The Beatles and the Nashville Bar Foundation Present:
The NBF Leadership Forum

By Robb Bigelow



March 24, 2014 - Last year, the Nashville Bar Foundation (NBF) and the Young Lawyers Division worked together to strengthen their relationship. During one of many meetings, Bob Mendes informed me that NBF Fellows John Tarpley and Gail Ashworth were contemplating putting together a leadership program designed for young lawyers practicing in Nashville and asked if I wanted to help with the planning. I enthusiastically agreed. Months later, I was honored to be asked to write an article giving some details about the program, called the Nashville Bar Foundation Leadership Forum, and, importantly, to ask for your help.

I recognized that lawyers might just gloss over the article unless the title was a little different from the norm. A number of titles came to mind. Fortunately, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the (NBF Leadership) Forum” and “The Forum: It’s Not Just for L.A. Laker Fans” ultimately missed the cut. So, you are likely asking: What’s the deal with the Beatles theme? Read on and, when you’re done reading, join the band!

Come Together
The NBF Leadership Forum will provide approximately 25 members of the Nashville Bar Association who have practiced between 3-8 years with innovative opportunities to learn, collaborate, network, and serve the community. It will present a valuable opportunity for these attorneys to “come together” with other attorneys (including mentors) to develop their leadership skills and empower them to make even greater contributions in the Nashville community and legal profession. In addition, it will encourage diversity in the practice of law and help build relationships among attorneys with diverse backgrounds and practices.

Participants will be selected to ensure diversity in terms of practice area, type of practice, size of firm, law school attended, race, and gender. The overall cost of the forum will be $500, and need-based scholarships will be available for both members of the Nashville Bar Association and non-members of the NBA who will then become members.

A Little Help from My Friends
The Leadership Forum is expected to begin with an opening, day-long program coinciding with the annual NBA member picnic in September. During this opening session, each participant will be introduced to his/her mentor. Following the opening session there will be five or six monthly workshops. These workshops, which will take place during the day, will be led with a “little help from our friends”—legal, business, political and community leaders in Nashville. The Leadership Forum class will “lend their ears” to the informative and often inspirational songs that will be sung by many of Nashville’s long-established leaders, and have the opportunity to interact with these leaders, further developing their own leadership skills. Ultimately, the Forum will conclude in April or May by “graduating” the class at the annual NBA Law Day event.

In order to make this wonderful opportunity happen, we need your help. Yes, we need somebody. Not just anybody.

The NBF is currently looking for help in two ways. First, we are looking for volunteers to serve as mentors. Second, we are seeking attorneys who are willing to assist with programming needs. If you are interested in joining the band, please contact our very own John (not McCartney or Lennon) Tarpley at or Gail Ashworth (the Ringo to our John) at

On behalf of Bob, John, Gail and so many others who have already given much of their time to put together this great new opportunity, we invite you to join the band! 




NBFRobb Bigelow, a member at Dickinson Wright PLLC, is currently running for General Sessions Judge in Division V.  A Vanderbilt Law School graduate and 2013 recipient of the Nashville Bar Association’s President’s Award, he was recently inducted as a Nashville Bar Foundation Fellow.


NBF Trustees:

Robert J. Mendes, President
John Tarpley, President-Elect

James L. Weatherly Jr., Treasurer

Gail Vaughn Ashworth
Hon. Joe P. Binkley, Jr.
Jonathan Cole
Trey Harwell
Barbara D. Holmes
Patricia Head Moskal

Mary A. Parker
William T. Ramsey
Thomas J. Sherrard, III
William H. Tate
Mark H. Westlake
Sheree C. Wright