April 2014 Law@Vanderbilt Class Notes Highlights

Apr 16, 2014



Judge Joe Pitts Binkley Jr. (BA’66) was re-elected presiding judge of the Davidson County (Tennessee) trial courts in September 2013. Judge Binkley served as the judge of Davidson County’s Fifth Circuit Court before being elected to his current position in 2010.


William J. Chadwick has been reappointed to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Bill has served the commission since 2011. He has been managing director at Chadwick Saylor & Company, a real estate investment banking firm, since 1985, and is CEO of PREDEX Capital Management.

Brian T. Mahon, a Meriden, Connecticut, probate judge and attorney, was recently elected as the first-vice president of the state Probate Assembly. Brian is founding partner of Mahon Quinn & Mahon and splits his time between serving as a probate judge and his firm.


Thomas J. Scott Jr. has joined Personalized Media Communications as senior vice president and general counsel. The Sugar Land, Texas, company owns and manages a portfolio of fundamental patents covering the inventions of John C. Harvey. Tom has been involved with the PMC patents for more than 30 years and previously headed the IP practices at Goodwin Procter and Hunton & Williams. Earlier in his career, Tom was a trial lawyer with the Department of Justice for more than 10 years. Tom was a Naval aviator before retiring from the U.S. Navy Reserve as a captain in 1989; he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other decorations, for his service


John Stevens is serving as acting chief counsel for the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center in Washington, D.C. The Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council established the center to marshal the resources and information of federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to collectively combat the threats posed by international criminal organizations. John has been a federal prosecutor for almost 30 years, serving in three U.S. Attorneys’ offices and with the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. In his new position, he will be trying complex domestic and international criminal conspiracies, directing a district anti-terrorism task force, and coordinating large multidistrict and international investigations of criminal organizations

Julian L. Bibb III has received the 2014 community supporter annual award from the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County. Julian was recognized for providing legal advice and service to the organization and for promoting its community based programs. He is a partner at Stites & Harbison in Nashville, where he chairs the firm’s real estate and banking service group.


Staci M. Yandle was recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee for a federal judgeship with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois. Her nomination will now proceed to a vote by the full Senate. Staci has owned her own practice  in O’Fallon, Illinois, since 2007. She previously practiced for four years at the Rex Carr law firm and for 16 years at Carr Korein Tillery. Staci currently serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation. She has also taught for nearly a decade as an adjunct professor at the St. Louis University Law School


Julian H. Wright Jr. (MDV’92), an attorney with Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, has received the North Carolina Bar Association’s citizen lawyer award. Julian is involved with local and state organizations that focus on youth education and recreation initiatives. He currently chairs the board of directors of GenerationNation, an organization dedicated to building civic literacy and leadership opportunities for K-12 students across the community.


Luke Messer was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Ball State University in advance of his planned May commencement speech. Luke currently represents Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. After he was elected to Congress in 2012, he was chosen as president of the Congressional freshman class. He serves on the House committees on the budget, foreign affairs, education, and the workforce.

Regina Lynn Daniels-Thomas has been selected to serve as an inaugural fellow by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. Regina is deputy chief counsel for the Legal Aid and Defender Association in Detroit


Robert Charles Bigelow (BS’99) has been selected as a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. Robb is a member of the Nashville office of Dickinson Wright, where he focuses his practice on commercial litigation, labor and employment, and class actions. Robb is a candidate for district court judge in Davidson County.

Todd Robert Overman has been named head of Bass Berry & Sims’ new government contracts practice in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.


Sara Beth Myers was featured in the Nashville Scene’s March “People Issue” as one of Nashville’s “movers and shapers.” She was featured for her work with Advocates for Women’s and Kid’s Equality (AWAKE), a nonprofit organization she founded last November dedicated to fostering public policy to “improve the wellness, safety, opportunity and equality for women and children in Tennessee.”



Elizabeth Susan Hyon and Aaron Grant R. Rubin were married April 12 at the Loeb Central Park Boathouse in New York. Elizabeth is assistant vice president for litigation at Barclay’s in New York.


Lindsay Murchison and Preston Lynch “Trip” Dyer Jr. were married in Dallas, where both live and work, on September 28, 2013. Lindsay is a member of the labor and employment practice group at Haynes and Boone, https://www.haynesboone.com/Lindsay_Murchison/and Trip is a member of the taxation, employee benefits and private business practice group at Winstead. http://www.winstead.com/Attorneys/pdyer



Walter West Davis and his wife, Michelle, welcomed a son, Parker Beck, January 26. The family lives in Atlanta, where Walt is a partner at Jones Day.


Joshua P. O’Donnell and Jayme Michelle McKellop welcomed their first child, Catherine Helen O’Donnell, March 14. The family lives in Chicago, where Josh is the chief compliance officer and chief legal officer at LSV Asset Management, and Jayme is assistant director of admissions for the University of Chicago Law School.


Kyonzté Hughes-Toombs (BA’01) and her husband, DeAngelo Toombs, welcomed their second child, Jayden Christopher, on September 22, 2013. Jayden joins big sister, Nina Madison Ann. The family lives in Nashville, where Kyonzté serves as assistant general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Health



Raymond C. “Jack” Whiteaker (BA’51) died April 9 in Nashville. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1945-46, Jack returned to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt. In 1955, he accepted employment with the U.S. Treasury Department as a tax court trial attorney, resigning in 1959 to join the legal staff of the Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company in Atlanta, where he worked until his retirement in 1991. After he retired, he co-founded a Nashville-based law firm where he practiced for 10 years.


Leon W. Vaseliades (BA’54), of Houston, Texas, died March 31. He was 81. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Leon served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant at Ft. Meade, Maryland, in the Military Intelligence and Judge Advocate General’s Office. In 1959, he joined the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., as senior trial attorney in the tax division. In 1967, he and his family moved to Houston, Texas, where he practiced law until his retirement.


David Ford Hunt died March 16. He was 82. David served as a special agent in the counterintelligence corps in the U.S.  Army from 1954 to 1956. Following law school, David clerked for a U.S. district judge in Texas and then spent his career as commercial litigator in Dallas. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and various federal district courts. He served on Vanderbilt Law School’s advisory committee, development committee, and alumni board of advisors.


Vincent K. Hubbard (BA’60) died March 4, after an extended illness. He was an accomplished attorney, author and lifelong learner.


Howard R. (Roy) Berkenstock Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee, and Gulf Shores, Mississippi, died March 10 of esophageal cancer. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Most recently, Roy was of counsel to Wyatt Tarrant & Combs in Memphis, where he was a member of the intellectual property protection and litigation service team.

Larry Helm Spalding (BA’65) died March 22 in Tallahassee, Florida. Larry began his legal career as a clerk to Judge Irving L. Goldberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was a partner at Lewis & Spalding when he was appointed in 1985 to head the Office of Capital Collateral Representative, a position he held for two four-year terms. Larry then served 15 years as the legislative staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.


Andrew Davis Coleman, 65, died April 8 in Charleston, South Carolina. After earning his law degree, Andy settled in Cheshire, Connecticut, where he practiced for many years with Hitt Mihalakos Sachner & Coleman and later as a sole practitioner. In 1981, he accepted an appointment from Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, where he served 14 years, several of them as its chair.


Palmer Leon Whisenant of Moore, South Carolina, died April 11. He was 54. Palmer was an attorney at Cryovac for 20 years.


Esther Rae DeCambra died March 17. Esther grew up in Hawaii and attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, before earning her law degree from Vanderbilt. She had lived and worked in Savannah, Georgia, since 2004.