VA N D E R B I LT
LAW A History-Making Endowment Honors
Professor Robert Belton
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 email@example.com or (615) 343-4534.
CONTENTS Editor Grace Renshaw
Contributing Writers Kent Halkett’81, Eric Penkert ’10, Seth Robertson Design and Art Direction Anita Dey and Tim Kovick FINN Partners - Nashville Photography Sandy Campbell, Daniel Dubois, Zack Eagles, Peyton Hogue, Joe Howell, John Russell, Terry Wyatt Editorial Contributors Brandy Drinnon, Eileen Cunningham, Brierra Miller, Sarah Parker Poteete, Seth Robertson, Donna Smith , Ryan Underwood VLS Webmaster Brandy Drinnon Dean & John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor Chris Guthrie Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations Scotty Mann Cover illustration by Rachelle Baker
A wrestling program and nonprofit, CAP and GOWN, started by Chris Scribner ’20, has helped students from low-income families in Huntsville, Alabama, like Isiah Franklin VU’22, aspire to college.
A Sense of Belonging
A history-making endowment in honor of the late Professor Robert Belton enables VLS to build on its long-term commitment to diversity, inclusion and racial justice.
24 A Mentor for Life
Brian Winfrey ’06 found his career calling in Professor R obert Belton’s Employment Discrimination class
27 Q&A with Adolpho Birch III ’91 Vanderbilt Law School Office of Development & Alumni Relations 131 21st Avenue South Nashville, Tennessee 37203 Tel: 615-322-2606 Fax: 615-322-5730 firstname.lastname@example.org law.vanderbilt.edu Vanderbilt Law is published 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 © 2021 Vanderbilt University
Birch is a member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and chairs the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
A Most Unusual Year
VLS prioritized in-person learning. As a difficult but successful year ends, students and faculty agree the tremendous effort of offering classes both in person and online was worthwhile.
Carfax General Council Julie Ortmeier ’98 on work-life during the pandemic, by Eric Penkert ’10
Justice Neil Gorsuch visits VLS Judge Carlton Reeves delivers MLK Lecture Alumni news featuring Funmi Akinnawonu ’20, Samar Ali ’06, Micah Bradley ’20, Willoe DeFuccio ’20, Matt Fitzgerald ’20, Hannah Miller ’20, Joe Sandford ’20 & Cort Thompson ’20 Faculty news featuring Hall Hartman Award Winners, Jim Blumstein, Jessica Clarke, Sara Mayeux, Mike Newton, Morgan Ricks, Jim Rossi, Christopher Serkin, Ganesh Sitaraman, Chris Slobogin & Yesha Yadav Student news featuring the Stanton Foundation First Amendment, Immigration Practice, Youth Opportunity & Criminal Justice Clinics; Ashton Andrews ’22 & Emily Gray ’22; Ramon Ryan ’21 & Kevin Witenoff ’21 Faculty Profiles Brian Broughman: Law & Business Jennifer Prusak: Housing Law Clinic Daniel J. Sharfstein, Dick and Marsha Lansden Chair in Law Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise Speaking of Alumni with Scotty Mann
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Smooth Sailing for Lisa McLaughlin ’81, by Kent Halkett ’81
George Harrison Cate Jr. ’51 (BA ’49)
41 42 44 50 51
Judge Thomas A. Wiseman ’54 (BA ’52)
Professor Emeritus Robert Covington ’61
Professor Emeritus Allaire Karzon
Class Notes In Memoriam Bobby Lee Cook ’48 (BA ’46)
FROM THE DEAN
Dear alumni and friends:
his edition of Vanderbilt Law celebrates the endowment, by anonymous donors, of a permanent director of our Diversity, Equity and Community Program in honor of the late Professor Robert Belton, whose service to the law school as a teacher, scholar and mentor is legendary. Assistant Dean Yesha Yadav is the inaugural Robert Belton Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and I’ve been awed by her enthusiasm and commitment to the launch of this important program, which she has managed with aplomb during a challenging year. In the next edition of Vanderbilt Law, we will celebrate another significant endowment by current Board of Advisors President Jim Cuminale ’78, of the directorship of our Public Interest Program in honor of pioneering Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey ’68 (BA’64). Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller now holds the title of Assistant Dean and Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey Director for Public Interest. Both of these gifts are especially important because they signify the law school’s permanent commitment to diversity, equity and community as a bedrock principle of our culture and to training lawyers to work in the public interest in a broad array of settings, including government legal offices, regulatory agencies, nonprofit advocacy organizations, public defenders and prosecutors’ offices, as policy advisers, and in many other roles vital to building a better, more inclusive future for all Americans.
These gifts were a bright spot in a challenging year. This Vanderbilt Law edition also chronicles the tremendous efforts of our faculty, staff, student leaders and students to continue operating in as normal a fashion as possible during an unprecedented global pandemic. Every member of the Vanderbilt Law community contributed to this effort in countless ways, and the law school also benefited from the capable support and rigorous safety protocols mandated for all schools by the university. It’s impossible to adequately thank everyone whose hard work under adverse conditions made an otherwise difficult year a success. But I want to emphasize that our ability to pivot quickly last summer to offering a mix of online and in-person classes so students could choose the education setting where they felt most comfortable was rooted in our strong alumni and university community. Your support remains essential as we begin to explore the new normal. While I do not know what the future holds, after working with our faculty, staff and students to navigate the pandemic year, I face it with confidence in our ability to offer an outstanding legal education that equips our graduates to be leaders in the legal profession. A few things about the 2020-21 academic year helped keep me grounded. We welcomed two new faculty members—Brian Broughman, who is affiliated with our Law and Business Program, and Jennifer Prusak, who launched a very welltimed Housing Law Clinic—to our faculty last year, and
they are profiled in this issue. Brian Fitzpatrick and Daniel J. Sharfstein both received well-deserved appointments to endowed chairs. Brian was appointed to the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, succeeding Margaret Blair, who retired in 2019. Dan was appointed to the newly endowed Dick and Martha Lansden Chair in Law. Chair appointments signal to faculty that their contributions in the classroom as scholars, teachers, and community members are highly valued. During my tenure as dean, we have added nine endowed chairs, which are vitally important to recruiting and retaining top faculty. Thanks to all alumni who have supported our effort to provide more endowed chairs to reward faculty for their professional accomplishments. By the time you receive this magazine, we will be celebrating the commencement of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 in person. look forward to honoring their achievements as students, and I am excited to welcome them to our wonderful alumni community. Sincerely yours,
Chris Guthrie Dean and John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law
UP FRONT Clinics in the News
We learned a lot about local government and the process for passing a resolution. It was a very rewarding experience.
Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic wins case for TSEL The Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic, representing the nonprofit group Tennesseans for Sensible Election Laws, recently prevailed in a case that sought to declare unconstitutional a Tennessee election law that criminalized false speech in opposition to a political candidate. The clinic is directed by Assistant Clinical Professor G.S. Hans. TSEL planned to distribute a mailer criticizing state Rep. Bruce Griffey, who represents Paris, Tennessee, after Griffey introduced a bill that would have required anyone convicted of sexual offenses against minors to undergo “chemical castration” if released on parole. The mailer accused Griffey of promoting “an agenda the Nazis would love,” and urged voters to “Vote No on Bruce Griffey—He’s literally Hitler!” Because the statements in the mailer were false and were in opposition to a political candidate, TSEL’s distribution of the mailer could have led to criminal charges against the organization under state law. 4
After oral arguments on TSEL’s summary judgment motion, Davidson County Chancellor Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled the statute was unconstitutional, citing several arguments presented in TSEL’s brief. Jimmy Ryan ’21 successfully argued against the state’s motion to dismiss this case in May, and Hans argued the motion for summary judgment in July. Paige Tenkhoff ’20, Amber Banks ’20 and Cole Browndorf ’20 also served on the clinic legal team working on the case. Hans believes the state will appeal. “If they do, the clinic and our students will continue to work on the case in the coming academic year,” he said.
Immigration Practice Clinic students support communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 Three Immigration Practice Clinic students—Cloe Anderson ’21 (BA’18), Grace Ko ’21 and Sarah Dvorak ’22—worked pro bono with staff from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the Asian and Pacific Islanders of Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association to assist in drafting a resolution passed by the Metro Nashville Council that addressed discrimination and harassment against Asian and Pacific Islanders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The students also produced a library resource guide with the help of Vanderbilt Law Librarian Sarah Dunaway. The guide, COVID-19 and Racism: Legislative Responses, charts legislative responses to COVID. “We learned a lot about local government and the process for passing a resolution,” said Ko. “It was a very rewarding experience.”
Josh Stanton knew that litigating cases during the COVID-19 pandemic would present some daunting challenges when he joined the Vanderbilt Law faculty as a Criminal Justice Clinic Fellow in August. After earning his law degree at New York University and serving as a law clerk to Judge Jon Phipps McCalla of the Western District of Tennessee, Stanton was a public defender in Memphis for four years. He was working as a criminal defense lawyer at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York when he accepted the newly endowed Criminal Justice Clinic Fellowship at Vanderbilt last spring. He now works with Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Susan Kay ’79 to supervise students in Vanderbilt’s Criminal Justice Clinic. This year, Kay, Stanton and their students were forced to adapt quickly to the limitations imposed by the pandemic. Pairs of students normally visit the Metro Nashville jail to meet with their clients. But with access to clients limited to a single computer screen in a small room, only one student at a time can safely interview clients in custody. With courts’ capacity to hear criminal cases reduced and jury trials prohibited, clinic students worked on bond motions seeking release for clients awaiting trial. “When bond motions are denied, our clients have to choose whether to take a guilty plea to get out of custody or to stay in jail awaiting trial, where their risk of contracting COVID is higher,” Stanton said. “When clients take a guilty plea just so they can be released, there’s a conviction on their records. That’s a big downside.” Despite the difficult conditions, some students opted to appear in court when permitted. “Students are navigating the situation as well as possible and developing relationships with clients,” Stanton said. “They’re learning by doing the nuts and bolts of any criminal case—reviewing discovery, developing investigation plans, drafting motions and even negotiating with prosecutors.” Kay launched the Criminal Justice Clinic in 1980 and has directed the law school’s clinical education program since 2001. “We are delighted to have Josh working with us—in addition to his experience as a public defender, he brings a fresh perspective and a keen intellect to our clinical program,” she said.
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Students in the Youth Opportunity Clinic joined with nearly 40 other criminal justice advocacy groups in Tennessee to submit a legal petition to the state Supreme Court to release people from jails and prisons during the coronavirus outbreak. “Legal advocates throughout the state asked the Court to release people who pose a low risk to the public and those who are at heightened risk for coronavirus complications from state jails and prisons while the judicial state-ofemergency order remains in place, unless the state can demonstrate that their release would endanger someone’s safety,” said Youth Opportunity Clinic director Cara Suvall. “The goal is to avoid dangerous outbreaks of COVID-19 in Tennessee’s jails, prisons and detention centers and to protect those whose continued incarceration is necessary.”
Criminal Justice Clinic represents criminal defendants in challenging times
Youth Opportunity Clinic joins emergency petition
Students in the News Ramon Ryan ’21 wins ABA K. William Kolbe Writing Competition
Ryan chose to research the topic after learning that the FCC did not require any assessments of the environmental impact of commercial satellites before approving their launch, an omission he believes violates the National Environmental Policy Act. “One might assume that the FCC evaluates new commercial satellite projects for their environmental impact, both to comply with NEPA and to avoid scenarios such as a company using mercury as a satellite propellant or permanently altering the aesthetic of the night sky,” Ryan states in his article, “but this assumption would be incorrect.”
His paper recommends that the FCC update its treatment of satellites to include environmental review under NEPA and proposes a process for conducting the reviews. The prize-winning paper received national publicity even before its publication, with reports on Ryan’s findings appearing in Scientific American, Business Insider, Futurism and other publications. The paper recently was cited in a legal challenge filed by Viaset, a global communications company, challenging the FCC’s approval of a request by SpaceX to modify the orbits of some satellites in its massive Starlink network, which will ultimately comprise approximately 12,000 satellites.
Ramon Ryan won the American Bar Association’s 2020 K. William Kolbe Writing Competition for his Note, “The Fault in Our Stars: Challenging the FCC’s Treatment of Commercial Satellites as Categorically Excluded from Review under the National Environmental Policy Act,” published in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law last fall.
Ryan started a new student organization, the Space Law Society, as a 1L and was editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law in 2020–21. He plans to join the government contracts group at Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville after graduation. He will serve as a clerk for Judge Todd Hughes of the Federal Circuit in 2023–24.
Matt Fitzgerald ’20 wins Adm. John S. Jenkins Writing Award
SUB MITTED BY MATT FITGERALD
Matt Fitzgerald, a captain in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, won the 2020 Rear Admiral John S. Jenkins Writing Award for his essay, “Thank Me for My Service: An Ethics Oversight in DoD Social Media Policy.” The award recognizes the best paper written in the past year on a military justice topic. Fitzgerald wrote the paper, which will be published in the Harvard National Security Law Journal, as an independent study project under the supervision of Professor Michael A. Newton. Fitzgerald’s paper addresses financial compensation that military servicemembers receive for service-related content they produce on social media platforms. Although federal ethics rules preclude most servicemembers from using their public positions for private gain, Fitzgerald found many examples of
military personnel in uniform who received compensation for producing and posting Facebook and YouTube videos in which they endorsed dietary supplements, clothing brands and other products and services. “The current DoD policy regime is ill-equipped to address these for-profit ventures,” he said. His paper proposes policy recommendations designed to promote, reward and facilitate military content creation on social media while also supporting compliance with federal ethics rules. “Matt identified a gaping flaw in the current ethics guidance that is hiding in plain sight,” Newton said. “He documented the scope of the problem and offered solutions that are already beginning to bear fruit in the form of reframed DoD guidance.”
Cort Thompson ’20 wins the ASIL 2020 Richard Baxter Military Prize
The annual American Society of International Law Richard Baxter Military Prize recognizes a paper written by an active-duty member of the armed forces that “significantly enhances the understanding and implementation of the law of war.” Thompson became interested in laws that regulate military anti-satellite weapons after India destroyed one of its own defense satellites in 2019 by hitting it with an anti-satellite weapon. The impact created approximately 270 pieces of trackable debris that remain in orbit as a long-term hazard to future space launches. “India’s demonstration of its ASAT capability was an important reminder that space is a global commons, and the activities of one state affect those of every other nation with a space program,” Thompson said. Thompson’s paper issues a call to action for states to negotiate updates to the long-standing treaties and other international agreements governing outer space to prevent any single nation from deliberately using anti-satellite weapons to create artificial orbital debris.
He compares the comprehensive set of laws needed to address space activities, including space debris and satellite launches and orbits, to the law of the sea. While international legal regime addressing orbital space was established by the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and other treaties negotiated in the 1970s, Thompson asserts that updates are long overdue. “These treaties were concluded at the height of the Cold War with an emphasis on preventing nuclear weapons from being stationed in orbit. Today, there is much work to be done to address contemporary military capabilities in space,” he said. Thompson wrote the paper as an independent research project supervised by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman. His column based on the paper appeared in the Lawfare blog. Now serving in the JAG Corps, he was a Thomas Beasley Scholar at VLS, where he earned his law degree through the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program. He earned his undergraduate degree with honors at West Point.
SUBMITTED BY CORT THOMPSON
Thompson's paper, "Avoiding Pyrrhic Victories in Orbit: A Need for Anti-Satellite Arms Control in the 21st Century," was published in the SMU Journal of Air Law and Commerce.
Cort Thompson introduced Gen. Michael V. Hayden for the 2019 Chancellor’s Lecture Series.
Kevin Witenoff ’21 selected as ACS Next Generation Leader Kevin Witenoff was one of 26 law students nationwide selected by the American Constitution Society as a Next Generation Leader. Students are selected for the honor based on their leadership qualities and engagement with ACS. Witenoff was president of the VLS chapter of the ACS and served as an ACS Communications Fellow in Washington, D.C., before law school.
Class of 2020
Micah N. Bradley of Brentwood, Tennessee, received the Founder’s Medal signifying first honors for the Class of 2020. Bradley also received the Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize, awarded to the member of the second-year law class who maintained the highest scholastic average during the two years, and the Archie B. Martin Memorial Prize for Scholarship, awarded to the student of the first-year law class who earned the highest general average for the year. She was senior en banc editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and articles editor of the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review. As a 2L, she was a Legal Writing teaching assistant. Bradley is a law clerk for Judge Eli Richardson ’92 of the Middle District of Tennessee in 2020–21. She is the daughter of Lori Michelle Bradley (MS’90).
Amber Banks ’20 receives 2020 Equal Justice Works award Amber Banks is one of eight law students honored by Equal Justice Works with its 2020 Regional Public Interest Award. Equal Justice Works is a national nonprofit organization that facilitates opportunities for lawyers and law students to engage in public service. Banks was a Garrison Social Justice Scholar at Vanderbilt. She also was honored by her classmates with the Class of 2020 Philip G. Davidson Award, presented to the graduate “chosen by the Vanderbilt Bar Association Board of Governors, who is dedicated to the law and its problem-solving role in society, and who provides exemplary leadership in service to the law school and the greater community.” 8
2020 grads Joe Sandford and Willoe DeFuccio named Gideon’s Promise Fellows Willoe DeFuccio and Joseph Sandford have entered practice as Gideon’s Promise Fellows through the organization’s Law School Partnership Project. Fellows selected for the three-year program are assigned to public defenders’ offices in areas where more lawyers are needed to serve indigent clients. DeFuccio joined the Mecklenburg Defenders in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sandford joined the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office in Knoxville, Tennessee. A native of Pittstown, New Jersey, DeFuccio became interested in criminal justice when she volunteered at a local juvenile justice facility as a freshman at the University of Richmond. She recalls being stunned to discover that juveniles received the same treatment as adult prisoners. “The juvenile correctional centers in Virginia operated like adult jails,” she said. “The residents would come in
shackles.” She cites her Actual Innocence class with Professor Terry Maroney and her Mental Health Law class with Professor Christopher Slobogin as particularly impactful. Sandford also entered law school intent on working as a public defender. “Everybody is entitled to a full and fair hearing in court no matter where they come from,” he said. A native of Princeton, New Jersey, who earned his undergraduate degree at Syracuse University, Sandford worked at the Office of the Federal Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee in summer 2018 and at the Knox County Public Defender’s Office in summer 2019. “The leadership, dedication and camaraderie within the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office was inspiring,” he said. “I knew this was an office where I would be supported as I embark on a career in indigent defense.”
2021 Bass Berry & Sims Moot Court winners Ashton Andrews ’22 and Emily Gray ’22 won the 2021 Bass Berry & Sims Moot Court Competition Feb. 5, receiving the John A. Cortner Award and a cash prize. Andrews and Gray faced finalists Aaron Bernard ’22 and Emily Webb ’22. The competition began in fall 2020 with 42 teams and 84 participants. Emily Detiveaux ’22 received the award for Best Oralist, and the team of Peter Byrne ’22 (BA '18) and Caylyn Harvey ’22 received the award for Best Brief. Under the leadership of Moot Court Chief Justice Kareim Oliphant ’21, Executive Justice Chandler Ray ’21 managed a team of third-year students who organized and ran the competition. The problem, which addressed First and Second Amendment rights, was written by executive problem editor Taylor Daniel ’21 and associate problem editors Austin Maffei ’21 and Stefan Berthelsen ’21. The competition’s final round was judged by Judge Carl E. Stewart of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, Judge Michael Y. Skudder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, and Judge Elizabeth L. Branch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. SUB MITTED
Micah Bradley receives Class of 2020 Founder’s Medal for First Honors
Seeking challenge and service in the law: Hannah Miller ’20 Hannah Miller welcomes a challenge—whether it’s leading route reconnaissance and convoy security missions, participating in multinational military training exercises, or preparing to serve in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The intellectual rigor of the JAG Corps inspired Miller, still an active-duty captain, to apply to the army’s Funded Legal Education Program. Miller’s husband, an infantry company commander stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, played a part in her choosing Vanderbilt. “I knew Vanderbilt punched above
After earning her undergraduate degree at Princeton University, where she was student commander of the ROTC program, Miller was commissioned as an army officer. “I thought of nothing more challenging than having just graduated from college and being in charge of 43 people with wildly different experiences and backgrounds,” she said. “It sounded like such an exciting yet daunting experience, and it was not only a way for me to serve my country, but also to challenge myself.” Miller was a platoon leader, executive officer and battalion staff officer in an army military police unit stationed in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Working with foreign military and police forces, she traveled across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Ukraine.
weight for its law program, but I also wanted to attend because of the university’s proximity to a military base,” she said. She appreciates the mentorship she’s received from professors such as Professor of the Practice of Law Michael A. Newton, who also earned his law degree as an army officer. “Professors here go out of their way to take students under their wing,” Miller said. Her education was aided by the Thomas W. Beasley Endowment Fund, which supports VLS students who are military veterans or in service. Miller is working in the Army’s JAG Corps and plans to clerk for Judge Amul Thapar of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2023. “The U.S. military is a fighting force that believes in operating with fundamental respect for the rule of law, and I want to be a part of that,” she said. “I also look forward to the opportunity to practice all types of law—from assisting soldiers with individual legal needs, to prosecuting criminal cases, to advising commanders in the heat of things.”
2020 George Barrett Social Justice Fellow: Funmi Akinnawonu ’20 convictions or charges because they are less likely to find outside representation from other legal nonprofits.” Akinnawonu feels well-prepared to start work representing immigration clients. Her parents immigrated to the United Kingdom, where she was born, from Nigeria, and later immigrated to the United States, settling on Long Island, New York. They became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2013. “As a child I watched my father navigating the immigration process and found it very interesting,” she said. The fellowship is provided through the George Barrett Social Justice Program, which was endowed by Darren Robbins ’93 in honor of his friend and mentor, the nationally renowned civil rights lawyer George E. Barrett ’57.
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As Vanderbilt’s 2020 George Barrett Social Justice Fellow, Funmi Akinnawonu represents undocumented immigrants as an attorney at the Mississippi Center for Justice. Akinnawonu became aware of the need for legal services supporting immigrants at MCJ while working at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Jackson in summer 2019, after immigration authorities arrested and detained 680 undocumented workers at seven poultry plants in Mississippi on the first day of school, leaving many children with no adult at home. “Some individuals were quickly released, but some remained in detention for months,” Akinnawonu recalled. “I saw lawyers coming together to represent these immigrants, and the Mississippi Center for Justice was coordinating the work of legal groups and pro bono attorneys. I will focus on individuals with criminal
106 VLS students worked pro bono for judges, government agencies and law offices, and nonprofits in summer 2020. Students received either school-funded stipend support or course credit for their work in unpaid legal positions in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and three foreign nations, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland. They worked as legal interns with federal and state government agencies and judicial chambers, for attorneys general, district attorneys and public defenders, in state and municipal legal offices, with public interest and advocacy organizations, and in corporate legal offices. “Every summer, our stipend funds enable Vanderbilt Law students to gain practical legal experience by doing unpaid work in judicial chambers and law offices throughout the country and abroad,” said Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Susan Kay ’79. SPRING 2021
Faculty in the News Sara Mayeux’s new book chronicles history of public defenders
starting in the 1910s and 1920s, when several California counties established the nation’s first public defender's offices. But in other parts of the country, particularly on the East Coast, elite corporate lawyers remained convinced that the legal profession should remain independent from the government and sought to establish private organizations, sometimes known as “voluntary defenders,” to provide lawyers for indigent criminal defendants without depending on public funding. However, Mayeux found, the private approach proved unsustainable. “By the 1960s, when the Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright, most lawyers embraced public funding for indigent defense, at least in theory,” Mayeux said. “But actually securing public funding was challenging.” This complex history resulted in an uneven patchwork of funding sources and institutional arrangements for indigent defense, a pattern that has persisted to the present day. “I heard a lot about the indigent defense crisis when I was in law school, and you still hear about it today,” she said. “The word ‘crisis’ implies a problem that has suddenly become acute and needs an urgent fix. But the language of ‘crisis’ has been a permanent feature of discussions of indigent defense ever since Gideon enshrined the constitutional right to counsel. “We need to have a deep conversation about what criminal courts are supposed to do and whether equal justice would require structural changes to the legal profession itself. But, historically, there hasn’t been much interest in having that conversation,” she said.
The Hall-Hartman Awards are a long-standing Vanderbilt tradition recognizing faculty whose teaching is deemed outstanding in each first-year student section and for large and small upper-level elective courses. The awards are named in honor of former professors Donald J. Hall and Paul Hartman, both of whom spent their academic careers at Vanderbilt and were revered for their teaching. “These awards are hard to win because we have so many outstanding teachers on our faculty, so they are coveted,” Dean Chris Guthrie said. “Professors cherish this recognition because it comes directly from the students they’ve taught this year.” Stack, Serkin and Sharfstein were recognized for first-year teaching by each of the three 1L sections. Yadav and Wuerth were recognized for upper-level teaching, and Lee as outstanding adjunct professor.
SA NDY CA MPBELL
Legal historian Sara Mayeux’s recently published book, Free Justice: A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth-Century America, chronicles the national debate over public defenders, starting with the establishment of the first public defender’s office in Los Angeles County in 1914. Mayeux discovered that public defender’s offices, as government-funded agencies that provide lawyers for indigent criminal defendants, have a surprisingly contentious history. “The standard story you hear is that lawyers are committed to the right to counsel for indigent criminal defendants, and the reason defendants often don’t have access to effective counsel is because politicians and voters don’t understand this right and won’t provide adequate funding,” Mayeux said. “But historically, the legal profession was divided for a long time about how to provide counsel for indigent criminal defendants.” In the early 20th century, lawyers immersed in a culture of private practice were often ambivalent about public funding for criminal defense or setting up government-operated defenders’ offices. By 1963, when the Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that any citizen charged with a crime had the constitutional right to legal counsel, lawyers had become more open to public funding for indigent defense, but most still saw private practice as the default model. “The legal profession has been good at giving lip service to the ideals of criminal legal representation for indigent clients, but not as successful at putting those ideals into action,” she said. Free Justice traces the development of public defender reform proposals
2020 Hall-Hartman Outstanding Teaching Award winners: Chris Serkin, Dan Sharfstein, Kevin Stack, Yesha Yadav, Ingrid Wuerth and Debra Lee
Samar S. Ali has joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as a research professor of political science and law. Ali is on leave of absence from her legal practice at Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville while serving on the Vanderbilt faculty. She will co-direct the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy with Jon Meacham, who holds the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in American Presidency, and John Geer, Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science. Ali’s impressive resume includes serving as a law clerk to Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. ’60 of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Edwin Cameron on the Constitutional Court of South Africa; a year as a White House Fellow in President Barack Obama’s
administration; and as the state of Tennessee’s assistant commissioner of international affairs under former Gov. Bill Haslam. She was a co-founder of the Lodestone Advisory Group, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in growth strategies through innovation, venture capital, global markets and transformation, and recently co-founded Millions of Conversations, a nonprofit organization that aims to unite Americans around common values by fostering dialogue among those who hold different opinions, views or beliefs. She is a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations, a Winrock International board member, and a recipient of the White House Fellows IMPACT Award.
SUBMIT T E D
Samar Ali ’06 (BA’03) joins VU faculty as research professor
She is an adviser to the Aspen Institute’s initiative “Who Is Us: A Project on American Identity,” and is a New Pluralist Fellow. Ali has taught on Vanderbilt’s adjunct law faculty, serves on the law school’s Board of Advisors and has received the university’s Young Professional Achievement Award.
Rossi and Serkin win 2020 Morrison Prize for sustainability scholarship Jim Rossi and Christopher Serkin received the 2020 Morrison Prize for best scholarship in environmental law with their co-authored paper “Energy Exactions,” published in the Cornell Law Review. Rossi holds the Judge D.L. Lansden Chair in Law and serves as associate dean for research; Serkin holds the Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law and serves as associate Rossi dean for academic affairs. Both are affiliated with the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program at Vanderbilt Law School. Their paper proposes that the use of “exactions”—fees Serkin
or other requirements routinely imposed by local governments on real estate developers to ensure they bear all or a portion of the cost burdens their development projects place on schools, roads, water and other local services—be extended to include the cost of the additional energy burden each new real estate project creates. “This is one essential type of cost burden that is seldom accounted for up front,” Rossi said. “That’s a missed opportunity in several ways, including planning for sustainable energy.” “We propose that local municipalities could use exactions to hold real estate developers more accountable for their impacts on the electricity system,” Serkin said. “Municipal governments and developers are both familiar with exactions; expanding their use to include their impact on the energy infrastructure is both practical and fair.” Rossi and Serkin argue that energy exactions could be a powerful tool to encourage developers to incorporate energy-saving technologies, rooftop solar and other sustainable energy strategies into new projects. Adding
such requirements to the land-use permitting process, they write, also would improve long-term planning by changing a system that relies on state regulators and private utilities to make most decisions governing energy demand into a process that directly involves local governments and real estate developers. Local energy exactions also could produce valuable information about energy demand, diversify risks in infrastructure investment, and encourage intergovernmental competition to promote grid reliability and carbon reduction, they argue, resulting in significant improvement over conventional state utilityplanning and rate-setting. “Energy Exactions” is the second work by a pair of Vanderbilt scholars to receive the Morrison Prize since the competition began in 2015. In 2017, Michael Vandenbergh, who holds a David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law, and Jonathan Gilligan, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, won the prize for their book Beyond Gridlock, which addressed the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the private sector.
Slobogin honored with VU’s Harvie Branscomb award
Slobogin holds a Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, directs the Criminal Justice Program and serves as an affiliate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. He has taken a leadership role in drafting model statutes to govern policing, in addressing issues of mental disability and the death penalty, and in advocating for protection of privacy in the modern age. Slobogin has served as reporter for three American Bar Association task forces addressing law enforcement and technology, the insanity defense and mental disability and the death penalty. He chaired the ABA’s task force charged with revising the Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards and the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project’s Florida Assessment Team. He currently is an associate reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of Police Investigation Project.
SA NDY CA MPBELL
Christopher Slobogin was honored with Vanderbilt University’s 2020 Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award. The award, established in 1963 to pay tribute to Vanderbilt’s fourth chancellor, recognizes one member of the Vanderbilt faculty each year for creative research and teaching and service to students, colleagues and society at large.
Newton appointed to the Arctic Research Commission Michael A. Newton, professor of the practice of law, has been named to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent agency that advises the president and Congress on domestic and international Arctic research through its recommendations and reports. Newton is one of eight commissioners tasked with establishing national policy, priorities and goals for scientific research related to the Arctic region. He works with other commissioners and agency staff to develop and recommend national Arctic research policy, implement the federal plan for basic and applied scientific research programs, and advise the president, Congress and government agencies. Newton is an expert on the law of the sea, human rights law, national security, transnational justice and issues related to conduct of hostilities. Before entering the legal academy, he served in the U.S. Army for more than 21 years. At Vanderbilt, he developed and teaches the innovative International Law Practice Lab.
Sitaraman named an ACUS public member
SANDY CAMP BELL
Ganesh Sitaraman was named a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, becoming one of 40 ACUS members selected from the private sector. Sitaraman directs the Program on Law and Government. His current research addresses issues in constitutional, administrative and foreign relations law. ACUS members include experts across legal, business, nonprofit and academic arenas who recommend improvements to federal government regulatory and administrative processes. Sitaraman is the second public member appointed to the ACUS from the Vanderbilt Law faculty. Kevin Stack, who holds the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Chair in Law, was named a public member in 2018. Sitaraman also was elected a member of the American Law Institute. ALI is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law. He is the author, most recently, of The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America (Basic Books, 2019).
Clarke wins Dukeminier Prize for journal article
SA NDY CAMPBELL
“They, Them and Theirs,” a 2019 Harvard Law Review article by Jessica Clarke, received a 2020 Dukeminier Prize from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Clarke is the FedEx Research Professor and co-directs the Social Justice Program. Clarke’s article is one of four articles published in the 2018–19 academic year recognized with a prestigious Dukeminier Award. “They, Them and Theirs” is Clarke’s second article to be published in the Dukeminier Awards Journal and recognized with the Michael Cunningham Prize; her Duke Law Journal article “Inferring Desire” received the prize in 2015. In “They, Them and Theirs,” Clarke explores a legal frontier—the treatment of individuals with nonbinary gender identities—from a practical standpoint. “People with nonbinary gender identities do not exclusively identify as men or women, but most cases addressing transgender rights involve plaintiffs seeking recognition as men or women,” she explained. “My article asks what the law would look like if it took nonbinary gender seriously.”
Ricks selected as Chancellor Faculty Fellow
Morgan Ricks was one of 10 faculty members from across the university selected for the 2020 cohort of Vanderbilt University Chancellor Faculty Fellows. Ricks, who studies financial regulation, is the law school’s current Enterprise Scholar. He joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 2012 after serving from 2009 to 2010 as a senior policy adviser and financial restructuring expert at the U.S. Treasury Department, where he focused primarily on financial stability initiatives and capital markets policy. His book The Money Problem: Rethinking Financial Regulation was published in 2016 by the University of Chicago Press. Ricks testified before the House Financial Services Committee in June 2020 as part of a panel that also included former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo ’84. They delivered their testimony during a virtual hearing on the topic of inclusive banking held by the committee’s Task Force on Financial Technology, which explored options for distributing stimulus benefits during the economic shutdown created by the COVID-19 pandemic to low-income individuals and small businesses with no bank accounts.
Blumstein and Yadav appointed to Civil Rights Advisory Committee
James F. Blumstein and Yesha Yadav have been appointed to four-year terms on the Tennessee Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Blumstein has served four terms on the committee, including two as chair; Yadav is serving her second consecutive term. Blumstein is the University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy, professor of management at Owen Graduate School of Management and director of the Vanderbilt Health Policy Center. A renowned expert in constitutional law, he ranks among the nation’s most prominent scholars of health law, law and medicine, and voting rights. Yadav is the Robert Belton Director and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Community at the law school, where she also is a Chancellor Faculty Fellow and faculty co-director of the LL.M. Program. She worked on a major report released by the committee last year on legal financial obligations, addressing penal debt. The report sounded an alarm about the widespread use of legal financial obligation as a means of directly funding the Tennessee criminal justice system, cautioning that such funding methods may have unintended negative consequences that are contrary to the important state policies of promoting the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals and ensuring a just, fair and equitable criminal justice system in Tennessee. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency whose mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws.
2020 Cecil Sims Lecture: Justice Neil M. Gorsuch
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Who the president was and who appointed the judge had very little to do with the disposition of cases.
2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture: Judge Carlton W. Reeves
During a wide-ranging conversation with Professor Tim Meyer on Nov. 10, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Supreme Court discussed the differences between serving as a federal appellate judge and a Supreme Court justice, his judicial philosophy, the importance of an impartial justice system, and how the Supreme Court decides which cases to hear. The discussion, held via Zoom conference due to the pandemic, was part of the Cecil Sims Lecture Series, established in 1972 to “bring to Vanderbilt Law School distinguished men and women with extensive legal experience to associate informally with faculty and students.” Justice Gorsuch is the ninth Supreme Court justice to speak at VLS through the series, which also has hosted six attorneys general. Gorsuch emphasized the courts’ important, long-standing role as an impartial arbiter of legal disputes. “I’ve been a lawyer and a judge for a long time,” he said. “As a lawyer, all I wanted was a fair shake for my client, and I felt like I was playing by rules that were fair, known in advance and would be followed. I came to have great respect for members of the judiciary. They became friends as well as heroes.” When appointed to a seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch joined a small cadre of 180 federal appellate judges nationwide, handled a diverse range of appeals from district courts in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, and served with judges appointed by presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama. The cases that reached the appeals court were the hard cases, he said, emphasizing that judges with diverse backgrounds and perspectives nevertheless usually reached unanimous decisions. “Who the president was and who appointed the judge had very little to do with the disposition of cases,” he said. Justice Gorsuch ended his discussion by urging students in the audience to consider judicial clerkships. “I think you’ll find the opportunity early in your career will change your life and enrich it in ways that are very
difficult to foresee,” he said. “You’re likely to get a lot more experience than you would in other settings. I don’t think there’s a better investment, at any age, in yourself. Not only is the experience instrumentally useful, but it’s extremely valuable.” The Cecil Sims Lecture Series honors Cecil Sims, a 1914 first-honor graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and a founding member of the Nashville-based firm of Bass, Berry & Sims.
Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the Southern District of Mississippi delivered the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture on Jan. 26 via Zoom. Judge Reeves’ talk addressed how King’s legacy should inform the response to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “King would not have been surprised at violence against democracy,” he said, adding that King also would urge Americans to “indict the system that spurred fear and violence.” Judge Reeves was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2010. He was the first person in his family to attend a four-year college. He entered legal practice as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court of Mississippi after earning his law degree at the University of Virginia and serving as a law clerk for Justice Reuben V. Anderson of the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Strong Hold The unlikely success of an upstart high school wrestling program created an enduring bond between an alum and an undergrad that goes well beyond the MAT.
BY SETH ROBERTSON 16
Isiah Franklin had faced his share of uphill battles. Among the more grueling were the ones that involved an actual hill outside his high school in Huntsville, Alabama. During wrestling season, his coach, Chris Scribner ’20, would shout encouragement as Franklin and his teammates ran drills up the grassy slope, taking turns carrying each other piggyback until their knees wobbled from fatigue.
ut as difficult as it was for the wrestlers to prepare for the physical rigors of competition, Scribner found it equally daunting to teach basic wrestling skills to a team of boys whose familiarity with the sport was limited to the outlandish professional wrestling matches on television. At the insistence of his principal, Scribner had started the wrestling program at J.O. Johnson High School by gathering a group of boys, Franklin included. He knew that, to compete against the best in the state, the novice wrestlers had to conquer a steep learning curve. Franklin recalls learning a valuable lesson from wrestling: not to give in to the grip of adversity. In matches where he found himself locked in a struggle, the instructions Scribner shouted across the mat were his lifeline. Sometimes Scribner advised him on technique, suggesting ways to adjust his position to gain leverage on his opponent. Sometimes he simply urged Franklin to dig in his heels and keep fighting. Scribner’s coaching and encouragement worked. Franklin went from a lanky freshman who knew almost nothing about wrestling to placing third in his weight division at the Alabama state championships his senior year. His drive and commitment carried over to the classroom too. Despite the odds stacked against him, Franklin
graduated from high school and was accepted to Vanderbilt. “When Isiah called to tell me he’d been accepted to Vanderbilt, I was in the airport and just started crying. I actually missed my flight,” Scribner recalled. Scribner had come to Johnson in 2013 through the Teach for America program, which recruits recent college graduates to teach at low-income schools. The remarkable story of the wrestling program he started at Johnson became the subject of an awardwinning documentary, Wrestle, that aired on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2019. The film follows Franklin and three other promising wrestlers as they struggle—at home, at school, on the mat—through a single season of their newfound sport. But what the film doesn’t touch on—and what makes the story even more extraordinary—is how Scribner’s work at Johnson spawned a nonprofit, the CAP and GOWN Project, which provides underrepresented Huntsville high school students opportunities to tour college campuses, improve their ACT scores and engage in STEM education. CAP and GOWN is the reason Franklin applied to Vanderbilt. It’s also why Scribner continued to make the 200-mile round trip to Huntsville each week throughout law school. Although he was no longer employed as a teacher and coach at Johnson, the community on
Huntsville’s north side always will be a second home to him. And if the bond he shares with Franklin is any indication, there likewise will always be a place in Scribner’s life for the students he helped mentor.
Going to the MAT In many ways there couldn’t be a starker contrast between Scribner and the students he taught and coached at Johnson. For one, he’s from New York City—a place far removed from Huntsville, geographically and culturally. His wrestling team members had known hardship and disappointment from an early age, a stark contrast to Scribner’s privileged upbringing. But Scribner also knows from personal experience just how precarious one’s teenage years can be. After developing a substance abuse problem in high school, he nearly squandered every advantage afforded him. The documentary includes a moving scene in which Scribner details his own struggles to a student battling drug addiction. “I got kicked out of high school for continuing to drink and take drugs despite many interventions,” Scribner said. “I would make these sweeping proclamations that I was going to quit for good this time, and then two weeks later, two days later, two hours later, I’d find myself loaded on something.”
After completing a recovery program, Scribner earned a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in journalism at Georgetown University. Initially, he planned to pursue a career in Washington, D.C., and got a job in 2011 as a deputy press secretary for U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D–N.Y. But the 2012 mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, changed Scribner’s perspective. “It was frustrating to see nothing happen after the parents lobbied Congress for better gun control,” he said. “That’s when I decided to join Teach for America. I realized I could do more to positively impact people’s lives as a teacher than I could as a congressional aide.” Assigned to Johnson as a ninth-grade world history teacher, Scribner decided to volunteer as a coach. He ran track in college, so assisting the track team seemed a natural fit. But Roderick Tomlin, the school’s assistant principal, had something else in mind. “Mr. Tomlin had been an instructor at the Marines drill instructor school. He was literally a drill instructor for drill instructors,” Scribner 18
recalled with a laugh. “I asked him if I could coach track, and he said no, but that I could coach wrestling instead. He’s an intimidating guy—you just say yes to whatever he says. So of course I said yes.” What Scribner didn’t realize was that Johnson had no wrestling program. No one on staff had ever coached the sport. There was no equipment and no uniforms, nor was there a place for the team to practice. None of the students had any wrestling experience. Scribner had been a varsity wrestler in high school, so he at least knew what was needed to get the program off the ground. “Because I was a new teacher who wanted to make a positive impression, I told myself, ‘OK, let’s do this,’” he said. “And honestly, it was exciting because of all the pushback I got. The more obstacles there were, the more determined I became.” Scribner began raising money for the team. Several fellow teachers and his family members offered financial support. He put bills that weren’t covered through these efforts on his personal credit card. He also staked claim to a storage area at Johnson, transforming it into
the wrestling room. “It was this dark corner at the back of the school. There was no ventilation, no heat, no AC,” he recalled. “But we did have power, so there’s that.” As many as 30 boys came to the tryouts that fall “thinking it would be like WWE wrestling,” Scribner recalled. As the reality and demands of the sport sank in, the team’s numbers dwindled. By the start of the season, the Johnson team had 14 wrestlers—the bare minimum needed to compete. Franklin was an eighth grader when Scribner started the program, and he joined the team the following year. Like his predecessors, he had no inkling of what would be expected of him. “I was one of the worst wrestlers. It was horrible,” he remembered. “Coach Scribner got onto me about being soft, and I remember telling him that I was a lover, not a fighter.” Scribner has similar memories of Franklin’s freshman year. “Isiah was one of the naturally least talented kids we ever had try out. He was so lanky and physically weak that I was legitimately scared whenever he’d wrestle,” Scribner said. “I wasn’t a law student yet, but I worried about liability.” But Franklin knuckled down in the weight room and on the mat to transform himself into a formidable wrestler. During his sophomore year he was part of a team that capped its most successful season ever with an eighth-place finish at the state championships. By his junior year, he placed sixth in the state.
Franklin’s transformation wasn’t just physical. Wrestling helped him see beyond the bleak confines of his north Huntsville neighborhood to a broader world of possibilities, including becoming the first person in his family to attend college—an aim he might never have taken seriously had it not been for Scribner. “I gained a lot of humility and confidence through wrestling,” he said. “But it also provided me a sort of peace. I have a tattoo on my chest that says ‘SERENITY.’ I got it because of the serenity prayer we’d say after every practice.”
Campus Paths The story of the Jaguars wrestling program is really a tale of two schools: J.O. Johnson, where Scribner launched the wrestling team, and the school that replaced it, Mae Jemison High School, named for the Alabama native who was the first African American woman in space. After Johnson was forced to close its doors in 2016 after years on the Alabama Department of Education’s “failing schools” list, Franklin and his classmates were assigned to Jemison. Starting Franklin’s junior year, the Johnson Jaguars became the Jemison Jaguars,
and Scribner moved to Jemison to continue teaching and coaching wrestling. While he and his fellow teachers hadn’t been able to save Johnson from shuttering, they had been doing everything possible to give their students a leg up. In 2014, Scribner and fellow teacher Emily Heller used surplus funds Scribner had raised for the wrestling team to organize a trip for Johnson students to tour Nashville college campuses. Their very first stop on that trip: Vanderbilt Law School, where a friend of Scribner’s, Eric Steinberg ’16 (MBA), had agreed to show the group around. “The point was to get the students stoked for college and just give them some purpose in high school,” Scribner said. “The trip made a big impression. The kids kept talking about it for months afterward.” Scribner’s and Heller’s efforts evolved into a nonprofit, CAP and GOWN, which stands for Create Academic Pathways and Guide Others Wherever Needed, which has helped students from Johnson and Jemison visit more than 70 college campuses and helped increase the schools’ college matriculation rate by more than 600 percent. Franklin went on several CAP and GOWN trips, including two to Nashville as a sophomore and a senior. The trips yielded plenty of memorable moments, including being among the 50-some-odd students invited into the small apartment of Alice Randall, the best-selling author and writer-in-residence in African American and diaspora studies. But what stands out to Franklin and Scribner about the second trip in particular is a fateful encounter with Suzanna Sherry, the Herman O. Loewenstein Professor of Law. By that time, Scribner was a first-year law student taking one of Sherry’s classes. Franklin sat in on it, and afterward Scribner introduced him to her. “Isiah obviously had read and understood the material and had figured out for himself that some of the doctrine was internally
Coach Scribner got onto me about being soft, and I remember telling him that I was a lover, not a fighter.
inconsistent—which is more than some law students can do in their first semester,” she recalled. “I knew then that he was a special young man who was going to do great things with his life. I immediately talked to our dean of admissions here at the law school and asked him to convey to the undergraduate admissions people how impressed I was with Isiah.” At Vanderbilt, Franklin faced another uphill battle: adapting to college life as a first-generation student. He admits that the transition wasn’t easy. “In the beginning it was a matter of feeling like the students around me had a lot of money and I didn’t,” Franklin said. “But eventually I became friends with many of them. That was the best part. Everybody I encountered is so different, but we all share the same hunger to succeed.” Reflecting on his own Vanderbilt experience, Scribner said he appreciates how the law school community balances being “both competitive and yet friendly and tight-knit at the same time.” He also makes a point of mentioning two professors—Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller and Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law Chris Slobogin—for the impact their teaching had upon him. Slobogin’s insights on mental health law and criminal law have been of particular interest because Scribner has seen firsthand how closely the two are entwined in many of his students’ lives. But if he had to single out one highlight of being at Vanderbilt, it would be the time he was able to spend with Franklin. Their friendship has now spanned three schools— Johnson, Jemison and Vanderbilt—and seems to have only gotten stronger. At Vanderbilt, Scribner looked out for Franklin like an older brother would, reminding him to check his email and buy allergy medicine, while taking care not to be too intrusive. “To be honest, the best part has been being able to attend the same school as Isiah,” Scribner said. “It’s probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened in my whole life.” Chris Scribner has joined the U.S. Army JAG Corps and holds the rank of captain. Isiah Franklin plans to graduate from Vanderbilt in 2022.
BY GRACE RENSHAW
A Sense of
BELONGING at Vanderbilt
The endowment of a permanent director of the Diversity, Equity and Community Office in honor of the late Professor Robert Belton enables VLS to build on its long-term commitment to diversity, inclusion and racial justice. 20
“My father truly enjoyed teaching at the law school, specifically the vigorous debates he had with students in and outside the classroom around equity. It’s an honor that the Diversity, Equity and Community directorship will bear his name, as that demonstrates the impact he had within the VLS community. My family looks forward to attending DEC lectures, and we thank the donors who made the endowed position possible.” — Keith Belton
One evening in the fall of 1956, Fred Work ’59 received a warning phone call from his classmate Melvin Porter ’59. Work and Porter had just entered Vanderbilt Law School as the first two African American students admitted.* They had arrived on the first day of class to find white sheets of paper covered with black dots affixed to every tree leading to Kirkland Hall, where the law school was then located. “This was not a sign of welcome,” Work recalled in a 2007 interview. Porter informed Work that a carload of white people was en route to his house. When Work’s doorbell rang 10 minutes later, he peered out the window to see his front porch crowded with white men. Work was wearing a pair of slacks and a robe. He considered not answering the door but then recalled that his family had an antique pistol. He tucked it into the pocket of his robe and opened the door. To his surprise, he was greeted by a wellintentioned group of Vanderbilt Law alumni. Embarrassed by negative articles about the law school’s integration that had appeared in local newspapers, the men wanted to assure
Work and Porter that they were welcome at Vanderbilt Law School. “They had come to encourage us and offer to help us in any way they could,” Work said. Work invited the visitors in. After they left, he exhaled and took the gun out of his robe to put it away. It went off, barely missing his foot. Work was living with his parents, who taught at Fisk University. “You can imagine what a commotion that caused,” he said. Vanderbilt became the first Southern law school to integrate with the admission of Work and Porter in 1956.* But both men recalled their first year at Vanderbilt as stressful. “The
faculty were very helpful, and Dean [John] Wade was committed to the success of this process,” Work recalled. “But certainly some students—especially those in leadership positions—could have been more instrumental in making the atmosphere better.” Making the atmosphere at Vanderbilt better is one of many important goals of the law school’s Diversity, Equity and Community Office, formed last summer by Dean Chris Guthrie with support from faculty, students and staff. “Lawyers can bring about tangible progress toward building a more democratic, just and equal society,” Guthrie said. “We want
*The Vanderbilt Law School: Aspirations and Realities by D. Don Welch (Vanderbilt University Press, 2008)
to foster an atmosphere at VLS where people with diverse backgrounds, identities and perspectives all feel welcome and included and find opportunities to learn and contribute, and we want to educate lawyers who will bring that perspective to their work and communities wherever they live and practice.” Placing the law school’s diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives under the oversight of a single office with a dedicated director was a key recommendation of three task forces of faculty, students and staff. Guthrie formed the groups last June after the deaths of several Black Americans as a result of police brutality and racial violence sparked a much-needed national conversation about systemic inequities in the criminal justice system. “I wanted to identify immediate actions and long-term initiatives we should take as a faculty, staff and student body to address racial inequities and injustices at the law school, in our community and beyond,” he said. Anonymous donors soon stepped forward to endow a permanent position directing the new office in honor of the late Professor Robert Belton, who became the law school’s first Black tenured faculty member in 1982. Guthrie is excited about the opportunity to build on the law school’s history of supporting diversity and inclusion, which started with Wade’s decision to integrate the law school in 1955, almost a decade before Vanderbilt University admitted its first Black undergraduates. He also is gratified to see Belton’s legacy honored in such a meaningful way. “Bob Belton was a pioneering lawyer and employment law scholar who took very seriously his role as a mentor to our students,”
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Belton taught at VLS for 35 years.
Guthrie said. “By funding a permanent director of our Diversity, Equity and Community programs in his honor, two generous and thoughtful donors have anchored our program and solidified Bob’s legacy as a role model and teacher.” Belton joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 1975 after 10 years of legal practice, and he taught for 35 years before retiring in 2009. His prior work included five years as a litigator with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he led a national civil rights litigation campaign to enforce a then-new federal law prohibiting employment discrimination based on race and sex. Belton played a major role in a landmark Supreme Court civil rights case decided in 1971; his book, The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace: The Griggs v. Duke Power Story, was published in 2014, two years after his death. Like Fred Work and Melvin Porter, Belton understood the pressures of being a pioneer. He had practiced at one of the first integrated law firms in North Carolina after earning both of his degrees at two majority white universities in the Northeast in the early days of integration. His recollection of the isolation he and his fellow Black students felt while earning degrees at the University of Connecticut and Boston University School of Law motivated him to advocate for minority students and faculty at Vanderbilt. As the first to hold the title of Robert Belton Director of Diversity, Equity and Community, Associate Dean Yesha Yadav balances the weight of responsibility she feels for launching the office with her excitement about the office’s mission of building a more
inclusive and anti-racist community in every area of law school life. She and Guthrie both emphasize that establishing a permanent office of Diversity, Equity and Community is a foundational step. “For me, the most important thing was how willing Dean Guthrie and the administration were to put resources, ideas and support behind this office and see it succeed and flourish at the law school,” Yadav said. “Since this is a brand-new office, it feels like a startup—one that means something incredibly important to me.” Since her appointment last July, Yadav has worked with members of the law school’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is a group of student leaders, faculty and staff that Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Chris Meyers first assembled as an informal working group. “We have a unique culture that makes Vanderbilt different from other law schools,” Meyers said. “I thought, what if we all got together and explored how we could do a better job as an institution of ensuring the student experience of our culture is equally welcoming and inclusive for everyone?” Students found the meetings so valuable and productive they asked Meyers to make the EDI Council permanent; it’s now an advisory group of representatives from each of the law school’s nine affinity groups that works with faculty and staff on a variety of initiatives. Yadav had served as the council’s first faculty adviser. When she accepted the appointment to head the new DEC office, she turned to Meyers and council members, including Black Law Students Association President Samantha Furman ’21, for help planning activities and initiatives the new DEC program could launch during the pandemic. By that time, it was midsummer, and both Furman and Yadav knew they were unlikely to be on campus in the fall. Furman had chosen to take her 3L classes remotely and Yadav to teach her classes on the Zoom platform. “Promoting unity and diversity is especially challenging when members of our community cannot meet in person,” Furman said. Continued on page 25
“As lawyers, we aspire to uphold the rule of law, ensure equal treatment for all and protect individual rights.” – Dean Chris Guthrie
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'The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace' Willie Griggs filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and 12 fellow African American employees against their employer, Duke Power Co., in 1970, in which he challenged the company’s “inside” transfer policy, which required employees who wanted to work in any department other than the lowest-paying Labor Department to have a high school education or achieve a minimum score on two standardized IQ tests. The requirements had been enacted after Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion. While Duke Power had stopped restricting Black employees to the Labor Department, the new requirements effectively perpetuated the race-based discriminatory policies the company had previously used to relegate Black employees to jobs that paid substantially less than those in departments where only whites worked. A district court dismissed Griggs’ claim and the Court of Appeals found no discriminatory practices. Robert Belton, who represented the plaintiffs for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argued the case in lower court. In his book, The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace (University of Kansas Press, 2014), he gives a firsthand account of the battle to put civil rights law to work. On March 8, 1971, the Supreme Court ruled that a “disparate impact” test could apply to policies and practices that had the effect of limiting employment opportunities for Blacks. When Belton died in 2012 after completing the book manuscript, legal historian Stephen L. Wasby edited the book for publication. “This book is the story Bob wanted to tell—about the Griggs case; about the Legal Defense Fund’s litigation campaign; about his colleagues at the LDF, … and about the law of equality in the workplace as it came into place in Griggs and other LDF cases and was maintained against the Supreme Court’s diminution of the LDF’s victories,” Wasby wrote in the book’s introduction. “This book is dedicated by Bob’s wife and children to his love of scholarly work.”
A Mentor for Life Brian Winfrey ’06 knew nothing about the field of employment law when he signed up for Professor Robert Belton’s Employment Discrimination law class as a 2L in fall 2004. “I signed up because he was one of the few Black tenured professors at Vanderbilt,” Winfrey recalled. “I wanted to take a class from a professor who looked like me.” Winfrey soon realized he had found his calling. “Professor Belton showed me how the practice of law could be utilized to further social change for people who looked like me,” he said. “I knew if I practiced employment law, I could have an impact on future generations that I might not have in another practice area.” Belton was an outstanding teacher. “The guy knew everything about employment law—he literally wrote our textbook,” Winfrey said. And he became Winfrey’s mentor for life. “I’d drop by his office every couple of weeks, and Professor Belton would share war stories about cases he’d worked on at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and in private practice, always over a glass of Jack Daniels, which was his personal favorite,” Winfrey said. Winfrey especially appreciated Belton’s stories about how growing up in the rural, segregated South had sparked his interest in fighting for equal employment opportunities for African Americans. “His high school teachers in High Point, North Carolina, were accomplished Ph.D.’s who could not get jobs anywhere else because of their race,” Winfrey said. With Belton’s encouragement, Winfrey applied for an internship at the Nashville office of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission’s National Labor Relations Board the following semester. His work there confirmed his career choice. He joined Ogletree Deakins after graduation and then moved to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, where he worked as a trial attorney before founding his own employee and plaintiff’s law firm in 2012. The Winfrey Firm merged with Morgan & Morgan, where Winfrey is now a member, in 2017. Winfrey now has his own war stories to share. He is particularly proud of the significant victory he and his co-counsel, Kathryn Barnett ’92 and Jason Gichner ’02, won on behalf of their client Patsey Thomas and her co-workers in Thomas v. Marshall County Board of Education. Thomas was an African American professional who was first demoted and then forced out of her executive position with the Marshall County School District for speaking out about workplace inequities. The case dragged on for four years.
Brian Winfrey ’06 found his career calling in Professor Robert Belton’s Employment Discrimination class
Thomas was ultimately awarded back pay and $500,000 in compensatory damages. But in an important way, her legal victory was priceless. “I felt like my dignity had been robbed by what happened,” she told a local newspaper reporter after the decision. “This verdict makes me believe that, in the end, truth and fairness will prevail.” Winfrey had been concerned about trying an employment discrimination case involving Black plaintiffs before an all-white jury and tracks his decision to take the case to his discussions with Belton about Griggs V. Duke Power and how to examine the disparate impact of employment policies. “The jury we ended up with was entirely Caucasian, and the case went to trial immediately after the election of Donald Trump, at a time when rhetoric and racial divisiveness were moving at an uptick,” Winfrey said. “That case was one of the hardest but most satisfying of my legal career, and at the end of the day, we saw that most people can see that wrongs still exist that need to be corrected.”
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With student leaders and school administrators all pitching in to help launch DEC’s new initiatives during the pandemic, the new office has developed several new programs to foster education, conversation and mentorship across the Vanderbilt community. These include a Dean’s Lecture Series on Race and Discrimination, featuring the work of an interdisciplinary group of nationally recognized scholars in civil rights, racial justice and discrimination, including law professor Daniel Sharfstein; leading historians Kimberly Welch, Brandon Byrd and Rhonda Williams; education and public policy expert Matthew Shaw; and renowned psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl. The DEC also started a community-wide Book Club on Racial Justice and Civil Rights, which featured Professors Sara Mayeux, Jessica Clarke, Terry Maroney and Sharfstein leading thoughtful, provocative discussions of Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste, Dorothy E. Roberts’ Fatal Invention, Paul Butler’s Chokehold and Kenneth Mack’s Representing the Race. Yadav also worked with the Career Services Office, the Alumni Office, the Vanderbilt Bar Association and the EDI Council to develop a DEC-sponsored Mentorship Program for Underrepresented Students designed to foster lifelong connections between alumni and current 2Ls and 3Ls. This fall, Meyers will launch another new program, 1Levate, to offer leadership training and mentoring to incoming 1L students from underrepresented communities. “1Levate is aimed at first-generation law students, who will be selected based on leadership potential,” he said. “The program will host a special orientation before regular student orientation and programming throughout the year, and students will be matched with a prominent local attorney who will mentor them throughout their 1L year.” VLS has taken another action this year that Furman considers crucial: Students are now more actively and systematically involved in
the recruitment of new faculty and staff. They also work more closely with Admissions staff in recruiting students for incoming classes. “We’ve seen tangible results of our involvement with faculty and student recruiting, and we’ve been able to connect with prospective students directly,” Furman said. Sickened by the video of George Floyd’s death last June, Furman and other members of BLSA’s executive board issued a statement asking the law school and the entire Vanderbilt community to stand in solidarity with students of color against police brutality and racism. “Everyone was unanimous about wanting to put out a statement—we felt it was our responsibility,” Furman recalled. “Any witness to that kind of murder would find it traumatizing, but to see it happen in the middle of the day in broad daylight felt like a total disregard for humanity.” Vanderbilt’s BLSA chapter joined with BLSA chapters throughout the U.S. issuing similar statements articulating students’ anger and fear in the wake of Floyd’s death and the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Sean Reed at the hands of police officers; the fatal shooting of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery by white residents of a South Georgia neighborhood who were arrested only months later after public outcry; and the death of Dallas resident Botham Jean, shot in his own apartment by an off-duty police officer. The VLS BLSA statement ended with a call to action: “We are calling on our classmates, faculty and the Vanderbilt University administration to stand with us in outwardly denouncing police brutality, white supremacy, and all forms of racial injustice by taking action.” Guthrie was determined to respond with concrete actions aimed at effecting long-term change—a strategy he believes is hard-wired into the law school’s culture. He points out that 2021 marks the 65th anniversary of a Ford Foundation Grant that enabled the law school to establish the Race Relations
Reporter, the first scholarly publication focusing exclusively on law related to race produced by a law school. Published from 1956 to 1972, the Reporter was initially funded by a $200,000 grant—a considerable amount at that time. “The Race Relations Law Reporter was established to present, in complete, objective fashion, the primary legal materials of the time dealing with the subject of race,” said former VLS Associate Dean Don Welch, whose history of Vanderbilt Law School was published in 2012. “It catapulted Vanderbilt onto the national scene. At one time, the Reporter had a circulation among legal periodicals second only to that of the Harvard Law Review.” The late Ted Smedley, who joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 1957 as the Reporter’s faculty director, recalled that the initial grant had been for a two-year period. “They—and we!—had the idea that most of the problems would be solved in that time,” Smedley later recalled. “That seems a little humorous now.” During the 16 years Vanderbilt published the Race Relations Reporter, the law school began admitting women in greater numbers and hired its first female tenure-track professor, Allaire Karzon, who received tenure in 1983, a year after Belton became Vanderbilt’s first Black tenured law professor. This spring, Vanderbilt Bar Association President Esther Lee ’21 worked with the EDI Council and the Women Law Students Association to organize a panel discussion addressing sexism in the legal profession and the difficulties women lawyers still experience in finding female mentors. “Law is still a maledominated profession,” Lee said. “We wanted to focus on building community for women in the law.” Affinity groups such as the Women Law Students Association, formed in the mid-1970s, have helped underrepresented students adapt to law school and the legal profession. Since WLSA’s establishment,
VLS students have formed OUTLaw, which supports LGBTQ students, and groups that support students of many ethnicities and religious traditions. BLSA and OUTLaw member Miles Malbrough ’22 credits the national outcry over police brutality this summer as heightening awareness of the need to take concrete actions to promote diversity in all aspects of law school life. “Not all of the journals had a diversity component as part of their write-on process before last summer, and now they do,” Malbrough said. “This year
student leaders were part of the interview process for faculty candidates, and we can now work with Admissions to help recruit a more diverse incoming class.” The endowment of a permanent director for the law school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Community in honor of Robert Belton, Guthrie believes, cements the law school’s institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion. Going forward, the office will support Admissions, Student Affairs and other law school departments and will partner with
the Social Justice, Public Interest, Criminal Justice and other academic programs to develop classes, research projects and opportunities for pro bono legal work designed to address systemic racial inequities and an inequitable criminal justice system. “As lawyers, we aspire to uphold the rule of law, ensure equal treatment for all and protect individual rights,” Guthrie said. “Last summer we saw how far we are from those aspirations. Our goal as a law school and a profession is to close that gap.” n
Janie Greenwood Harris '64
When Dean Chris Guthrie and Vice Provost Tracey George established a need-based scholarship in honor of the first African American graduates of Vanderbilt Law School, part of their purpose was to lead by example. The Harris, Porter and Work Scholarship will support students with a demonstrated commitment to civil rights; it is the second need-based scholarship that George and Guthrie have endowed at the law school. “We are committed to doing what we can to ensure that talented students, regardless of need, are able to study at our law school because we believe in the power of a Vanderbilt legal education to make a difference,” Guthrie said. George and Guthrie also made a gift of $25,000 to support current student initiatives to address issues of racial injustice. “We wanted to endow a scholarship for its longer-term impact,” explained George. “But we also wanted to support current students seeking to implement projects and programs designed to make a difference today. We are excited to see what our students develop.” The Harris, Porter and Work Scholarship recognizes Janie Greenwood Harris, the first African American woman to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School, and Edward Melvin Porter and Frederick Taylor Work Sr., who integrated the law school in 1956. “We have had the privilege of meeting Janie, Melvin and Fred,” Guthrie explained. “They excelled as students, enjoyed distinguished careers and were leaders in the legal profession and in their communities. We are in awe of their accomplishments and excited and humbled to be able to recognize them with a scholarship named in their honor.” In addition to serving as vice provost for faculty affairs, George holds the Charles B. Cox III and Lucy D. Cox Family Chair in Law and Liberty. Guthrie has served as dean of Vanderbilt Law School since 2009.
Need-based scholarship endowed in honor of Janie Greenwood Harris ’64, Melvin Porter ’59 and Fred Work ’59
Fred Work and Melvin Porter, Class of 1959, in front of Kirkland Hall, where they attended classes.
Adolpho Birch’s decision to move back to his hometown of Nashville this summer was advantageous for the community in more ways than one. For the Tennessee Titans, it meant one of the National Football League’s more seasoned executives, who had spent two decades in the league’s New York headquarters, would be joining the front office as the new chief legal officer and senior vice president of business affairs. For Vanderbilt, it meant even more access to a law school alumnus and Board of Trust member with valuable insight into issues of diversity and inclusion, just as a nationwide push for more racial justice was underway—a cause that no doubt would have resonated with Birch’s late father, A.A. Birch Jr., who became the first African American chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, and late mother, Dr. Janet W. Birch, a longtime professor at Meharry Medical College and community activist. In July 2020, Birch was named chair of a new Board of Trust ad hoc committee that is partnering with university leadership to evaluate and recommend policies around equity, diversity and inclusion. Here, Andrew Maraniss (BA’92) talks with him about the work of the committee and the rise in athlete activism. When you envision a Vanderbilt that commits itself to doing the work of diversity and racial justice better than it ever has before, what do you see? A fair part of our Board of Trust committee’s charge will be to work with leadership and the community to identify barriers and help to shape more equitable and inclusive processes. Fostering an inclusive environment will require us to understand, embrace and celebrate our differences. Once this is accomplished through trainings and other initiatives and programs, I can imagine a number of ways in which the campus experience may reflect those efforts over time, but hopefully we will be able to see the impact beyond the campus community as well. What is the role of universities when racial tensions are on the rise across the country? And what special obligations and opportunities does Vanderbilt have to lead on these issues, given Nashville’s historical importance in the civil rights struggle? A central role of a university is to articulate and instill in its students the principles that will allow them to become moral and ethical leaders. Doing so necessitates that we make clear our position on matters of civic importance, including racial and social justice. Vanderbilt has the obligation and privilege of leadership, to recognize both its historic role and its opportunity to shape the
JO H N RUSSELL
Adolpho Birch III '91 chairs VU Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee
future. Nashville provides Vanderbilt with not only a wealth of history upon which to draw for perspective and guidance but also a unique chance to work with HBCUs [historically Black colleges and universities] and other institutions dedicated to supporting civil rights and fighting social and racial injustice. Given your experience with the NFL and the Titans, why do you think we’ve seen this resurgence in athlete activism over the past few years? Professional and collegiate athletes have long been advocating for underrepresented communities. The more recent coupling of that advocacy with increased activism makes me hopeful that we are on the brink of lasting and meaningful change. Today’s athletes—and people generally—have at their disposal social media platforms that were unimaginable just five years ago, and I applaud their energy, focus and enthusiasm in using those platforms to drive progress. Tell us about your new role with the Titans. What are your responsibilities and what do you most hope to accomplish? My primary role will be to oversee our legal function, ensuring that we have the proper support, counsel, risk management and compliance throughout the organization. I also will have principal responsibility for managing the club’s federal, state and local government relationships. But, in a broader sense, I view my role as drawing on my experience at the league office and relationships in the city and state to be part of an outstanding leadership team and help the Titans win on the field and in the community.
Brian Broughman, Professor of Law Broughman studies the impact of financing arrangements on startups.
Newly appointed Professor Brian Broughman’s work at the intersection of law and economics explores how lawyers adapt traditional financing contracts to meet the needs of high-growth startup companies. Broughman is affiliated with the Law and Business Program.
It was fascinating to see how so many different parties, all with different and sometimes competing interests, could come together to cooperate on a single joint venture.
Brian J. Broughman became interested in the intersection of law and economics as a law student at the University of Michigan. Aiming for a career as a corporate attorney focusing on mergers and acquisitions, Broughman joined a Chicago law firm after graduation. But he soon realized his real interest lay in academia and left practice to earn a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. “I enjoyed my time in practice,” he said. “But at large law firms you soon end up specializing—you become the associate who focuses on a certain type of deal because you can do it fast and well. I wanted to keep exploring new topics.” At Berkeley, Broughman found himself intrigued by the nimble and innovative ways Silicon Valley lawyers adapted financing arrangements typically used to support the formation of large corporations to instead meet the needs of small, entrepreneurial startups funded by private investors and venture capital firms. “Rather than relying on formal financing contracts and carefully worded debt covenants, venture capital investors take an active role in ongoing governance,” he said. “That allows more flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.” Studying startups from their inception through the point where they were acquired
by a larger company or made an initial public offering, he discovered, offered “a wonderful window to see what sort of contracts these firms used to bring money in and how decision-making control was allocated between founders and investors.” Broughman wanted to explore how different financing arrangements affected the balance of power among entrepreneurial founders seeking to translate their creative vision into a viable, profitable company and the investors and groups funding the new enterprise. “It was fascinating to see how so many different parties, all with different and sometimes competing interests, could come together to cooperate on a single joint venture,” he said. While researching his dissertation, "Opportunistic Conduct and Governance Structure in Startup Firms", Broughman interviewed more than 60 entrepreneurs as their firms evolved through successive rounds of investor financing and observed how various financing arrangements influenced control of the firm and decisions about whether the firm would remain private, make an initial public offering or accept an acquisition offer from a larger firm. After earning his doctorate, Broughman joined the faculty of Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, where
he taught courses on corporations and on mergers and acquisitions and explored such topics as the role of independent directors in startup firms and whether venture capital investors used inside rounds of financing to dilute the founders’ control of the firm. A recent article, “Do Founders Control Start-up Firms that Go Public,” was published in the Harvard Business Law Review in 2020. Other research, including empirical studies related to mergers and acquisitions, shareholder voting, founder control rights, and the dominance of Delaware corporate law nationwide, has been published in the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Law and Economics, the Journal of Legal Studies and the Journal of Corporate Finance. He currently is exploring why redundant layers of corporate governance protections may be socially desirable. At Vanderbilt, Broughman is affiliated with the Program in Law and Business and teaches Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Finance.
Associate Clinical Professor of Law
Jennifer Prusak launches housing law clinic
Students in Prusak’s clinic help low-income clients avoid eviction and disabled clients deal with housing discrimination. 30
If you can’t afford to pay your rent, it’s not very likely you can afford legal representation.
Jennifer Prusak, an experienced housing advocate who joined Vanderbilt’s clinical law faculty last summer, acknowledges that launching a new housing law clinic and connecting with potential clients during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, but she cites one positive: an eviction moratorium that prevented landlords from forcing tenants out. “The moratorium has kept people housed, but it’s temporary,” she said. “Once it lifts, landlords will be able to start eviction proceedings immediately.”
looming avalanche of evictions is the kind of problem that keeps Prusak up at night. She devoted the fall semester to connecting with local advocacy organizations, including the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. While her students have been unable to safely meet with clients, they are hard at work developing information resources, such as a tenants’ rights manual, and researching rent assistance programs. “These are created specifically for people who lost employment during the pandemic, and our focus is to connect tenants who qualify with those small pots of money,” she said. Clinics are intended to give students hands-on legal experience; post-pandemic, students in Prusak’s Housing Law Clinic will attend civil court proceedings, providing support and resources to clients who cannot afford an attorney. “If you can’t afford to pay your rent, it’s not very likely you can afford legal representation,” Prusak said. She is
excited that her students will work with Judge Rachel Bell’s Housing Resource Diversionary Court, recently developed specifically to help tenants avoid eviction by seeking COVID-19 relief money to pay rent in arrears. “It’s a brand-new program, and my students will be helping negotiate settlement agreements,” she said. “Most students in my clinic are headed for private practice, and this is a great opportunity for them to learn how to navigate a courtroom and help low-income people in Davidson County.” Prusak previously taught at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where she led the Tenant Assistance Project, a student group that counseled indigent tenants before they represented themselves in eviction proceedings. She also directed the Nonprofit Legal Clinic, where second- and third-year students working under Prusak’s supervision gained a broad introduction to state and federal laws governing nonprofit organizations. Clinic students gained experience in direct
representation of nonprofits across Indiana in such transactional matters as incorporation, gaining nonprofit legal status, establishing governing documents, negotiating contracts, facilitating real property transfers and advising clients regarding compliance with annual federal and state reporting requirements. Before joining the clinical law faculty at Indiana University, Prusak worked for several years as an attorney at Indiana Legal Services, focusing on homelessness prevention in Indiana and on preserving federal housing subsidies for low-income clients. She also has practiced in the San Francisco Bay area, where she represented plaintiffs in employment discrimination litigation. Prusak earned her J.D. at the University of Michigan and her B.A. at Grinnell College.
Pandemic Year BY GRACE RENSHAW
VLS observed rigorous protocols to offer in-person classes.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN RUSSELL AND TERRY WYATT
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Chris Meyers recalls a sinking feeling last spring when he realized the pandemic shutdown would extend well into the next academic year. Starting in May, Meyers worked feverishly with Dean Chris Guthrie, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Chris Serkin, and Assistant Dean for Academic Life Jasmin Felton to revise their plans for the fall semester. Their goal: offer as many in-person classes as possible in classrooms retrofitted to permit safe social distancing for faculty and students. The group devoted most of the summer to creating safe classrooms and study spaces throughout the law school building so that students—especially entering 1Ls—could attend as many in-person classes as they chose.
At one point Meyers recalls pacing through the halls of the law school building with Guthrie, both masked and staying 6 feet apart, as they mapped out a system of oneway corridors and staircases to allow students and faculty to navigate the building more safely and ensure that classrooms complied with the university’s strict public health protocols. Inside classrooms, seats were removed and plastic barriers erected. The library’s main reading room became a classroom; its nine private study rooms were equipped as “Zoom rooms” for Moot Court rounds and use by students who lacked appropriate study space or reliable internet service at home to attend online classes, meetings and lectures. “We couldn’t assume every student would be able to attend some or all classes from home,” Meyers said. “Some are parents with small children at home; some moved home to be with family.” Most regular faculty taught their courses in person, while nearly all courses taught by adjunct professors were moved online. “We prioritized our classroom capacity for our
full-time faculty and especially for our firstyear classes,” Serkin explained. “Our normal class schedules were completely upended by the need to reduce classroom seating capacity and allow more time for students to exit the classroom before students in the next class started arriving.” When the Class of 2023 arrived and 2Ls and 3Ls returned to campus in August, Guthrie recalled, “We all held our breath.” Guthrie didn’t completely exhale until the fall semester ended at Thanksgiving—fall break having been canceled to reduce travel risks—with no outbreak. “We established, both at the law school and more broadly on campus, that we could offer a safe teaching and learning environment for our faculty, staff and students in the building,” he said proudly. He credits the diligent work of faculty, staff and student leaders; cooperative students who followed guidelines; innovative online programming Meyers organized to build community despite the impediments of pandemic precautions; and rigorous student health protocols in place university-wide
We prioritized our classroom capacity for our full-time faculty and especially for our first-year classes.
A masked Professor Chris Slobogin teaches 1L Criminal Law.
for a successful academic year in which VLS students had more options for in-person learning than at most other law schools, many of which went fully remote for the academic year. Assistant Dean for Career Services Elizabeth Workman and her staff normally kick off each academic year by hosting several hundred legal employers who conduct on-campus interview sessions for 2L and 3Ls each August and host a second OCI session for 1Ls seeking summer jobs early in the spring semester. This year both sessions were held virtually in January and February. Workman credits the herculean efforts of her staff for making the law school’s first-ever
"It took a tremendous effort to safely offer in-person classes in the building at a time when many other law schools moved completely to remote learning.” – Dean Chris Guthrie
Virtual OCI successful. Another plus: Hiring remained in keeping with a typical year, a fact Workman credits to firms’ experiences in the wake of the 2008 downturn. “Employers learned that when they don’t hire entry-level attorneys every year, that becomes problematic within a few years,” she said. She also believes employers did a good job of adapting their hiring processes to pandemic conditions. Most conducted shorter, virtual summer programs, many combined with automatic job offers. Samantha Furman ’21 accepted an offer to join Venable in New York after participating in the firm’s virtual boot camp last summer. Ramon Ryan ’21 recalls how grateful he felt to receive an offer
from Bass, Berry & Sims at the beginning of their virtual summer program. “They alleviated uncertainty so we wouldn’t have to worry,” he said. “That was a class act.” Furman chose to take her 3L classes remotely after completing her spring 2L classes from Michigan, where her partner is in medical school. She believed she would get as much out of her classes studying remotely as a 3L and wanted 1L and 2L students to have more opportunities to attend classes in person. “I wanted 1Ls to have the same good classroom experiences I had,” she said. Alon Sugarman ’21 also chose to take his classes remotely. He touts his Evidence class with Ed Cheng, who holds the Hess Chair in Law, as
Moot Court Chief Justice Kareim Oliphant ’21 and Executive Justice Chandler Ray ’21 are both pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the all-virtual 2020–21 Bass, Berry & Sims Moot Court Competition went. Oliphant’s term as chief justice had started just before the pandemic shutdown last March. “When the pandemic hit, our whole playbook was just thrown out the window,” he recalled. “At first it felt very daunting. But the beautiful thing about being chief justice of Moot Court is that you’re not leading alone.” Oliphant and Ray worked with other board members over the summer to craft a plan. They quickly decided to make the competition completely virtual and extended the argument time of each round to allow for inevitable technical glitches. “We realized many people weren’t going to feel comfortable coming to campus,” Ray said. “And having the matches on Zoom last an hour and a half gave us a margin of error when things went wrong. A silver lining was that scheduling judges for rounds—including the three federal appellate judges who presided over the final round—proved much easier logistically and was less time-consuming and costly than coordinating in-person appearances. The winners, Ashton Andrews ’22 and Molly Gray ’22, had been Mock Trial partners as 1Ls. When the pandemic hit, Gray recalled, “We made a very conscious decision to get through the pandemic and our second year of law school together.”
“The competition went off without a hitch from our perspective,” Andrews said. “I was impressed with how smooth it was.” From the outset, Oliphant opted to take all of his 3L classes online. His first child, a daughter, was born last spring; taking classes remotely allowed him to spend more time with her and avoid risking her health. In contrast, Ray, who lives alone, signed up for as many in-person classes as possible, including all four of his spring semester courses. “I learn better in person, and I was comfortable with coming to the law school for class,” he said. By spring semester, Ray says, professors hit their stride teaching classes divided between “Zoomers and Roomers”—students attending class on Zoom and those in the classroom. “It’s a different dynamic when half the class is attending virtually,” he said. “By spring semester, professors had worked out all the kinks.”
one of the best he’s taken in law school. Cheng spent the fall semester adapting his Torts and Evidence classes so he could teach them online this spring, seeking to maximize interactive teaching time with students on Zoom by prerecording lectures students watched before the class met. Converting the traditional Socratic classes he had taught for years to an all-virtual format, he acknowledges, was a heavy lift. But it’s one he believes will pay future dividends in terms of flexibility and maximizing classroom time. “We were able to hold class the week Nashville was shut down during this year’s ice storm—we didn’t just lose that week,” Cheng said. “I may keep using some prerecorded lectures to maximize class discussion time going forward.” In an ordinary year, Associate Dean Larry Reeves said, more than 100 students would be studying in the Alyne Queener Massey Law Library at any given time. While the library maintained approximately 100 physically distanced stations, no food was allowed, and face masks were required. With many students choosing to take classes remotely, the library sees significant student traffic only while it’s being used as a classroom. Reeves organized a volunteer skeleton crew of library staff to work on campus throughout the year to provide access to the library’s large print collection, much of which isn’t available online. “We also quickly expanded access to our digital collections, and our librarians who weren’t on campus pivoted to a remote service model so we could continue supporting research and instruction,” Reeves said. Brian Fitzpatrick, who holds the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, cites Zoom fatigue as sparking his decision to return to the classroom this spring to teach both Federal Courts and a seminar, Centralized versus Decentralized Decisionmaking. His students in both classes are divided among a smaller number attending remotely and a larger number attending in person. “The technology in the classroom has gotten so good that my Zoom students are full participants in every class,” he said.
Fitzpatrick gains energy from teaching in person despite the required pandemic precautions. “I have to wear a mask while I’m teaching. The students are very far away from me and far apart from each other,” he said. “But they are really glad to be in class, and so am I.” Meyers looks forward to the return of Friday afternoon Blackacres and the myriad other social and academic gatherings that punctuate the academic year, including awards receptions and Moot Court and Mock
Trial finals to which students can invite family and friends. But the VLS community counts the year as a success given the circumstances. “It took a tremendous effort to safely offer in-person classes in the building at a time when many other law schools moved completely to remote learning,” Guthrie said. “I’m hearing from students and faculty who are telling me that effort was really worthwhile.” n
Julie Ortmeier ’98 on not just surviving, but thriving during the pandemic lockdown
By Eric Penkert ’10 In her role as vice president, general counsel and secretary of Carfax, Julie Ortmeier ’98 leads a team of seven attorneys and one paralegal. Carfax provides information that helps millions of people shop, buy, service and sell used cars, and Ortmeier believes that Carfax’s tech industry roots were key to the ease with which its employees weathered the pandemic. But she was still pleasantly surprised when Carfax managed the abrupt shift to having most employees work from home with so few hiccups. “Our ability to pivot quickly to working remotely seemed remarkable to everyone, the legal team included,” Ortmeier said. Now Ortmeier anticipates that many in-house legal departments will emerge from the pandemic more willing to embrace remote working arrangements long term. “In the past, I felt strongly about having my team in the office to better absorb the business strategy and culture and establish relationships with the business teams they support,” Ortmeier said. “Working remotely wasn’t something I would have considered, but now I think in-house legal departments are thinking differently because we’ve seen it work. I’ve hired two attorneys since the pandemic began that will be working remotely full time.” She also saw Carfax’s strong culture validated as her team shifted to working remotely. “Carfax has a really special culture, and we have been able to maintain that while we work remotely,” Ortmeier said. “We are all in this together, and the sense of team is incredibly strong, even though we haven’t seen our colleagues in person since March of 2020.” When the pandemic began, Ortmeier had wondered if Carfax’s tech company perks, including free Friday lunch, gourmet coffee service and the ability to bring your dog to work, were the glue that held the Carfax culture together. “We are a destination employer, regularly featured on lists of the best places to work,” she said. “The pandemic proved that our culture is derived less from the perks and more from a clear business strategy and mission. The entire Carfax team is really aligned with that strategy and mission, whether we are working in an office or at home.” Eric Penkert is a shareholder with Ogletree Deakins in Greenville, South Carolina. SPRING 2021
Daniel J. Sharfstein, Dick and Martha Lansden Professor of Law By Grace Renshaw
Legal historian Daniel J. Sharfstein’s interest in the profound impact of racial inequality on the personal histories and economic prospects of ordinary Americans predates his study of law. Sharfstein, who was appointed to the Dick and Martha Lansden Chair in Law last summer, worked as a reporter covering education, policing and land use in Southern California before earning his law degree at Yale. His painstakingly researched books, written with a journalistic flair, illuminate broadscale aspects of American history, including slavery and its aftermath and the conquest of Native American lands, through the lives of individuals and families whose fates and livelihoods were shaped by laws and policies based on their race or tribal status. Sharfstein’s prize-winning first book, The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America, chronicles the lives of three Black families with members who assimilated into white communities, shedding an identity that subjected them to systemic discrimination. His second book, Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard and the Nez Perce War, examines a war the U.S. waged in the Northern Rockies during the summer and fall of 1877 against a group of Nez Perce families who refused to leave their ancestral land and move onto a reservation. While the general leading U.S. Army forces had been an architect of Reconstruction and championed civil rights for freed people, one of his foes, a young Nez Perce leader, emerged as a key voice of dissent in post-Reconstruction America.
TER RY WYATT
Professor Sharfstein’s work examines the complex legal history of race in America.
Sharfstein recently has started researching a new book on the legal struggles of garment workers in early 20th-century New York, exploring labor and immigration and how the everyday law of work shapes new American identities. He also is directing a team of students and fellows who are completing a mapping project that grew out of a university course, Historic Black Nashville, that he co-teaches with Vanderbilt historian Jane Landers. The team is documenting locations where slaves lived
and worked in Nashville before the Civil War, work Sharfstein believes is particularly urgent now because of the rapid pace of development in Nashville. “We’re joining with other Middle Tennessee historians working to document the area’s history, and we’re doing it at a moment where the whole country is rethinking how history is memorialized and what kind of monuments we erect and keep,” he said. The map Sharfstein’s team is producing shows how pervasive slavery was in Nashville and will provide a geographic index of individual experiences of bondage in the city. “Slavery in Nashville was a big business, and in many ways the city served the institution,” he said. “At the same time, it was a river port, and many people held as slaves worked alongside free people of color and had access to streams of information and ideas from Canada to the Caribbean. Lots of men and women living and working in Nashville were claimed by owners who lived elsewhere. Some slaves were able to work independently here, run their own businesses and even negotiate and buy freedom for themselves and their children. The contingencies of slavery in Nashville affected how Black Nashvillians defined and fought for their freedoms before, during and after the Civil War.” At the law school, Sharfstein teaches Property Law, American Legal History and Federal Indian Law.
Daniel Sharfstein is the inaugural holder of the Dick and Martha Lansden Chair in Law, which honors Dick L. Lansden Jr. ’34 (BA’33), a founding partner in the firm that became Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, and his wife, Martha S. Lansden (BA’33). Sharfstein co-directs the George Barrett Social Justice Program at the Law School and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of History. He began his career as a legal historian as a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University. 38
Brian T. Fitzpatrick: Milton R. Underwood Professor of Free Enterprise By Grace Renshaw
Brian T. Fitzpatrick has been fascinated by the judiciary since he began his legal career as a clerk, first for Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then for Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. He later worked in the U.S. Senate and in private practice at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C. Fitzpatrick, who was appointed to the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise last summer, now teaches Complex Litigation and Federal Courts. His current research focuses on how best to allocate the power wielded by federal judges; his interest in that topic also provided the impetus for a seminar, Decentralized Versus Centralized Lawmaking, which he has taught for two years. “I like to use seminars to study topics I want to learn about, and I’m learning along with the students,” he said. “This seminar asks how to design the federal judiciary to allow judges to make the best decisions. Do we want power concentrated in the hands of a few judges, or do we want power decentralized in the hands of lots of different judges?” Among other topics, Fitzpatrick and his students are exploring universal injunctions, which Fitzpatrick finds troubling because they allow a single federal judge to preclude future litigation in any court. “When a president wants to do something, his opponents find one federal district judge
An expert in federal courts and complex litigation, Fitzpatrick examines judicial power and how to structure the judiciary to improve decision-making.
willing to enter an injunction that stops the administration from proceeding—and not only in that case, but anywhere. When one judge has the power to shut down all cases, it causes problems. Those problems are compounded when litigants can forum shop to find a judge they believe will decide the case in their favor.” Another challenging topic Fitzpatrick’s students tackle is multidistrict litigation, in which cases such as those arising out of the Volkswagen diesel emissions testing scandal are consolidated within a single district under a single judge. While this approach has the practical advantage of requiring only one judge to understand the facts and legal issues underlying the lawsuits, Fitzpatrick believes that limiting the number of judges has a significant downside: It also limits the varying perspectives a larger number of judges would bring to decisions. “About half
of all federal civil cases are wrapped up in multidistrict litigation,” he said. “When one judge does all of the pretrial proceedings for his or her cases, that judge can end up deciding what happens in thousands of cases.” Fitzpatrick joined the law faculty in 2007, and he has studied complex litigation for most of his academic career, publishing papers examining the virtues of private enforcement of the law, including class arbitration, classaction settlements and fee awards, and thirdparty litigation financing. His 2019 book, The Conservative Case of Class Actions, argued that class-action lawsuits play an important role in policing corporate behavior, especially when they are the only form of private enforcement possible. “Conservatives should prefer private enforcement of the law through class-action lawsuits for the same reason we favor other private-sector solutions,” he said.
Brian Fitzpatrick is the third VLS professor to hold the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, which was endowed by the Fondren Foundation to honor Milton Underwood, Class of 1928. SPRING 2021
Dear alumni and friends: BY SCOTTY MANN By the time you receive this edition of Vanderbilt Law, we will have celebrated the commencement of two Vanderbilt Law classes in a single month. This is a fitting conclusion to the most unusual year in the Law School’s history since it was forced to close its doors temporarily in 1944 during World War II. While this has been a challenging year, our Law School offered both in-person and online instruction. We were able to welcome a terrific new class last fall and provide them with the first-year classroom experience that makes law school a singular and lifechanging educational experience. While the pandemic upended many routines, our students were able to continue their studies, and our faculty continued to lead within the legal academy and profession. As Dean Guthrie has emphasized, we couldn’t have done it without you, our alumni and friends. You continued to support the Law School with your gifts and service, by mentoring, teaching and hiring
our students for summer and permanent employment, and in many other ways. I was particularly proud on Giving Day, when more than 400 donors made it a point to give back to the Law School. Despite the fact that we are relatively small compared with other campus units, we finished in second place in overall giving with a total of more than $555,000, ranking only behind the Colleges of Arts and Science. Dean Chris Guthrie and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George set the tone for the day with a leadership “challenge” gift of $25,000. This gift came in addition to gifts Chris and Tracey, who holds the Charles B. Cox and Lucy D. Cox Family Chair in Law and Liberty, have made this year to endow a need-based scholarship in honor of Melvin Porter and Fred Work, both Class of 1959, and Janie Greenwood Harris, Class of 1964, our first Black law graduates. They also provided funding for programs and public interest work in support of our equity, diversity and community efforts.
I also want to express my gratitude that we had two significant endowment gifts this year: the anonymous gift that will endow the Diversity, Equity and Community directorship in honor of the late Professor Robert Belton, included in this magazine on page 20, and a gift from Jim Cuminale ’78 endowing the directorship of our Public Interest Office in honor of Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey ’68 (BA’64), which will be profiled in the next edition. Both of these programs contribute enormously to the life of the Law School, and the endowments of permanent directors will enable Dean Guthrie and the current program directors—Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Yesha Yadav and Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller—to develop long-range goals for these programs in terms of curriculum, student involvement, mentoring and faculty recruitment. One priority Dean Guthrie identified when he stepped into leadership at the Law School in 2009
were faculty chairs. In the 12 years since, nine new chairs have been endowed or pledged and seven have been awarded to deserving faculty members. Chairs recognize faculty for their career accomplishments as scholars and teachers and support their ongoing work, and I appreciate the generous donors—who include Charlie ’75 (BA ’72) and Lucy (BA ’75) Cox, Hal ’90 and Jodi Hess, Ted ’70 and Gloria (BA’67) LaRoche and family, Bob ’78 and Terri Reder, Florence Ridley (MA’51), the Glenn Weaver Foundation and the estate of Dick Lansden ’34 (BA ’33)—whose gifts have made a meaningful difference in the Law School’s ability to attract and retain top faculty. Our Board of Advisors met April 30 via Zoom, presided over by Jim Cuminale. I appreciate our Board’s leadership as volunteers, donors, mentors and employers in this trying year and for the unflagging support they have provided for Dean Guthrie, our staff and our faculty despite the personal and professional challenges they, too, have faced during the past year. While I appreciate the ability to connect via Zoom—which enabled us to engage broad audiences through a series of national events and more intimate gatherings of classmates, Patrick Wilson Scholars, Cheatham Scholars and other interest groups—I look forward to the time when we can meet in person again. I am hopeful that we will soon be able to celebrate an on-campus Reunion for the classes ending in 0, 1, 5 and 6 in the fall. Sincerely yours,
Scotty Mann Associate Dean, Development and Alumni Relations Students enjoyed socializing in the Blackacre courtyard during this unusual academic year while observing Vanderbilt’s rigorous safety protocols.
Smooth Sailing for Lisa McLaughlin ’81 Alumni Spotlight by Kent Halkett ’81
Lisa had earned her undergraduate degree in history and business at Duke University and relished the opportunity to do historical research during law school. Since earning her law degree, Lisa has forged her own impressive history as a successful lawyer, including work with Big Law, in a corporate legal department and founding her own firm. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Lisa arrived at VLS with her Duke friend and sorority sister, Margaret (Meg) Adams Hunter '81, who was her law school roommate. Lisa gained practical courtroom experience working at the legal clinic launched in 1980 by Sue Kay ’79, joined the staff of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law and received the Stanley D. Rose Memorial Book Award. After graduation, Lisa returned home to St. Louis and joined the tax department of Bryan
Lisa Edelmann McLaughlin ’81 still remembers a difficult but fascinating assignment she received from Professor James W. Ely Jr., to research the testamentary documents of Tennessee's earliest residents at the state archives. Reading original source documents, she learned about the very real perils of life in Tennessee before it achieved statehood in 1776. One man’s handwritten will began: "I, having been scalped five days ago, hereby leave...” Cave Leighton Paisner. Her focus soon shifted to nonprofits and estate planning; she became a fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel in 1996. After 17 years at Bryan Cave, Lisa joined the in-house legal staff of Bank of America in St. Louis. But much to her pleasant surprise, her clients continued to seek her out, and she returned to private practice two years later. In 2015 she opened a St. Louis-based boutique estate and wealth planning firm, MGD Law, with two colleagues. She is a managing member, and seven of the firm's nine attorneys are women. Lisa and her husband, Bob, met as undergraduates at Duke. Bob is retired from a career with IBM; their two children, Laura and Scott (VU’13) are both attorneys. The McLaughlins are avid sailors, a hobby they
enjoy on family vacations that often include stops at local archives where Lisa pursues a lifelong interest in genealogy that started at her grandfather's knee. She is chair of the Missouri Historical Society. VLS has always been close to Lisa's heart. She interviews prospective students through the alumni interview program, gives student talks about her legal practice and volunteers as the Class Agent for the Class of 1981. She recalls working "incredibly hard" in law school and has maintained lifelong friendships with Meg and other classmates. She finds it gratifying that so many of her peers went on “to make meaningful differences in their communities.” Her classmates say the same about her!
CLASS NOTES 1968
Hal Hardin received a 2020 Best of the Bar Lifetime Achievement award from the Nashville Business Journal.
Phil Cherner, who serves as board chair of Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, received the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award for 2020.
Judge John Curry was sworn in for his second term as a circuit judge in Chicago in December 2020 after winning his retention election in November. John presides in the Tax and Miscellaneous Remedies Section of the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
Jo Ann Biggs is chair of the Hendrix College Board of Trustees. Jo Ann is a partner at Vinson & Elkins in Dallas. She has served on the Hendrix board since 1998.
Bob Kabel published his memoir, Inside and Out: The Odyssey of a Gay Conservative, in September 2020. Bob was first national board chair of the Log Cabin Republicans and worked on the staffs of two senators, including Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, and President Ronald Reagan.
1973 Jan Baran is a partner at Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky in Haymarket, Virginia. Jan is the author of The Election Law Primer for Corporations, published by the American Bar Association. Bill Yost was honored for his long service as the delinquent tax attorney for Williamson County, Tennessee, in November. After more than 40 years of service, Bill stepped down from his work for the county, which he did while maintaining a private practice at Yost Robertson Novak.
1974 Richard Bodorff has been appointed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to serve on the Maryland Commission on Public Broadcasting. Dick is a senor counsel, specializing in media law, at Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C. Randy Lanier has joined Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville as a partner. Henry Martin (BA’71) was honored with the Tennessee Bar Association’s first Claudia Jack Award, which recognizes an outstanding public defender. Henry has served as a federal public defender for the Middle District of Tennessee since 1985. Russ Overby retired from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, where he had focused on poverty law for much of his career. Russ worked at the Tennessee Justice Center from 1997 to 2006. At LAS, he served as lead counsel in federal and state cases involving public benefits and the rights of children in state institutions.
1976 Mary Jo Middlebrooks received the 2021 Women in American History Award from the Jackson-Madison Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Mary Jo was recognized for her activism and trailblazing; she became the first woman trial attorney in Jackson, Tennessee, when she began her practice in 1978. Judge Aleta A. Trauger (MA’72) received the 2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the 6th Circuit. Aleta was appointed to her seat on the Middle District of Tennessee in 1998.
1979 Bill Purcell has joined Frost Brown Todd in Nashville, where he focuses on administrative and policy concerns. A former mayor of Nashville, Bill teaches public policy as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University.
1980 Mike Coury, a member of Glankler Brown, has been appointed by the Department of Justice to the independent panel of Chapter 11 Subchapter V bankruptcy trustees.
Michael J. Davis has joined the Lyda Law Firm as of counsel.
Julian L. Bibb III has been appointed chairman of the Franklin Transit Authority.
Ralph Levy, a senior partner with Dickinson Wright in Nashville, was named to the Nashville Medical News InCharge Healthcare List, which recognizes professionals whose ideas and influence make Nashville a health care capital. W. Patrick Mulloy II (BA’74) has been appointed to the boards of University of Louisville Health, which operates five hospitals, and of Sharps Compliance, a medical waste management company based in Houston.
Ed Armstrong, a partner with Hill Ward Henderson in Dunedin, Florida, has been appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to a four-year term on the Southern Florida Water Management District Governing Board. William F. Carpenter III (BA’76) has been elected to the board of FB Financial. Craig S. O’Dear was profiled in the America Daily Post in July 2020. Craig is a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, based in the Kansas City, Missouri, office he launched for the firm in 1988.
David Simmons was featured in Florida Politics following his 18 years of service in the Florida State Legislature, which included eight years in the state house and 10 in the state Senate. David is a founding partner of de Beaubien Simmons Knight Mantzaris & Neal in Orlando.
Robert Hays was unanimously reelected to a sixth term as chairman of King & Spalding. Robert, who is based in Atlanta, took up the role of chairman in 2006. Sarah R. Labensky is a professor of culinary arts at Woosong University in Daejeon, Korea. Sarah became the founding director of the Culinary Arts Institute at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1997, where she taught until 2005. In 2006 she purchased The Front Door and Back Door restaurants in Columbus and founded other restaurants before moving to Korea. She is the author of several cooking textbooks and cookbooks, a past president of the 4,000-member International Association of Culinary Professionals and a founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Platte Moring III is deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he supervises all litigation involving the department and oversees the military commissions involved in the adjudication of the 9/11 detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Steven M. Zager (BA’79) has joined King & Spalding’s trial and global disputes practice in Austin, Texas, as a partner. Steven previously was with Akin Gump in New York. Leonard A. Silverstein (BA’80) has joined Dentons in Atlanta as senior counsel.
William R. O’Bryan was appointed to a three-year term on the board of the Turnaround Management Association’s Tennessee Chapter, starting in January 2021.
Bill Hagerty (BA’84) is Tennessee’s junior senator. Bill won the seat in the U.S. Senate vacated by the retirement of Sen. Lamar Alexander (BA’62). He previously had served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2017 to 2019 before stepping down to focus on his senatorial campaign.
Jeffrey Scott Bivins, who is chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, received the 2020 Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award from the Tennessee Bar Association. Jeff was recognized for his decades of service to the legal profession in Tennessee, which includes his support of Access to Justice and indigent representation reform.
1984 Melissa W. Friedman has been elected to a six-year term on the juvenile and domestic relations court in Richmond, Virginia, by the state General Assembly. Melissa was appointed to the bench on an interim basis in November 2020. Chris Giancarlo testified before the House Financial Services Committee in June 2020 on inclusive banking. Chris is former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Michael A. Sullivan is general counsel to the Volkswagen AG Monitorship, where he works with counsel across the globe to advise on legal requirements of other nations.
1985 George P. McGinn (BA’77) has been elected to the board of RFPi Inc., which produces noninvasive surgical imaging devices. Greg Smith is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Greg is a partner at Stites & Harbison in Nashville.
1986 Kitty Delany and her husband, Jim Delany, recently retired Big Ten Conference commissioner, have returned to Nashville after 30 years in Chicago. Henry P. Dove, who previously served as chief trial counsel for the Talbot County State’s Attorney’s Office, has joined Kopen & Collison in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Karen A. Reardon, an associate professor at LaSalle University, and colleagues have edited and published In Living Color: An Anthology of Contemporary Student Writings on Race (2020).
1987 David Melloh has joined Taft in Minneapolis as partner focusing on health care business law.
1988 Darlene Marsh was appointed to the board of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Ivan Reich (BA’85) has joined Nason Yeager Gerson Harris & Fumero in South Florida as a partner and lead of the firm’s new bankruptcy group.
1990 Jody Hanks stepped down from his position as general counsel of packaging businesses owned by the Rank Group and moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee, where he has joined Mainsail Lawyers and serves as an external general counsel for several manufacturing businesses. Jody writes, “The sabbatical between corporate life and starting my practice was simply fantastic.” Randall W. May earned an M.Div. in 2014 and an M.A. in practical theology in June 2015 from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. He now serves as senior pastor of Geneva United Methodist Church in Geneva, Ohio.
John Soyars was appointed to the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council by Gov. Andy Beshear. John serves as county attorney and has a private practice in Hopkinsville.
1991 Adolpho Birch III has joined the Tennessee Titans in Nashville as chief legal officer. Adolpho previously was on the legal staff of the National Football League based in New York. See his profile on p. 27. Paul D. Gilbert is general counsel and secretary at RiteAid in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Paul joined RiteAid on an interim basis in May 2020 and was appointed to the permanent position in August. Warren Lightfoot Jr. has been elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Mark Schein has joined Värde Partners in New York as global chief compliance officer. He was previously general counsel with York Capital Management. Mark teaches short courses as a member of Vanderbilt’s adjunct law faculty.
1992 Mark Baugh has been elected to the board of directors at Baker Donelson. Mark is chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and a shareholder based in Nashville. Dave Macaione (MBA’92) is chief legal officer with Cloudburst Entertainment, producers and distributors of film and television, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.
1993 Kristin Daniels Dukes has been named general counsel at the University of South Alabama. Joel M. McCray has been elected chair of The Virginia Home Board of Trustees. James H. Tucker Jr. (MDiv’93) became the first African American managing partner in Manier & Herod’s 106-year history in June 2020. David L. Warren has been named managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins’ Birmingham, Alabama, office. David was a founding member of the office in 1997.
Greg Wesner has founded a life sciences company, Receptor Life Sciences.
McKinley Wooten is director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, where he manages the administrative services provided to the Judicial Branch’s more than 6,400 employees and 213 judicial facilities in every county of the state. He is the first African American to serve as director of the NCAOC.
Judge Rupert Byrdsong was elected vice president of the California Judges Association. He also was appointed to co-chair a new CJA Task Force on the Elimination of Bias and Inequality in Our Justice System. Rupert received the Western Region of the National Black Law Students Association Judge of the Year Award in January 2020.
1991 Steve Herz’s book, Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth and Energy to Get Exceptional Results, was released in June 2020 by Harper Collins. Steve is president of The Montag Group, a sports and entertainment talent and marketing consulting firm based in New York. He also serves as a career adviser to CEOs, lawyers, entrepreneurs and young professionals. Find his blog on Twitter: @ifmanagement.
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Judge Sheila Calloway (BA’91), juvenile court judge in Nashville, was profiled in Attorney at Law Magazine about her career and her outlook on the legal industry on March 30, 2020. Sheila teaches Trial Advocacy at VLS. Tom Lee has been elected vice chairman of the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council, responsible for advising on best regulatory practices in Tennessee’s new sports gaming industry. He is the member-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Nashville office. Tacita A. Mikel Scott was elected to the management committee of Wong Fleming in Atlanta.
1995 Kenneth R. Cunningham (BA’91) is managing principal at Grant Thornton in Chicago. Trey Harwell ’95 (BA’92) has been appointed chairman of the Metro Nashville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. Harwell has served on the MNAA board since 2016 and was named chair in May. He is a member of Neal & Harwell in Nashville. April Abele Isaacson has joined DLA Piper in San Francisco of counsel. April represents pharmaceutical companies in biologic and drug patent litigation. Anne Cox-Johnson has joined McDermott Will & Emery in Atlanta as a partner. Scott C. Mitzner has been elected chair of the Bernards Township Republican Municipal Committee. Scott has lived in Bernards Township, New Jersey, since law school, where he practices law and serves as the public defender for 16 municipalities in three counties. Reggie O’Shields has been promoted to executive vice president and director of enterprise solutions at Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Eric Schroeder is managing partner of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Atlanta office, where he specializes in unfair competition, intellectual property, licensing, First Amendment and content issues.
1997 James Crumlin (BA’94) has been elected vice chair of the board of trustees for American Baptist College in Nashville. Timothy W. Hoover was 2020 president of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Amy E. McDougal was named as a 2020 Cannabis Law Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. She is serving her second term as a director of the International Cannabis Bar Association and also chairs its Ethics Committee. Joel Tragresser has been named managing partner of Quarles & Brady’s Indianapolis office, where he is a founding partner focusing on trademark and intellectual property law.
1998 Cat Moon (BA’92) was named to the leadership team of the Medical Innovators Development Program of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Cat directs the Law School's Program on Law and Innovation Institute, which offers postgraduate immersive educational experiences for lawyers and other professionals.
1999 Trent H. Cotney (BS’96) has been appointed as general counsel for the National Roofing Contractors Association. Morgan B. Gire is the Placer County District Attorney. He previously was a prosecutor in Sacramento, California. Alexander Okuliar has joined Morrison & Foerster in Washington, D.C., where he will serve as the firm’s global antitrust co-chair.
2000 Jeffrey R. Baker is a clinical professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. Jeff also serves as assistant dean of clinical education and global programs and directs the Community Justice Clinic. He and his family have lived in Malibu, California, since 2013.
Amy L. Brown was named deputy general counsel for housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She had previously served as HUD’s associate general counsel for insured housing. Judge Maria Lopez Evangelista was elected to a seat on the San Francisco Superior Court in April 2020. Robert Louis Strayer II has joined the Information Technology Council in Washington, D.C., as executive vice president of policy. Rob most recently served as deputy assistant secretary for cyber and international communications and information policy in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Masami Izumida Tyson is global director of foreign direct investment and trade for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, based in Nashville. Masami grew up in Yokohama, Japan, and came to the U.S. as a college student. She lives in Nashville with her husband and their children.
2001 Matthew Bathon is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C. Tanya Triche Dawood has been nominated to the Workers’ Compensation Medical Fee Advisory Board in Illinois. She is vice president and general counsel for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, based in Chicago, where she has served as a staff attorney to the city council. E.M. Lysonge is general counsel at NerdWallet in Louisville, Kentucky. Joycelyn Stevenson was appointed to Metro Nashville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. Joycelyn is executive director of the Tennessee Bar Association. She joined the MNAA Board of Commissioners as its neighborhood representative.
2003 Matt Gabriel, chief executive officer of XRI Fountain Quail in Midland, Texas, was named a finalist for the 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year Award by EY Americas. The program recognizes leaders of high-growth companies.
2004 Erika Barnes has been elected to the six-member Management Committee for Stites & Harbison. She will serve a two-year term. Heather M. Ducat is partner at Troutman Sanders in Atlanta. Peter N. Hall has joined Holland & Knight’s newly formed nationwide ERISA litigation team, based in Atlanta. Jennifer Halvas is a partner at Citiview, a Los Angeles-based investment management and development firm. Amy Todd Holmes has been named vice president and general counsel for Express Energy Services, a Houstonbased oilfield services company and premier provider of products and services including well construction and well testing services. Junaid Odubeko, a partner in the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, has been elected to the Nashville Bar Association’s board for a four-year term. Jarrod Reich is a professor of legal writing and lecturer in law at University of Miami School of Law.
Deborah Farringer is associate dean for academic affairs at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville.
Aaron S. Kamlay has joined Butzel Long law firm as shareholder. He recently was featured on two webinars focusing on the use of technology in intellectual property practice.
Courtney Hunter Gilmer has joined Emerge Law in Nashville as a partner. She previously was a shareholder at Baker Donelson.
Joshua E. Perry (MTS’02) is the co-author of two textbooks exploring issues at the intersection of law and ethics and author or co-author of more than 30 published articles, essays and book chapters that have appeared in a variety of leading law reviews and peer-reviewed journals across the fields of business, medicine, law and ethics.
Michael P. Hodes is a partner at Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery in Atlanta.
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Michelle Brooks Martinez has joined DigiCert Inc. in Lehi, Utah, as corporate legal counsel. She previously practiced patent law at Maschoff Brennan in Salt Lake City.
Gabe Fleet was named chief music licensing counsel at iHeartMedia in New York in December. In his new role, he leads iHeartMedia’s business affairs team and spearheads the company’s music licensing strategy. Gabe previously practiced intellectual property law as a partner at Greenberg Traurig.
Catherine Sloan is deputy general counsel at Compassus in Brentwood, Tennessee. She previously was assistant general counsel with Ardent Healthcare Services in Nashville.
2006 Sayler A. Fleming was appointed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri in December. Sayler previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney. Sarah Zagata Vasani has joined CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang in London. She previously headed investor state dispute resolution at Addleshaw Goddard.
Laura Hardesty Richardson is an assistant general counsel with Vireo Health Inc. in Cincinnati. She previously was assistant general counsel at Phillips Edison & Co.
2008 Alex Shang Cao (PhD’05) is principal legal counsel at I-Mab Biopharma in Hong Kong. Ashlee McFarlane gained national visibility for her representation of Maurice Hall, a passenger in the car when George Floyd was stopped by police in Minneapolis. Hall was himself arrested in Houston days after Floyd’s death. Ashlee is a partner at Gerger Khalil Hennessy & McFarlane in Houston, a firm she joined after serving as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice. Sarah Luppen Fowler is deputy general counsel of SAG-AFTRA. She and her husband, John Fowler (BA’05), welcomed their second son, William Luppen Fowler, on Jan. 7, 2020. Joe Goldman is senior vice president and trust adviser at City National Bank in Los Angeles. Timothy W. Hanson is a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in Denver. Kimyatta Holder is head of compliance at Modern Health in Atlanta.
Sarah K. Laird is a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville.
La Keisha Wright Butler joined Maynard Cooper in Milwaukee of counsel. La Keisha is the former executive director of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.
Buddy Meyer is associate general counsel at Pansophic Learning in McLean, Virginia. Buddy previously served as counsel in the corporate securities and tax department at Miles and Stockbridge.
Jasmin Nicole French has been named to the board of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis. Jasmin is ethics and compliance senior manager at Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Indiana.
Betsy Philpott is vice president and general counsel of the Washington Nationals professional baseball team. Luciano Racco has joined Foley Hoag in Washington, D.C., as counsel and co-chair of the firm’s trade sections and export control practice.
Gabe Roberts has joined Sellers Dorsey in Philadelphia as a senior strategic adviser. Gabe previously was director and CEO of TennCare, Tennessee’s state Medicaid program. Abbey Mansfield Ruby has joined Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville. Anna Jinhua Wang (LLM) has been promoted to counsel at Robinson & Cole in New York.
2009 Jake Barney is senior counsel for benefits law at Tyson Foods in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Matthew Blumenstein is director, head of underwriting and deputy general counsel at Statera Capital in Chicago. Lauren Gaffney (BS’03) has been elected member at Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville, where she focuses on health care enforcement and compliance. Scott Gardner is senior corporate counsel at United Surgical Partners International Inc. in Franklin, Tennessee. Marchello D. Gray is a partner at Hollingsworth in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on product liability and toxic tort litigation. Chris Jaeger (PhD’20) is an acting assistant professor of lawyering at New York University School of Law. Chris recently co-authored a study with Owen Jones, who holds the Glenn M. Weaver, M.D., and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain and Behavior at Vanderbilt. Michael Mills (BE’99), who has practiced at Klein Solomon in Nashville as a partner since 2016, was added as a named partner; the firm is now Klein Solomon Mills.
Kevin Tran is practicing of counsel at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Nashville. He previously practiced as counsel with Waller.
2010 Joshua L. Burgener (BA’05) has been named a Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. Josh practices at Dickenson Wright. Stuart A. Burkhalter was awarded the Justice Joseph W. Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing by the Tennessee Bar Association for his article "Who Pays?: ‘Dedmon’ Clarifies Use of Medical Bills in Hospital Lien Law, Upholds Collateral Source Rule." In February 2020, Stuart self-published a children’s book, Do Little Babies Dream of Mu? Stuart owns Burkhalter Law, a family law firm. Andrew Gould has joined Arnold & Itkin in Houston as leader of the firm’s appellate section. Andrew previously was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Dan Kuninsky (BA’01) is senior technology counsel at HCA Healthcare in Nashville. Lauren Mastio (BS’06) has been elected to the board of directors of Jones Walker in New Orleans. Abbey Morrow received the 2020 Award of Achievement for Service to the Young Lawyers Division from the State Bar of Georgia YLD. Abbey is a compliance attorney at Aldridge Pite in Atlanta. Ben Seeger was promoted to senior manager of real estate transactions at Amazon in Seattle. Ben joined Amazon in 2018. Brian L. Sims is a member at Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville.
2013 F EDERA L R EGU LATORY COMMISSION
James Danly was elevated to chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November. James had served as a FERC commissioner since March 2020 and as general counsel for FERC since 2017.
Taylor Owings was named acting chief of staff and senior counsel of the antitrust department in the Department of Justice under Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. The staff of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law worked with Taylor to host a Department of Justice webinar, “‘And the Beat Goes On’: The Future of the ASCAP/BMI Consent Decrees,” on Jan. 15, 2021.
Jamie Lynn Thalgott, a shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Las Vegas, was named to the board of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Jamie is a Las Vegas native who moved back after law school and clerked for Judge James Mahan ’70 of the District of Nevada before entering private practice. Maia T. Woodhouse (BA’07) is a partner at Adams and Reese in Nashville.
2011 R. Mark Donnell Jr. (BS’05) is an attorney at Sims Funk in Nashville, where he practices business litigation. John Cheek Eason Jr. is a member at Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville. Meredith Eason has been promoted to senior associate at Wyatt Tarrant & Combs in Nashville. Jeremy Francis has joined Ganfer Shore Leeds & Zauderer in Port Washington, New York, as a commercial litigator. Christopher Gilmore is vice chair of the City of Atlanta’s governing board of the Office of the Inspector General. Chris has been a member of the governing board since 2019. Talmadge Infinger has joined UPS in Atlanta as an M&A counsel. Lauren Kilgore was named by Billboard as one of the Top Music Lawyers of 2020. She practices at Shackelford Bowen McKinley & Norton in Nashville. Sirui (Ray) Liu (LLM) was named to China Business Law Journal’s 2019 A-List of elite China lawyers. Ray is global partner and head of Dorsey’s Beijing office. Jake Neu is a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville. Sean Perryman has announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor of Virginia.
Keith Randall is a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville, where he focuses on real estate law. Brian Reichenbach is chief operating officer and co-founder at Chronicle Partners in Nashville. Stephanie Roth has been appointed interim associate vice chancellor for Title IX and equal employment opportunity at Vanderbilt University. Winston Skinner is counsel at Vinson & Elkins in Dallas, where he focuses on energy regulation and litigation. Carter Coker Simpson is a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth in Washington, D.C. Emily Larish Startsman is a member at Stites & Harbison in Lexington, Kentucky, where she focuses on torts and insurance litigation. Zachary D. Trotter is a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Birmingham, Alabama, where he focuses on health care law.
2013 Amy M. Bowers has joined Carlton Fields in Miami as an associate. Beau Creson has been elected to the executive board of the Nashville Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Beau is an associate at Butler Snow. Chris Crowley (MBA’13) has joined Amazon Web Services as a senior partner/development manager for startups. Scott Farmer has been promoted to executive director and senior counsel at Amherst Holdings in Austin, Texas. Jasmin Felton has been named assistant dean for academic life at Vanderbilt Law School. Colin Ferguson is a member at Dickinson Wright in Nashville. Tim Van Hal is an associate at Polsinelli in Nashville. He previously practiced at Bass, Berry & Sims. Michael Hutson is a partner with K&L Gates in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lindsay Elizabeth Irving is a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville. Lindsay is married to Brian Irving ’14. Wes Jackson is a partner at Freeman Mathis & Gray in Atlanta. Sarah L. Locker is a member at Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin in Nashville.
Zach Roth is co-managing partner at Ansbacher Law in Jacksonville, Florida.
Claire Brown (MBA’12) is a partner at Tonkon Torp in Portland, Oregon.
Nathan Sanders (BA’10) is a partner at Neal & Harwell in Nashville.
Nathaniel J. Greeson has joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in their Washington, D.C., office, where he focuses on government contracts. Andrea Verney Kerstein is a partner at Locke Lord in Chicago. Megan LaDriere is the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s Volunteer of the Month for December 2019. She is a senior associate at Baker Botts. Peter L. Munk is a partner at Nelson Mullin in Atlanta, where he focuses on commercial litigation. Jacob Weinstein is a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville.
Elizabeth Sherwood is an associate at Hunton Andrews Kurth in Boston. Max Sills is an intellectual property counsel at Square in San Francisco, where he is general manager of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance. Amit Tantri has been promoted to senior manager at Wayfair in Boston, where he works as legal counsel. Vincent “Trey” Tumminello III is a partner at Taylor Porter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he focuses on commercial transactions and sports law. Jeffrey Zager is a partner at Neal & Harwell in Nashville.
2014 Waylon Bryson has joined Kilpatrick Townsend in Raleigh, North Carolina, as an associate. Jeremy Cain was one of three Weil Gotshal attorneys to receive the 2020 Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award for their article, “Music Licensing Overhaul Signed into Law.” Jeremy focuses on intellectual property law. Dan Kay has joined the adjunct law faculty of Columbia Law School in New York as an externship adviser and lecturer in law. Dan is an attorney at the Bronx Defenders. Mary Fletcher Sherrill King and Seth Benjamin Mullikin were married in Savannah, Georgia, on June 6, 2020. Mary and Seth live in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Mary is an employment attorney at Johnston Allison & Hord and Seth works for ROL Advisor.
2014 Cameron Norris (BA’11) argued a case, CIC Services v. IRS, before the U.S. Supreme Court in December. Cameron works remotely from his hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee, as an associate with the D.C. law firm Consovoy McCarthy. CIC Services is based in Knoxville. Cameron joined Consovoy McCarthy after clerking for Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and took a leave of absence to clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017–18.
SUBMIT T E D
Terrence McKelvey has joined K&L Gates in Nashville as an associate. He previously practiced at Butler Snow. Nicoletta Milanesio (LLM) has been promoted to general counsel and corporate secretary for North America at MAHLE based in Bloomington Hills, Michigan. Katlyn Miller has joined the legal department at Capital One, based in Richmond, Virginia.
Class of 2020 Order of the Coif New members, who represent the top 10 percent of their graduating class, include: SUBMIT T E D
Samiyyah R. Ali has been appointed as a deputy associate counsel in the Office of White House Counsel. Samiyyah was a law clerk for Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018–19 and then joined Wilkinson Stekloff in Washington, D.C., before her appointment to the White House legal staff.
2015 Andrea Bilbija has joined Facebook as lead counsel for privacy, based in Atlanta. She previously practiced in the legal department at Athenahealth. Alandis Brassel is an assistant professor in the music and business program at the University of Memphis. Kyle A. Ewing (MSF’15) has joined Greenberg Traurig in Las Vegas as an associate.
Amanda Nguyen is vice president of government affairs and legal at Fragrance Creators in Washington, D.C.
Tanner C. Gibson has joined Morgan & Morgan law firm in Nashville.
Kyle Robisch has joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Tampa, Florida.
Monique Hannam is a partner at Ellis Cupps & Hannam in Cassville, Missouri.
Eric Schoppe is senior counsel for corporate and finance in the legal department at CenterPoint Energy in Houston.
Daniel Hay is teaching on the adjunct law faculty at Georgetown Law Center. Daniel is an associate with Sidley in Washington, D.C.
Danning Shao (LLM) is a partner at Jingtian & Gongcheng in Shanghai.
Orlando Hodges Jr. is an associate with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Los Angeles.
Vigdis Sigurdardottir (LLM) is working on the legal staff at the Icelandic Data Protection Authority, the supervisory authority tasked with the enforcement of the Icelandic Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation. Sigrid started work at the IDPA at the beginning of 2019. “I find data protection a very interesting and dynamic field (and much less of a niche than I thought before starting at the DPA), not to mention the new challenges brought on by the pandemic (tracing apps, etc.),” she writes. Mikhal Wright is an associate at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Winter Park, Florida. Rony Yaacoub (LLM) is a principal counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London. Maximilian Zahn (LLM) has joined Boehringer Ingelheim as legal counsel.
Ariel M. Kelly (BA’12) has joined Fisher Phillips in Nashville. Kendra Key was featured in Barron’s in August 2020 in an article about coronavirus relief. Kendra is senior vice president of community and economic development for Hope, a community development financial institution in Birmingham, Alabama. Edward Perkins has joined the Law Office of Steven Alizio in New York as an associate. David A. Smith and Caitlin Heaton Smith are both practicing law in Nashville, David as a plaintiff ’s attorney with his father and brothers at David Randolph Smith & Associates in Nashville, and Caitlin as an associate at Adams and Reese.
Martha Banner Banks of Macon, Georgia - Clerk, Judge Priscilla R. Owen, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Szymon S. Barnas of Norridge, Illinois – Clerk, Judge James C. Mahan ’73, District of Nevada Micah N. Bradley of Brentwood, Tennessee - Clerk, Judge Eli J. Richardson ’92, Middle District of Tennessee Thomas K. Conerty of Ada, Michigan – Clerk, Judge John B. Nalbandian, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Peter G. Cornick of Atlanta, Georgia – Clerk, Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr., Northern District of Georgia Robert William Dillard of Houston – Clerk, Vice Chancellor Joseph R. Slights III, Delaware Court of Chancery Elizabeth Ann Dunn of Birmingham, Alabama – Associate, Alston & Bird, Atlanta Charlotte Gill Elam of Fairhope, Alabama – Clerk, Judge John K. Bush, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Alice E. Haston of Johnson City, Tennessee – Associate, Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, Nashville Natalie A. Komrovsky of Cleveland, Ohio – Clerk, Judge Joan L. Larsen, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Ryli Wallace Leader of Fulton, Missouri – Associate, Burr & Forman, Birmingham, Alabama Cara Colleen Mannion of Stuart, Florida – Clerk, Judge William F. Jung, Middle District of Florida Hannah M. Miller of Annandale, Virginia – U.A. Army JAG Corps Joshua William Ohaus of Charlotte, North Carolina – Associate, Moore & Van Allen, Charlotte Rebecca Lund Rhodes of Martin, Tennessee – Associate, Whitledge & Biehslich, Martin Christopher Scott Sundby (PhD) of Miami, Florida – Clerk, Judge Adalberto J. Jordan, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Jeffrey A. Turner of Clarkston, Michigan – Clerk, Judge Joseph McKinley Jr., Western District of Kentucky Jill Rossing Warnock of Annapolis, Maryland – Associate, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C.
Hayley N. Stephens, an associate at Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was accepted into the Inclusion Leadership Institute of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice. Dolapo Olushuola-Uwaifo is director of legal process engineering at Baker Donelson in Nashville.
Julie Westbrook is associate general counsel with The Beneficient Company Group in Dallas. She previously practiced with Sidley Austin.
Kevin Cavino has joined Koley Jessen in Omaha, Nebraska, as an associate.
Bianca DiBella is an associate at Troutman Pepper in Atlanta.
Larry Crane-Moscowitz has joined Vaco in Nashville as corporate legal counsel.
C.J. Donald has joined Keenon Ogden as an associate based in the firm’s Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, offices.
Cassidi Hammock is a career law clerk with the U.S. District Court of Arizona in Tucson. Fob James IV has launched Fob James Law Firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Shee Shee Jin is a senior counsel for data and services at Mastercard in New York. Laura Komarek is a senior associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta. Timothy Parilla has joined Palmersheim & Mathew, a Chicago boutique law firm, as an associate. Cortney Leigh Patterson married Christopher Downey Barton on March 1, 2020, in Kansas City, Missouri. Alex Smith has been promoted to senior director for regulatory operations and product counsel at FanDuel in New York. Jennifer Stanley (BA’13) has joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia in Augusta, where she serves in the criminal division.
Barrett Tenbarge is a senior health counsel with the FDA Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Erica Hendricks is legal counsel at InStride-Strategic Enterprise Education in Los Angeles. She previously was an associate at Seyfarth Shaw in L.A. Thomas Hydrick is an associate at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia, South Carolina. Rebecka Manis is an associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago. She previously practiced with Schiff Hardin. Curt Masker has founded The Masker Firm, a plaintiff-side employment firm in Nashville. Curt and his partner, Caraline Richard ’15, live in Nashville, where Caraline is an associate at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. Elise K. Reecer has joined Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver as an associate. Ramsey Zeitouneh is an immigration attorney with Raju Mahajan & Associates in New York, where he also is a writer and actor.
2018 Brent Kapper is legal counsel with State Farm in Bloomington, Illinois. He previously practiced with Sirote & Permutt in Birmingham, Alabama. Shivam Kumar has joined Swift Currie McGhee & Hiers in Atlanta. Geoffrey Morris (BA’15), who focuses on real estate development and finance at Butler Snow, was named to the Memphis Flyer’s 20<30 List, which recognizes young leaders in the Memphis, Tennessee, business community. Keyne Jean Leopold Villert is an associate with Phillips Lytle in New York.
2019 Dalya Farah is practicing personal injury law at a firm founded by her father, Farah & Farah, in Jacksonville, Florida. Her law partners also include her brother and her uncle. Madison Crooks Haynes joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville, where she focuses on economic development. Ian R. Joyce has joined Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, where he focuses on government relations and health care compliance. Jackson Knouse has joined Maynard Cooper & Gale in Birmingham, Alabama. Emily Lamm’s article, “Flexibly Fluid & Immutably Innate: Perception, Identity and the Role of Choice in Race,” was published in the William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender and Social Justice in summer 2020.
Daniel L. Lawrence is a litigation associate at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville as a litigation associate. Clayton Masterman (PhD’19) received the 2020 Dissertation Award from the Society of Benefit Cost Analysis for his dissertation, “An Empirical Analysis of Policy Responses to the Opioid Epidemic.” Will Pugh is transactional practice associate with Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison in Nashville. Sarah Staples (BA’14) has joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville, where she focuses on health care. Thomas Tysowsky is a litigation associate with Baker McKenzie in Los Angeles. James Walker has joined Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella in Nashville, where he focuses on nonprofit law and appellate litigation.
2020 Taylor Caleb has joined Adams and Reese in Nashville. Alice Haston is a business litigation associate at Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison in Nashville. Rachel Johnson and Andrew Marino have joined Gibbons in Newark, New Jersey, as associates. Destiney Randolph has joined Miller & Martin in Atlanta as an associate. Ryli Wallace Leader is an associate with Burr & Forman in Birmingham, Alabama.
2020 VLS graduate secure 41 clerkships in federal and state courts Thirty-nine members of the Class of 2020 secured 41 clerkships they are serving this year or in future terms, including 35 clerkships in federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, and six in state courts, including the Delaware Court of Chancery. Unless otherwise indicated, clerkships were served during the 2020-21 term. Federal Appellate Courts Martha B. Banks Judge Priscilla R. Owen, 5th Circuit Thomas K. Conerty Judge John B. Nalbandian, 6th Circuit Charlotte Gill Elam Judge John K. Bush, 6th Circuit Joshua T. Hoyt Judge Andrew S. Oldham, 5th Circuit Natalie A. Komrovsky Judge Joan L. Larsen, 6th Circuit Hannah M. Miller Judge Amul R. Thapar, 6th Circuit (2023-24) Braden T. Morell Judge Andrew L. Brasher, 11th Circuit (2021-22) Emily G. Sasso Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr., 3rd Circuit (2021-22) Christopher S. Sundby Judge Adalberto J. Jordan, 11th Circuit Kathryn Paige Tenkhoff Judge Duane Benton, 8th Circuit
Federal District Courts
Peter G. Cornick Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr., Northern District of Georgia (2020-22) Joline R. Desruisseaux Judge William H. Alsup, Northern District of California (2022-23) Wesley A. Gonzales Judge John A. Houston, Southern District of California Randall P. Hiroshige Judge Jerome T. Kearney ’81, Eastern District of Arkansas Elizabeth A. Holden Judge Emily Coody Marks, Middle District of Alabama Caroline P. Hyde Judge Paul G. Bryon, Middle District of Florida (2020-22)
Jackson C. Smith Judge Jane J. Boyle, Northern District of Texas Rachel M. Stuckey Judge Eldon E. Fallon, Eastern District of Louisiana Jeffrey A. Turner Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., Western District of Kentucky Kristina H. Wenner Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein, Southern District of New York Federal Bankruptcy Courts Nathan C. Elner Judge Stacey G. C. Jernigan, Northern District of Texas (2020-22)
Natalie A. Komrovsky Judge Richard J. Leon, District of Columbia (2023-24)
Cara C. Mannion Judge William F. Jung, Middle District of Florida (2020-22) Joshua D. Minchin Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, Eastern District of Kentucky Braden T. Morell Judge Danny C. Reeves, Eastern District of Kentucky
Micah N. Bradley Judge Eli J. Richardson ’92, Middle District of Tennessee
Timothy F. Nevins Judge Paul D. Borman, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Mary K. Clemmons Judge David A. Ezra, District of Hawaii (sitting in the Western District of Texas)
Emily J. Sachs Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Ralph W. Kettell Judge Brian S. Miller ’95, Eastern District of Arkansas
Szymon S. Barnas Judge James C. Mahan’73, District of Nevada
Cole W. Browndorf Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr., Western District of Louisiana
Alexander W. Preve Judge Edward M. Chen, Northern District of California
Grant A. Newton Judge David L. Russell, Western District of Oklahoma Nathaniel A. Plemons Judge Mark T. Pittman, Northern District of Texas
Robert W. Dillard Vice Chancellor Joseph R. Slights III, Delaware Court of Chancery Joshua A. Manning Vice Chancellor Morgan T. Zurn, Delaware Court of Chancery Molly J. Reed Master in Chancery Patricia W. Griffin, Delaware Court of Chancery Leena A. Shetty Judges John R. Grise and Steve A. Wilson, Warren County Circuit Court, Kentucky Alexandra A. Eason Judge J. Steven Stafford, Tennessee Court of Appeals Matthew A. (JP) Horton Judge Thomas W. Brothers ’77, Tennessee Circuit Court, 20th District (2020-22)
“I would like to celebrate members of the Class of 2020 for their extraordinary success in securing clerkships. More than 21 percent of the class have secured clerkships, and 16 percent served in federal clerkships as their first jobs after graduation.”
- Michael Bressman, Professor of the Practice of Law and Director, Clerkship Program
11 members of the classes of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 secured federal clerkships for 2020-21 or other terms: Macy Cullison Climo ’16—Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith, Federal Claims Kenneth M. Cochran ’16—Judge Mark C. Scarsi, Central District of California (2020-21) and Judge Virginia A. Phillips, Central District of California (2019-20) Griffin R. Farha ’19—Judge Kent A. Jordan, 3rd Circuit (2021-22) and Judge Richard J. Leon, District of Columbia (2022-23) Margaret D. Fowler ’18 (JD/MSF)—Judge Janis G. Jack, Southern District of Texas Christine J. Gibbons ’19—John L. Sinatra Jr., Western District of New York (2019-21) Clayton J. Masterman ’19 (J.D./Ph.D.) —Judge David B. Sentelle, D.C. Circuit Breanna C. Philips ’19 —Judge Michael H. Park, 2nd Circuit Tyler D. Ricker ’17 —Judge James E. Graves, 5th Circuit R. William Stout ’19 —Judge Corey L. Maze, Northern District of Alabama Nathan Townsend ’19 —Judge David Porter, 3rd Circuit Kasey A. Youngentob ’17—Judge Eugene E. Siler Jr., 6th Circuit
IN MEMORIAM 1948
Bobby Lee Cook, celebrated trial attorney, dead at 94 Bobby Lee Cook of Cloudland, Georgia, died Feb. 19, 2021. He was 94. Bobby became one of the nation’s most celebrated trial lawyers and practiced for more than 70 years. Bobby lied about his age to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II at 17. After his service, he studied at Vanderbilt and then moved home to Summerville, Georgia, where he opened a law practice in 1949.
Bobby served in the Georgia Legislature and once ran for Congress, but his true calling was the courtroom. He represented such high-profile clients as the Rockefeller and Carnegie families, Robert Vesco, C.H. Butcher Jr., Mike Thevis and Daniel Paradies. For decades, he was hired for or consulted on nearly every high-profile case in Georgia. Among the more than 150 acquittals he achieved in murder cases during his career, he won murder trials in Germany and Vietnam. One of his more colorful cases, in Savannah, Georgia, is chronicled in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Bobby practiced law until shortly before his death. He was recognized with lifetime achievement awards by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In an interview for his induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Bobby explained why he became a lawyer: “I was convinced that it would give me the opportunity to do something good for people,” he said, “and to be in an area where rights had been deprived for many people over such a period of time.”
1947 James Richard Tuck (BA’40) of Nashville died Aug. 20, 2020. He was 102. James graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt before serving in the U.S. Army Air Force as a pilot, flying troops and supplies into China from bases in India. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and continued to serve in the Tennessee Air National Guard until 1977. He was the Founder’s Medalist for his class and spent his legal career at National Life and Accident Co. as general counsel of the WSM radio and television stations and Opryland USA. In retirement he was the city attorney for Belle Meade from 1993 to 1999. A charter member of the Metro Nashville Council, James represented the 34th district for 12 years, chairing the Budget and Finance Committee.
1949 James L. Bass Jr. of Carthage, Tennessee, died May 21, 2020. He was 98. James had recently celebrated 70 years at his law firm, Bass & Bass, and still worked five days a week until shortly before his death. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as
a radio operator during World War II, transmitting Morse code on B-17s in the European theater. For his service liberating Paris and prisoners of war in Austria, he was awarded the French Foreign Legion medal of honor. Charles Horace Warfield Sr. (BA’47) of Nashville died Feb. 19, 2020. He was 95. In World War II, Charlie served in the Pacific theater on the USS Yokes, where he fought in the Okinawa campaign. After the war, he finished his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt. During law school, Charlie and several classmates founded the Vanderbilt Law Review. In 1972 he became a founding partner in the Nashville firm that became Farris Warfield & Kanaday, serving as managing partner. The firm merged with Stites & Harbison in 2001. Charlie was president of the Nashville Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, an executive committee member of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, and president of the Nashville Better Business Bureau and the Nashville Bar Association.
1951 Robert Ernest Allen Jr. (BA’48) of Charlotte, North Carolina, died Jan. 12, 2020. Roy was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany in World War II. After law school, he entered private practice and in 1952 joined the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., becoming a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He was North Carolina chairman of the Vanderbilt University Endowment Drive for many years. He had a lifetime interest in antique cars and was founding president of the Charlotte Auto Fair in 1967. His 1940 Lincoln Continental V-12 convertible appeared in the 1978 movie The Betsy.
1952 Charles Terrill Cady of Greenville, South Carolina, died April 16, 2020. He was 94. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Charlie served in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II and then earned his undergraduate degree at Memphis State University and his law degree at Vanderbilt. He worked as a corporate lawyer for Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co. in Chattanooga for 36
years, ultimately serving as general counsel and secretary. Livingfield More (BA’47) of Franklin, Tennessee, died Jan. 19, 2021. He was 94. Livy served in the U.S. Army during World War II after starting college at Vanderbilt at age 16. A dedicated horseman, he devoted his life to River Grange Farm.
1953 Joe E. Johnson of Nashville died Dec. 22, 2020. He was 93. A native of Cookeville, Tennessee, Joe made his mark as a record label executive who produced, published and promoted more than 150 hits. As a music executive, he touched the lives of Willie Nelson, Lorrie Morgan, Jan and Dean, Marty Robbins, Gene Autry, Ricky Nelson, Chubby Checker and Glen Campbell, among other artists. Joe went to work for Columbia Records in the early 1950s. He became a co-founder of the Academy of Country Music in 1964 and helped produce the pilot of its annual awards show. An avid golfer, Joe launched a Nashville pro-celebrity golf tournament and continued to play until he was 85.
Robert Gene Striplin (BS’60, MA’61) of Sacramento, California, died Dec. 17, 2020. He was 92. Bob joined the U.S. Army after World War II, stationed in Germany and Korea. He practiced law for seven years in Columbia, Tennessee, and then returned to Vanderbilt, earned a master’s in history, and began a teaching career in Sacramento public schools in 1961. He later joined the political science faculty at American River College, where he taught until 1990.
1954 Alex Whitefield Darnell (BA’51) of Clarksville, Tennessee, died Nov. 24, 2020. He was 91. After earning his law degree, Alex served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. He returned to Clarksville and practiced law until he was appointed clerk and master of Montgomery County Chancery Court. During more than 20 years on the bench, Alex was president of the Tennessee County Officials Association, where he helped modernize the county officials retirement system. In 1975 he was appointed chancellor of the 6th Chancery District. He retired to a farm in Port Royal in 1981. Stephen Deaderick Potts (BA’52) of Bethesda, Maryland, died Dec. 12, 2019. He was 89. Steve graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt. After earning his law degree, he joined the defense appellate division of the Judge Advocate General Corps. In 1961 he joined the Washington, D.C., law firm of Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge, where he focused on maritime, environmental and aviation law for 30 years. In 1990, Steve was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to a five-year term as head of the Office of Government Ethics; he served a second term under President Bill Clinton.
George Harrison Cate Jr. '49 dies at 92 George Harrison Cate Jr. (BA’49) of Nashville, who helped form Metropolitan Nashville’s combined city/ county government and was elected Metro’s first vice mayor, died Dec. 18, 2020. He was 92. George entered legal practice in Nashville with his father in 1951 after earning his law degree. A community leader throughout his 63-year legal career, he helped spearhead the effort to combine Nashville’s city government with Davidson County government to create Metropolitan Nashville in the early 1960s and was elected Metro Nashville’s first vice mayor in 1962, serving from 1963 to 1966. His achievements were recognized in 1984 with the Nashville Bar Association’s John C. Tune Public Service Award. At Vanderbilt, George was president of the Student Union and the Honor Council as an undergraduate, received the Founder’s Medal for his law class, and was editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review. After earning his J.D., George served for two years as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army JAG Corps based in Washington, D.C. He later served in the Army Reserve until 1984, commanding a military police brigade with units in five states. He was promoted to Brigadier General and received the Legion of Merit.
Taya Seligman (BA’50) of Keene, New Hampshire, died Feb. 13, 2021. She was 92. Taya was one of three women in her law class. She worked as a juvenile probation officer, was a counselor with the Stamford, Connecticut, Commission on Aging, running a clinic at Nashville General Hospital, and worked with various state mental health agencies. Over the course of her career, she lived in East Tennessee, Florida, Connecticut and Kentucky before retiring in Keene to be near her daughters.
George was instrumental in creating the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. In 1958 the Metro Charter had been defeated in a referendum. As chair of Citizens for Better Government, he led the campaign for the adoption of the Metro Charter, speaking on the merits of the proposed consolidation of the city and county governments. When the Metro Charter passed in 1962, Nashville became the first city in the nation with this form of government.
Under Steve’s leadership, the OGE expanded its focus to include a greater emphasis on international corruption and participated in the drafting of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, which was adopted by the Organization of American States in 1996. Steve was recognized for the assistance he provided the government of Argentina in establishing its ethics office with the nation’s highest honor, the Order of May. After retiring from OGE in 2000, he continued his advocacy of ethics in government and business as interim president of the Ethics Research Center from 2001 to 2002 and then chairman of the ERC board until 2007. Steve received the ERC’s Pace Award in 2008 in recognition of his unwavering integrity
and moral vision. He left the ERC to join the White House Counsel’s Office under President George W. Bush, serving until 2009. An avid tennis player, he served on the boards of the U.S. Tennis Association and the U.S. Olympic Committee. He is survived by his wife, Irene P. "Kip" Potts (BA’52).
law until his retirement in 1999. Bere was a founding member of and served as the attorney for Modern Music of Little Rock, which brought great jazz performers to Arkansas in the early 1960s and helped bring about the desegregation of Little Rock’s Robinson Auditorium.
Donald D. Hildebrand of Nashville died April 14, 2020. He was 91. Don earned his B.A. at Illinois Welseyan University and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict before earning his law degree. He became a founding partner in the law firm of Lester Hildebrand Nolan Porter and Mondelli in 1964. Don was a state commander of the Tennessee American Legion and hosted Conservative Viewpoint, one of the first talk shows on Nashville radio station
Beresford L. Church (BA’51) of Little Rock, Arkansas, died Jan. 6, 2020. He was 89. In addition to his two Vanderbilt degrees, Bere earned an MBA at Columbia University. He began his legal career in 1955 at Spitzberg Bonner Mitchell & Hayes in Little Rock. In 1979 he became a solo practitioner specializing in real estate
Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr. ’54 (BA’52) dies at 89 Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr. ’54 (BA’52) of Nashville died March 18. He was 89. A native of Tullahoma, Tennessee, Tom was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter on the recommendation of Sen. James Sasser ’61 (BA’58). During his distinguished judicial career, Tom served on the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules of the Judicial Conference from 1984 to 1989, as chief judge of the Middle District of Tennessee from 1984 to 1991, and as a member of the 6th Circuit pattern jury instructions committee from 1987 to 2012. While serving on the bench, he earned an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. After assuming senior status in 1995, Tom continued to serve until his official retirement in 2013. He was elected to represent the 6th Circuit Court in the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1997 to 2002. In 2002 he was consultant to the judiciary of Brcko, Bosnia, under the aegis of the Central and Eastern Europe Legal Initiative and the U.S. State Department.
Among other notable cases, Tom presided over the desegregation of schools in Nashville from 1978 until settlement and unitary status declaration in 2004, and over the Geier Consent Decree, which desegregated Tennessee’s colleges and universities. He served on the founding board of directors and as vice president of the Federal Judges Association. Tom taught Trial Advocacy at Vanderbilt and also taught national, regional and advanced courses in the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He received the law school’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his long career of public service and his work as a member of Vanderbilt’s law faculty. Tom served for two years in the U.S. Army after law school and then practiced law in Tullahoma until 1971, representing his district in the state House of Representatives from 1965 to 1969. He moved to Nashville when he was elected state treasurer in 1971. He founded the Nashville firm of Chambers and Wiseman after a failed election bid for governor in 1974. Tom is survived by his wife, Emily Matlack Wiseman; his son, Thomas A. Wiseman III ’82, and a large extended family.
WLAC. He was the Republican candidate for the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1973. For 10 years, Don was a colonel in the Tennessee State Guard, serving as judge advocate, adjutant general and inspector general. He hosted and produced a legal talk show, Law: Cases and Comment, for more than 20 years. Raymond Skinner Jr. (BA'54) of Memphis, Tennessee, died Feb. 3, 2021. He was 90. Ray was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean conflict. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Ray returned home to Memphis to work with his father at Forest Hill Dairy. After leaving the dairy, he spent many years at Union Planters Bank before becoming budget director for Shelby United Neighbors, now United Way.
Sidney White Spragins Sr. (BA’54) of Jackson, Tennessee, died Feb. 19, 2021. He was 88. Sid joined his father’s law firm in 1956 and practiced law for 45 years.
joining Ulmer Berne Laronge Glickman & Curtis in 1963. He practiced in the firm’s tax and estate planning departments for 34 years, retiring in 1998.
James S. Gilliland (BA’55) of Memphis, Tennessee, died Feb. 24, 2020. He was 86. Jim influenced political and social change for decades in Memphis and nationally. He started his legal career as a prosecutor in the U.S. Navy, then as chief defense counsel for the NavyMarine general court martial system for the Far East. He joined Glankler Brown in Memphis after his service. His legal career was marked by awards from nonprofits and professional organizations recognizing his work to push Memphis and Shelby County to become more progressive and inclusive.
William A. Edwards (BA’54) of Cleveland, Ohio, died Feb. 6. He was 87. As an undergraduate, Bill had a brief but colorful stint on the Vanderbilt football team while his father was the head coach. He became the student radio voice of the Commodores and worked at the Grand Ole Opry, where he took Vanderbilt football recruits on tours. After law school, he served in the U.S. Army and then returned to Cleveland, where he worked as a loan officer for Commerce Union Bank before
Jim moved to Washington, D.C., in 1993 to serve as general counsel to the Department of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton, returning to Memphis after his government service. His impact in Memphis included chairing the boards of the Liberty Bowl, the Memphis Cotton Carnival and LeMoyne-Owen College. He received the Memphis Bar Association’s Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award for most outstanding young lawyer in 1971, and in 1995 he was presented with the United Negro College Fund’s Beacon of Hope Award by baseball legend Hank Aaron. Jim is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lucia Flowers Gilliland (BA’59).
Professor of Law, Emeritus, Robert Covington Professor of Law, Emeritus, Robert Covington died at his home in Nashville on Nov. 29, 2020. He was 84. Born in Evansville, Indiana, but raised largely in Paris, Tennessee, Bob earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt Law School in 1961. He joined the law faculty immediately after earning his law degree. In addition to his recognized expertise in labor law, Bob also published books and articles on evidence, insurance, legal method and legal education over the course of his distinguished academic career. He continued to publish after assuming emeritus status, authoring the third edition of Employment Law in a Nutshell (Thomson West, 2009) and co-authoring the fourth edition of Legal Protection for the Individual Employee (Thomson West, 2010). Faculty colleagues recall Bob’s deep commitment to the law school and university and his dedication to teaching. He received Vanderbilt’s Thomas Jefferson Award in 1992, and when the law school was expanded and renovated in the early 2000s, the Covington Room was named in his honor. SUBMITTED
In his early years at Vanderbilt, Bob organized and led a faculty-student Dixieland band that entertained at law school functions and produced a vinyl record. Bob is survived by his wife, Paula Anne Covington (MLS’71, MA’94).
1958 Charles L. Herring (BA’53) of Denver died April 10, 2020. He was 88. “Bucky” practiced law in Vero Beach, Florida, for many years and later worked in the oil and gas industry traveling and settling in Denver. Richard M. Mowry Jr. of Boca Raton, Florida, died May 16, 2020. He earned his undergraduate degree at St. Vincent College. Richard served in the Army and then worked for the FBI, learning Chinese at the Army Language School in California. He then opened a private law practice in Deerfield. During his 52-year career, he served Deerfield Beach as mayor and a city commissioner. Wendell Harmon Rorie of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, died Dec. 25, 2020. He was 98. Wendell served in the U.S. Army before law school. He practiced law in Hopkinsville for 57 years and was city attorney 16 years. He was president of the Kentucky Municipal Attorneys Association in the 1970s and of the Christian County Bar Association in 1970. He was also active in the Kentucky and American
bar associations. As president of the Kentucky Lawyer Referral Service in the 1970s, Wendell implemented the policy of handling pro bono cases for those who could not afford a lawyer. In 2000 he was recognized for his dedicated efforts to provide all Kentuckians with access to legal services.
1959 Richard Denmar Bird (BA’54) of Nashville died June 30, 2020. He was 86. Richard practiced at Gracey Madden Cowan & Bird until 1987, when he joined Baker Donelson. He served two terms as president of the Nashville Bar Association and was a fellow in the Tennessee Bar Foundation. He practiced law for almost 60 years, retiring in 2016. William Joseph Faimon of Nashville died Jan. 23, 2021. He was 88. Bill served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1954. After law school, he worked for the CIA for 12 years and then practiced law in Nashville. Bill was elected a general sessions judge in 1982 and served until his retirement in 2006.
Gerald Hart Johnson of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, died Jan. 21, 2020. He was 85. Gerald earned his undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University. After law school, he practiced law in Cape Girardeau for 47 years. Gerald was hospitalized for eight months after a near-fatal auto accident in 1955. With the help of his parents and future wife, he realized his physical impairment need not be an obstacle to success. His zest and passion for life remained evident in his final days. Jack Donald McNeil of Memphis, Tennessee, died Aug. 27, 2020. He was 87. Jack earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Memphis. He served in the U.S. Army, based in Honolulu, before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, where he served on the Vanderbilt Law Review. Jack loved being a trial lawyer and presented oral arguments in court until two years before his death. Jack served in the Tennessee legislature as a state representative and later was a city councilman in Memphis, where he was instrumental in saving Beale Street from demolition. Jack was a published poet, wrote historical plays and could play a competitive tennis match until near the end of his life.
1961 Robert E. Banker of Tampa, Florida, died April 27, 2020. He was 85. A Memphis native, Bob earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He then served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, which he enjoyed immensely, saying he would “rather fly than march.” Stationed in Turkey, Bob flew troops into Beirut. He graduated from law school Order of the Coif and served on the Vanderbilt Law Review. During law school, he flew for the Tennessee Air National Guard and worked for the Vanderbilt Development Foundation. In 1961, Bob moved to Tampa and joined Fowler White, where he specialized in medical, aviation and products defense. In 2008 he formed Banker Lopez & Gassler with 75 trial attorneys, mentoring innumerable young trial lawyers. Bob’s notable successes include representing New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in his battles with Major League Baseball and defending Learjet in a multimillion-dollar wrongful death suit after a crash that killed pro golfer Payne Stewart.
Nathan James Harsh of Gallatin, Tennessee, died April 10, 2020. He was 82 and had practiced law in Gallatin since 1961. A civil liberties champion, Nathan specialized in land condemnation, personal injury, workers’ compensation, wills, estates, real estate and domestic family matters. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and served in the Tennessee Air National Guard. During the 1970s, Nathan served on a commission appointed by Judge Frank Gray that heard more than 80 cases to determine just compensation for the landowners after the Cordell Hull Dam was constructed and land was taken by the government by eminent domain to impound the Cordell Hull Lake. Nathan maintained a lifetime interest in African American and Hispanic history and culture, assisting the Tennessee African American and Hispanic communities as an attorney and friend. He is survived by his wife, Jean Harsh (BS’59). Lewis B. Hollabaugh (BA’56) of Franklin, Tennessee, died Aug. 13, 2020. He was 85. Lewis served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, and then joined Manier Crouch White & Herod in Nashville, ultimately becoming a named partner. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and a member of the Nashville Bar Association board. Howard Henry Rice of Birmingham, Alabama, died Aug. 20, 2020. He was 84. “Hook” earned his undergraduate degree at the College of William & Mary and then served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He worked for the FBI based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Newark, New Jersey, before moving to Montgomery, Alabama, to take a job as head of investigations with South Central Bell. After retiring he worked with the state attorney general’s office.
1962 Robert Laws (BA’58) of Nashville died Aug. 20, 2020. He was 85. Bob was captain of the Vanderbilt football team in 1959 and was an assistant football coach during law school. He also joined the U.S. Army ROTC program in 1958 and served in the Army Reserve after law school. Bob was appointed attorney of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 1965, serving there until 1974 when he was appointed a federal magistrate judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. He served on the bench for 25 years.
1963 Mark B. Anderson of Crespo, Iowa, died July 7, 2020. He was 72. Mark entered law practice in Crespo in 1973 and served as Howard County attorney for two terms over the course of his career. He retired in 2018. Robert G. Johnston of Cleveland, Mississippi, died Nov. 24, 2020. He was 81. Robert attended Mississippi State College before earning his J.D. at Vanderbilt. After law school, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve, remaining active until 1993. He joined Alexander Feduccia & Alexander in Cleveland, Mississippi, in 1965. In 1972, Robert was a founding partner in the firm that became Alexander Johnston & Alexander, where he practiced for 55 years. Ira Stephen North Sr. of Nashville died Dec. 28, 2020. He was 79. Steve practiced law for more than 50 years, including a term as a circuit court judge. He earned his undergraduate degree from David Lipscomb College.
1964 Gorman Waddell of Kingsport, Tennessee, died Feb. 13, 2021. He was 81. He established Moore Stout Waddell in Kingsport in 1966. The firm later merged with another firm, which became Wilson Worley Moore Gamble and Stout. Gorman practiced law in Kingsport for 56 years..
1965 C. Thomas Cates of Memphis, Tennessee, died Dec. 23, 2020. He was 79. Tom graduated from Memphis State University before earning his Vanderbilt law degree Order of the Coif and serving on the Vanderbilt Law
Professor Allaire Urban Karzon Professor Allaire Urban Karzon of Nashville died Jan. 24, 2021. She was 95. Professor Karzon was a distinguished attorney with a trail-blazing legal career in government, private practice, as corporate counsel and as a law professor. After graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, she was an attorney with the Office of Alien Property at the Department of Justice and the legal department of RCA Corp. She became the first woman partner at Hodgson Russ Andrews Woods & Goodyear in Buffalo, New York. After moving to Nashville in 1968, she served as counsel to Performance Systems Inc. and Aladdin Industries, and as a partner in Neal Karzon and Harwell. She taught tax law at VLS for 18 years, becoming the law school’s first tenured woman professor. SUBMIT T ED
Walton Thomas Conn (BA’56) of Nashville died Nov. 10, 2020. He was 90. Walton served in the U.S. Navy, stationed in San Diego. He worked as a corporate attorney for the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. An avid Vanderbilt basketball fan, he had been a season ticketholder since 1988.
Review. He practiced with Burch Porter & Johnson in Memphis for more than 40 years. From the early 1990s until he retired in 2013, he was the city attorney for Germantown and Collierville, Tennessee, providing steady leadership through a period of tremendous growth for both communities. Tom was instrumental in assisting Germantown in establishing a library; its primary collection is named in his honor. Tom is survived by his wife, Elaine (BA’66), and four children, including Taylor Alexander Cates ’99 and Cynthia Cates Moore (BS’91). Riley C. Darnell of Clarksville, Tennessee, died Oct. 2, 2020. He was 80. Riley served 22 years in the Tennessee General Assembly and 16 years as secretary of state. Riley earned his undergraduate degree from Austin Peay State University. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a captain and judge advocate general until 1969 and then returned to Clarksville to practice law. In 1970 he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives from the 67th District. He served five two-year terms. In 1980 he was elected to the state Senate, ultimately serving as majority leader for 12 years before losing his seat in 1992. In 1993 Riley
was appointed Tennessee’s secretary of state and served until 2009. John H. Frye III of Irvington, Virginia, died Oct. 9, 2020. He was 84. John earned his undergraduate degree at Davidson College and served in the U.S. Army in Baltimore. After law school, he joined the legal staff of the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., ultimately serving as an administrative law judge for the commission. In 1992 he was appointed administrative law judge for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, where he served until his retirement in 1998. John was active in the Federal Bar Association, serving as chair of the sections on Administrative Law and International Law and of the Committee on the Administration of Justice. He also was the author of three historical novels. Robert Lee Jackson (BA’65) of Franklin, Tennessee, died Feb. 15, 2021. Bobby was 79. Bobby practiced with his father at Jackson Tanner and Reynolds and later with his son at Jackson and Associates. A skilled mediator, Bobby handled more than 2000 family law matters in Nashville courts.
David King of Winter Park, Florida, died Dec. 15, 2020. He was 79. David spent 50 years fighting for justice in Florida, most notably as the lead attorney for Fair Districts, a successful legal challenge to partisan gerrymandering. David also supported his son Chris King’s 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign. David was a partner in the Orlando firm of King Blackwell Zehnder & Wermuth, focusing on complex commercial litigation and legal malpractice defense. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was president of the Orange County Bar Association. David also worked with the League of Women Voters of Florida and others to pass the Fair Districts Amendments, which changed how Florida draws up legislative and congressional districts, and spent years defending the amendments in court. Walter Steele Patton III of Fairhope, Alabama, died Aug. 24, 2020, of COVID-19. He was 81. Walter lived for many years in Mobile, where he worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He earned his undergraduate degree at Centre College and a master’s in history at the University of Alabama. William Landis Turner of Hohenwald, Tennessee, died March 17, 2020. He was 79. Landis practiced law in Hohenwald from 1967 until 2007 and served for 40 years as its city attorney and as county attorney for Lewis County and as the attorney for the Lewis County School System. He also was city attorney for Lobelville in Perry County for 20 years. Active in the Tennessee Bar Association, he served terms as president and as speaker of the house of delegates. Under his leadership, the TBA instigated creating a statewide office of public defenders and a client security fund. Landis also served on the boards of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and the Tennessee Justice Center. He helped create the first railroad authority by which cities and counties were able to save railroad branches abandoned by large railroads. He was an attorney for South Central Tennessee Railroad Authority for 30 years and chaired
his local railroad authority and the Tennessee Short Line Railroad Alliance, which represents 18 railroads. Active in politics, Landis managed more than 20 campaigns in Lewis County and was elected a member of the Lewis County Commission. He was president and served on the board of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association for many years. Landis is survived by his wife of 54 years, Janet Cameron Turner (BA’63).
1966 Allen Taylor Malone (BA'63) of Memphis, Tennessee, died Feb. 9, 2021. Allen was a special agent with the FBI for three years before entering law practice at Apperson Crump in Memphis. He joined Burch Porter & Johnson as a member in 2000 and focused on environmental litigation there until his retirement in 2018. He is survived by his wife, Mary Martin Malone (BA’64). Thurman T. McLean of Nashville died June 15, 2020. He was 81. Thurman practiced law in Nashville and was a staunch supporter of Vanderbilt and Montgomery Bell Academy. David Young Parker of Nashville died Jan. 23, 2021. He was 79. David practiced law for 53 years in downtown Nashville and as counsel for Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., the state of Tennessee and Genesco. He taught business law as an adjunct professor at David Lipscomb College, where he earned his undergraduate degree, and served on the board of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society and on the Historical Committee of the Nashville Bar Association.
1967 William Lee Lackey (BA’64) of Savannah, Tennessee, died Oct. 11, 2020. He was 78. Lee was a fourth-generation Commodore and third-generation attorney. He joined the U.S. Army after law school, graduating from Officer Command School in 1968. He joined his father’s law practice after his service and was a prominent member
of the West Tennessee bar for more than 40 years, serving as a member of the Tennessee Bar Association House of Delegates. He was Hardin County attorney from 1990 until 2002. He spent much of his career in court and was a mentor and teacher to several generations of Hardin County attorneys. He was president of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the board of Central Bank, serving as its secretary, vice chairman and chairman. Judge John R. MacLean of Cleburne, Texas, died Nov. 8, 2020. He was 82. John earned his undergraduate degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and then served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. During law school, John was president of the Vanderbilt Bar Association. He moved to Cleburne to practice with his fatherin-law and served as county attorney for Johnson County from 1969 to 1976 and district attorney from 1977 to 1984, when he was appointed by Gov. Mark White to serve as judge of the 249th District Court. After 24 years of public service, John returned to private practice until 2016. William A. Pyle of Jackson, Mississippi, died Dec. 18, 2019. He was 77. Bill earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi and returned to Jackson to join his father’s law practice after law school. He became a trial attorney representing clients in federal and state courts in Mississippi. After the unrest in 1970 at Jackson State University, Bill was appointed to Mayor Russell Davis’ committee to investigate the violent response of the Jackson Police Department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Bill managed statewide political campaigns and was chairman of the legislative committee of the Mississippi Bar Association. Bill’s wife, Dee Loyocono, had multiple sclerosis, and he chaired the Mississippi chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and assisted Dee in founding Mississippi Blood Services, now the primary blood supplier in the state.
1968 Walter Winn Davis (BA’65) of Glasgow, Kentucky, died Oct. 8, 2020. He was 76. Walter practiced commercial and real estate law in Glasgow for 46 years until his retirement in 2014. He was active in the Barron County Bar Association, serving as its president in 1977–78, and in the Kentucky Bar Association. Walter was a director of Citizens Bank and Trust Company for 22 years and served on the advisory board of Trans Financial Bank and U.S. Bank for the Glasgow region for 17 years. He served on the board of T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow for 37 years.
1971 Judge Robert E. Brizendine of Atlanta died Nov. 18, 2020. He was 74. Bob attended Georgia Tech on a basketball scholarship and helped pay his law school expenses by teaching calculus in the Vanderbilt School of Engineering. Bob joined Hicks Eubanks and Scroggins in Atlanta, where he specialized in bankruptcy law. After 21 years as a practicing attorney, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals appointed Bob to serve as a bankruptcy judge in the Northern District of Georgia. He served for 21 years. Thomas H. Graham of Sedona, Arizona, died March 19, 2021. He was 75. Tom earned his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College. He practiced law in New York City and Minneapolis before moving to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, with his wife, Jennifer, where Tom practiced law and the couple owned The Fireside restaurant. In 2004, Tom and Jennifer moved to Sedona, where Tom was the founding partner of a boutique hotel, Las Posadas of Sedona, and practiced law. John Richardson White of Lynchburg, Tennessee, died Nov. 24, 2020. He was 75. A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, John earned his undergraduate degree at Sewanee before graduating Order of the Coif from Vanderbilt Law School. John served in the U.S. Army before practicing for 30 years as a partner in Bobo Hunt and White.
Peter Garland (MLS’66), a long-serving librarian at Vanderbilt Law School, died May 26, 2020, in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was 86. A graduate of Sewanee and the Emory University School of Law, Peter was a favorite of many students because of his patience and his ability to explain how to make use of a large variety of print and electronic services.
Florence Howse Ridley (MA’51) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, died Jan. 16, 2021. She was 99. After earning her Ph.D. in medieval English literature at Harvard University, Florence became a world-renowned expert on Chaucer. She taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, for 34 years, becoming the first woman chair of the academic senate and graduate counsel and the first woman appointed as associate dean of graduate studies. In 2018, Florence endowed the Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law, held by Christopher Serkin, in honor of her parents. Her father, Granville Ridley Jr., earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt in 1914 and 1916, respectively, and had a long, successful legal career in Nashville. Her survivors include Elizabeth Stewart DeLargy ’77 (BA’72), John M. Green ’87, Cameron R. Stewart (BA’68), George H. Stewart (BE’72) and Mildred Stewart Wells (BS’75).
John Wilfred Bonds Jr. of Atlanta died Nov. 22, 2020. He was 77. A native of Dyer, Tennessee, John attended the Air Force Academy and was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. After earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, John joined Sutherland Asbill and Brennan in Atlanta, where he practiced for 37 years.
Robert William Bradford Jr. of Montgomery, Alabama, died March 19, 2021. Bob earned his undergraduate degree at David Lipscomb College before serving in the U.S. Navy for four years. After law school, he practiced at Bradley Arant Rose & White in Birmingham. In 1980 he joined Hill Carter Franco Cole & Black in Montgomery as a partner and practiced with the firm for 40 years.
Richard A. Buerger of Brentwood, Tennessee, died March 28, 2021. He was 73. Rick earned his undergraduate degree at Miami University. He was a founding partner of Buerger Moseley and Carson from 1973 until retiring to senior partner status in 2002. He was Williamson County attorney from 1978 to 2002. Rick taught at Belmont University as an adjunct professor of health care management. He was president of the Tennessee County Attorneys Association from 1990 to 1992 and of the Williamson County Bar Association in 1983-84. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary (MS’77).
1974 Craig E. Lindeke of St. Paul, Minnesota, died Aug. 5, 2020. He was 74. Craig earned his undergraduate degree at Williams College. He worked in the Minnesota Revisor’s Office drafting legislation for more than 30 years. William E. Speakman Jr. of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, died March 16, 2021. He was 72. Bill earned his undergraduate degree at Washington & Jefferson College. He served in the Army Reserve for four years after law school. He began his law career with PeacockKeller in Washington, Pennsylvania, and started his own law practice in 1979. Bill was the longtime editor of the Washington Country Bar Association legal journal and was a child custody and conference officer for Washington County.
1978 Charles Stanley Dunn of South Charleston, West Virginia, and Largo, Florida, died June 29, 2020. He was 66. Charley earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and returned to his home state, West Virginia, to practice law with his brother after law school. A gifted mediator, he served for 30 years in the state attorney general’s office representing many West Virginia state agencies, including the Division of Highways, the Insurance Commission and the Department of Human Resources, and serving as general counsel for the Division of Motor Vehicles. Charley toured the world on his bicycle in his free time.
1979 Theresa Ann Swafford (MS’72, BA’70) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died Nov. 11, 2020. She was 72.
1982 Donovan S. Robertson of Bettendorf, Iowa, died March 23, 2020. He was 63. Donovan earned his undergraduate degree at Augustana College. He spent his legal career in the Quad Cities as a partner at Stengel Bailey and Robertson in Rock Island, Illinois. Donovan was a member of the Illinois,
Iowa and Missouri bar associations and served on the Criminal Justice Act Panel program.
1983 Robert C. Goodrich Jr. of Nashville died March 7, 2020. Bob earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and taught school before attending Vanderbilt Law School as an Elliott Cheatham Scholar. He practiced law for 33 years at Farris Warfield & Kanaday, where he focused on commercial litigation and insolvency. In 2016, Bob was inducted at the Smithsonian Institution into the American College of Bankruptcy Lawyers. A dedicated volunteer, Bob helped establish Parmer Park in Nashville and was chairman of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
1985 Lucille Elizabeth Reymann of Charlotte, North Carolina, died May 5, 2020. She was 60. Lucie earned her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the University of Alabama. She began her career in 1985 in Dallas with Johnson & Gibbs and then joined Shearman & Sterling in 1988, working in Los Angeles and New York. She moved to Charlotte in 1994 to join the legal department of Bank of America. Bradley Evan Wahl of Atlanta died after a six-year battle with cancer July 21, 2020. He was 60. Brad spent most of his legal career as a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, where he practiced commercial finance law. Brad is survived by his brother, Lee Wahl ’86, and a large extended family.
1988 Elizabeth Bingham Marney of Nashville died May 26, 2020. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phi Beta Kappa, and taught at Southern Methodist University in 1963 before earning a Ph.D. in English at the University of Texas at Austin. Betty taught at Harpeth Hall for 10 years before entering law school in 1985. She earned her law degree at age 48 and practiced at King and Ballow before becoming in-house counsel at the Nashville Banner newspaper, where she wrote a brief for a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. She worked in the Criminal Appellate Division of the Tennessee Attorney General’s office before her retirement in 2008. She is survived by her son, Samuel R. Marney (BA’90), and daughter, Annis Morrison Marney (MD’03, MSCI’09).
2003 Sheandra Rashida Clark of Atlanta died July 26, 2020. She earned her undergraduate degree at George Washington University before law school. At the time of her death, she had worked as an assistant general counsel for Delta Air Lines for 11 years. Sheandra sat on the board of the Georgia Justice Project, which advocates for individuals in the criminal justice system.
2014 Andrew Stephen Bauer of Marietta, Georgia, died Jan. 4, 2021. He was 35. Andrew was a corporate counsel with Birla Carbon.
THANK YOU! During the past year, we’ve all learned what community means even more than we could have imagined. At Vanderbilt Law School, we’ve “stepped up and masked up.” We taught and learned both inside and outside the walls of a classroom. We canceled important and meaningful events, and we planned new ones. It’s been challenging and heartbreaking, inspirational and exhilarating.
to support our students, our faculty and our staﬀ to impact the world for good. We asked you to support our mission of educating leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice. And you did it.
Yet the vital and important work of the law school never stops. For 24 hours, on April 7, we asked you
More than ever … when you impact Vanderbilt Law School with your gifts, you impact the world.
We thank you, alumni and friends all over the globe, for your support of what we do each and every day, each and every year.
Learn more about the impact you made at vu.edu/givingday.SPRING 2021
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In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Executive Order 11246, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 as amended by the Jobs for Veterans Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, covered veterans status, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other university-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender expression consistent with the university’s nondiscrimination policy. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to Anita J. Jenious, J.D., Director; Equal Employment Opportunity Office; Baker Building; PMB 401809, 2301 Vanderbilt Place; Nashville, TN 37240-1809. Telephone (615) 343-9336; FAX (615) 343-4969.
SAVE THE DATE! VANDERBILT LAW SCHOOL REUNION IS
OCT. 22–23, 2021
This year’s celebration is sure to be one for the history books as Reunion 2020 and Reunion 2021 classes reunite! We will announce the format (in-person vs. virtual) for Reunion once more clarity emerges regarding the progress of the pandemic. In the meantime, learn more about how you can connect with classmates at law.vanderbilt.edu/reunion.
Questions? Contact the Law School alumni office at email@example.com or 615-322-2606.