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Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC


Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC - Memphis
  • 6060 Poplar Ave.,
  • Suite 440, Memphis
  • Memphis
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 38119
  • Tel:+1 901 526 2000
  • Fax:+1 901 577 2303
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Chairman & CEO: Ben C Adams, Jr
  • COO: Jerry Stauffer
  • Shareholders: 313 
  • Other lawyers: 342 (attorneys and public policy advisors)

Firm Overview:
For more than 120 years, Baker Donelson has built a reputation for achieving results for clients on a wide range of legal matters. Clients know it’s not just what the firm does, but how they do it that makes the difference. The firm commits to a deep understanding of a client’s business, anticipating clients’needs and assisting in their decision making processes. Because Baker Donelson offers consistent, knowledgeable guidance based on specific goals and objectives, clients view the firm as a valued business partner. This allows them to focus on the growth and success of their business, confident their legal issues will be handled by an attentive, responsive team.

Main Areas of Practice:
The 66th largest law firm in the US, Baker Donelson, is a full-service firm that gives clients access to a team of more than 630 attorneys and public policy advisors representing more than 30 practice areas, all seamlessly connected across 18 offices to serve virtually any legal need.
• Admiralty & Maritime
• ADR – Center for Dispute Resolution
• Antitrust
• Broker-Dealer/Registered Investment Adviser
• Business Technology
• Commercial Real Estate Recovery Team
• Construction
• Corporate Compliance, Ethics and Crisis Management
• Defense
• Disaster Recovery and Government Services
• Economic Development
• Emerging Companies
• Eminent Domain
• Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
• Environmental
• Estate Planning/Probate
• Exempt Organizations
• Financial Institutions
• Gaming
• Global Business
• Government Contracts
• Health Law
• Hospitality, Franchising and Distribution
• Immigration
• Insurance Regulatory
• Intellectual Property
• Labor & Employment
• Litigation
• Mergers and Acquisitions
• Oil & Gas
• Pro Bono
• Product Liability and Mass Tort
• Public Finance
• Public Policy - Federal and State
• Real Estate
• Residential Mortgage Lending and Servicing
• Securities and Corporate Governance
• Sports Law
• Taxation
• Transportation
• White Collar Crime and Government Investigations


  • Wells Fargo Tower,
  • 420 20th Street North,
  • Suite 1400,
  • Birmingham,
  • Alabama
  • USA
  • AL 35203
  • Tel +1 205 328 0480
  • Fax +1 205 322 8007
  • Email : kandress@bakerdonelson.com
  • 614 South Hull Street, ,
  • Montgomery,
  • Alabama
  • USA
  • AL 36104
  • Tel +1 334 262 2000
  • Fax +1 334 263 0960
  • Monarch Plaza ,
  • Suite 1600,
  • 3414 Peachtree Road NE,
  • Atlanta,
  • Georgia
  • USA
  • GA 30326
  • Tel +1 404 577 6000
  • Fax +1 404 221 6501
  • Email : lklein@bakerdonelson.com
  • Gateway Plaza,
  • Suite 201,
  • 300 Mulberry Street,
  • Macon,
  • Georgia
  • USA
  • GA 31201
  • Tel +1 478 750 0777
  • Fax +1 478 750 1777
  • 201 St Charles Avenue,
  • Suite 3600,
  • New Orleans,
  • Louisiana
  • USA
  • LA 70170
  • Tel +1 504 566 5200
  • Fax +1 504 636 4000
  • Email : rcheatwood@bakerdonelson.com
  • 3 Sanctuary Boulevard,
  • Suite 201,
  • Mandeville,
  • Louisiana
  • USA
  • LA 70471
  • Tel +1 985 819 8400
  • Fax +1 985 819 8484
  • Email : rcheatwood@bakerdonelson.com
  • 450 Laurel Street,
  • Chase Tower North,
  • 20th Floor,
  • Baton Rouge,
  • Louisiana
  • USA
  • LA 70801
  • Tel +1 225 381 7000
  • Fax +1 225 343 3612
  • Email : rcheatwood@bakerdonelson.com
  • 4268 I-55 North, Meadowbrook,
  • Office Park,
  • Jackson,
  • Mississippi
  • USA
  • MS 39211
  • Tel +1 601 351 2400
  • Fax +1 601 351 2424
  • Email : wpainter@bakerdonelson.com
  • 633 Chestnut Street,
  • 1800 Republic Centre,
  • Chattanooga,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37450
  • Tel +1 423 756 2010
  • Fax +1 423 756 3447
  • Email : rgray@bakerdonelson.com
  • One Courthouse Square,,
  • Huntsville,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37756
  • Tel +1 423 663 9148
  • Fax +1 423 663 2076
  • 100 Med Tech Parkway,
  • Suite 200,
  • Johnson City,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37604
  • Tel +1 423 928 0181
  • Fax +1 423 928 5694
  • Email : strent@bakerdonelson.com
  • 265 Brookview Centre Way,
  • Suite 600,
  • Knoxville,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37919
  • Tel +1 865 549 7000
  • Fax +1 865 525 8569
  • Email : cschmid@bakerdonelson.com
  • 6060 Poplar Avenue,
  • Suite 440,
  • Memphis,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 38119
  • Tel +1 901 579 3100
  • Fax +1 901 577 2303
  • 211 Commerce Street,
  • Suite 800,
  • Nashville,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37201
  • Tel +1 615 726 5600
  • Fax +1 615 726 0464
  • Email : scarey@bakerdonelson.com
  • 1301 McKinney Avenue,
  • Suite 3700,
  • Houston,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 77010
  • Tel +1 713 650 9700
  • Fax +1 713 650 9701
  • Email : bchambers@bakerdonelson.com
  • 920 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.,
  • Suite 900,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20001
  • Tel +1 202 508 3400
  • Fax +1 202 508 3402
  • Email : scampbell@bakerdonelson.com

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Alabama

THE FIRM The team continues to expertly represent its stable of financial institution clients and CMBS special servicers on defaulted loans. This includes advising clients on acquiring and servicing portfolios of troubled loans from banks.  

Sources say: "It is a good firm and was good at handling problem loans, workouts and bankruptcy issues for us."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Chair of the practice group Timothy Lupinacci predominantly represents special servicers throughout the nation and is described by a satisfied client as "creative, hard-working and responsive to our needs."

Eric Pruitt primarily represents banking and financial institutional clients in commercial loan transactions and receives warm praise from clients for his thoughtful approach to matters.

Patton Hahn focuses on bankruptcy and insolvency litigation and is noted as "a very capable and tough adversary who does a good job for his clients."

Corporate/Commercial - Alabama

THE FIRM This group continues to enjoy a strong reputation for the corporate and securities assistance it offers clients. It maintains a fine track record for its work in the healthcare arena and also represents a excellent choice of counsel to advise businesses in the food sector.  

Sources say: "You get quality lawyers and advice for a very good price."

KEY INDIVIDUALS B G Minisman comes recommended for his securities work on behalf of a range of public companies and has also been particularly active of late advising clients in the medical device arena. "He is methodical, smart and thorough - he does meticulous work and raises the right issues with clients," asserts one enthusiastic interviewee.

D J Simonetti has a wide-ranging general corporate practice and is routinely sought after to advise on matters concerning the heathcare sector. "He is an excellent lawyer who does an excellent job for his clients," notes one source.

Labor & Employment - Alabama

THE FIRM This group has a substantial reputation for handling harassment and discrimination cases, and is also frequently sought after to advise on a wealth of traditional labor issues. It regularly defends FLSA collective action and EEOC cases brought against its clients, and is well versed in matters concerning enforcement of noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements. The firm recently defended Koch Foods against allegations of sex and race discrimination and RICO violations, in connection with the alleged hiring of illegal aliens.

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Somerville is particularly noted for his expertise in wage and hour matters, and is a fine choice of counsel for clients in the healthcare sector.

Real Estate - Alabama

THE FIRM This premier group continues to enjoy a fine reputation for its wealth of real estate expertise and maintains a particular strength in its development and transactional practices. The team is especially adept at advising on retail, multifamily, senior living and medical-related real estate matters and benefits from its regional footprint to provide clients with a multistate platform on both the lender or borrower side. Key clients include Bayer Properties and the Medical Properties Trust.

Sources say: "They are good lawyers, they are very practical in resolving issues and I enjoyed working with them and will continue to use them."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Murphy McMillan is noted for his real estate development experience and has been particularly active of late advising private equity groups on acquiring distressed commercial real estate loans and property. "He is a smart lawyer, easy to work with and represents his clients well," notes one observer.  

William Sylvester enjoys a strong reputation in the market and comes recommended for his work on multifamily matters.

Denise Killebrew often represents senior living and multifamily developers and has a strong reputation for her work on leasing and development. "I found her easy to work with. She knows what she's doing and I'd have a lot of confidence sending clients to her," remarked one impressed peer.

Chervis Isom is described as the "grandaddy of real estate in Alabama," and continues to add significant value to the Baker Donelson team with his extensive experience in the real estate arena.

Antitrust - Florida

THE FIRM Baker Donelson made its first foray into Florida by way of its merger with Orlando firm Litchford & Christopher in November 2011. The office now benefits from the national scope of the Baker firm, coupled with the Florida antitrust experience of the existing office. The practice encompasses litigation and counseling on antitrust matters, including cases resulting from government investigations and vertical integration.

Sources say: "A very strong group." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Hal Litchford anchors the firm's Florida antitrust practice and is recommended by one peer as "someone I would send work to in a conflict situation." He has substantial experience in a wide variety of areas in addition to antitrust, including trade secrets and IP.

Healthcare - Georgia

THE FIRM This firm is lauded for its competency in a number of niche regulatory areas, with expertise in HIPAA compliance constituting one such specialty. Its talented and hard-working attorneys are sought out by a number of healthcare providers and typically adopt a creative approach to both the regulatory and transactional matters upon which they are engaged.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Baker garners plaudits for his prominence within the transactional sphere and is active in connection to a variety of healthcare-related acquisitions and divestitures. Baker is regarded as "a very smart, capable attorney" and is understood to be "very knowledgeable."

Construction - Louisiana

THE FIRM This top-notch construction practice is home to a number of highly experienced litigators who are praised by sources for their legal skills and technical knowledge of the construction industry. The bench strength of the practice and the experience of its leading partners give the team the ability to handle large and intricate litigation cases on a nationwide basis. Particular areas of strength include design professional liability and insurance defense and coverage.

Sources say: "They have an excellent construction practice and they know how to get to an efficient resolution of very complex matters."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Danny Shaw is the preeminent construction litigator in Louisiana. He has a strong construction background and is a licensed professional engineer, which gives him an additional insight into the technical aspects of cases. As one source says: "He is one of the most engaging and friendliest people you could ever meet. A terrific personality coupled with great skill."

The highly regarded David Kurtz's practice combines traditional construction litigation with post-Katrina litigation, involving issues such as representing contractors in disputes and injury cases and making claims for contractors against insurers.

Mark Mercante is an up-and-coming construction litigator based in the firm's Mandeville office. Sources say: "His grasp of construction issues is excellent. He is very responsive, very efficient and effective," asserts one enthusiastic interviewee.

Corporate/M&A - Louisiana

THE FIRM This firm services its corporate clients in Louisiana from offices in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Mandeville. The team handles a plethora of issues, including stock purchases, stock offerings, and the disposal of assets and subsidiaries. Clients include Our Lady of the Lake Regional Hospital, Hall-deGravelles, Entergy, and CSX.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Of counsel William Norton is based in the New Orleans office and is much sought for his expertise in M&A, capital formation, business reorganizations and takeover defense. Sources say: "He is a really smart guy and a good negotiator; he is a good thinker and he is able to work his way through problems and come up with common-sense solutions."

David Rieveschl is an up-and-coming lawyer in the firm's corporate department and is noted for his strengths in M&A and in issues concerning securities law compliance. 

Energy & Natural Resources - Louisiana

THE FIRM This firm represents oil companies in litigation and transactional matters on a statewide basis from offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It represents clients in a range of litigation, from blowouts and damage claims to legacy suits and trespass claims. The group is also well versed in matters concerning oil and gas leases, the negotiation of production payment purchase agreements, and the negotiation of master service agreements.    

KEY INDIVIDUALS Kenneth Klemm is a well-regarded oil and gas litigator with a varied practice in the field. His clients include oil and gas production entities, oil field cleanup companies and insurance organizations. Sources say: "He's got good skills and is personable and easy to work with."

Gaming & Licensing - Louisiana

THE FIRM This state-leading gaming practice is heavily involved in regulatory and transactional matters on behalf of its client list of well-known gaming companies. The firm represents a wide array of gaming groups including casino operators, gaming manufacturers, horse racing tracks, gaming investors and gaming suppliers.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very talented" Paul West maintains a leading reputation on both a state and national level. His practice is predominantly focused on representing casino companies and gaming operators in regulatory matters. Sources are quick to describe him as "personable, attentive and efficient," and he is also singled out by interviewees as "somebody who can come in and get things done effectively."

Labor & Employment - Louisiana

THE FIRM This Southeastern powerhouse has offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Mandeville, and is home to a number of well-respected labor and employment litigators. The firm's lawyers advise clients on compliance and policy issues, in addition to representing them in litigation before the courts and various state and federal administrative bodies. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Methodical and well prepared," Phyllis Cancienne is based in Baton Rouge and has a fine reputation in the market. She advises clients on policy and strategic issues, in addition to representing them in litigation in the courts and before federal bodies such as the EEOC and the NLRB.

Steven Griffith's labor and employment practice focuses on defending class actions brought on wage and hour and FLSA grounds. "He is a diligent, bright young lawyer, and very capable and competent," reports one impressed commentator. 

Amelia Koch "is a knowledgeable attorney and knows her labor and employment law," sources say. She is a well-liked litigator with a varied practice that includes labor and employment work and antitrust litigation.

Litigation - Louisiana

THE FIRM This large Southeastern firm is well represented in Louisiana, with offices in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Mandeville. Its litigators are known and respected throughout the state and are seen as formidable opponents in a wide array of commercial litigation areas. The team regularly defends clients in cases in state and federal court, and is adept at handling class actions and large jury trials. Baker Donelson's attorneys are experienced in areas such as securities litigation, traditional energy litigation, legacy cases, construction litigation and financial services cases.

Sources say: "It is a very good and highly respected firm in the commercial litigation area."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers in New Orleans consider Roy Cheatwood to be "one of the top senior litigators in the city." He has wide experience and has recently handled cases in areas including securities fraud, traditional energy litigation, oil field legacy cases, and banking and finance. Sources say: "He is a very polished and tenacious lawyer," and a "terrific jury trial advocate."

Nancy Degan is a well-known commercial litigator who practices from New Orleans. She has handled a plethora of cases including securities fraud, oil and gas disputes, banking litigation and franchise litigation. Sources say: "She is very detail-oriented, well organized and hard-working."

Kent Lambert is "an up-and-coming younger lawyer," with a profile that "will continue to rise." He has a varied commercial litigation practice that has includes cases in the banking sector, directors and officers matters, mortgage fraud and consumer class action defense.

Corporate/Commercial - Mississippi

THE FIRM This firm enjoys an excellent reputation for corporate and transactional work in Mississippi, and routinely handles high-profile and high-value matters. The team is active in a variety of work, including gambling, mergers and acquisitions, financing and municipal bonds. An impressive client roster includes financial institutions, as well as telecom and gaming companies.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers describe Dan McDaniel as "the preeminent gaming lawyer in Mississippi." He handles corporate and regulatory compliance matters for the firm's largest gaming clients.

William Painter specializes in corporate work such as administrative matters and restructurings, often with respect to the healthcare sector. He also advises clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters.

Steve Edds has considerable expertise in the public finance sphere, routinely advising local and state entities in connection with municipal bonds. He handles bond issuances, refinancings and government debt.

William Mendenhall continues to garner praise for a broad practice which includes general corporate counsel, mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and other developments. Sources confirm that he is "a very good lawyer."

Clifton Hodge recently joined the firm from Wise Carter. He has a general corporate practice, including mergers and acquisitions as well as business structuring and planning.

Environment - Mississippi

THE FIRM This nine-lawyer team is active in representing a number of municipalities and public bodies in both regulatory compliance and contentious matters. Recent work highlights include overseeing the environmental audit of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Dawkins has experience guiding a number of private and public clients through environmental investigations and advising on regulatory compliance issues. His environmental practice stretches to include transactional and white-collar criminal elements.

Up-and-comer Gretchen Zmitrovich has a strong regulatory background, having previously worked with the MDEQ. She works closely with Dawkins on a number of the firm's most high-profile instructions.

Labor & Employment - Mississippi

THE FIRM This firm regularly acts for employers from a variety of sectors in both employment litigation and regulatory compliance matters. The team is experienced in defending companies against accusations of employee discrimination, as well as in wage and hour and benefits disputes. Clients include Huntington Ingalls and Entergy Services. 

Sources say: "I have yet to have a bad experience with any members of Baker Donelson. Hands downs, Baker Donelson remains well ahead of any of the other firms that have represented this company."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Brooks Eason is highly regarded for his representation of clients in employment litigation. He is particularly adept in defending employers against accusations of discrimination and wrongful dismissal.

Head of department Randall Patterson handles both contentious and noncontentious employment matters, including ERISA and EEOC-related litigation.  

Litigation - Mississippi

THE FIRM This firm is recognized for its strong presence in the Mississippi litigation market. The team is known for its strength in a number of areas, including breach of contract, products liability and antitrust cases. A stellar client roster includes Chevron, ExxonMobil and Philip Morris.

Sources say: "This firm is uniquely calibrated to address any condition in any county in Mississippi, and presents cases in a way that engages that particular arena."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Bill Jones is described by a client as "very experienced and knowledgeable," as well as "a gentlemen of the first order." He specializes in products liability and insurance defense, and has experience at trial and appellate level.  

Experienced litigator Scott Welch is "very active and really strong," according to peers. He focuses on representing clients in commercial litigation, business tort and personal injury defense.

"Fine trial lawyer" Bill Reed handles class action, antitrust and complex commercial litigation for clients which include pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers and financial institutions.

Barry Ford has a highly regarded practice in products liability and commercial litigation. Sources name him "a top-notch lawyer."

Carter Thompson specializes in pharmaceutical and medical device products liability defense, and has wealth of experience representing clients from the healthcare sector. One interviewee comments: "He's a lawyer who's really tried cases and takes a practical, cost-effective approach to litigation."

Sheryl Bey has a broad practice that includes insurance coverage, personal injury defense and commercial litigation. She recently took the lead in a breach of contract litigation for Caldwell Tanks and the Great American Insurance Company.

Real Estate - Mississippi

THE FIRM This firm is active in acquisitions, development and financing for clients in a variety of industry sectors, including healthcare, housing, agriculture and retail. Clients benefit from the firm's impressive geographical reach across the South East of the USA. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients choose William Mendenhall "for his knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills in the complex areas of commercial real estate law." He represents developers and banks in a range of matters, including financings, foreclosures and dispositions. 

David Rueff "is excellent at project management," praises one interviewee. Reuff focuses on commercial real estate development and lending.

Healthcare - Nationwide

THE FIRM This practice undertakes all manner of regulatory and transactional work and comes particularly recommended for its strengths in HIPAA compliance issues. Its clients include major hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers, physician organizations and specialty care providers, and it is additionally routinely sought out to advise pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. The group also has a fine track record in healthcare-related disputes and antitrust issues.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Phil McSween heads the healthcare department and is a key contact.

Banking & Finance - Tennessee

THE FIRM This firm impresses market sources with its heavyweight banking regulatory expertise. It is frequently counsel to both community and regional banks, and has been called upon to provide regulatory advice at both the federal and state level, as well as assisting in enforcement actions. Notable highlights include its role in Magna Bank's privatization process.  

Sources say: "They are very competent, well known in the state and understand the environment that we are working in."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Eisen advises on regulatory law and corporate governance, as well as on M&A and asset sales. Recent experience includes advising banks on expansion and branch acquisition activities. Sources note his strong, even-handed manner in negotiations.

Jackie Prester is "responsive and effective in communication; she would just pick up the phone and tell us if we were on the wrong page." She recently advised a regional bank on securities registrations and SEC Exchange Act filings.

Corporate/M&A - Tennessee

THE FIRM This firm is rated for its broad industry sector and regional coverage. It had an active year advising on the acquisition and establishment of startup companies, and also experienced an uptick in energy-related work, for clients such as Eco Energy and Advanced BioEnergy. Other areas of expertise include securities compliance and debt refinancings.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Matthew Heiter "is outstanding - his knowledge of the applicable law is extensive and his personality is wonderful," say clients. Recent highlights include emerging companies work, including representing technology and biotechnology investors and companies.

Environment - Tennessee

THE FIRM This firm advises on both transactions and compliance as well as regulatory law, enforcement and litigation. The ten-strong team in Tennessee regularly handles citizen suit claims, brownfields redevelopment, permitting and Superfund cleanup matters. Clients include Ford and Nestlé Waters North America. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Steele represents clients in transactional and compliance matters. Of late, he has acted on facilities acquisitions entailing environmental permitting and related agreements. His client base includes consumer appliance manufacturers and hospital operators, and reflects his varied industry sector experience. 

Gary Shockley has a broad commercial litigation practice and undertakes significant work in the environmental arena. He also has expertise in construction, healthcare and personal injury cases. "He is an excellent practitioner," peers comment.

Healthcare - Tennessee

THE FIRM This healthcare group has had a busy year acting for clients on transactional matters, including multiple consolidations of hospital groups. It also houses an expanding regulatory practice and is active in healthcare litigation. Clients include key industry players such as therapy clinics, medical spas and university medical centers.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Bartrum is praised as "a truly excellent lawyer" for healthcare regulatory matters. He assists clients with the implementation of compliance strategies as well as fraud and abuse investigations. 

Richard Cowart took a lead role representing Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Healthcare in the purchase of an interest in North Mississippi. His transactional experience is complemented by an ability to advise on policy and governance matters. 

Ashby Burks has had a busy year acting on the sale and purchase of hospital assets. He also represented a client in the refinancing of loan facilities.

Philip McSween assists clients with employment agreements and due diligence issues, in addition to corporate transactions. He is also outside general counsel to various hospitals and physician groups. 

Labor & Employment - Tennessee

THE FIRM This team possesses a strong statewide reputation for representing its clients on a mix of interests. An increase in work relating to FLSA collective actions has particularly supplemented its employment litigation capacity. It also retains practitioners dedicated to traditional labor and union matters as well as experts in corporate training.   

KEY INDIVIDUALS Edward Young has had an active year serving as lead counsel to corporate employers in union campaigns across the nation. He also successfully obtained summary judgment for a client in a race discrimination suit brought by the EEOC. 

Timothy McConnell has much experience in employment litigation. Besides his involvement in a sex discrimination matter, he has also advised on employment issues arising from the Dodd-Frank Act.

Kim Vance is described by a sources as "a terrific problem solver." She is noted for her impressive counseling and defense of management teams before the EEOC and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.

Head of practice Jennifer Keller is particularly experienced in preventive initiatives such as union avoidance, as well as harassment and discrimination issues.  

Steven Trent represents employers facing race discrimination claims. He also has experience of successfully acting in constructive discharge claims.  

Litigation - Tennessee

THE FIRM This firm has in-depth expertise in advising on major disputes covering bankruptcy, healthcare and a full range of commercial concerns. Attorneys also handle niche environmental litigation, property damage and personal injury claims. Representative clients include the Regents of the University of New Mexico and CSX Transportation. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "outstanding" Leo Bearman is based in Memphis and represents clients in multiple aspects of business litigation, ranging from class action defense to shareholder disputes. Besides dealing with commercial interests in the courtroom, he also has recent experience acting for public bodies. 

John Hicks's recent experience includes representing Rock Ivy in post-trial matters and in an appeal regarding breach of fiduciary duty claims. He has also been defending Assurance Group against unpaid commission fee claims.  

"Very intellectual" Gary Shockley specializes in handling cases involving complex environmental issues, and is noted for his experience in jury trials. He also handles antitrust and healthcare litigation.

Franklin Childress has had a busy year acting for institutional lenders in a series of loan and guarantor disputes. He is also adept at representing clients in objecting to Chapter 11 filings.

Buckner Wellford's litigation expertise extends to medical malpractice defense and advising medical groups on regulatory violations. Over the past year he has successfully defended practitioners in wrongful death allegations involving the use of anticoagulants.  

Real Estate - Tennessee

THE FIRM This real estate group has established a strong reputation in Tennessee. With four offices statewide, the firm is well placed to advise a range of local and national clients on such matters as property acquisitions and sales, leasing and financing transactions. The team represents major financial institutions such as First Tennessee Bank, as well as insurance companies, Fortune 500 companies, hospitals and real estate investment trusts.

Sources say: "A very professional firm that is able to provide backup when I need it." "They provide excellent results."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Liddon has a versatile practice that covers multiple areas of real estate law. He advises on expansion and improvement initiatives, and also has experience acting on behalf of financial institutions and healthcare facilities on acquisitions and refinancings.  

Pete Ezell is recommended for his expertise in REIT taxation. Recent work includes payment-in-lieu-of-tax transactions (PILOTs) and borrower-side financing mandates.

Mary Aronov frequently advises on asset-based lending and commercial real estate loan transactions. "She is very thorough, hard-working and accessible," clients comment. Besides representing institutional lenders, she also represents healthcare clients in acquisitions and refinancings.

John Gupton acted for AO Smith on its $390 million purchase of a manufacturing facility. Sources comment: "He is very practical and understands the time sensitivity of this business."

Matthew Harris recently joined the team from Waller. Harris has a varied practice that includes leasing matters and real estate financing. Recent work at his prior firm includes acting for Tractor Supply on the acquisition and negotiation of development agreements for its new corporate headquarters.