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The Tennessee Bar Foundation is an organization of attorneys from across the state, active since 1982. The Foundation has a three-fold purpose:

  1. to honor attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the profession by electing them to membership as “Fellows,”
  2. to use the contributions of these Fellows to support selected, law-related public interest projects, and
  3. to administer Tennessee’s IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) program.



January 2018 – IOLTA Grant Awards

The Foundation announces awards totaling $500,000 to be paid during 2018 to 27 organizations located across Tennessee. In accordance with the Supreme Court’s Order, all recipients provide either direct civil legal service to indigent clients or work to improve the administration of justice.


Each organization’s application for IOLTA funds was evaluated by the Foundation’s Grant Review Committee. The Committee consists of 14 lawyers and judges, who serve staggered, three-year terms and are selected to serve by nine, state-wide “practicing bar” organizations. By relying on those organizations to provide membership, the Committee is insured of a diverse group of practitioners. The Committee makes a comprehensive recommendation to the Foundation’s 12-member Board of Trustees, who make the final grant decisions.


The 2018 awards bring the total funds granted since 1988 to $21,890,000. The list of recipients is available by clicking here.

September 2017 – Legal History Project interviews available on the internet

ALL 100+ interviews conducted by the (continuing) Legal History Project are now on YouTube to be viewed on any device. The interviewees, from across the state, recount personal biographical information, significant legal topics dealt with during their careers as well as the important social and political issues of their day. The YouTube-linked list of interviews and more information is available here.


November 2016 – IOLTA program welcomes participation by Tennessee credit unions

Rules amendments ordered by the Tennessee Supreme Court now allow lawyers to establish IOLTA trust checking accounts at eligible credit unions. The Foundation is contacting Tennessee credit unions to educate them about the program and about the law-related community organizations supported by IOLTA grants. Lawyers should watch the list of Eligible Financial Institutions (here) for the names of individual credit unions as they join the program.


March 2016 – “Chattanooga-area” Reception

The Foundation’s sixth, annual, outreach event was held this month in Chattanooga. Judge Barbara Holmes, Chair of the Board of Trustees, travelled from Nashville to welcome Fellows from southeast Tennessee. The executive directors of local, law-related organizations which receive funds from the IOLTA grant program also attended. See the slideshow of photographs below.

Chairs of the Tennessee Bar Foundation Board of Trustees: Scott Brown (1998-99), Judge Barbara Holmes (2015-16), Bill Carriger (2004-05)
Phil Lawrence, Mike Jenne
Roger Jenne, Don Poole
Max and Sara Bahner
Doug Campbell, Lane Avery
Robin Miller, Joe White
Judge Barbara Holmes, Marsha McMurray, Angelia Nystrom
Sam Elliott, Justice Muecke Barker
Sheri Fox (Executive Director, Legal Aid of East Tennessee), Hugh Moore
Chattanooga IOLTA program grant recipient: Legal Aid of East Tennessee
Paul Campbell, Cindy Hall
Lee Akers, Jennifer Paden (Executive Director, Community Reconciliation, Inc./VORP)
Chattanooga IOLTA program grant recipient: Community Reconciliation, Inc./VORP
Sam Anderson, Carol Mutter, Mike Luhowiak
Judge Barbara Holmes welcomes the guests
Roger Dickson, Roger Jenne
Cathy Allshouse (Program Manager, Southeast Tennessee Legal Services), Marcy Eason
Chattanooga IOLTA program grant recipient: Southeast Tennessee Legal Services
W.L. "Chink" Brown, Jerry Summers
Alan Cates, Robin Miller

April 2015 – “Knoxville-area” Reception

On April 21, the Foundation held its fifth spring reception, this year for Knoxville-area Fellows. Judge Pam Reeves (past chair of the Board of Trustees), served as the host, amidst the lovely spaces of the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Federal Courthouse. Current Board Chair, Judge Creed McGinley, travelled from Savannah to Knoxville to welcome the 55 guests and outline the Foundation’s East Tennessee activities. See the slideshow of photographs below.

April 2014 – Memphis Reception

The Foundation’s fourth, annual, outreach reception was held this month in Memphis. Fifty Fellows attended, including those newly-elected as members of the Class of 2013, who were honored. The festive event was sponsored by law firms Ballin, Ballin & Fishman and Lewis Thomason and local member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Irma Merrill Stratton. See the slideshow of photographs below.

George Stratton, Irma Merrill Stratton, David Leake
John Horne, Barry Ward
Lee Chase, Paul Matthews, Bob Craddock
Judge Donn Southern, Clarence Halmon
Lance Minor, Randall Fishman
Dale Tuttle, Judge John Fowlkes
David Leake, Tom Dyer, Cliff Pierce
Amy Amundsen, Judge Butch Childers, Claudia Haltom
Charles Key, Susan Callison
Charlotte Knight Griffin, Justice Janice Holder
Kevin Hunter, Lance Minor
Judge Butch Childers (back to camera), and the Tates, Shepherd D. and S. Shepherd
Lee Chase, Judge Donna Fields, Mike Robb, Oscar Carr
Steve Goodwin, John Heflin
Monice Hagler, Jill Steinberg; Amy Pepke, Paul Matthews (back to camera)

May 2013 – “Lower Middle” Reception

On May 7, the Foundation held a reception at historic Rippavilla Plantation in Columbia (Maury County) for Fellows and judges from “lower middle” Tennessee. Guests from six area cities attended, along with Supreme Court justices Connie Clark (Franklin) and Bill Koch (Nashville) and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, who met earlier in the afternoon in Columbia. The following law firms supported the event as sponsors: from Columbia, Fleming, Flynn & Murphy, P.C. and Hardin, Parkes, Kelley, Carter & Bryant, PLLC; from Lawrenceburg, Boston, Holt, Sockwell & Durham, PLLC and Harwell & Plant; and from Hohenwald, The Spitzer Firm. See the slide show of photographs below.

Andrew Sherriff, site historian, with circa 1880 photograph of Rippavilla’s owners, the Cheairs family.
Bill Harbison (Nashville), Paul Campbell (Chattanooga), Judge Creed McGinley (Savannah)
Charles Key (Memphis), Foundation Chair Mike Spitzer (Hohenwald)
Judge Bobby Sands (Columbia), Pam Reeves (Knoxville)
Barbara Holmes (Nashville)
“War stories” being told
Judge James Ross (Waynesboro), Billy Fleming (Columbia), Houston Parks (Columbia), Pat Flynn (Columbia)
Mike Spitzer (Hohenwald), Justice Connie Clark (Franklin)
Claudia Jack (Columbia), Tom Hardin (Columbia), Russ Parkes (Columbia), Pat Flynn (Columbia)
Justice Bill Koch (Nashville), Mike Spitzer (Hohenwald), Judge Jeff Bivins (Franklin)
Billy Fleming (Columbia), Judge Patricia McGuire (Lawrenceburg)
Ed Lawwell (Columbia)
On left, Ben Boston (Lawrenceburg)
Chair Mike Spitzer (Hohenwald) welcomes the guests
Janet and Landis Turner (Hohenwald)
Tom Hardin (Columbia), Wallace Harvill (Centerville), Russ Parkes (Columbia)


May 2012 – “Upper East” Reception

The Foundation’s outreach reception was held this spring in Kingsport, for Fellows and judges in “Upper East” Tennessee. Members from seven area cities attended, as well as Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade from Sevierville. Contributions from these law firms supported the event: Arnold, Haynes & Sanders (Johnson City); Hunter, Smith & Davis, LLP (Kingsport); Milligan & Coleman (Greeneville) and Wilson Worley PC (Kingsport). See the slideshow of photographs (below).

Harry Ogden (Knoxville), immediate past chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, greets the crowd
Chancellor Richard Johnson (Johnson City)
Judge Jerry Beck (Blountville), Bruce Shine (Kingsport)
Pat & Larry Boyd (Rogersville)
Julie Poe Bennett (Bristol), Bill Argabrite (Kingsport), Amy Ogden (Knoxville)
Chancellor Richard Johnson (Johnson City), Justice Gary Wade (Sevierville), Frank Johnstone (Kingsport)
Gene Gaby (Greeneville), Olen Haynes (Johnson City)
Chancellor E.G. Moody (Bristol), Bill Gamble (Kingsport)
Sandy Wade (Sevierville), Jimmie Miller (Kingsport)
John T. Milburn Rogers (Greeneville)
Amy Ogden (Knoxville), Morris Hadden (Kingsport)
Judge Rob Montgomery (Blountville)
Judge Marcia Phillips Parsons (Greeneville)
Arthur (Buddy) Scott (Kingsport)
The Guests

September 2011 – Legal History Project video collages available online

All seven collages that compile the “best of” moments of the video interviews conducted by the Legal History Project may be viewed online. Click here to enjoy the preserved memories, wit and wisdom of Tennessee’s senior lawyers!

March 2011 – Participant Members

Any lawyer licensed in Tennessee who participates in the IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts) program, whether as an individual or as a member (principal, employee, or other member) of a law firm, and who is not currently a Fellow of the Foundation, is eligible to serve as a voting “Participant” member of the Foundation.

To enroll as a voting Participant member of the Foundation, complete this form and submit it to the Foundation office. Forms received prior to April 30, 2011 will immediately qualify (after acknowledgement from the Foundation office) that lawyer for Participant status. Forms received after April 30, 2011 will qualify (after acknowledgement from the Foundation office) that lawyer for Participant status as of January 1, 2012. Terms of office will be in accordance with Section 2.7(a) (below).

Participant membership was made possible by amendment, in part, of two sections of the Foundation’s bylaws, as follows:

Section 2.7 Participants

(a) Any attorney licensed in Tennessee who participates in the Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, whether as an individual or as a member (principal, employee, or other member) of a law firm, and who is not currently a Fellow of the Foundation, shall be eligible to serve as a “Participant” in the Foundation. An attorney shall qualify as a Participant upon submitting his or her written request to the Executive Director of the Foundation and providing such proof as the Executive Director may reasonably require of such person’s qualification to serve. For all such written requests received from the date of adoption of these bylaws through April 30, 2011, a Participant’s term shall begin as of the date of his or her appointment. Thereafter, a Participant’s term shall begin on the next January 1 following the date of his or her appointment. All Participant terms shall end on the fifth December 31 following the year of his or her appointment, or until his or her death, resignation, or ineligibility, whichever first occurs.

(b) The requirements needed to maintain Participant status shall be a license to practice law in the State of Tennessee and participation in the IOLTA program during the then-current fiscal year ending June 30.

(c) Appropriate notice of the date, time, and place of meetings of the membership shall be given to each Participant, as provided in Article III of these bylaws.

Section 2.8. Termination of Membership

(a) Any member (Fellow or Participant) may voluntarily terminate his or her membership at any time upon written notice to the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the principal office of the Foundation.

For additional assistance, contact the Foundation at 615/242-1531 or 800/634-2516 or