Burch, Porter & Johnson is pleased to announce that Larry Laurenzi has joined the firm as a Senior Attorney.

As a former United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, Laurenzi assists companies and individuals who are under investigation by government entities or who have been sued or charged by prosecutors or regulators. He brings extensive litigation experience in criminal, civil, and regulatory matters in federal and state courts.

Since leaving his post as First Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2018, Laurenzi has focused his practice on individuals in white collar criminal investigations and indicted cases in federal court. In civil matters, he represents parties in commercial disputes, regulatory matters and qui tam actions.

“We are delighted to be able to bring someone with Larry’s skills, credibility, and vast experience to the firm,” said Nathan Bicks, managing partner. “We look forward to a long and productive relationship.”

Laurenzi was U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee from 2008 to 2010, and was First Assistant U.S. Attorney for 16 years and Chief of the Criminal Divisions for 10 years.

During his decades-long career in federal court, he served as lead counsel on numerous complex grand jury investigations and trials, including cases that involved health care fraud, bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, tax offenses, securities fraud, controlled substance offenses by medical professionals, and civil false claims. Laurenzi received the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award, one of the highest national awards the DOJ bestows.

Laurenzi is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and has also been selected a Best Lawyer in commercial litigation. He is an active member of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys, and taught Trial Advocacy for five years at the University of Memphis Law School. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis and the University of Memphis Law School.

Above, L to R: Tannera G. Gibson, Patrick J. Hillard, Charles S. Higgins

Tannera George Gibson, a member at BPJ, has been elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Memphis Bar Association. With her election, Tannera will become President in 2022, the first black woman to hold the job.

“Tannera continues a long tradition of BPJ lawyers playing leadership roles in the Bar Association,” said Nathan Bicks, managing partner of the firm. “I know she will bring the same level of excellence and hard work to this endeavor that she displays working as an advocate for our clients. We are extremely proud of her.”

Gibson is a native Memphian with extensive employment law experience. She has been named in Best Lawyers for her work in employment law on the management side, and was recently named Best of the Bar by the Memphis Business Journal. Gibson has extensive trial experience as well as experience conducting investigations and presiding over administrative matters, and maintains a solid pro bono practice. She received both her undergraduate degree (in computer science) and law degree from the University of Memphis.

“Over the years, Tannera and I have worked on and tried a number of complicated cases,” said BPJ Member Les Jones. “She is one of the best lawyers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, and she’ll do a phenomenal job as a leader of the Memphis Bar Association.”

  • In other local bar association news, BPJ Associate Patrick Hilliard was elected to the board of the Young Lawyers Division. Hilliard joined the firm in 2018 (and was admitted to the Tennessee bar that same year), and his practice focuses on commercial and business litigation. In 2019, he was admitted to the bar in Mississippi.
  • Charles (Chas) Higgins, a BPJ member, was elected to the 2020 Leadership Law class of the Tennessee Bar Association. Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge, and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. Higgins’s practice focuses on commercial and business litigation, personal injury and medical malpractice, and on white collar and criminal investigations.

When Charlie Newman was awarded the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer’s Lawyer Award from the Memphis Bar Association late last year, no one at the firm was particularly surprised, though we were happy and proud, of course. Newman has been a pillar of the firm for decades, and the prestigious award – which recognizes excellence in legal practice as well as civility and honor — is well-deserved.

A profile of Newman in the Daily Memphian is a great window into why he is so important to both the firm and the City of Memphis:  Charlie Newman’s Quiet Influence Profoundly Changed Memphis. Charlie’s dedication to conservation causes — especially his leadership in Volpe (1971), the case that prevented Interstate 40 from cutting through Overton Park, among many others – is a hallmark of his long and varied career.

As his partners can attest, Newman has helped lay the groundwork for the diverse and high-achieving firm we are today, with his example of intellectual curiosity, legal excellence, and dogged determination to get the best outcomes for his clients.

His clients certainly agree: “What a remarkable person,” said Teresa Sloyan, our partner at the Hyde Family Foundations, with whom Newman worked on Shelby Farms Park. “(Charlie is) someone with a strong legal acumen, but gosh, what a servant leader. He has a real commitment to leaving his city better than he found it.”

Jennifer Shorb Hagerman, a member at BPJ, has been appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court as one of only 12 members of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility for 2020. The Board presides over issues of ethics and professional responsibility for attorneys across the state, publishing ethics opinions, responding to inquiries by Tennessee attorneys, and conducting investigations and recommending disciplinary action.

“This appointment is a tremendous honor and responsibility,” said BPJ Managing Partner Nathan Bicks, “and reflects well on the respect that Jennifer has gained for her service to our profession.” Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby, a former member of BPJ, serves as the Supreme Court Liaison to the Board.

Hagerman’s robust labor and employment practice at BPJ, where she focuses on conducting internal investigations and employment litigation and counseling, positions her well for her work with the Board. She is widely respected in the Memphis legal community, and was named a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers last year, an honor that required nominations from outside BPJ.

Douglas F. Halijan, a member at BPJ, has been appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to serve a second three-year term on the Advisory Commission for the Tennessee Rules of Practice and Procedure, effective January 1, 2020.  He presently serves as co-chair of the Commission’s subcommittee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, and will continue to serve in that capacity.

The Rules Commission advises the Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts on the rules of practice and procedure. The issues before the Commission frequently involve proposed revisions and additions to the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, as well as other rules affecting the administration of justice in all Tennessee courts.

Halijan’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and intellectual property matters, with a particular emphasis on trade secret, trademark, copyright, information technology, and franchise-related issues.