In Charge '14: Legal

As is our annual tradition, the Post team presents In Charge, a compendium of Middle Tennessee’s top business, political and civic leaders. The 450-plus women and men on our list — our fifth annual — make a positive impact not just on their individual sectors, but on the city in general. These folks are the best of the best — and always “in charge.”



1. Jane Allen — CEO, Counsel On Call: Saw a need and filled it with legal services company that works with corporations and law firms to lower costs and get results. Headquartered in Nashville, the firm now has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Memphis.

2. Bob Ballow — Founding Partner, King & Ballow: One of the nation’s most respected corporate defense attorneys on labor issues. A celebrated union-buster. Firm represents clients in all 50 states in all areas of the law.

3. Kathryn E. Barnett — Partner in Charge, Nashville, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein: Partner at one of the country’s largest law firms representing plaintiffs only. Areas of practice include consumer protection, personal injury and torts, and defective products. A graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law and Davidson College.

4. George Barrett — Founding Partner, Barrett Johnston & Parsley: A veteran civil rights and labor attorney. Admitted to the bar in 1957 after graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Law. Founded one of first integrated law firms in the South and has been fighting the status quo ever since.

5. Julian Bibb — Member, Stites & Harbison: Expert in banking/finance and real estate law. Known and admired for his civic and land preservation efforts. In 2010 helped secure Battle of Franklin sites and assisted Land Trust for Tennessee in preserving open spaces.

6. Charles W. Bone — Founder & Chairman, Bone McAllester Norton: Represents clients on matters ranging from mergers and acquisitions, financial institutions and government relations. The first emeritus member of the board of directors of Salvus, Inc., an initiative he helped found with a local physician to provide quality health care to uninsured individuals.

7. Robert E. Boston — Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: One of the state’s top employment lawyers. Handles compensations and compliance disputes. Represents employers in complicated wrongful termination issues. Has served for many years on the firm’s board of directors and in numerous other leadership roles.

8. Scott Carey — Managing Shareholder, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz: Top dog in Nashville office of prestigious Southeastern firm. Well known for expertise on transportation law and major player in Tennessee GOP politics as counsel for state Republican party.

9. James H. Cheek III — Member, Bass Berry & Sims: Maestro of public company legal representation. Retained to probe New York Stock Exchange operations, at a price north of $10 million, after SEC investigated the market and required it to hire a non-conflicted auditor. Chaired Metro Airport Authority board from 2003 to 2013.

10. Chase Cole — Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Major player in legal community regarding corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities law and venture capital financing. Served as lead outside counsel on the largest IPO ever conducted by a Nashville-based company, HCA.

11. Lisa Ramsey Cole — President and Managing Shareholder, Lewis Thomason: Focuses on employment law, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and general casualty defense litigation. Routinely authors treatises and presents educational and training seminars regarding general employment law, workers’ compensation and medical malpractice.

12. Kevin M. Doherty — Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Former Burr & Forman partner whose practice focuses on insurance regulatory law, with particular emphasis on captives, risk retention groups, self-insurance funds and other alternative insurance vehicles.

13. Dan Elrod — Member and Managing Partner, Nashville Office, Butler Snow: Successfully steered in 2012 almost 40 attorneys to then-new firm, representing city’s largest attorney relocation in history. Represents more than 40 Tennessee health care institutions on regulatory issues and advocates for the interests of clients before the Tennessee General Assembly.

14. Craig V. Gabbert Jr. — Shareholder, Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner: Among the top bankruptcy practitioners in the Southeast. Involved in such major corporate cases as SouthEast Waffles, Nu-Kote Holdings (twice) and Regal Cinemas. Inducted as a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation in 1994.

15. Stacey Garrett — Founding Member, Board Chairperson, Bone McAllester Norton: Concentrates practice in higher education, corporate transactions, health care and government affairs. Also the vice president of online and professional studies at Cumberland University. Represents several institutions of higher education.

16. Aubrey Harwell — Partner and Co-Founder, Neal & Harwell: Practice centers on commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense and crisis management. Has represented Bridgestone/Firestone and former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo in various matters. Vice chairman of the board of trustees at the Nashville School of Law.

17. William C. Koch, Jr. — Dean, Nashville School of Law: Respected jurist who served on the Tennessee Court of Appeals for 23 years before being appointed to the state supreme court in 2007. After serving six years, he announced would take the deanship at NSL, at which he has taught since 1997.

18. Brad Lampley — Partner in Charge, Adams and Reese: Has particular experience in the areas of transportation, energy, health care and insurance. Serves on the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. A former UT scholar-athlete. Has served on the board of directors of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

19. Ed Lanquist — Managing Shareholder, Waddey Patterson: Focuses practice on patent and trademark litigation, intellectual property counseling and trademark prosecution. Has filed more than 1,200 trademark registration applications and about 150 patent applications, while performing in excess of 1,900 trademark clearance searches.

20. Tom Lawless — Attorney, Lawless & Associates: Chair of Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments. Sits on the Tennessee Registry for Election Finance Committee. Bankruptcy and creditors’ rights specialist who has helped numerous area lenders digest foreclosures and other so-called special assets.

21. David Lewis — Member, Butler Snow O’Mara Stevens & Cannada: Former Wyatt Tarrant & Combs attorney’s practice is focused on a full-range of strategic initiatives including corporate transactions, corporate governance, business planning, mergers and acquisitions, and health care.

22. Mark Manner — Managing Shareholder, Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner: Experience includes structuring and negotiating complex mergers and acquisitions, advising companies on capital formation and securities offerings, and advising boards of public companies. One of a handful of biotechnology legal experts in Nashville. Former antitrust attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

23. Bob Mendes — Member, Frost Brown Todd: Past president of the Nashville Bar Association and one of the sharpest legal minds in the city. Practice is largely devoted to representing debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees, trustees and purchasers of assets in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

24. E. Marlee Mitchell — Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Expert in underwritten equity and debt public offerings, private placements, joint ventures and venture capital financings. Completed M&A transactions for which she served as lead counsel include the divestiture of the wholesale brokerage subsidiary of one of the world’s largest insurance brokers.

25. Mekesha Montgomery — Member in Charge, Frost Brown Todd: Member of firm’s labor and employment law practice group. Represents management in the areas of employment discrimination and wrongful discharge, union negotiations and arbitration. Has successfully represented companies defending against class and collective actions alleging employment discrimination and wage and hour violations.

26. William L. Norton — Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings: Has represented just about every kind of client interest you can expect in bankruptcy cases during his more than 26 years of practice. Represented petitioning creditors against Robert McLean, who collected more than $50 million in a Ponzi scheme.

27. Larry Papel — Lead Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Regarded as a national leader in land-use and real estate law. Relatedly, has made strong contributions as a board member of the Nashville Civic Design Center. Known for his community spirit, with board work done for the Nashville Public Library Foundation and the Nashville Zoo.

28. Bob Patterson — Managing Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings: Visionary who spearheaded the eyebrow-raising plan to move the then-Boult Cummings Conner & Berry from the central business district to Roundabout Plaza. Partly because the high-profile law firm was bullish on Midtown, a wave of development followed.

29. William L. Penny — Member, Stites & Harbison: One of Middle Tennessee’s experts on environmental law. Also represents health care facilities on state regulatory and licensure issues. Attended Nashville School of Law at night while working as a state auditor in the 1970s.

30. Gregg Ramos — Partner, North Pursell Ramos & Jameson: Emphasis is personal injury, employment law and workers’ compensation. Serves on a number of community boards. Past president of the Nashville Bar Association, Catholic Charities of Tennessee and Conexion Americas. Named 2008 Nashvillian of the Year by the Nashville Scene.

31. David Raybin — Co-Founder, Hollins, Raybin and Weissman: Heads firm’s criminal defense section, which includes criminal trials, criminal appeals, parole hearings and civil rights litigation.

32. Todd Rolapp — Managing Partner, Bass Berry & Sims: Became managing partner of one of the city’s most prestigious law firms in January 2013. Previously served as chair for the firm’s Corporate and Securities Department and leader of the Executive Compensation Group.

33. Robert Sartin — Member, Frost Brown Todd: Former managing partner of Lexington-based firm who relocated to Nashville in 2011. Leads firm’s automotive industry team and serves on nine-member executive committee.

34. Tom Sherrard — Founding Member, Sherrard & Roe: Practice includes mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and corporate and securities law, but influence extends deep into Metro circles. Former chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and co-founder and former chairman of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education.

35. John C. Tishler — Chairman, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Primary media contact and overall “face” of the city’s largest firm. Law practice is about corporate restructuring, creditors’ rights, financial services and commercial litigation. Active in representing creditors and buyers of distressed assets in the health care industry.

36. Byron Trauger — Partner, Trauger & Tuke: Attorney, close friend and adviser to former Gov. Phil Bredesen. Rhodes Scholar (along with Bill Clinton) whose law practice is concentrated in health care, complex civil litigation, general business matters, government relations and regulatory agency work. Involved in many community organizations.

37. Jack Waddey — Partner, Waddey & Patterson: Co-founder of one of Nashville’s premier intellectual property and patent law firms, which began operations in 1997. Has assisted clients with more than 160 patents during his 35 years of law practice.

38. Leigh Walton — Member, Bass Berry & Sims: Joined firm in 1979 and named a member in 1984. Former co-chair of firm’s healthcare practice group and active in corporate and securities law matters. Work with public companies includes securities, M&A’s and corporate governance matters.

39. Woody Woodruff — Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Law practice focuses on complex business litigation but just as well known for political work as campaign counsel for Gov. Bill Haslam, former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson and other GOP notables. Power player in Williamson County politics.

40. Edward M. Yarbrough — Partner, Bone McAllester Norton: Former U.S. attorney widely credited for restoring the Middle Tennessee office to prominence. Known for representing high-profile clients like George Jones and Carnival Kia’s Chris Bostick and for his deft handling of complex defense litigation.