Alumni Updates

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Help the School of Law share your stories. To keep us informed about your life or to discover ways you can connect, contact the School of Law Office of Development and External Relations or send an update via our Alumni Update form.

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University of Arkansas School of Law alumni are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two territories and 20 countries. The school’s friends broaden its reach further. Here, you can find information on what individuals, corporations and foundations are doing to support the School of Law and its strategic objectives.

December 2017

Catherine Baker (J.D. ’16, LL.M. candidate) is in-house counsel for Grainster, an early-stage Arkansas startup company that is creating an international grain trading platform. In October, the leadership of Grainster learned the company is one of three U.S. finalists in the 2017 Talent Unleashed Awards, a global competition for startups. Judges for the international competition include Steve Wozniak of Apple and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group. Grainster is a finalist in the “Best Idea – One to Watch” category. Competition winners will be announced on Dec. 7.

Amy Cornell (LL.M. ’07) has been hired to consult with Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Purdue University as the schools collaborate to create a certificate program in agricultural law. Cornell, who holds degrees from both schools in addition to the University of Arkansas School of Law, is assembling a steering committee to build the program.

Charity Elmer (J.D. ’98) was honored for her work as senior vice president and general counsel for CoxHealth in Springfield, Missouri, at the first annual In-House Counsel Awards sponsored by Missouri Lawyers Media. Twenty-two lawyers were recognized for their excellence as in-house counsel at a ceremony held Nov. 3 in St. Louis. Elmer, recognized in the Healthcare Organization category, was profiled in Missouri Lawyer Weekly.

Morriss Henry, M.D. (J.D. ’71) and Ann Henry (J.D. ’71) are the recipients of the 2017 Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Wes Gordon Golden Deeds Award. The award was established more than a decade ago to honor citizens who have contributed significantly to the quality of life in Fayetteville. The Henrys are dedicated servants of their community, state and country. Both have held public office, donated and raised funds for area organizations and have served on multiple boards and commissions. Read more about the Henrys service on the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Blog.

Kent Herring (J.D. ’97) recently retired from the United States Army after serving more than 24 years of active duty. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in in Air Defense Artillery through the Southern Arkansas University ROTC program prior to attending law school. After completing his law degree, Herring clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Jim Hendren before joining the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He served throughout the world including Germany, Japan and an Iraq tour with the 101st Airborne Division. During his final assignment, he served for three years as staff judge advocate for U.S. Army Japan at Camp Zama, near Tokyo. In September, Herring accepted a civilian attorney position as chief of client services at Camp Zama. Herring, center, is pictured with his wife, Kana Herring, and Major General Jim Pasquarette.

Nancy W. Phillips (J.D. ’93) was promoted to managing attorney for the Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee Staff Counsel Complex for Allstate Insurance Company, Encompass and Esurance in September. Phillips joined Allstate in 1995 as a trial attorney in the Nashville Staff Counsel Office. She became senior trial attorney in 2003 and a counsel in 2004. She is licensed in Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee and is certified as both a civil trial and pretrial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. She is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Phillips and her husband, Bruce Phillips (J.D. ’93), live in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Amy Tu (J.D. ’96) has been named executive vice president and general counsel for Springdale-based Tyson Foods. She will begin her new role on Dec. 11, according to a press release issued by the company on Nov. 30. Tu will leave her position as chief counsel for global law affairs at The Boeing Company to succeed David L. Van Bebber (J.D. ’81), who joined Tyson in 1986.

Troy Wall (J.D. ’10) and Katie Wall welcomed Matthew Troy into their family in September. Matt weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces at birth and was 22 inches long. “Despite his mom being a University of Texas School of Law graduate, Matt exclusively cheers for the Hogs as you can see by the attached picture,” Wall wrote in a recent e-mail.

In Memoriam

Lawrence E. Dawson Jr. (LL.B. ’48) died Nov. 11 in Pine Bluff. Dawson was a long-time chancery and probate judge for Jefferson, Arkansas, Lincoln and Cleveland counties in Arkansas, serving from 1958-92. He was a former member of the Arkansas State House of Representatives, representing Jefferson County, and over the course of his career was in private practice, a municipal judge, a United States Commissioner and a state chancery judge at large. In 2007, he wrote 50 Years as a Judge and Counting, an autobiography and treatise on the law. Dawson is survived by his wife of 58 years, Margaret Ann Dial Dawson and daughters Dana Dawson McLellan and Robin Banks Dawson. Read the obituary from Ralph Robinson and Son Funeral Directors.

G. Thomas Eisele, longtime federal judge, University of Arkansas trustee emeritus and friend of the University of Arkansas School of Law, died Nov. 26. The Harvard Law School graduate and Hot Springs native mentored at least 50 law clerks during his 41 years on the bench. He was known for his intellect, fairness, kindness and decorum. In 1977, he was named outstanding trial court judge by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, only seven years after his appointment to the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, by President Richard Nixon. In 1980, The American Lawyer named Eisele as best district judge in the 8th Circuit. He served as chief judge of the Eastern District of Arkansas from 1975-91.

Eisele was preceded in death by his wife, Kathryn Freygang Eisele. He is survived by four children; Wendell Alan “Sandy” Eisele, Garnett Martin Eisele II, Kathryn Martin Eisele and Jean Elizabeth King. Read the obituary from Rubel Funeral Home or the tribute appearing in the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record.

James Henry “Bebo” Penick III (J.D. ’81) died Nov. 10 in Little Rock. Penick began his legal career with the Rose Law Firm, specializing in commercial litigation. He served as vice president, general counsel and chief financial officer for a commercial real estate developer from 1985-89 and then joined the firm that became Eichenbaum Liles PA. Penick specialized in commercial and business litigation and was known for his passionate representation of clients. Penick was a partner at Eichenbaum Lisles until his death. He is survived by his mother, Barbara Acker Penick Darragh; wife, Vivian Allen Penick; three daughters, Kathryn Penick, Claire Penick, Elizabeth Penick; and three stepchildren, Niki Weegens, Ashley Mangan and Allen Thomas Mangan. He was predeceased by his grandfather, James Henry Penick (LL.B. ’57) (1897-1975). Read the obituary from Little Rock Funeral Home.

November 2017

Jeff Broadwater’s (J.D. ’79) article “George Mason, James Madison and the Evolution of the Bill of Rights” appears in vol. 15, no. 2 (Summer 2017) of the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy. Broadwater, who also holds a Doctor of Philosophy in American history from Vanderbilt University, is a professor of history in the School of Humanities at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina.

Angela Dodd (J.D. ’16) and Jacob McElroy (J.D. ’17) have joined Little Rock-based Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard. Dodd and McElroy will work in the firm’s Rogers office. Dodd, who is licensed in Arkansas and Missouri, is an associate in the litigation practice group where she focuses on commercial litigation, employment law and tort litigation. McElroy is also an associate in the litigation practice group. Prior to attending law school, he worked in the juvenile justice systems of Arkansas and Georgia.

J. Dalton Person (J.D. ’16) joined Jones, Jackson & Moll PLC in Fort Smith in September where he specializes in civil and commercial litigation, business organization and commercial transactions. He most recently clerked for Chief U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes, III, Western District of Arkansas. Person is a 2013 graduate of the University of Chicago, where he played football for four years and graduated with honors.

Maurice Rigsby (J.D. ’03) has been named vice chancellor for institutional relations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The announcement was made through a press release dated Sept. 5. Prior to joining UAMS, Rigsby was the senior assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and deputy director and regulatory counsel for the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission.

Jillian Hishaw (J.D. ’05, LL.M. ’07) has been named a Food Industry Changemaker by California-based Clif Bar & Company in recognition of her work as founder and director of Family Agriculture Resource Management Services, or FARMS. The South Carolina-based organization’s mission is to “protect the family farmer through education and retail market expansion while relieving hunger in the farmer’s community.” Its service area includes seven states in the southeastern United States.

Natasha Bowman (J.D. ’08) published You Can’t Do That At Work: 100 Legal Mistakes That Managers Make In The Workplace in May. Bowman lives in New York City and is president of Performance ReNew, a talent management and leadership development consulting firm that helps organizations with human resource matters.

Lauren Eldridge (J.D. ’14), Preston Eldridge (J.D. ’14) and big brother Thomas welcomed John Murphy into their family in September. John Murphy weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces at birth and was 19 inches long. The Eldridges wrote, “We are blessed and in awe of our latest addition and growing family, but not even a Gallini or Killenbeck [Mark] class could prepare us for the challenge of having two boys under the age of two!”

Brent A. Johnson (J.D. ’15) and wife, Lizzie, welcomed daughter Juniper Lee in October. Juniper weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 inches long at birth. She is the granddaughter of David Matthews (J.D. ’76) and Mary Beth Matthews (J.D. ’78), Sidney Parker Davis Jr. Professor of Business and Commercial Law. “Lizzie and I are beyond excited about our Little Pumpkin,” Johnson said of his new daughter.

In Memoriam

Edwin B. Alderson Jr. (LL.B. ’66) died Oct. 5 in El Dorado. Alderson’s diverse career spanned more than 50 years. He was known as a consummate lawyer, judge, entrepreneur, community leader and musician. Alderson, along with law partner William C. Nolan, founded El Dorado-based Noalmark Broadcasting Corp. in 1970, a company that grew to own 20 radio stations in three states. In 1972, Alderson was elected as Union County Municipal Judge, a position he held for 20 years and in 1991, he was appointed as special chief justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. He served two terms on the Arkansas State Board of Law Examiners and served as chairman of the Arkansas Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee from 1992 until his death.

Alderson’s love of music led him to be a driving force behind El Dorado’s Murphy Arts District, an effort to revitalize the town through the creation of a venue for festivals and theatrical performances. Alderson is survived by his wife, Diane Gunn Nolan Alderson; son, Ed Alderson; daughter, Mary Tracy Alderson; step children Diny Nolan Laden, Trey Nolan and Jeff Nolan; and 12 grandchildren. Read the obituary from Young’s Funeral Directors.

James Wesley “Wes” Cherry Jr. (J.D.’83) died Oct. 14. Cherry began his legal career in Fort Smith before returning to his hometown of Little Rock to work with John Haley Sr. (LL.B. ’55) and then the Eichenbaum Law Firm. Cherry completed his career working 25 years for Dillard’s Inc., first as assistant general counsel and then as vice president of real estate. He retired in 2012. Cherry is survived by his wife of 37 years, Kim Knight Cherry, and sons David W. Cherry (J.D. ’09) and Daniel P. Cherry. Read the obituary from Roller Funeral Homes.


Frances Jean Wood Fleming (LL.B. ’47) died June 22. After graduating from law school (the only woman in her class), and after a short stint at a title company, Fleming found her calling teaching American history at North Little Rock from 1957-72, and then providing vocational guidance at North Little Rock Vocational Technology Institute. Fleming was predeceased by her husband of more than 50 years, William George Fleming (LL.B. ’49). She is survived by sons Matthew W. Fleming (J.D. ’78) and Fred Fleming; daughter, Anne Lee; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Matt Fleming said of his mother, “She was something of a quiet pioneer for women’s equality. She always was a strong independent lady.” Read the obituary from Smith Sherwood Funeral Home.

October 2017

The Pulaski County Bar Association recently honored Col. William A. Martin (J.D. ’55), United States Air Force (Retired), with the renaming of its annual golf tournament the William A. Martin Scholarship Golf Tournament. Funds raised from the event, now in its 14th consecutive year, will benefit a scholarship bearing Martin’s name. Martin was an active duty lawyer for 28 years prior to retiring to a second career, in 1983, as executive director of the Arkansas Bar Foundation, a position he held for 13 years. Under his leadership, the Foundation’s scholarship endowment grew to more than $1 million. This year’s tournament will take place Nov. 3 at War Memorial Golf Course in Little Rock.

John Thomas Shepherd (J.D. ’13) was appointed 13th Judicial District prosecuting attorney by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (J.D. ’75) on Sept. 12. Shepherd will complete the term of David Butler (J.D. ’81) who died in August. Shepherd is a partner at Shepherd & Shepherd PA in El Dorado, where he practices law with his brother, the Hon. Matthew J. Shepherd (J.D. ’01), state representative for Arkansas’ 6th district.

Duane “Dak” Kees (J.D. ’00) has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become the next United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. The White House announced the nomination on Sept. 22. Kees is the director of global ethics governance, anti-corruption at WalMart and has been with the company since 2014. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2001 and was a member of the JAG Corps where rose to the rank of captain. He is currently a major in the Arkansas National Guard.

Steve Clark (J.D. ’71), president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, has been named to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 , commonly known as the CCC100. The group is composed of experienced executives, who represent the perspectives and needs of their members to the U.S. Chamber and advise the board of directors, enhance lobbying efforts, recommend programming and strengthen the organization’s outreach.

Amy Cornell (LL.M. ’07) has been promoted to vice president at Indianapolis-based Bose Public Affairs Group where she is a member of the firm’s government relations team. The company announced the promotion on Sept. 20. While at Bose, Cornell has represented critical players in Indiana’s farming industry, including Indiana Pork, and she has worked with the Indiana Economic Development Association, assisting Indiana’s rural communities with land use planning, policy and infrastructure. She also teaches agricultural law at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law and at Purdue University. Prior to joining Bose, Cornell was a policy advisor for Indiana Farm Bureau.

Kaleigh Davis (J.D. ’12) has been promoted to associate counsel at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis where she advises the hospital on legal issues related to patient care, regulatory compliance, hospital policy and employment law.

Congratulations to Meredith Lowry (J.D. ’05) and Austin Grinder (J.D. ’15). The two were selected as members of the 2017-18 Leadership Arkansas Class. The program, administered by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas, is dedicated to challenging, informing, inspiring and engaging current and future business and civic leaders to enhance the economies and communities within the state. Lowry is of counsel at Wright Lindsey Jennings in Rogers. Grinder is an associate attorney at Mullenix & Associates LLC in Little Rock.

Patrick Lewis (J.D. ’97) has joined Mostyn Prettyman PLLC in Bentonville where he specializes in family law and criminal defense.

Molly Magee Shepherd (J.D. ’13) was named to the 2017 Arkansas Business “20 in Their 20s” list on Sept. 25. The list identifies talented young leaders in the Arkansas business community and the nonprofit sector who are making a difference within their organizations. Shepherd is an attorney at PPGMR in El Dorado. In December, she will become the youngest member of the board of trustees of Ouachita Baptist University.

Andrew Thomas (J.D. ’06), co-founder and managing partner of Dallas-based Thomas Price PLLC, is expanding the firm with an office in Houston.

Tiffany Godwin (J.D. ’15) and Daniel Godwin are “overjoyed to announce the arrival” of baby girl Katherine Pearl, who was born in July. She weighed 8 pounds and was 20.25 inches long at birth. Goodwin is an associate at Capshaw Green PLLC in Texarkana.

Katie Roberts Eaves (J.D. ’13) and John Eaves welcomed daughter, Elle, in September. She weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces at birth and was 21 inches long. “John and I are over the moon with the arrival of our first child,” Eaves said in a recent email. Eaves is an associate at Friday Eldredge and Clark LLP in Rogers where she specializes in trust and estate planning.

Jessica Jill Alley (J.D. ’07) and Adle Nayef Haddad were married Sept. 16 in Little Rock. Alley is an attorney at Dallas-based Austin Industries. Read the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article (subscription may be required: photograph courtesy of Lyndsey Sullivan).

Robin Elizabeth Wright (J.D. ’13) and Richard Simon Cleary Jr. were married Sept. 2 in Little Rock. Wright is the daughter of the Honorable Susan Webber Wright Carter (J.D. ’75) and the late Robert R. Wright III (J.D. ’56). She is a lawyer at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., where she specializes in commercial litigation, privacy and cybersecurity. Cleary, also a lawyer, works at Williams & Connolly LLP. Read The New York Times article about the marriage. Photograph courtesy of Weddings by Christopher & Nancy.

In Memoriam

Darrell W. Johnson (LL.B. ’65) died Sept. 14 in Fort Smith. Johnson practiced law in Fort Smith and Van Buren for more than 50 years and served as state senator from 1969-73. He was a U.S. Navy veteran. Johnson is survived by his wife of 44 years, Gray Loughridge Johnson; daughter, Kelly Bartholomy, and husband, Matt, of Palo Alto, California; son, Kevin Johnson, of Baltimore, Maryland.; step daughter, Sarah Johnson, of Cocoa Beach, Florida.; and stepson, John D. Wright, of Fort Smith. Read the obituary from the Southwest Times Record.