VOL. 125 | NO. 38 | Thursday, February 25, 2010
Memphis Law Talk
White Elected to Board for Boys and Girls Club of America
By Rebekah Hearn
“I learned early on that while it’s important to be a zealous advocate for your client, you can cross a line and lose your capacity to reason and to be an effective advocate for your client if you are not careful.”– Leigh Taylor White
Leigh Taylor White, an associate at the Memphis office of Glankler Brown PLLC, recently was elected to the board of directors for the Porter Board of the Boys and Girls Club of America.
White practices in civil and criminal litigation, focusing on federal civil rights and family and domestic law. Prior to joining Glankler Brown, she served as a law clerk under Judge David M. Ishee in the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Rhodes College and her juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law. White is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Mississippi, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th and 6th Circuits.
In the community, White is a member of ARTitude and the Memphis, Tennessee, Mississippi and American bar associations. She also serves as a volunteer for Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. and the Community Legal Center.
Q: What inspired you to focus on litigation? What is one of the most important aspects of successfully litigating a case?
A: In law school, I was intrigued by constitutional law issues, and I really wanted to be involved in those issues as an attorney. I have learned that to successfully litigate a case, it is important to get off to a good start with a thorough initial client interview, careful investigation and diligent research.
Q: What did you learn during your clerkship under Ishee that still helps you in practice today?
A: The first appellate brief that came across my desk was written by a very passionate but very jaded attorney who actually suggested that his client would have no choice but to take matters into his own hands if the court did not rule in his favor. His brief was not well-taken by the court. So, I learned early on that while it’s important to be a zealous advocate for your client, you can cross a line and lose your capacity to reason and to be an effective advocate for your client if you are not careful. I’m reminded of that lesson often, especially in my domestic law practice. Because the subject matter is so emotional and personal for your client, it is crucial for your client’s sake that you keep a cool and rational head.
Q: Has your undergraduate degree in philosophy helped you in the field of law?
A: Absolutely. The study of philosophy taught me certain skills necessary to the practice of law, such as logical thinking and the ability to distinguish good arguments from bad.
Q: In what capacity do you volunteer for Memphis Area Legal Services?
A: I volunteer by taking cases through the office, usually in the family law area. I have especially enjoyed the opportunity to take adoption cases.
Q: You are very active in the community. Can you describe what ARTitude is?
A: ARTitude is a support group for the RiverArtsFest, which is the only fine arts festival in Memphis. The RiverArtsFest is a two-day festival held on South Main Street in October, with an outdoor artist market and live entertainment. It is so much fun.
Q: Why did you become involved with the Boys and Girls Club of America?
A: The Boys and Girls Club serves such a vital purpose in our community. I believe that two of the greatest challenges facing our community are poverty and education, from which many other societal ailments stem. The Boys and Girls Club meets those challenges by providing children with a safe and nurturing after-school environment where children are encouraged to continue learning, to set personal goals and to become responsible citizens of our community. Of course, the kids get to play sports, games and have a lot of fun too.
Q: If you could not be in the field of law, what would be your second career choice?
A: After dealing with this unusually cold winter, Samantha Brown’s job with The Travel Channel sure looks nice.