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Class of 2003

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Class Notes are posted in the order they were 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, e-mail Class Notes, or call 615-322-2606.

Marc Jenkins is now a director of legal data and technology solutions practice at Breakwater Solutions. Posted 10.29.21

Lauren Gaffney was chosen to serve in a national leadership program created by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Gaffney will be a member in the 2021 class of Fellows. In addition to her legal practice, Gaffney is an active participant in the firm’s pro bono initiatives with a focus on serving those in need in the LGBTQ+ community. Posted 5.13.21

Sheandra Rashida Clark departed this world unexpectedly at the age of 42, on Sunday, July 26, 2020. Sheandra was an active member of Buckhead Church in Atlanta. She donated her time working in the bookstore, served as an Usher and small group leader. She was also involved in Buckhead's Single Gatherings, DO Justice, Be Rich and other philanthropic initiatives. This unexpected loss leaves a void in the hearts of all who loved her, especially her devoted parents Joseph and Carolyn Clark. She is survived by her aunts Robin Denise McKoy of Fayetteville, N.C. and Jewel Fisher (Moses) of Memphis.  Read more herePosted 12.2.20.

Andrae Cismon has been promoted to Director of Volunteer Lawyers Program for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Andrae has served as a managing attorney of Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro office since 2011.  Posted 5.20.19

Ashley Palermo is now a Senior Legal Officer for the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Ashley provides employment and higher education counsel regarding M.D. Anderson's 20,000 employees. Posted 03.25.19

Lance Bell has been named Managing Director at BRG Capital Advisors. Lance leads BRGCA's efforts in healthcare services.  Posted 2.4.19

Michael C. Hardy, partner in Duane Morris’ Corporate Practice Group is named Co-Chair of the firm's Private Equity Group,  Posted 1.15.19

Nicole Silver Nicole Y. Silver has joined Greenberg Traurig’s International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Practice in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  Silver focuses her practice on international litigation and dispute resolution in a wide array of sectors, including energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, and the environment.  Posted 9.06.18


Justin Leach (BA ’99) has been promoted to partner at McKenzie Laird. Justin, a commercial real estate attorney, has been with McKenzie Laird since 2016. Previously, he practiced at Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis. Posted 3.27.18

Simone Wilson-Brito (BA '00), partner at McCarter & English in firm’s Newark office, will co-chair the real estate practice group. Her practice focuses on complex commercial real estate transactions with a concentration in financing, leasing and acquisition of real property. She has been with McCarter & English for nearly 10 years. Posted 3.2.18

Diedre J. Gray is chief administrative officer, general counsel and executive vice president at Post Holdings in St. Louis, Missouri. Posted 2.16.18

Michelle L. Marriott has been named a shareholder at Erise IP in Kansas City, Kansas. She specializes in representing tech clients in intellectual property and patent cases. Posted 2.16.18

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the appointment of James McHenry III (MA '03) as the permanent Director of the Executive Office for Immigration at the Department of Justice. James has served as the Acting Director since May 20, 2017. Posted 1.15.18

Diedre J. Gray was named executive vice president and general counsel at Post Holdings Inc. in November 2017. She has served as the company’s corporate secretary since January 2012. Posted 12.15.17

Joel Henriod has been named managing partner of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has been a member of the firm since 2007. Joel’s practice focuses on appeals and complex litigation. Posted 8.17.17

Joey Dickson has been appointed to Lead Supplier Diversity Efforts by Health Trust. Joey joined Health Trust in 2007. Health Trust is a leading healthcare improvement performance company in Nashville. Posted 8.17.2017

Michael Hardy has joined Duane Morris as partner in the firm’s Baltimore office. Previously, Michael was with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Posted 8.1.17

Brian Casper is now counsel at Klemchuk in Dallas. Previously, Brian was counsel with Cantey Hanger in Dallas. Posted 8.1.17 

Gerard Stranch IV has been elected to managing partner at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings. Gerard becomes the youngest attorney in the firm’s 60 year history to assume leadership of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings’ nationally renowned class action, complex litigation and mass tort practices. Posted 5.18.17

Sisera Monea Daniel has been named chair of the D.C. Public Finance Department at Kutak Rock. Sisera is partner at Kutak Rock's Washington, D.C. office. Posted 4.21.17

Christopher R. Jordan has joined Hunter Maclean in Savannah, Georgia as a partner in their business litigation group. Received 2.23.17

Erica R. Stiff-Coopwood has been elected as the first African American president of the Junior League of Memphis in the organization’s 95-year history. She will begin serving her term as president-elect of the Junior League of Memphis on June 1, 2017, and she will begin her two-year presidency on June 1, 2018. Posted 2.21.17

Blind Akrawi is a member at Neal & Harwell. Blind joined Neal & Harwell in 2011. Posted 1.20.17

James McHenry (MA ’03) was appointed as an administrative law judge in the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer. Posted 1.19.17

Sarah Bradbury is now senior counsel at Estes Thorne & Carr in Dallas, Texas. Previously, Sarah was senior legal counsel at Energy Transfer where she focused on labor and employment matters. Posted 11.28.16

Lance S. Bell is now senior vice president at the Nashville office of investment bank Bailey Southwell & Co. Lance previously served as a director with Avondale Partners. Posted 10.17.16

Andrae P. Crismon is a candidate for the Rutherford County general sessions judge seat. Andrae is a native of Shelbyville, Tennessee and is currently the managing attorney of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee’s Murfreesboro Office. Posted 5.23.16

Elizabeth Sara Tipping  has been named one of Nashville’s “40 Under 40” by the Nashville Business Journal. She is an associate with Nashville-based Neal & Harwell where she focuses on the areas of white-collar crime and civil litigation. Posted 4.5.16

Kirsten Ann Slape and her husband, Chris, announce the birth of their daughter, Josephine Julianne, Nov. 16, 2015. They have also moved from Melbourne, Australia to Brisbane. Posted 2.25.16

Carrie Anne Von Hoff has been promoted to senior coverage counsel in the claims legal group at Zurich's North America Headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. She also recently earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter professional designation. Posted 1.27.16

Justin William Leach (BA’99) joined Nashville-based McKenzie Laird as partner. He represents institutional owners and users of real estate in a variety of product types, including office, retail, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and hospitality. Posted 1.27.16

Richard Slade Sevier, Jr. has joined the Nashville, Tennessee office of Dickinson Wright as a member. He focuses his practice on litigation and contract negotiation related to construction, real estate and development and general business. Posted 8.28.15

William Robert Harb was elected partner at Morgan Lewis. William practices in the firm’s Boston office where he is a member of the securities enforcement & litigation practice area. Posted 8.5.15

Elizabeth Gernert Sillay (BS’99) has joined the Memphis, Tennessee office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as counsel. Her practice will focus on in the areas of healthcare, life sciences, medical devices, information technology, and emerging companies. Posted 6.25.15

Cara Tuttle BellCara Tuttle Bell, director of Vanderbilt’s Project Safe Center, has received the Road Less Traveled Award from Ms. JD, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession. The award is given to a woman who is using her law degree in a nontraditional way to pursue an issue or cause about which she is passionate. Posted 3.24.15



Carrie Anne Von Hoff has been named coverage counsel in claims legal group at Zurich North America's corporate headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. Posted 2.25.15

Blind Akrawi Blind Akrawi has been selected as a member of the 2015 Class of Fellows, participating in a landmark program created by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity to identify, train, and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession. Blind is an associate with Neal & Harwell where he focuses his practice on civil litigation. Posted 2.18.15




Thomas Fetzer (LLM) has been appointed dean of the University of Mannheim School of Law in Mannheim, Germany. He previously taught at the University of Tubingen. Thomas specializes in telecommunications law, media law and privacy/data protection law. Posted 2.18.15

Christopher Michael Phillips , a partner with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, moved from the firm’s Nashville office to its Austin location. Chris represents national and international buyers and sellers in the acquisition, disposition, financing and operation of payment processing and financial technology companies. Posted 12.10.14

Jeremy Dane Ball and Shelley Ball welcomed their child, daughter Dana Claire, on October 13. Posted 10.22.14

Camille Marie Penniman recently became the first in-house counsel for Raising Cane’s, a fast-growing quick service restaurant company.  Camille was also the recipient of the 2013 Association of Corporate Counsel and D CEO Magazine award for outstanding associate general counsel – midsized legal department.  Posted 10.22.14

Marc Jenkins has been promoted at Cicayda to associate general counsel & executive vice president of knowledge strategy. Cicayda is an electronic discovery software company based in Nashville. Previously, Marc was a partner in the Nashville office of Hubbard Berry & Harris. Posted 5-27-14

Nicholas Andrew Goodling and Ashley Angelle Palermo recently relocated to Austin, Texas. Nick is an assistant city attorney in the land use and real estate division with the City of Austin, and Ashley is an attorney in the office of general counsel for the University of Texas System. Nick and Ashley have two children, Addison (5) and Reid (2). Posted 3.25.14

Joshua P. O'Donnell and Jayme Michelle McKellop (JD'04) welcomed their first child, daughter Catherine Helen O'Donnell, on March 14. Posted 3.25.14

Scott Bryan Lepene has been elected partner at Thompson Hine. Scott practices in the firm's Cleveland, Ohio, office, where he is a member for the business restructuring, creditors' rights, and bankruptcy practice group. Posted 1.13.14

Candice Sherrie Cook and Harry Simmons III were married October 21. The sister of the groom, Reverend Kandace V. Simmons, an interfaith minister, officiated the ceremony which was held at Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York. Candice has opened a legal and business boutique firm, The Cook Law Group, in New York. Harry is a global sales manager for the systems and technology group of IBM, in Manhattan. Posted 10.21.13

Andrae Phillip Crismon has served as the managing attorney of the Murfreesboro Office of the Legal Aid Society since February of 2011. He was recently named as a finalist in the Legal Category for the Nashville Emerging Leader Award for 2013. Posted 7.15.13

David L. Gunn has joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Tennessee as an Assistant United States Attorney. Posted 6.12.13

David Raj Nijhawan reports that after clerking for the Indiana Supreme Court and practicing at the firm Barnes & Thornburg, David left law practice in 2006 to pursue a career in business and private banking. Most recently, he left JPMorgan Private Bank for Citizens Bank in Burlington Vermont. On the side, he still plays the drums with various bands and competes in Ironman Triathlons and Marathons. Posted 6.12.13

Cynthia Hubbard Wiel (MS'96) has joined Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. Cynthia joins the firm as of counsel. She concentrates on insurance regulatory law, business law, healthcare law, municipal utility law, and wine & liquor regulation. Cynthia formerly served as member of Hubbard Berry & Harris. Posted 6.12.13

Simone Petrice Wilson-Brito (BS'00) has rejoined McCarter & English as a partner in the real estate practice in Newark. Since 2008, Simone was real estate counsel with Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, a national owner, developer, and manager of prestigious commercial real estate properties in New York City and throughout the United States. Her practice will focus primarily on complex commercial real estate transactions with a concentration in the financing, leasing and acquisition of real property. Posted 6.12.13

Nicholas Baumgartner was named by Financial News as one of its "40 under 40 Rising Stars" in the European legal profession. Nicholas is head of the EMEA equity capital markets legal team at Citigroup. Nicholas, his wife and their two children live in London. Posted 3.29.13

Amber Lizabeth Ervin has been promoted to partner by Fulbright & Jaworski. Amber handles corporate matters, focusing on mergers and acquisitions for public and private companies in the energy, manufacturing and retail sectors. She has extensive experience in private equity related representations, including fund formations and private equity sponsored mergers and acquisitions and capital financing transactions. Posted 3.6.13

Erin Elizabeth Terrell and her husband, Clay Holloway, welcomed their second child, Sydney Amelia, on December 1, 2012. Sydney joins big brother, Michael, who turns 3 in February. Erin is Vice President and Senior Corporate Counsel at MedAssets, a healthcare IT company based in Alpharetta, Georgia. Posted 2.5.13

Carrie (MTS'03) and Eric Eisnaugle welcomed their second son, Ethan, on October 11, 2011. He joins big brother E.J. In addition, in November 2012 Eric joined the firm of Rumberger Kirk and Caldwell. Carrie is an associate at Holland & Knight in the firm's Orlando office. Posted 1.18.13

William J. Tuttle has been promoted to partner at Dechert. Will is based in Washington, D.C. and focuses his practice on capital markets matters, including the representation of issuers and investment banks in public and private securities transactions. Posted 1.4.13

Diedre Johnston Gray has been named SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Post Holdings, Inc., effective September 1. Diedre joined Post in December 2011 as SVP - Legal and Corporate Secretary of Post. Prior to joining Post, Diedre was associate general counsel and assistant secretary at MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., a semiconductor and solar wafer manufacturing company. She began her career at Bryan Cave, focusing her practice on M&A and securities. Posted 8.29.12

Cara Tuttle Bell has joined the staff of Vanderbilt University as the Associate Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Cara and her husband, Lance Bell (JD '03), reside in Franklin, TN. Posted 8.21.12

Ginger Appleberry and her husband, Jason Katz, welcomed their second son, Anderson Nash Katz, on June 24. Nash joins his big brother, Jack, and his parents in Dallas, Texas, where Ginger is a partner in the litigation section of Locke Lord. Posted 7.25.12

Candice Cook was featured in the March edition of Elle magazine. Posted 4.17.12

Sisera Dowdy a partner in Kutak Rock's Atlanta office, has been nominated a Glenda Hatchett Volunteer of the Year by the Truancy Intervention Project. Sisera has volunteered with this nonprofit for seven years, serving as pro bono counsel and mentor to 16 children charged with truancy and as an advocate to parents of grade school students in need of early intervention and truancy prevention plans. Posted 4.17.12

Russell Emery Stair has been named a partner at Bass Berry Sims. Russell focuses his practice on bankruptcy and litigation with an emphasis in commercial litigation, business disputes, financial products and broker-dealer litigation, and corporate and securities litigation. Posted 4.17.12

James Gerard Stranch IV and his wife Patty Daniel Stranch (JD '05) welcomed their second child, Gerard Theodore Stranch (Teddy) in November. Gerard is a managing member in the class action, mass torts and complex litigation group of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings. Posted 4.17.12

Richard Slade Sevier Jr. has joined Adams and Reese as special counsel. Slade has a litigation and transactional practice that typically involves representing clients with respect to disputes and contracts related to construction, real estate development or general business. Slade is also is a professional engineer with an active license in Tennessee and a patent attorney registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Posted 4.17.12

Carrie Von Hoff has joined the home office of Zurich North America in Schaumburg, Illinois as an environmental claims specialist. Carrie and her husband, Paul, welcomed their third child, Anna Grace Von Hoff, on April 29, 2011. Anna joins big brother, Christopher, and big sister, Chloe Posted 2.23.12

Tara Jean Kilfoyle has joined the Constitutional and Specialized Torts Litigation Division of the Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney. She lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, Stephen Burks, and their 2-year-old son, TJ. Posted 1.10.12

Justin W. Leach (BA '99) has been named a partner at Waller Landsen Dortch and Davis. Leach specializes in commercial real estate law and works with clients on the acquisition, development and disposition of real property. He joined Waller Lansden in 2002. Posted 1.10.12

Jason Bergeron (AS'99) and Corinne Ciocia were married on October 8, 2011 at Benton Chapel on Vanderbilt's campus, followed by a reception at the Parthenon in Centennial Park. They reside in Nashville. Posted 11.9.11

Jacki Pick is a 2011 Lincoln Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. She serves as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Deputy Chief of Staff to Congressman Trent Franks, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution. Prior to her work in public policy, Jacki was an Assistant Vice President for Wachovia Corporate Trust and an associate for a prominent litigation firm. She serves on the Capitol Hill Steering Committee of the Federalist Society and on the Board of Visitors of the Fund for American Studies-Legal Studies Institute. Posted 11.9.11

Amy Killebrew Steindorff and her husband, Bert, welcomed a second daughter, Elizabeth Ann, on August 13, 2011. Betsy joins big sister Margaret, 13 months. The family lives in Birmingham where Amy is an associate at Balch & Bingham. Posted 10.17.11

Jeffrey Usman is now on the faculty of the newly created Belmont University College of Law as an assistant professor. He will teach Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure. Posted 10.17.11

Simone P. Wilson will be honored by the YWCA of New York City at the 38th Annual Salute Luncheon on October 28, as one of its leading ladies of business: the Academy of Women Leaders Class of 2011. Simone works on a variety of leasing, financing and real estate transactions for The Rockefeller Group and its subsidiaries. She is a member of the Economic Development Committee of Metropolitan Baptist Church, a group responsible for implementing programs that address economic issues important to the residents of the City of Newark. Posted 10.17.11

Amy Todd Holmes and her husband, Dr. Kevin Craig Holmes (BS'96, MS'98, PhD'02), welcomed their second daughter, Henley Hannah, on June 8, 2011. Henley joins big sister Hadley, 3 years old. The family lives in Houston, where Amy is associate general counsel for Champion Technologies. Posted 7.15.11

Jonathan Stanley has been named shareholder in the Nashville office of Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner. He is a member of the firm's corporate, securities and M&A practice groups, focusing on corporate and securities law and mergers and acquisitions for emerging and growth private and public companies. Posted 7.15.11

Tim Weatherholt Tim Weatherholt has joined Fisher & Phillips as an associate in the firm's Louisville, Kentucky office. Tim focuses his practice exclusively on labor and employer matters. His wife, Emily Turner Weatherholt is employed in the Jefferson County Attorney's Office. They are the proud parents of John Turner Weatherholt, who will turn three in August. Posted 7.15.11




Charles Malone has been named recruiting partner at Walker Tipps & Malone in Nashville, where he has practiced since 2003. Posted 5.5.11

Christopher PhillipsChristopher M. Phillips has been elected partner at the Nashville-based firm, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions, payment processing and financial technology. Posted 4.26.11




Jason A. Penrod
will be the recipient of the 2011 Community Leadership Award, to be presented by the Lake Wales, Florida Area Chamber of Commerce at the 53rd annual gala on May 5, 2011. Jason is a partner with the firm of Weaver McClendon & Penrod. He is the Immediate past president of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Lake Wales Rotary Club. He is also on the board of directors for the Lake Wales Senior Center, the Lake Wales Care Center, and the Lake Wales Library. Posted 4.25.11

Richard Forsberg Haglund III recently became Director of Charter Schools for the Tennessee Department of Education. Rich spent the last seven years working as legal counsel to the Tennessee State Board of Education. Posted 4.19.11

Ryan Stumphauzer will marry Celinet Maldonado on November 11, 2011 in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ryan also left the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami, where he served as the Health Care Fraud Coordinator and Deputy Chief of the Economic & Environmental Crimes Section. He started his own law firm, O'Quinn Stumphauzer, and will concentrate on civil regulatory enforcement, white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and other matters involving fraud or corporate misconduct. Posted 4.19.11

Blind Akrawi Blind Akrawi , former Tennessee Assistant Attorney General - Civil Litigation & Staff Services Division, has joined Neal & Harwell. Blind, who was associated with the Tennessee Attorney General's office for more than six years, will concentrate his practice on civil litigation. As Assistant Attorney General, he represented state agencies in employment-related litigation. Posted 4.6.11



Merritt Abney
has been named partner in the Charleston office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. Merritt practices in the area of complex commercial litigation. Posted 3.10.11

Miles Hall, DVM, has been named to the position of Principal at McKeon Meunier Carlin & Curfman. Miles is a registered patent attorney and also has a doctorate in veterinary medicine. He previously was an associate attorney at the firm. He is a member of the Georgia Bar and the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association, and is active in a number of bioscience and medical device organizations. Posted 2.1.11

Joshua Wolfe has been named a member at Leitner Williams Dooley & Napolitan. He practices out of the Knoxville office and focuses on product liability, construction, premises liability, and workers' compensation defense. Joshua is a member of the Tennessee and Knoxville Bar Associations, the Hamilton-Burchett Inns of Court, and he is also licensed to practice law in Kentucky. Joshua's community involvement includes the Knoxville Bar Association's Hunger and Poverty Relief Committee. Posted 1.18.11

Elizabeth TippingElizabeth Tipping has been named a partner at Neal & Harwell. Elizabeth, who is a native of Ontario, joined Neal & Harwell in 2003. She concentrates her practice on trial work and has experience in product liability, business litigation and class actions, among others. She is a member of the board of the Nashville Opera Association, Mur-Ci Homes Inc. and the Young Lawyers Division of the Nashville Bar Association. Posted 1.18.11