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Class of 1981

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Class Notes are posted in the order they are received, with the newest posts on top.

Do you have news you would like to share or just want to let everyone know what you are up to these days? Submit your class note online, email Class Notes or call 615-322-2606.

NEWSLETTER -Class Agent Kent Halkett circulated his first newsletter to the members of the Class '81. Posted 7.20.18

Bryan Echols has joined Thompson Burton as partner. Previously, Bryan was partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.  Bryan is an adjunct faculty member at Owen Graduate School of Management. Posted 4.24.18

Mark Fiedler, current board member of Equifax, has been appointed to serve as Non-Executive Chairman of Equifax. Mark is a partner and co-founder of MSouth, a private equity investment firm. Posted 10.18.17

Karin D. Coble of Nashville died August 15. She was 83. Karin earned both her undergraduate and law degree from Vanderbilt. She is survived by her daughters Karin and Elizabeth. Posted 8.24.17

Edward H. Benton of Albany, New York died July 9. He attended Yale University before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt where he was a Patrick Wilson Scholar. Post graduate studies followed in Cross-cultural Negotiation and International Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law 1999. Edward's lifetime employment began as President of POS Corporation in New Haven, CT, a computer systems company. He was Account Executive at Benton and Bowles, NYC, then Associate in international law with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, NYC, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He was Associate in leveraged buyout financings with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, NYC, and moved to become Associate in investment banking with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, NYC. When Edward entered startup businesses in Upstate NY, he cofounded Winding Brook Farm in Copake, NY, raising organic beef cattle. He partnered with his brother Thomas to establish Video Cave, a ten store chain serving Columbia-Greene and Duchess Counties. He became General Counsel for Dynamic Credit Partners, NYC and Legal Search Executive for Alan Roberts & Associates, NYC. Upon his retirement, Edward was an adjunct professor in Criminal Justice and Animal Law for Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY. He is survived by his wife, Malu. Posted 8.1.17

 Richard Thomas Bruno died November 25 after losing his battle with cancer. Originally from Syracuse, Richard graduated from Dartmouth College before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt. After graduation he returned to Syracuse to practice law. The last few years of his life were spent in Knoxville, where he left law for his true passion, teaching. He is survived by his children David and Sarah. Posted 1.19.17

Jim Browne has joined Barnes & Thornburg’s Dallas office in the corporate department. Posted 11.28.16

Kent Halkett has moved back to Nashville after 35 years of doing business litigation in Los Angeles. Posted 9.22.16

William E. Young (BA’77) has been appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam as chancellor in the 20th Judicial District, which serves Davidson County. Posted 8.23.16

James Michael Redwine is the director of the Water Qualify and Sustainability Program for the Harpeth River Watershed Association in Brentwood, TN. Jim has over 30 years of experience as a corporate executive, and environmental and bankruptcy attorney. Posted 4.5.16

Kevin Clarey Tyra  was elected a director for the Defense Trial Counsel for Indiana group. He is the principal in The Tyra Law Firm in Indianapolis, which focuses on insurance defense and insurance coverage litigation.  Posted 1.27.16

Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. joined the Nashville School of Law Board of Trustees. Waverly is a partner in the Nashville office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as well as a federal district court judge nominee.  Posted 1.29.16

Andree Sophia Blumstein has been featured in a Tennesseean article that examines her path into the legal field and her career accomplishments. She is currently Tennessee’s first woman solicitor general. Posted 11.3.15

Karl F. Dean has been appointed to the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee's board of directors. Also, he was featured in a Boston Globe article discussing the Amp project. Karl is the former mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. Posted 11.3.15

John Randolph Bibb Jr.  (BA'77) was included on the 2015 “Best of the Bar” awards list by the Nashville Business Journal. Randy is a shareholder in the Nashville, Tennessee office of Lewis Thomason where focuses his practice in the areas of product liability and toxic tort cases. Posted 5.15.15

Samuel David Lipshie (BA'77) was included on the 2015 “Best of the Bar” awards list by the Nashville Business Journal. Sam is a partner with the Nashville, Tennessee office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings where he focuses his practice in the areas of entertainment, music, intellectual property and commercial litigation and dispute resolution. Posted 5.15.15

Susan Snyder Reeves (BA'78) died April 10, 2015. She was 59. A long-time resident of St. Simons Island, Georgia, Susan earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt. In her professional life, she managed grants for the MAP International and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. She is survived by her daughter and mother.  Posted 4.26.15

James L. Desmond has joined The Nature Conservancy as Oregon State Director. The Nature Conservancy is an international conservation organization committed to protecting the land and waters on which life depends. It has 1.2 million active members and has protected 119 million acres of land across the world. Jim spent several years working for The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina as a regional attorney before moving to Portland in 1993 to work for The Trust for Public Land. After four years with Trust, he spent the next 18 years at Metro, the regional government serving Portland, 24 suburbs, and three counties, as the director of Metro’s Sustainability Center. An article highlighting his new position can be found here. Posted 2.18.15

Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. (BA’78) , a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, has been nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Middle Tennessee by President Barack Obama. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Waverly will fill the seat vacated by Judge William J. Haynes Jr. ’73, who took senior status in December. Posted 2.18.15

John Bryan Echols has joined Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as a partner in the firm’s real estate group. Bryan previously practiced at Dickinson Wright after almost a decade with Stites & Harbison in Nashville. Posted 2.18.15

Andree Sophia Blumstein will join the office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery as solicitor general. She will oversee appellate litigation in state and federal courts, review written opinions, and advise the attorney general. An article highlighting this accomplishment can be found here. Posted 11.4.14

C. Dewey Branstetter Jr. C. Dewey Branstetter Jr. joined Sherrard & Roe as a partner. Branstetter was previously managing member of Branstetter Stranch & Jennings, which was founded by his father, Cecil D. Branstetter, who died in early May. A Nashville native, Branstetter has practiced law for more than 30 years. He concentrates his legal work on utility and municipal issues and complex litigation. He is currently chairman of the Metropolitan Nashville's Charter Revision Commission and the first vice president of the Nashville Bar Association. Posted 7.16.14



Michael L. Dagley, a member with Bass Berry & Sims, recently won a $106 million settlement for North Dakota-based Trinity Medical Center in a faulty software arbitration case against IT giant Cerner. Posted 2.14.14

Two law firms headed by Vanderbilt Law alumni—Baker Donelson, headed by CEO Ben C. Adams '81, and Alston & Bird, headed by Managing Partner Richard Hays '86—were recognized among Fortune Magazine's 2014 list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For." Baker Donelson ranked 31st and Alston & Bird 40th, and both firms were among the top five in the "professional services" category. Posted 1.17.14

Hatcher, Stephen Stephen Barclay Hatcher, president of the law firm of Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe (ZKS), was recently named Alumnus of the Year by Lifework Leadership. Lifework Leadership is a national nine-month Christian leadership program. Stephen, a 1994 graduate of the Lifework Leadership program, previously served as secretary for the organization and has been instrumental in assisting with legal issues surrounding its growth into a national program. He previously received the designation of Certified Christian Conciliator from the Institute Christian Conciliation in association with Peacemaker Ministries, a national organization founded in 1982 under the auspices of the Christian Legal Society. Hatcher has more than 30 years of experience practicing law in the areas of complex real estate and business transactions and sophisticated estate and tax planning. Posted 7.18.2014

  Scott E. Dwyer , a member at Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, has been elected to the board of directors for Autism Support of Kent County. Scott serves as a director for the nonprofit and works with the board of directors to support and advocate for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. Scott concentrates his practice on labor, employment, trade secrets and noncompetition agreement disputes, shareholder disputes and commercial litigation. Posted 9.6.13

Lisa Edelmann McLaughlin was named the 2013 Professional Advisor Legacy Award recipient by the Saint Louis Planned Giving Council and Youthbridge Community Foundation as an acknowledgement of her significant role in charitable giving in the greater St. Louis, Missouri community over her 32 year legal career. Lisa is a Shareholder of Polsinelli and a member of the firm's wealth planning and nonprofit organizations practice groups. Posted 7.16.13

H. Allen Corey, former president and CEO of Craftworks Restaurants and Breweries, has accepted an invitation to join the board of directors for Quickcue. A well-respected member of the hospitality community, Allen brings valuable insight to Quickcue, a growing startup focused on helping restaurants know and serve their guests better. Posted 7.15.13

Thomas Thorp Pennington has joined Frost Brown Todd as a member in the Nashville office focusing his practice in the areas of financing and restructuring transactions related to the surety industry. Most recently, Tom was a partner at Watt Tieder Hoffar & Fitzgerald. Before that, he worked at Manier & Herod. Posted 6.12.13

Ben C. Adams , chairman and chief executive officer of Baker Donelson, has been named CEO of the Year in the "200-1,000 Employees" category by Memphis Business Quarterly (MBQ), a bi-monthly business magazine. Mr. Adams, who was one of three finalists in his category, was named the winner at the second annual CEO of the Year awards ceremony held on February 20, at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. The awards recognize the extraordinary achievements of executives in Memphis, with the winners chosen by an impartial group of judges selecting finalists from public nominations. Posted 3.29.13

Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. (BA'78), a partner at Waller Lansden, is one of 10 Tennessee individuals and organizations honored in March by the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) for his career focus on diversity and non-discrimination education. Waverly has contributed to the THRC's Employment Law Seminar for more than a decade and also serves on the boards of the Middle Tennessee Workforce Development Center and on the Governor's Advisory Committee on Equal & Fair Employment Opportunity. Posted 3.13.13

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has been honored by the Friends of National Service with a national award for encouraging community service. Dean was one of three city leaders from around the United States honored for local leadership at the Friends of National Service reception in Washington. Mayor Dean also received local and national attention in 2012 for his commitment to fight obesity as Mayor of Nashville. An HBO documentary film crew came to Music City to cover Mayor Karl Dean's Walk 100 Miles campaign and numerous other citywide efforts to improve citizens' health. Footage captured during that shoot was featured in The Weight of the Nation, a four-part series by HBO Documentary Films that aired May 14 and 15, 2012 on HBO. Posted 2.13.13

Michael R. McWherter (BA'78), the 2010 Democratic nominee for Tennessee Governor, recently became the newest member of the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors, taking the oath of office in a ceremony in Nashville. His term will expire on May 18, 2016. After being nominated by Barack Obama in 2012, Mike was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on January 1, 2013 and  sworn in by U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell of the Middle District of Tennessee during a ceremony at the Estes Kefauver Federal Building and Courthouse. Mike lives in Jackson, Tennessee, and is owner and president of Central Distributors Co. and Volunteer Distributing Co., Tennessee-based beverage distribution companies, since 1989 and 1985, respectively. He worked in private law practice from 1982 to 1985 in Nashville, with a focus on banking and administrative law, and clerked for the Tennessee Supreme Court from 1981 to 1982. Posted 2.5.13

Louise Rankin has American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW), which provides housing for seniors, as the company's senior vice president and general counsel. Louise joined ABHOW in January 2013 after spending 17 years with Jones Day. Most recently, she was the Administrative Partner of the San Francisco office of Jones Day. Her private practice of 31 years concentrated in health care, where she has worked with nonprofit hospitals and long-term care organizations to access the capital bond market. Louise helped develop many of the structures available for financing health care organizations today. As general counsel, she is in charge of all legal aspects of ABHOW, including risk management, compliance, and transactions. Posted 01.18.13

Kent Alan Halkett, a partner at Musick Peeler & Garrett in the firm's downtown Los Angeles office, was recently featured on the cover of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's December issue of the Los Angeles Lawyer magazine. His article, "School Rules," discussing California's "educational malfeasance" rule, was featured in the magazine. Posted 1.4.13

StephenHatcher Stephen Barclay Hatcher , shareholder and president of Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe, has been appointed to the board of directors for The Jobs Partnership of Florida, Inc. a non-profit corporation meeting the needs of the chronically underemployed in the Central Florida community. Posted 11.14.12




Philip N. Elbert
, a member of Neal & Harwell, has been granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court in Maracich v. Spears, No. 12-25. The case docket can be read here. Posted 10.15.12

Eugene James Honea of Nashville died February 25. He was 65 and had retired from private practice in Franklin. He was well known for his sharp wit and legal acumen. He is survived by his wife, Charla. Posted 4.30.12

Wade B. Cowan (A&S '78) has been elected to a three-year term on the executive board of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Wade is of counsel in the Nashville office of Davies Humphreys Horton & Reese. Posted 10.17.11

Margaret "Margie" Schreiber, a former partner at Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed, was announced to the circuit bench for Orange and Osceola counties. Margie is a construction and civil law specialist. Posted 10.17.11

Jim RedwineJim Redwine recently completed a two-year assignment as the Vice President, Environmental, of Motors Liquidation Company (MLC, fka General Motors Corporation) when the plan of liquidation for MLC became effective at the end of March 2011. He describes his role with MLK as “the most challenging and satisfying in my career so far.” He joined MLC on the day General Motors (GM) filed for bankruptcy in 2009, assuming responsibility for all environmental aspects of the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history. Posted 5.11.11




Bill Young (AS'77, JD'81), general counsel at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, was selected to be the next Tennessee Solicitor General, working for Attorney General Bob Cooper. Bill was also serving as head of the commission that helps select judicial nominees for the bench in Tennessee, leaving a vacancy that will lead to shifts on that body as the General Assembly debates how the state should pick judges. He will oversee appellate litigation in state and federal courts, review written opinions, and advise the attorney general. The position of solicitor general became vacant upon the death of Mike Moore in November 2010. Young will assume his new duties in early June 2011. Posted 4.11.11

Michael Lee Williams died November 25, 2010, after a battle with melanoma. He was 54. He was senior counsel in litigation and employment law with the El Paso Corporation in Houston. Mike joined the legal department of Colorado Interstate Gas, a subsidiary of the Coastal Corporation in Colorado Springs, in 1984. When Coastal merged with El Paso Corporation in 2001, Mike joined El Paso's legal department, where he worked until his death. Mike possessed an unsurpassed grasp of the many intricacies of the energy business. He knew the gas pipeline business as well as most of his clients and developed a similar expertise on the exploration and production side of the business. He had a very short learning curve and remarkable analytical skills, which he could apply to a broad range of litigation matters. He sifted through the most complicated sets of facts and legal issues to make them understandable and achieve a logical and sound recommendation. The way he practiced law truly reflected who he was as a person; he was always above board and never felt that the adversarial nature of the profession required a lack of civility. He treated everybody with kindness and respect, no matter what challenge he faced. He had a great sense of humor. Mike is missed by his colleagues at El Paso and by his parents, Jack and Laura Williams, and his sister and brother.

Stephen C. Schuyler, 49, died November 11, 2005. He was born March 25, 1956, in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, to Dr. and Mrs. Walter B.J. Schuyler. His father delivered Stephen. He was a descendant of Gen. Philip Schuyler, one of the four Revolutionary War major generals.

He spent his formative years in State College, Pa., moving to Albuquerque, N.M., in 1970, and he graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 1974. He attended Kenyon College, his father's alma mater in Gambier, Ohio, where he majored in English and graduated in 1978. In 1981, he graduated from Vanderbilt Law School.

He is survived by his loving wife, Priscilla Luce Schuyler; daughters Olivia and Emily; sister Karen Schuyler Sabean and her husband, Dr. Joel Sabean, of Falmouth; brother, Dr. Walter B.J. Schuyler of Scarborough; in-laws, Richard and Gloria Luce of Cape Elizabeth; his brothers-in-law, Richard Jr. of Bangor, Robert and William of Westbrook. He is also survived by nieces and nephews Joel and Shannon Sabean; Walter B.J., Benjamin and Victoria Schuyler, Sage, Ryan and Corey Luce. His parents, to whom he was close, predeceased him.

In 1982, he met and fell in love with Priscilla Jane Luce of Cape Elizabeth. They were married June 11, 1983, at St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland. While pursuing his legal career, Stephen and Priscilla resided in Augusta, Boston and Florida. They returned to Maine once their two beautiful daughters, Olivia Jenneke, 16, and Emily Anna, 12, were born. The Schuyler family has lived in Kittery Point since 1989. Stephen was an avid runner. He completed two marathons, the Maine Coast Marathon in 1982 and the Boston Marathon in 1989. He was a competitive soccer player and faithful fan. He was proud of his two daughters He loved watching them play soccer. He enjoyed traveling with his wife and children.

He was an avid reader and music lover, always seeking out new musical artists.He co-authored a book, "Investor Alert," and was quoted in The Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. Mr. Schuyler passed both his Maine and Florida law boards in 1981. He began his legal career in Fort Myers, Fla.

He pursued his professional interest in securities law and was instrumental in running the securities division for the State of Maine during the 1980s. He also worked at the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, Boston office, and the National Association of Security Dealers in the late 1980s. During the 1990s to the present, Mr. Schuyler worked with prominent mutual funds, banks and initial public offerings for many clients, ensuring securities regulatory state and federal legal compliance from both Boston and New York offices.