Real estate law, community work keep Purdom busy

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

March 7, 2013

Clay Purdom, director and shareholder with Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston PC, says he comes from a “numbers family.”

His father and sister are both physicists, and his grandfather was one of the first certified public accountants when the formal licensing process first began.

“He lived in Louisville and I think his CPA number was 9 and mine is about 17,000 and something,” Purdom said.

Purdom was born in Owensboro, Ky., and attended the University of Mississippi for a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation. He attained his CPA license and came to Memphis to work for accounting firm KPMG LLP.

Purdom went back to Ole Miss for his law degree but then returned to Memphis, his adopted hometown.

“I like the feel of it,” he said. “It’s kind of a big small town and it felt very welcoming, the people did.”

Purdom, who had clerked at Martin Tate during summers after his second year of law school, was offered a full-time position in May 2005. He practices mainly in the areas of commercial real estate and lending, with some tax planning and property tax appeal work as well … (read more)


To the limit of my capacities

Cover story for the Rhodes Magazine

Winter 2013

In the 1920s, the college published a code for athletes. Heading the list:

As an athlete I am determined to play the game to the limit of my capacities, giving each detail the greatest care and attention.”It holds true today, as then, at play and in the classroom.

At the far north end of the Rhodes College campus stands a citadel of sweat, an acropolis of aches and a fortress of fortitude. The Bryan Campus Life Center (BCLC) is where the athletic administration offices can be found, past fitness rooms and down long hallways adorned with trophies and plaques and photos of athletes who won them for the college.

The tradition doesn’t stop with photos, though; it is also in the air, mixed within the mortar and stone and on polished woodwork. The William Neely Mallory Gymnasium, built in 1954 and dedicated to the 42 alumni who perished in World War II, is where the men’s and women’s basketball teams tip off, and the volleyball team rallies, atop the Lynx paw at mid-court. If nearby Paul Barret Jr. Library is the brain of the campus, then the BCLC is its muscle, flexed daily and stretched with dedication and passion by the student-athletes within. In its shadow, a bright light in its own right, is Crain Field, which was refurbished with state-of-the-art synthetic FieldTurf, a gift of Brenda and Lester Crain Jr. ’51 in honor of his father, J. Lester Crain Sr. ’29, at the start of the 2012 football season … (read more)


Waddell’s ideals centered on consistency, honesty

Profile in Emphasis on Financial Services for The Memphis Daily News

March 2, 2013

At a recent appearance in Nashville before an audience of 100 clients, friends and employees at the Country Music Hall of Fame, David Waddell of Waddell & Associates Inc. gave his company’s annual state of the union address.

He did the same Thursday, Feb. 28, in Memphis for a crowd of 300 at the FedEx Institute of Technology.

By his own admission, the financial planning firm of Waddell & Associates is “stronger than it’s ever been, and we’ve always been strong.”

The company, begun by his father in 1986 and taken over by Waddell in 2002, builds its business around three components: customized financial planning, providing investment management services on a discretionary basis and a process of dynamic communication to keep clients informed and involved.

And throughout it all, Waddell promotes a consistency in clients’ relationships and in the way assets are managed. To that end, the personal assets of Waddell, his employees and the business – a total of $30 million – are managed right alongside and in the same investment models as the $700 million total assets the firm manages.

Waddell attributes much of the company’s success, as he trumpeted in Nashville, to his team, saying “we have CPAs, CFPs and lawyers on staff, so we bring a lot of artillery to the table to do personal financial planning work.”

He makes a point to mention recent additions to personnel, including new chief operating officer Dawn Rapoport and the Nashville office managing director Corey Napier … (read more)


Memories of baby now reside in phone rather than photo album

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

Feb. 28, 2013

Memories of baby held in phone, not in an album

The wall over the desk in my office at home is hung with snapshots of family and friends, inspiration for when I need a little push to write this column or anything else I might be working on.

The pictures have been culled from years of going through the photo albums of grandparents and parents. Many have been taken from place to place with moves over the years, tucked into books, shoeboxes and desk drawers.

Actual photo albums on my shelves, however, are few and far between. There are gaps in the years to be filled in by imagination. During a recent visit with my grandparents, my kids and I flipped through plastic-coated pages brittle with age, and took a trip into the distant past. Each leather-bound book was a time capsule filled with faded images from a camera, a contraption from the past that Jules Verne might as well have imagined.

These days most of us don’t carry cumbersome cameras that require a flashbulb, batteries and a roll of film. We have a phone. And that phone is, more than likely, equipped with an application that will make the snapshot you just took of your kid on a swing at the park look like it was taken in 1978. Or, if you prefer, 1928.

When I look at my own baby pictures, the washed-out tones and white, tell-tale borders help place the time firmly in the 1970s. The Instagram app does that for us now. Other than the electronic tablets in their hands, a picture of my kids last Christmas morning might just as easily have been taken four decades ago. It is a way for us to force nostalgia upon something witnessed only moments before.

Within our phones is where these photos will reside; a collection of ones and zeroes zipping through circuits and saved somewhere in a cloud. Something as precious as a baby book is quickly becoming an anachronism.

What seasoned parents know is that, with each child, the chances of putting together such a memento becomes slimmer and slimmer. When my oldest was born, I wasn’t snapping pictures with a telephone and texting them to family three states away. Had anyone suggested such a thing in 1998, I would have looked as confused as I was anyway standing there in the labor and delivery room at Baptist Hospital. Instead, I held up my 35mm Pentax and documented Calvin’s arrival into what now seems a low-fi, analog world. Those precious memories were entrusted to Walgreen’s and a day or two later I retrieved an envelope of glossy photos to tape into his book.

My 6-year-old, by contrast, pressured us for her book only last year. We were woefully short on actual, hard-copy photographs. What I did have was a phone full of her face. And some dinners I’d prepared. And quite a few of a recent show at the Hi-Tone, some plumbing that needed to be repaired and a particularly picturesque sunset.

What do we picture for the future? A set of hard drives arranged on the bookshelf by year? A lone smart phone hung on the wall above my desk? Document childhood well because it is fleeting and the memories captured will evaporate over time; gone, it seems, in an instagram.

Permanent link to The Commercial Appeal


Riley takes reins of women attorneys group

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

Feb. 28, 2013

Fran Riley was named president of the Association for Women Attorneys at the organization’s 33rd annual banquet and silent auction last month.

Riley is a law clerk to the five judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

“It (bankruptcy law) incorporates many other types of law in that there are often property disputes and security disputes,” she said. “Although it is a specific type of law, it is a wide-ranging law. … Working for the court, you get to see all facets as opposed to seeing only your client’s side of an issue.”

The AWA, 200 members strong and including both men and women, was founded in 1979 and its members are, according to the organization’s website, “dedicated to supporting each other as attorneys, educating themselves and others in the law, and being of service to the community with particular reference to the legal needs of women.”

Riley became involved with AWA as a student at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law when she met attorney Francis Loring.

“She was someone you could learn a lot from and she encouraged me to become involved in AWA when I was a law student, and I can say I have very much personally benefited from AWA,” Riley said.

The organization offers a Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award for outstanding achievement in the legal profession, won this year by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paulette J. Delk … (read more)


Ryder up to challenge as counsel for RNC

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

Feb. 21, 2013

John Ryder of Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC was recently appointed general counsel of the Republican National Committee.

The appointment is subject to membership approval at the committee’s spring meeting in April.

As general counsel, a volunteer position, Ryder will advise the chairman, Ryan Reince Priebus, and supervise the full-time legal staff, which includes a chief counsel, deputy counsel and an assistant. The committee’s redistricting department also reports through the office of chief counsel and has its own lawyers on staff.

Following the past presidential election, the chairman of the RNC started the Growth and Opportunity Project. Ryder explained it as “a very systematic review of various aspects of the party’s efforts and image and messaging.”

As part of the project, there are eight task forces reviewing different elements, including two that Ryder will be a part of: presidential primaries and campaign finance laws.

Involved with Republican politics for nearly four decades, Ryder is more than qualified for the position of general counsel.

“I’ve done redistricting work since the late ’70s and then I’ve been involved in various election law matters and lectured on election law issues both for the bar association and for the Republican National Lawyers Association since the late ’80s, so I’ve got a history of involvement,” Ryder said.

He began his work with the national committee in 1996 and served two four-year terms, was off for four years, then served again beginning in 2008; he was the director of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference held in Memphis in 2006 … (read more)


Can a dad take a personal day off?

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

Feb. 14, 2013

Can a dad take a personal day off?

Despite the ease with which this column must seem to be written, each verb and subordinate clause just rolling off the tongue, there are those weeks that I don’t feel like writing it at all. I just want to ignore it the way my kids ignore their mess, their homework and my good advice.

These are weeks when little of note is going on in my house or with my kids, so I’ll call each of them into my office one by one and ask a series of questions, have them tell me a story, or amuse me with a joke like I’m a talent agent on the vaudeville circuit. They aren’t much for auditions these days, though, so there are weeks when I think, like many a vaudeville agent must have, of firing these four kids and hiring four more; four kids with pizazz and some stage presence, kids who will heed my advice and clean their rooms.

But maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s me. We all get a little burned out, don’t we? On our jobs, our routine, the television shows we watch and food we eat. Even the Pope knows when to say “enough is enough.”

Sometimes we can even get burned out on being a parent. It’s OK, you can say it. We all need a break sometimes, though it’s never quite that easy. You can’t just tell your baby you’re taking a personal day and leave a stack of diapers where they can be reached, a dish of baby food on the kitchen floor. Hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign around your neck is often met with even more questions you aren’t in the mood to answer.

I know people without children who consider their pets to be kids. They’ll even sympathize, shaking their heads and saying, “Oh, I know what you mean, I have a Labradoodle and a Whippet.” But I can’t leave my kids in the backyard with a bowl of water and a rawhide to chew so that I can have a quiet meal out and see a movie. They find their way back inside the house every time.

Enough times of this and I’m pretty sure the neighbors would call child protective services to come take them away. I wonder if they’d take them just for the night and have them back around lunchtime the next day?

I’m not looking for a permanent vacation. This isn’t a resignation letter to be taped to the television for my kids to see and, most likely, ignore. I still need this job; it makes me whole, completes me, all of that sappy stuff that makes up a good parenting column.

All jobs should have personal days built into the time off schedules; a day here and there to wander off alone and read a book, see a movie, shop or visit the zoo. Being a parent is work — hard, demanding and unpaid work — and some days I just don’t feel like doing it.

So I’m calling in sick, giving myself a time out, and I’ll ask that someone come by this afternoon to toss a tennis ball to my kids in the backyard and refill their water dish.

Permanent link to The Commercial Appeal



Grida uses special skills for community work

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

Feb. 14, 2013

Nicole Grida, associate with Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC, learned the value of extracurricular activities while in high school in Hellertown, Pa.

Working hard at soccer, National Honor Society and student government association helped the oldest of four siblings win a full scholarship to Temple University, where she studied English and political science.

Grida knew all along that her interests and goals lay with the legal profession.

“My favorite show when I was a kid, strangely enough, was ‘Matlock,’” she said. “I just always knew I wanted to be an attorney, probably since the sixth grade.”

She attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for her law degree and was recruited from there to work with the Memphis firm.

Grida had talked to other recent law school graduates who were spending their days behind a desk or solely doing research, but she had a different plan.

“I wanted to be somewhere where I was doing something,” she said. “I wanted to end up at a firm that I knew would allow me to get out and be in court fairly quickly.”

Having never been to Memphis, Grida moved here in the fall of 2006 and from the first day she was working on workers’ compensation cases, nursing home and medical negligence defense, car wrecks and general liabilities … (read more)


Lawrence’s background a fit for work at EDGE

Feature profile for The Memphis Daily News

Feb. 11, 2013

Emphasis: Economic Development

It might be said that John Lawrence has a background made to order for looking at the big picture – one of real estate, urban planning, marketing and organization management. Through the course of various career moves, he’s developed the tools necessary for the use in his position as manager of strategic economic development planning for Memphis and Shelby County’s Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE).

But he comes from a family of entrepreneurs as well, his parents were the first TCBY franchisees outside of Arkansas, and his mother and friends began their own decorative dish manufacturing business. Lawrence grew up seeing economic forces work in real time.

EDGE was created when Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell began looking at how economic development was being handled in the community, and decided there needed to be a coordinated effort among several entities operating on their own – the Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board, the Port Commission, Foreign Trade Zone and Defense Depot Redevelopment Agency. These were combined under the umbrella of EDGE to be a unified economic development agency for Memphis and Shelby County.

When the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization conducting independent research and providing innovative recommendations, approached the city and county to work on a metropolitan business planning project as part of a national effort, EDGE was the logical place to coordinate such a thing and Lawrence was brought on to manage the process.

“We really are in the early stages of this, so for the last month or two the mayors have been forming their steering committee to oversee this project,” Lawrence said … (read more)