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U of M Law Students Chosen for New Tenn. Bar Assn. Statewide Program

For release: February 18, 2011
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

Five students of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis have been chosen to participate in a new program sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA).  Samantha Bennett and James Olsen of Cordova, Janelle Crandall of Germantown, Allison McKnight of Knoxville, and Isaac Kimes of Ashburn, Va., are among 15 students from the four law schools in Tennessee who will participate in the Diversity Leadership Institute. 

The Institute got underway recently at the TBA’s annual Leadership Conference with a focus on issues of leadership and diversity in the legal profession. Class members met with legal leaders from across the state. They heard from Nashville lawyer John Tarpley, who spoke on “Leading Through Change” and met with a panel of lawyers who discussed diversity in the legal profession.

Over the next several months, the students will work with an assigned attorney mentor and complete educational and public service requirements. The class will wrap up its experience with a service project and graduation ceremony in June in conjunction with the annual TBA Convention in Chattanooga.

Pictured among the 2011 Diversity Leadership Institute of the Tennessee Bar Association are University of Memphis law students
Pictured among the 2011 Diversity Leadership Institute of the Tennessee Bar Association are University of Memphis law students (front row, second, third, and fourth from left)
Janelle Crandall, Samantha Bennett, and Allison McKnight and (back row, first) Isaac Kimes and (fourth from left) James Olsen. (Photo courtesy Tenn. Bar Assn.)

The Diversity Leadership Institute is an initiative of TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) President Tasha Blakney, an attorney in Knoxville. It is managed by the YLD Diversity Committee under the leadership of Memphis attorney Ahsaki Baptist (Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs) and Chattanooga lawyer Blair Bennington Cannon .

The Tennessee Bar Association is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 11,000 members. Founded in 1881, it provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA's membership represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers, and legal services attorneys.

The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is located in the former U.S. Customs House in downtown Memphis, near the city’s judicial and legal community. Recently preLaw magazine rated the school ninth nationally as a “best value” law school. The Princeton Review ranked the school eighth in “Best Quality of Life” in its Best 172 Law Schools 2011 edition.

The school is accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, the official accrediting agency for legal education, and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, the society for legal education in the United States. Graduates of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law include judges, other public servants, and leading practitioners in the Mid-South and throughout the nation.

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