New Government Lawyers Section Formed

by Anne Fritz, MBA Executive Director

In addition to the new IP/Entertainment Law Section, the MBA Board of Directors recently approved the formation of the Government Lawyers Section. As its name implies, it is designed to meet the needs of government attorneys – civil/criminal, federal, state and local – although any MBA member may join.

Lisa Kelly, MBA Board member and an Assistant County Attorney, suggested the idea of a section devoted to government lawyers at the MBA Board retreat in January. “Government lawyers have different challenges than private attorneys,” said Kelly. “The section will provide a place for them to discuss issues and network.”

The section also will seek to educate the greater Bar about what government lawyers do and how to practice before government agencies. Janet Shipman, an Assistant County Attorney with the Health Department, has agreed to chair the section. Assistant City Attorney Chandell Ryan and Assistant County Attorney Christy Kinard will serve as Vice Chair and Secretary/Treasurer, respectively. The group is seeking board members from federal, state and local agencies.

The section’s first “official” meeting will be held on June 9, 4:00 p.m., in the County Attorney’s Conference Room. All those interested in the section are invited to attend. And there’s a special deal for government lawyers who are not currently MBA members -- $40 membership dues will cover their MBA and Government Lawyers Section membership for the rest of the year!

For more information about the Government Lawyers Section, contact Janet Shipman ( ), Chandell Ryan ( ) or Christy Kinard ( ).

To join the new section, contact MBA Membership Coordinator Charlotte Gean at or log in to and select the section under "View/Edit Profile."

Introducing the Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law Section

by William S. Parks, Counsel to Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, Memphis, Tennessee

Every product you buy, every publication you read, every broadcast song you hear, in essence, the commercial world, relies upon intellectual property and related contractual protections. Without them, businesses have little impetus to innovate and bring new goods, products, or services to the market. Patents provide exclusive rights to inventions, copyrights to artists’ expressions, and trademarks (and related items) to business’ source identifications. Economic growth depends largely on the ability of businesses and artists to protect their creative interests and energies and, as a result, the importance of these legal areas consistently grows over time as well.

The Memphis area boasts a bevy of highly talented and accomplished practitioners in the entertainment and intellectual property law fields and multiple businesses and artists constantly needing counsel in these highly complex areas. As a result, it seems timely for the Memphis Bar Association to institute a specific Section dedicated to these overlapping areas of the law.

A very strong and dedicated initial slate of officers and directors is ready to promote not just the new IP/Entertainment Law Section throughout the Memphis Bar, but also to provide the Memphis business community and the Mid-South region with a legal education resource, a dedicated pro-bono group, and experts in these subject areas. With a considerable overlap in legal issues it seems pertinent to bridge together the intellectual property and entertainment law communities for this new Section, particularly in its infancy, thus allowing for varied continuing legal instruction spanning issues important to a broad spectrum of the Mid-South population, from, for example, the entrenched Memphis recording and film industry to the area’s numerous established (not to mention start-up) high-tech companies. As well, with a concentrated Section within the Memphis Bar, the opportunity to promote the extensive expertise of such highly skilled attorneys throughout the Mid-South will hopefully provide local businesses and artists with a better understanding of such specific legal resources available in our wonderful city.

I look forward to working with the Memphis Bar Association to generate membership in our new Section over the next year. It is certainly exciting to bring this Section to fruition and, more importantly, to provide the Memphis legal community a concentrated resource to help secure business growth and notoriety not just within Tennessee, nor our country; hopefully, the imprint our local businesses and artists can make, with their hard work secured from a legal perspective, will continue to be felt world wide.

William S. "Bill" Parks, chair of the new IP/Entertainment Law Section, is a graduate of Rhodes College and The John Marshall Law School (IL) and has 20 years of experience in the intellectual property field, including 3 years as a Patent Examiner and 10 years as an in-house attorney. He can be reached at or (901) 537-1085 if you have any questions regarding the new IP/Entertainment Law Section. To join the new section, contact MBA Membership Coordinator Charlotte Gean at or log in to and select the section under "View/Edit Profile."