, the American Council of Life Insurance, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, and the Florida Insurance Council. Paul practiced with Rogers Towers in Jacksonville and Tallahassee until 2001, when he founded Paul Sanford and Associates. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Florida and a loyal Gators fan. He is survived by a daughter.

1979 Richard A. Montague Jr. (BA’76) of Jackson, Mississippi, died May 18 during a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. After law school, Richard practiced bankruptcy law at Wells Moore Simmons & Hubbard and more recently at Phelps Dunbar. During his law career, he was chair of the Mississippi Bar Association Lawyers and Judges Assistance Committee, president of the Capital Area Bar Association, and editor of the Hinds County Bar Association newsletter. He was a member of the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference and American Bankruptcy Institute. He is survived by his wife, Frances Naomi Ward Montague, and two daughters.

1982 John Robert Slifko of Reading, Pennsylvania, died Jan. 11. John was a high school valedictorian who earned a B.A. in economics at Princeton University. When his brother, Eric,

died tragically in a canoeing accident in 1971, John, his sister-in-law and his parents used Eric’s insurance death benefit to build and operate a camp in West Virginia for the sixth-grade children of Charles County, Maryland, where Eric had taught school. For many of these disadvantaged children, this was a first excursion outside of Maryland. John devoted his life to the camp for five years before earning his law degree. After law school, he moved to Reading, where he was a landlord for 28 years and served on the city council; at the time of his death, he was council vice president. John never worked as a lawyer, but public service and social justice were always the motivators of his life. He is survived by his long-time companion, Sandra Seifret.

1985 Jack Case Wilson of Nashville died Oct. 24, 2018. A native of Greenville, Mississippi, Jack received his master’s degree in classical archaeology from the University of Mississippi and traveled to England on digs. After earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, Jack built a thriving real estate practice, practicing law for more than 25 years. He is the published author of Faulkner's Fortunes and Flames, a highly regarded book on the history of Oxford, Mississippi. Jack is survived by his wife, Anne, and two children.

1987 Donald Harrison Caldwell Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina, died Nov. 15. He was 60. Don earned his undergraduate degree at Davidson College, taught English in Alsace, France, and worked as a journalist for the Palm Beach Post, before moving to Nashville, where he was a reporter for the Nashville Banner before earning his J.D. Don was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer (glioblastoma) at 36. With the support of his doctors, family and friends, Don beat the odds and continued to thrive for more than 20 years. In 2001, he became an assistant U.S. attorney in Charlotte, making significant contributions to cases involving medical fraud and financial fraud in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. His contributions to the Justice Department were recognized in 2010 when he received the Director's Award in Washington, D.C. Even as his health began to decline in 2013, Don continued to live

a full life, traveling to football games and the college graduations of his three children. Don is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their three children.

1988 Kirk Seufert, aka Dex Tyrion, of Nashville, Tennessee, died unexpectedly on June 17. At Rhodes College, Kirk won the football All American of the Year title and was recruited by the Dallas Cowboys for a short stint. After he earned his law degree, he worked in Denver and Nashville. His passion was defending and helping teens at juvenile court; he became fluent in Spanish to more capably serve immigrant children. In recent years he became an abstract painter, selling many of his paintings locally and abroad.

1990 Derrick Mark Davidson of Lowell, Arkansas, died Aug. 5. Derrick earned his undergraduate degree at Hendrix College. After law school, he returned to Northwest Arkansas and practiced law. He was admitted to practice in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is survived by his wife, Kelley Marshall Davidson, and three children.

1994 Lee Edward Dryer of Fairview, Tennessee, died Feb. 1. Lee served in the U.S. Army before earning his law degree. He was a former assistant district attorney in Williamson County and worked as an attorney and judge for the city of Fairview. He is survived by his wife, Juany Dryer, and their son.

2005 Ajay Koduri of San Francisco, California, died suddenly Feb. 6 of natural causes. Ajay earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University before earning his J.D. at Vanderbilt. He is survived by his wife, Sowmya Reddy.

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Jim’s life and career “When you give back your time, treasure and talent…the entire experience energizes you.”

have taken him in many rewarding directions. Learning his father’s paper mill business. Studying law at Vanderbilt. A 40-year career as General Counsel for three vibrant companies. Active involvement as a nonprofit leader. Now he and his wife are expanding the Cynthia A. and James W. Cuminale Scholarship through a bequest, creating opportunities for others through legal education.

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