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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, October 6, 2017

Marcy Eason named 2017 Lioness of the Bar




Miller & Martin attorney Marcy Eason accepts the Southeast Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women’s Lioness of the Bar award. - Photograph by David Laprad

Attorney Marcy Eason joins an elite group of jurists in becoming a Lioness of the Bar.

The Chattanooga chapter of the Southeast Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women bestowed the honor on Eason during its annual Lioness of the Bar event, an occasion during which the organization venerates an exemplary local female attorney or judge.

The bar for receiving the award is high, said local SETLAW President Sara McManus during her opening remarks.

“The honoree is someone with tremendous legal skills. She’s also someone with a history of community involvement and someone who’s been a great mentor to young attorneys. She’s someone who has not only been a great lawyer but who’s made other lawyers great as well,” McManus said.

SETLAW’s 2017 Lioness of the Bar event took place at Miller & Martin, which sponsored and hosted the occasion, on Sept. 28.

Remarks by Eason’s peers confirmed why she was an easy choice for the select award.

Sheri Fox, executive director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee, said via a video prepared before the event that she’s thankful for Eason’s commitment to access to justice. Eason is a member of LAET’s Hall of Fame due to the extent and effectiveness of her pro bono work for the organization. She’s also chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission.

“Marcy gets it. She understands the challenges we face, which means everything to the people at Legal Aid, who are on the front lines of the battle for access to justice,” Fox said. “Congratulations, Marcy; you’ve earned this honor.”

Attorney Chuck Lee, with whom Eason has practiced law at Miller & Martin for over 30 years, offered a glimpse at the honoree’s famed mix of gentleness and exceptional legal prowess.

“Marcy has an uncanny ability to kill the other side’s case or witnesses with kindness. When you walk into a deposition, she’s the nicest person there. Everyone likes her, including the other side’s witness,” said Lee, stirring laughter among the group of two dozen guests.

“He could be the CEO of the defendant or plaintiff company, and he’s made a number of allegations, but he and Marcy have built a rapport, so when it comes time to testify, it’s like she does a Jedi mind trick that makes the witness say, ‘We don’t think you’ve breached this contract. We have no idea why we filed this lawsuit.’

“And even though Marcy has disemboweled his case, as he’s leaving the deposition room, he’s saying, ‘She was really nice.’ Marcy has an incredible ability to allow her kindness to work magic in cases.”

Lee also spoke well of Eason’s organizational skills, which he doesn’t take lightly.

“Marcy is the most organized trial lawyer I know,” he said “A few years ago, we were asked to submit a request for proposal to a client for whom we hadn’t done any work for a long time. I vaguely remembered that we had received a letter from the client’s in-house attorney complimenting the great job we did.

“I thought if we could attach that letter to our proposal, his successor could read about how well we did and we’d get the work. So, I went to Marcy’s office and asked her if she remembered the letter, and she said, ‘Yes, it’s there on that shelf.’ That’s how she is with everything.”

Finally, Lee complimented Eason’s open-door policy for attorneys who need her help.

“No one at Miller & Martin is more helpful to the young lawyers and others at our firm than Marcy,” he said. “When you walk down the hall at the office, if I’m busy, my door will be closed. Others will be closed, too. I’ve never seen Marcy’s door closed. It’s always open to allow people to come in and ask her questions – and she always helps.

“I don’t know why she has a door. We should take it and use it elsewhere.”

In closing, Lee said he’s been fortunate to have practiced alongside Eason for 33 years and feels the award is well deserved.

Tonya Cammon, an attorney with Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, spoke of her admiration for Eason’s family, which includes her husband, David, owner of Industrial Wood, as well as a number of “beautiful children and grandchildren.”

Cammon also noted Eason’s belief that attorneys are duty-bound to help others. “When you are successful in an area, she believes you have an obligation to bring other people along,” she said. “Marcy, you are one in a million. Congratulations. We love you dearly.”

Attorney Lauren Sherrell of O’Shaughnessy & Carter then presented the Lioness of the Bar award – a weighty amber and red colored glass flame – to Eason.

“This is a great honor. It becomes even more meaningful as I look at the women who preceded me. Know that each of you is special and has taught me something,” Eason said. “Watch out because now I’m part of the den. Let’s do wonderful things together.”

Eason was in good company as she took the award. Previous recipients included the late Selma Cash Paty, Baker Donelson attorney Virginia Love and Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams. Love and Williams were present to see Eason join them.

Eason concentrates her practice in the area of civil litigation and has handled trials and appellate work in both federal and state courts. Her areas of representation include product liability, financial institutions, insurance coverage (insurance and bond) and more.