Penny White honored by ABA

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders

The American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) has honored Penny White with its Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award.

The award was presented at the ABA midyear meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 3, 2024.

The award recognizes law professors who have shown commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship and the legal profession, demonstrated by outstanding contributions to the fields of tort, trial practice or insurance law.

Upon her retirement in 2022, White was the Elvin E. Overton Distinguished Professor Law and served as the director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

White taught courses in evidence, trial practice, pretrial litigation and negotiation. She assisted with the law school’s clinical and externship programs.

TIPS chair Loren Podwill said White was “an incredible professor who helped shape the next generation of lawyers.”

White began her career in a small firm and was a solo practitioner focusing on criminal defense, civil rights and family law. As a solo practitioner, she successfully argued in the U.S. Supreme Court.

She left private practice to become a judge, serving as the first female circuit judge in Tennessee’s 1st Judicial District. She was the second woman to serve on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court.

White received her bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University, her LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, and her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Tennessee Law Review.


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