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VOL. 43 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 3, 2019

Bass, Berry & Sims adds pro bono program

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Bass, Berry & Sims has launched a comprehensive pro bono program that will provide opportunities and incentives for the firm’s attorneys to give back to the community.

One of the key components of the program includes the BBS Fellowship, which will allow up to two attorneys across the firm’s four offices to spend up to six months serving full-time in a pro bono capacity within the community. The first BBS Fellowship placement began April 22 with attorney Angie Bergman starting a six-month fellowship at the Choosing Justice Initiative to advocate for bail reform in Nashville’s criminal courts.

CJI was launched in late 2018 by Dawn Deaner, who spent more than 20 years working in Nashville’s Public Defender office, including being elected the public defender for Metro. Through CJI, Deaner aims to end wealth-based disparities in Nashville’s criminal legal system.

Bergman will work with Deaner to advocate for fair bail setting practices within the Nashville criminal courts as required by the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions. Bergman will coordinate with other agencies and nonprofits, including the Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender’s Office and the Nashville Community Bail Fund, to explore just alternatives to Nashville’s existing bail system.


In addition to the fellowship component of the new Pro Bono Program, Bass, Berry & Sims has created a pro bono member position, allowing a partner of the firm to dedicate half of his/her work to pro bono activities and administration of the firm’s program. Attorney David Esquivel, a longtime advocate of pro bono and access-to-justice initiatives, will serve in this capacity.

Esquivel is a founding member of the firm’s pro bono committee and has served as its chair since 2013. He previously served as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee and as a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. In 2005, Esquivel was named the TBA’s “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” following his work representing victims of human rights abuses that occurred in El Salvador during the early 1980s.

The firm’s new Pro Bono Program also allows for increased hours or credit for all attorneys to dedicate to pro bono activities. For non-member attorneys, the firm will increase billable hour credit from 50 to 100 hours annually. For members, the firm will provide pro bono credit to those individuals that devote significant time to pro bono work. These hours will be counted toward the annual billable hour requirement and allow attorneys to devote more time to serve in pro bono capacities.

Adams and Reese score Webby Awards trophy

Adams and Reese has been named an official Honoree in the law websites category in the 23rd Annual Webby Awards.

Hailed as the “internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the internet. IADAS nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners.

The new Adams and Reese website, launched in 2018, combines dynamic content with compelling interaction design to create an engaging digital brand experience that highlights the firm’s expanding footprint and ongoing commitment to hospitable client service. The firm worked with digital agency One North Interactive and strategic marketing company Content Pilot in the development of the website.

The firm also received accolades for its website last fall, when the firm was named a Silver Award winner in the 2018 W3 Awards, which honors creative excellence on the web, with the following factors included among award criteria: creativity, usability, navigation, functionality, visual design and ease of use.

Habitat for Humanity wins Energy Star again

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville has been named an Energy Star 2018 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award winner for the 11th consecutive year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The 2018 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards are bestowed upon companies and other organizations demonstrating continued leadership in energy efficiency and commitment to the Energy Star program.

Winners hail from small, family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 organizations – representing energy-efficient products, services, new homes and buildings in the commercial, industrial and public sectors.

WTVF investigation claims Headliner Award

WTVF Channel 5 has won a National Headliner Award for a 2018 investigative series.

“NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water” received first place for environmental reporting in the broadcast or cable television stations category, announced by the annual National Headliner Awards last week.

The National Headliner Awards recognize journalistic merit in the communications industry.

The investigation revealed that officials in Metro Nashville Public Schools were keeping test results showing toxic lead in schools’ drinking water from parents, principals and the public.

The investigative team behind “Toxic School Water” includes Phil Williams, WTVF chief investigative reporter, Bryan Staples, photojournalist and Michelle Bonnett, assistant news director.

As a result of WTVF’s reporting, state lawmakers passed a law that will require every school district in the state to test for lead in its drinking water.

“An incisive piece of investigative journalism, reporter Phil Williams’ story on toxic levels of lead in Nashville’s Metro school district reminds us of the power of journalism to check unscrupulous officials and to ultimately save lives,” said the National Headliner Award judges.

Waller Lansden expands SimplyAgree plan

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, a Nashville-based legal services firm, is expanding its use of the SimplyAgree platform to support transactions across the firm’s many practice groups, including the health care, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and emerging companies teams.

SimplyAgree is a provider of signing and closing technology for transactional attorneys.

“Over the past several months, we’ve used SimplyAgree in connection with more than 300 transactions and have seen many benefits for the firm and our clients,” says David Clay, co-practice group leader for the corporate team.

SimplyAgree’s signature and closing management platform enables legal professionals to automate the administrative tasks of closing transactions, including signature packets and closing binders.

The web-based software helps attorneys close transactions more efficiently while improving risk management and attorney oversight at closing. SimplyAgree also allows its customers to utilize an electronic signing solution for complex legal transactions.

Application deadline for Leadership Franklin

Leadership Franklin is seeking applicants for its 24th class. Completed applications are due on or before May 3. The application, as well as 2019-2020 dates and additional information, are at

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to Paula Harris, executive director, 615 252-4312 ( or Debbie Henry, associate director, at 615 628-0264 (

Leadership Franklin is dedicated to educating, informing and empowering leaders to improve the quality of life in Franklin and Williamson County. Participants meet once per month for eight months for a series of classes aimed at presenting and analyzing a particularly important segment of the community. Classes focus on the areas of history, government, business, law enforcement, media, education and quality of life.

Participants are chosen each year based on commitment to the community, previous participation in community, civic or professional organizations, and demonstrated leadership in current or previous positions.

HFF backs Four Seasons Nashville with $360M

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, LP, has announced the arrangement of $360 million in debt and equity financing for the development of the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Nashville.

The luxury mixed-use hotel and for-sale residential project in downtown will be branded and operated by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

HFF worked on behalf of the developers, The Congress Group, Inc. and AECOM Capital. Construction will begin in second quarter 2019.

The mixed-use development, 151 First Avenue South, will include 232 five-star hotel rooms, luxury for-sale residential units, approximately 10,000 square feet of retail space and a 368-space parking garage.

The project will overlook the Cumberland River as well as the adjacent Ascend Amphitheatre and is just across the John Seigenthaler pedestrian bridge from Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans.

The HFF debt and equity placement team representing the developers consisted of senior managing directors Riaz Cassum and Danny Kaufman, senior associate Robyn King and associates Andrew Gray and Mary Dooley.

“This transaction garnered strong interest from both lenders and equity investors due to the strength of the sponsorship and their vision for a world-class, luxury development on the best site in Nashville,” Cassum says. “The arrival of Four Seasons to Nashville speaks volumes to the attractiveness of the city as a destination for both leisure and business as well as one of the most desirable places to live in the country.”

MONQ teams with Urban Outfitters

MONQ, LLC, a Goodlettsville-based aromatherapy company, is now selling its diffusers at Urban Outfitters.

Beginning with the launch of Urban Outfitters’ Summer 2019 line, the retailer will feature MONQ’s blends on its online shopping platform. Consumers will be able to purchase Relieve, Ocean, Sleepy, Zen, Happy, and Vibrant MONQ original personal aromatherapy diffusers at

“This is a very exciting time for MONQ,” says CEO and Founder Eric Fishman, M.D. “MONQ offers personal aromatherapy products as a means of helping consumers achieve a natural wellness lifestyle. To team up with a retailer like Urban Outfitters – one that strives to offer ‘products, creativity and cultural understanding’ – reinforces our mission to help consumers achieve their very best life.”

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