Bone McAllester Norton is proud to announce that our firm was recognized in all three of the individual award categories in the 28th edition of The Best Lawyers™ in America. Trace Blankenship received the coveted Lawyer of the Year award for his work in nonprofit and charities law, and Mandy Strickland Floyd and Courtney L. Lutz were both named Ones to Watch.
Each year, Best Lawyers™ names the top lawyers across the country purely through a peer review process by currently recognized attorneys. Best Lawyers™ has used this methodology for 30 years, and clients turn to their rankings to ensure they are working with the best of the best.
The 20 other attorneys were recognized for work with a wide range of clients in over 20 different practice areas across Tennessee and the United States. They come from both our Nashville and Hendersonville offices.
The Best Lawyers™ in America are:
BONE MCALLESTER NORTON TO COMBINE WITH SPENCER FANE
Firms join forces to enhance commitment to clients, culture, strategic growth
NASHVILLE — Bone McAllester Norton PLLC, one of Nashville’s largest law firms and one known for its deep commitment to clients and the community, announced it will combine with Spencer Fane, an Am Law 200 ranked law firm with offices in 20 cities nationwide. The combination will become effective October 1 and position the firms to expand both in terms of size and geography to meet the growing needs of their clients.
In addition to a cohesive business model, Bone McAllester Norton and Spencer Fane share a commitment to cultural values that center on humility, community, collaboration and an unwavering ambition to achieve success for their clients.
“The culture of our firm, our commitment to give back to the community, and our strong track record of retaining top legal talent, has fueled our success. We found those same values in Spencer Fane,” said Bone McAllester Norton President and CEO Charles Robert Bone. “After years of telling one national firm after another ‘no,’ we felt there was something decidedly different about Spencer Fane.
Ultimately, being a part of their platform will enable us to expand and continue to attract first-rate attorneys, better serve current and future clients, and strengthen our commitment to the Nashville community.”
As both firms have realized significant growth in recent years, Spencer Fane and Bone McAllester Norton have a shared vision for expanding the reach of their practices to align with the simultaneous growth of their clients.
“As law firms contemplate combining businesses, it’s important to consider two critical factors – whether the combination will drive more value to our clients and whether there is a strong cultural fit between the firms,” Spencer Fane Chair Patrick J. Whalen said. “In this case, the answer to both of those questions is an emphatic yes.”
“While our firms certainly share strengths in terms of legal practice, the excitement about our combination stems from a mutual realization that our firms are aligned culturally around a similar set of core values,” Whalen added. “Spencer Fane is also excited to join Bone McAllester given its exceptional reputation in the rapidly growing Nashville market, as well as its leadership and success building a law firm comprised of a team of incredibly talented and diverse attorneys with unique perspectives and experience.”
Recognized as a firm that takes immense pride in its commitment to community, Bone McAllester Norton and its attorneys lead numerous charitable organizations and causes throughout Nashville. For instance, the firm has hosted an annual MLK Fellowship Breakfast for 20 years, which brings hundreds of civic leaders together to kickoff Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Nearly all of the firm’s attorneys serve in a leadership capacity for non-profit organizations throughout the community.
Members of the firm have also taken on several high profile criminal justice cases, including being credited with the successful release of Cyntoia Brown Long. In addition, Bone McAllester is one of the region’s most diverse law firms, with a deep and longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts – an area both firms are dedicated to bolstering.
“When Bone McAllester Norton started 20 years ago, we saw an extraordinary opportunity in Nashville. By combining with Spencer Fane, I believe that opportunity is exponentially better, with more opportunity than ever before – for both firms and the clients we serve,” Bone said.
About Bone McAllester Norton
Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a midsized Nashville law firm located in downtown Nashville, Sumner County and Williamson County. The firm approaches each case with a thorough understanding of clients’ objectives, and a focus on building creative and strategic solutions. Bone McAllester Norton functions under a commitment to accessibility, responsiveness, cost-effectiveness and professionalism.
About Spencer Fane
Spencer Fane is a full-service business law firm focused on providing results that move clients and their businesses forward. With direct access to firm leadership and a different approach to client engagement, its attorneys instill confidence and certainty that the clients’ interests are the firm’s priority. The firm has offices in Phoenix, Arizona; Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado; Tampa, Florida; Overland Park, Kansas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Las Vegas, Nevada; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dakota Dunes, South Dakota; and Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Plano, Texas. For more information, visit spencerfane.com or follow @spencerfane on Twitter.
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With a rise in COVID-19 cases and new variants emerging, attorneys and litigators are wondering about the long-term impact on the legal industry.
Join Bone McAllester Norton partner Stephen Zralek as he moderates the “Will We Ever Go Back to Normal? A Collaborative Conversation About the Impact of COVID on the Practice of Law and Litigation” webinar hosted by the International Association of Defense Counsel on Aug. 25 at 12 p.m. CDT.
The webinar will feature a bevy of industry experts as presenters, as well as breakout sessions that will provide all attendees with a chance to ask questions and contribute.
Janelle L. Davis of Holland & Knight LLP, Dallas, Texas, will join Stephen as a moderator. Facilitators include Kirstin Abel, Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, Portland, Ore.; Neville H. Boschert, Jones Walker LLP, Jackson, Miss.; Tonya G. Newman, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, Chicago, Ill.; Jennifer So, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Torrance, Caliv.; and Sandra J. Wunderlich, Tucker Ellis LLP, Saint Louis, Mo.
Congratulations to our founder and chairman, Charles W. Bone, for receiving the Social Justice Pioneer award at the 2021 Nashville ATHENA Awards.
Charles has been an advocate for social justice issues for nearly five decades. Since founding Bone McAllester Norton in 2002, he and other Bone McAllester Norton leaders have worked to develop the firm as one of the most diverse in the state.
In one of the most high-profile pro bono cases in recent history, Charles led Cyntoia Brown Long’s legal team in an effort to overturn her 2006 conviction and 51-year sentence in prison. Following years of state and federal court hearings, before the Board of Parole, and a petition for clemency granted by Gov. Bill Haslam on Jan. 7, 2019, Cyntoia was released from prison on Aug. 7, 2019.
ATHENA chair Tameka Winston presented the award to Charles, noting that, “Every single day over the last 45 years, Charles has stood on the front lines of the war for social justice. He has an uncanny way to know and understand when someone needs assistance whether that person has reached out to him or not. His encouraging words, most famous a resounding ‘Great! Great! Great!’, have uplifted more individuals than anyone really knows.”
The attorneys and staff members at Bone McAllester Norton are proud to stand alongside Charles as advocates for social justice within our community.
Watch Charles’ acceptance speech here. https://vimeo.com/571842378/496bcc6418
Bone McAllester Norton is pleased to welcome our newest attorney, Brandon R. Meredith, to our Sumner County office. He brings with him 13 years of experience in civil litigation. A 2007 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, Brandon is a skilled attorney with a focus on the areas of real estate, landlord and tenant law, estate planning and administration, estate litigation, construction, boundary lines, and other land use matters. Brandon will provide our clients with exemplary service and fresh ideas.
Brandon also has deep ties to the community, having served as president of the Sumner County Bar Association from 2014–2015.
Bone McAllester Norton founding member and attorney Stacey Garrett Koju was named the museum’s board chair at the dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), which fell on the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth.
In introducing Stacey in her new role, NMAAM President and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III described Stacey as “a consistent force on our board for years” and noted that her “steady presence and important voice, her leadership, and guidance have been vital in our museum’s success.”
Stacey will take over the role from Kevin Lavender, executive vice president and head of Commercial Banking for Fifth Third Bancorp. Upon her acceptance of the role, Stacey declared her hope that the museum will “continuously be a voice when it comes to preserving and celebrating the many genres created, influenced and inspired by African Americans.”
Bone McAllester Norton attorney Knight Lancaster is hosting a webinar for the Tennessee Society of CPAs on June 22 called “Succession and Exit Planning for Closely Held Businesses.” He will be joined by Nashville CPA CJ Blankenship, demonstrating the common overlap between law and accounting and the importance of collaboration between the two fields in order to best serve clients.
Knight Lancaster’s prior experience as a practicing CPA and credit analyst for a financial institution positions him well to understand and communicate with clients, their CPA firm and financial advisers. His unique skill set allows him to excel in evaluating circumstances, planning for a desired outcome and executing the plan while remaining cognizant of the overall objectives.
CJ Blankenship is the President of the Nashville Chapter of the TSCPA and managing partner at Blankenship CPA Group, PLLC, and consults with clients and the BCPAG team on the most challenging tax, accounting, management and financial matters. He has over 20 years of management experience in a variety of industries and service sectors and had worked at two top 10 national firms prior to joining the firm in 2007.
The Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants is the state professional association for certified public accountants who are principally employed or reside in Tennessee. The society’s membership is comprised of more than 10,000 members in industry, government, business, education and public accounting. With more than 100 years of service to the accounting profession, TSCPA acts on behalf of its members and provides support, enabling its members to perform quality professional services while serving the public interest.
Learn more about the event here: http://bit.ly/tscpa-webinar
We are proud to share that five of our attorneys have been named to Nashville Business Journal’s 2021 Best of the Bar. Congratulations to James Crumlin (Labor & Employment), Paz Haynes (Litigation & Dispute), Stacey Garrett Koju (Corporate & Securities), Andrea Perry (Real Estate) and Stephen Zralek (Litigation & Dispute) on receiving this honor. Best of the Bar is an annual recognition of Nashville’s top attorneys, as voted on by their peers within the industry. Bone McAllester Norton is proud to be consistently recognized for providing our city with exemplary legal counsel, and we look forward to continuing this work. Learn more about our attorneys here:
Founded in 1985, the Young Leaders Council works to train individuals to effectively participate on the boards of nonprofit organizations and make a difference in the community by replenishing the volunteer leadership base.
As a dual CPA and attorney, Knight uses his unique skillset to help clients with mergers, acquisitions and dispositions. He is also a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available for all adults, employers should know what rights they have when it comes to developing a vaccine distribution policy for employees. Bone law attorney Mandy Strickland Floyd shared with The Tennessean tips for broaching the subject while keeping employees safe.
Join Bone Law attorney Loren Mulraine on Thursday, April 22, 2021, for the Tennessee Bar Association’s upcoming panel, “Intellectual Property Law Forum 2021: Taking IP Law Back to the Future.”
The forum will cover the effects of the recent pandemic-driven technological evolution. Panelists will examine developments in the law of patentable subject matter, local patent rules and venue, ethical obligations in a virtual world, the IP of NFTs, the Trademark Modernization Act, and copyright protection for useful articles.
Loren will present on Day 2 of this multiday, live virtual event to discuss how copyright protection applies at the intersection of creative works and utilitarian items. He will be joined by fellow Nashville-based attorneys Adelee Traylor of Butler Snow, LLP, A.J. Bahou of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, and Brandee Boyd of Butler Snow, Memphis.
Attendees are encouraged to ask questions. For those who are unable to attend the program live, recordings of the sessions will be available to purchase in the TBA course catalog.
Learn more about the event here: https://cle.tba.org/catalog/course/5415
With Chapter 11 filings on the rise amid an ongoing pandemic, Tennessee businesses and creditors face a murky future.
In a newly published Tennessee Banker article, Sam McAllester introduces the “principles of preparedness” for these creditors to consider to protect themselves against potential bankruptcies. McAllester’s seven tips include correcting document issues immediately, ways to strengthen position, monitoring troubled accounts, methods to improve borrower interactions and more. You can read more about the “principles of preparedness” in The Tennessee Banker: https://www.tnbankers.org/news/sm_files/21MarchAprilWEB.pdf.
Sam brings four decades of experience in banking and financial services, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, and more.
Bone McAllester Norton attorney James Crumlin was recently elected vice chair of American Baptist College’s board of trustees.
American Baptist College is a local Historically Black College or University (HBCU) that has produced several prominent civil rights leaders, like Dr. Bernard Lafayette, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, Rep. John Lewis, James Bevel and many more.
James, who has served on the university’s board since 2015, practices labor and employment law, business and corporate law, and entertainment and media law, with a focus on litigation and dispute resolution. James’ dedication as an attorney is rivaled only by his passion for the Nashville community. In addition to his role at American Baptist College, James has served on the boards for a number of community organizations, including Growth Enterprises Nashville, Inc., Nashville Cares, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee and many others.
Learn more about James here: https://bonelaw.com/attorneys/james-a-crumlin-jr.
Congratulations to Bone McAllester Norton attorney I’Ashea L. Myles for being named one of the Nashville Business Journal's Women of Influence 2021 and a trailblazer in her industry! For 15 years, this award has honored women in the community for their leadership, philanthropy and ability to encourage and inspire.
Nominations are submitted by the public and decided on by an independent panel of judges made up of past Women of Influence winners. The list includes women who hold leadership roles at various top companies or own their own businesses and make a difference in Music City.
I'Ashea focuses her practice on construction law, real estate law, employment law and commercial business law, with an emphasis on dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, jury and bench trials in both federal and state court. She was the recipient of the 2018 Murfreesboro Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40 award and has been a fellow of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Forum on Construction Law since 2018.
Learn more about I’Ashea here: https://www.bonelaw.com/attorneys/iashea-l-myles.
Loren Mulraine, Bone McAllester Norton counsel and faculty professor and advisor for the Entertainment Law Journal at Belmont, recently partnered with the U.S. Copyright Office to put on a symposium on “Songwriting and the Law: What Attorneys, Songwriters and Publishers Need to Know about the Music Modernization Act.”
The virtual event consisted of three panels covering a variety of topics under the scope of copyrighting and the music industry. Loren discussed how recent changes to copyright law, the MMA and the MLC’s creation will affect different aspects of the legal profession. The event ended with a keynote speech given by Regan Smith, the U.S. Copyright Office General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, who provided an update from the Copyright Office, next steps for the MMA and potential policy issues that could affect the industry in the years to come.
Read Loren’s bio here: https://www.bonelaw.com/attorneys/loren-e-mulraine
Bone McAllester Norton attorney I’Ashea L. Myles has been chosen to participate in the 2021 Nashville Emerging Leaders (NEL). This is an annual, 11-week leadership training program for talented young professionals who aim to shape and advance Nashville’s future. I’Ashea was selected as one of approximately 30 participants across the entire city.
I’Ashea is an expert in dispute resolution, particularly in the areas of construction, real estate, employment, and commercial business law. Clients trust her with every step of the resolution process, including mediation, arbitration, and jury and bench trials in both federal and state courts. She also has extensive experience in liquor licensing and development of commercial and residential property.
I’Ashea is passionate about equal justice for all and improving the community, particularly through volunteer legal clinics. She serves on the board of directors for the Napier Looby Bar Association, Elevated Development and recently served on the Board of Directors for the Lawyers’ Association for Women. She is a Diversity Fellow with the Construction Law Forum of the American Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, National Association of Women in Construction and many more.
Read more on the NEL program website, https://bit.ly/2LNMjX6.
Bone McAllester Norton attorney Mandy Strickland Floyd has been selected as a winner of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2021 40 Under 40 Awards. This annual award recognizes local professionals under the age of 40 for their impact on the Nashville community and business sectors.
Mandy, who returned to our firm following two years with the ACLU of Tennessee, is a passionate civil litigator in the fields of labor and employment law, constitutional and civil rights, education law, and more. Mandy has also previously clerked for the Honorable Richard H. Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, where she first honed her exemplary appellate expertise. It is her extensive and varied experience that makes Mandy such a dynamic representative to shape the future of Nashville’s legal industry.
Mandy also serves her community through a variety of roles for professional organizations. She is a dedicated member of the Nashville Bar Foundation Leadership Forum, Tennessee Bar Association, Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and more. One of her passions is the Lawyers’ Association for Women, where she has served as the treasurer, co-chair of the diversity committee, and newsletter editor. Mandy is also a certified chocolatier and owned a small artisan chocolate shop prior to her legal career.
The Tennessean recently published a guest column by Bone McAllester Norton partner Stephen Zralek. In it, Stephen shares how the pandemic has helped him encourage his kids to not just make a great day, but to “make a great day for someone else.” He also shares how the pandemic has given him time to reflect on his calling as a lawyer. “I see it as a sacred trust.” He explains that while he can’t guarantee the outcome of a particular lawsuit, he can guarantee that “I hear them and I’m fighting for them.” He shares: “I want to be their partner for a long time, not just this one case.” Read the full story on The Tennessean’s website: here.
Stephen Zralek has practiced law for over 20 years. He is a commercial litigator who focuses on intellectual property, business and entertainment disputes. Clients seek Stephen’s advice as a result of his experience in the courtroom, his creative problem solving, his tenacity and his engaging approach. His personal philosophy is “Do great work, and take care of people.”
Bone McAllester Norton is proud to announce that seven of its attorneys have been recognized by Super Lawyers for their outstanding work and law practice in Tennessee. Charles Robert Bone, John P. Branham, Sharon O. Jacobs, Sam J. McAllester III, Edward M. Yarbrough and Stephen J. Zralek were named in the Mid-South Super Lawyer category. I’Ashea L. Myles was also recognized as a Mid-South Rising Star.
“We are proud to be included by Super Lawyers this year on both of these lists,” said President and CEO Charles Robert Bone. “My colleagues and I are committed to serving our clients and the Greater Nashville community. It is a great honor to see our attorneys’ hard work recognized by such a prestigious organization.”
Each year, Super Lawyers creates a list of top lawyers in Tennessee through a selective process. Clients turn to this list every year to ensure they are working with some of the best lawyers the state has to offer. These Bone McAllester Norton lawyers work with a wide range of clients in over 20 different practice areas across Tennessee and the United States.
Charles Robert Bone, the firm’s President and CEO, is known for providing his clients with good judgment, strategic counsel and practical advice.
John P. Branham is a civil trial lawyer whose practice areas include business litigation and personal injury litigation.
Sharon O. Jacobs is an experienced environmental lawyer and litigator who represents companies and local governments in administrative, regulatory, environmental, zoning, land use and municipal law. She has been listed in Super Lawyers since 2008.
Sam J. McAllester III is a founder and vice chairman of the firm and has represented banks, financial institutions and other lenders for over 40 years as a leader in the firm’s bankruptcy practice. He has been listed in Super Lawyers since 2008.
Edward M. Yarbrough, former U.S. attorney for Middle Tennessee, has provided high level legal representation and counsel to clients in the Middle Tennessee area for over 45 years. His experience includes government investigations, dispute resolution, and civil and criminal litigation. He has also been listed in Super Lawyers since 2008.
Stephen J. Zralek is a commercial litigator who focuses on intellectual property, business and entertainment disputes. He has spent over two decades helping clients resolve complex legal disputes.
I’Ashea L. Myles regularly handles matters related to the construction and development of both commercial and residential property. She is committed to building a better future for her community through advocacy and the promotion of equal justice.
Bone McAllester Norton congratulates its client, Landmark Homes of Tennessee, on a recent victory. Attorneys Stephen Zralek and Shea Hasenauer represented Landmark in a two-day jury trial, which occurred in person during the pandemic – a rarity these days. Our attorneys persuaded the jury to deliver a unanimous verdict for Landmark on its five claims, including breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, professional negligence, negligence and unjust enrichment. Bonelaw paralegal Jennifer Trapp rounded out the team, helping bring home the win.
Stephen has dedicated his career to helping clients resolve and avoid complex disputes involving class actions, copyrights, trademarks, patents, rights of publicity, trade secrets, non-compete violations, defamation and domain disputes, as well as disputes in the business and entertainment arenas.
Shea focuses his legal practice on business litigation. He has experience in multiple practice areas, including trade secrets, products liability, class actions, and appellate practice. His interest in business transactions provides him with critical knowledge on matters related to business litigation for his clients.