May 2014 Law@Vanderbilt Class Notes Highlights

May 27, 2014



Aubrey B. Harwell Jr. (BA’64), co-founder and managing partner of Neal & Harwell, has been named the 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Southeastern Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

William Kirkland has been appointed to the Lexington Theological Seminary’s board of trustees. Bill is a partner in McBrayer McGinnis Leslie & Kirkland and a former assistant U.S. attorney and state government attorney. He attended Lexington Theological Seminary for professional study from 1977-79.


Brian T. Mahon was recently elected as the first vice president of the Connecticut State Probate Assembly. Brian is a founding partner of Mahon Quinn & Mahon and a probate judge.


Julian Bibb has been named a Williamson County Impact Award winner by the Nashville Business Journal. Julian is a member at Stites & Harbison, where he chairs the firm’s banking and real estate service group.

Ralph Z. Levy Jr. has been named president of The Temple—Congregation Ohabai Sholom in Nashville. Ralph is of counsel with Dickinson Wright.


Howard William Herndon has joined the Nashville office of Frost Brown Todd, where he will lead the firm’s new payments industry team.


Judge Jeffrey Scott Bivins has been named by Republican Governor Bill Haslam to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Tennessee Supreme Court bench. Judge Bivins will replace Justice Bill Koch ’72, who is retiring in July to become dean of the Nashville School of Law. Judge Bivins is a former circuit court judge for Williamson, Hickman, Lewis and Perry counties.


John N. Bolus has been elected to a four-year term on the board of governors of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel.  John is a member at Maynard Cooper & Gale, where he co-chairs the firm’s general litigation practice and serves on the firm’s executive committee.


Dana Perry, a shareholder with Chambliss Bahner & Stophel, has been appointed to the board of directors for Meritas, a global alliance of independent business law firms. In her new role, Dana will be responsible for reviewing and establishing policy and setting strategy for the alliance. She will also act as an organizational leader, serving as a liaison to member firms on administrative issues.


Adolpho Augustus Birch III has been elected to the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust effective July 1. Adolpho is senior vice president of law, labor policy and government affairs for the National Football League. His position includes oversight of the league’s drug and conduct policies and collective bargaining agreement.


David Glenn Wilson has been appointed as Lipscomb University’s general counsel.


Linda Du, an associate with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, was recently honored by the New York State Bar Association as 2013 Empire State Counsel.



Lauren Gudritz Brown and John Brown welcomed a son, Ryan Robinson Brown, on January 16. Ryan joins big sister Elizabeth. Lauren is associate director of the Center for Professional Development and Career Strategy at Emory University School of Law, and John works at Georgia-Pacific as tax counsel in Atlanta.



Cecil D. Branstetter founding partner of the Nashville law firm Branstetter Stranch & Jennings, died May 7. He was 93. Cecil was still a member of the firm he founded in 1952 after earning his law degree. He was widely considered one of the best litigators in the history of both the Nashville and Tennessee bars, and the law school’s Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program was endowed in his honor in 2005. He was honored with Vanderbilt Law School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009.


Constantine G. Demmas, a longtime resident of New Orleans and a giant of the insurance industry, died May 7. Following two years in the U.S. Army’s intelligence unit, he began his career with Mutual of New York. He earned numerous awards in the insurance business and became vice president for marketing at Kelso & Co., later specializing in ESOP plans for privately held businesses. He also played a hand in the development of downtown New Orleans and the Warehouse district.


Judge Paul Barry Jones died May 12. He was 77. Judge Jones served as circuit judge for 18 years for Adair, Casey, Cumberland and Monroe counties in Kentucky. He was district judge of Adair and Casey counties for two years. He practiced law for 20 years as an attorney with Hurt & Jones Law Office and then Jones and Jones Law Office.


John E. Hibbard (BDiv’58) died May 7 following a brief battle with cancer. John was an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), serving at the First Christian Church of the Beaches for 43 years. After retiring in 2002, he served as interim pastor at the historic First Christian Church of Tampa.


Frank Stegall Wesson, 74, died May 6. Following law school, Frank served in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in Vietnam. He practiced law in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Portland, Oregon, before retiring to Bend, Oregon, in 2012.