VOL. 118 | NO. 31 | Thursday, February 19, 2004
Statewide Program Develops Law Leaders
The Daily News
Seeing a need to develop leaders in the law field, John
Tarpley also felt the need to do something about it.
As 2004 president of the Tennessee Bar Association, Tarpley
saw an opportunity for outstanding attorneys to become not only leaders in the
field, but in the communities they serve, as well. So Tarpley created
Leadership Law, a six-month program that offers leadership training for
selected lawyers from across the state.
Every organizations primary goal is to develop new and
strong leaders for the future, Tarpley said. I realize that Im not going to
be around forever. Other strong leaders of the bar are not going to be around
forever, and for our profession to survive, weve got to have strong
Back to school. The 32 students in Leadership Laws first class attend
sessions once a month through June. Barry Kolar, assistant executive director
of the Tennessee Bar Association, said the program is similar to leadership
development initiatives offered by communities, only with a more targeted
A lot of cities have this program, like a Leadership
Memphis, where they develop community leaders, he said. This is similar, but
develops leaders in the law profession.
The goal of the initiative is to build leadership with
respect to ethical, professional and community service issues; build
relationships among legal leaders; raise awareness on a broad range of issues
facing the profession; and enhance the diversity of leaders within the
Six Memphians are among the attorneys in the inaugural
class: Amy Pepke of Armstrong Allen; Lea Hall Speed of Baker, Donelson,
Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Karen Campbell of Gary K. Smith &
Associates; Melanie Murry of the University of Memphis; Bruce McMullen of
Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell; and Caren Nichol of Stokes,
Bartholomew, Evans & Petree.
Beyond borders. Pepke said the chance to develop
leadership skills while interacting with attorneys from across the state
attracted her to the program.
You can do this in Memphis with other Memphis lawyers and
leaders, but to join an organization that brings leaders from across the state
together to talk to each other about ideas thats unique, Pepke said. I
hope to make contacts outside of Memphis, not just for business purposes, but
to open my mind up to different legal issues, to open my mind to different ways
of approaching different problems that face the field.
Last months opening retreat at Montgomery Bell State Park
in Nashville included sessions led by outstanding attorneys from across the
We had some premier names in the Tennessee legal community
who spoke, Kolar said. The opening retreat set the stage in a lot of ways and
developed relationships between the class participants.
In Memphis, we tend to get a little segregated from the
rest of the state, and it was a good opportunity for me to meet people from
across the state, she said.
Timeless issues. The groups second session, held
Tuesday, dealt with issues in policy and politics. It focused on the legislative
and executive branches of state government.
Marchs session, led by Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge
William Koch Jr., will cover the courts, focusing on the state court system and
issues facing the judiciary.
During Aprils session on issues in bar leadership, Memphis
attorney Lucian Pera of Armstrong Allen will lead the program focusing on the
workings of the Tennessee Bar Association.
And in May, Nashville attorney Bill Ramsey will share his
experiences as a community leader during a session on issues in community
leadership. The session will focus on the role attorneys can play in their
communities and in business relationships outside the courtroom.
The final session is the June commencement, held in
conjunction with the annual TBA Convention in Nashville.
Leadership potential. Once the program was
formulated, a list of leaders in the profession from across the state was
compiled, Kolar said. Those leaders were asked to nominate attorneys as
candidates for the program. About 100 were nominated.
These are people who have been in practice five to 15
years, Kolar said. So theyre not newcomers theyre people who have been
identified as leaders, and this is to help them make the next step.
A unique aspect of the program, Tarpley said, is the diversity
of the attorneys involved in the inaugural class.
This is about as diverse a group you can find, he said.
They are diverse in gender, race, practice area they are about as different
from one another as you can have with a group of attorneys in the state of
It is really a dynamic and wonderful group.
Nichol said the program not only fosters relationships among
lawyers from different areas in Tennessee, but within local communities, as
Lea Hall Speed at Baker Donelson she and I had never met
before, Nichol said. She does patent work and I do litigation, and ordinarily
we would never have run into each other. We have become really good friends in
the last three weeks.
For the future. Although Leadership Law is an
initiative of Tarpleys, he hopes it is something that will continue to be
offered for the states attorneys.
It is contemplated it will continue in the future, really
for as long as its needed, he said, adding that the program has been
well-received by firms throughout the state. In all likelihood, at the end of
June well evaluate the program, tweak what we need to and then send out the
announcement of a new program and select another class next fall.