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U of M Law School Names Scenic Reading Room for Alumnus Gordon Ball

For release: January 7, 2011
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The fourth-floor reading room at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will soon bear a new name: the Gordon Ball Scenic Reading Room.

The Scenic Reading Room is a $1 million naming opportunity. The room is a beautiful, glass-fronted area used for quiet study, special events and receptions. Flooded with natural light, it offers a sweeping view of the Mississippi River from north to south.

Ball is a prominent Knoxville attorney who focuses his practice on consumer rights and antitrust class actions. Born in Cocke County, Tenn., he earned his law degree from the U of M in 1974.

In the late 1970s, Ball served as an Assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. In 1977 he served as a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention. For several years after he returned to private practice, Ball specialized in the defense of white-collar federal prosecutions. In 1981, he was lead defense counsel in the case of United States v. Sisk, also known as the “Pardons and Paroles” case. His client was acquitted after a six-week trial.

In 1986-87, he was lead defense counsel in the federal bank fraud prosecution of brothers Jake and C.H. Butcher Jr., who had created a banking empire in East Tennessee. Ball was the only defense attorney to secure two not guilty jury verdicts during the Butcher trials.

Gordon Ball
Gordon Ball
He first became involved in major class action litigation in 1988 with Shults v.

Champion International Corp. Ball – who grew up along the banks of the Pigeon River in the town of Hartford – and his co-counsel represented some 2,600 landowners against a paper company that had polluted the Pigeon River for nearly 80 years. They have been successful in recovering millions of dollars for the landowners. Ball continues to litigate on behalf of landowners on the Pigeon River.

He has been co-lead counsel for two of the largest consumer and antitrust settlements in U.S. history: Cox v. Shell Oil Company (a $950 million settlement) and Spartanburg Regional Medical Center v. Hillenbrand Industries ($486 million).

“The University of Memphis gave me a quality legal education and the confidence to litigate in any forum in the country. I will be forever grateful,” Ball said.

“Moving our already strong law program to the next level will require both vision and commitment,” added Dean Kevin Smith. “We are delighted and grateful that Gordon has joined in that vision. Through his very generous gift, he already has had a tremendous and positive impact on the law program, an impact that will be felt for decades.”

A formal naming ceremony for the room will be held in the near future.

The Cecil C. Humphreys School 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 Reviewranked the school eighth in “Best Quality of Life” in its Best 172 Law Schools 2011 edition.

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