Firm History

Foster D. Arnett left a well-established Knoxville firm to open his own office in the Hamilton Bank building on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. He was joined by, in his words, “the sainted Gertrude Large,” his legal secretary.
Jack B. Draper joined Mr. Arnett, and together they focused their practice on civil litigation, including hospital/medical malpractice defense, products liability, construction law, and insurance defense.
Lewis R. Hagood arrived as the third founding partner, bringing with him labor and employment law expertise—and the highest grade point average that had ever been achieved at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Jean Thomas, legal secretary extraordinaire and de facto office manager, joined the firm.
William A. Simms came to the firm and developed a practice focusing on products liability, aviation, transportation/trucking litigation, and insurance defense.
Mrs. Large passed away.
The firm added F. Michael Fitzpatrick, who practices nursing home and medical malpractice defense, as well as general insurance defense.
Rick L. Powers came on board, having practiced in a Chattanooga firm. His practice now concentrates on medical malpractice defense, hospital law, products liability, and trucking accident and personal injury litigation.
The firm relocated down Gay Street to the 23rd floor of the new United American Plaza, now First Horizon Plaza—convenient to all local, state, and federal courts. Dan D. Rhea, Steven L. Hurdle, and Thomas M. Cole came to the firm—Dan and Steve after judicial clerkships and Tom from another firm. Dan practices in health care law, labor and employment, and wills and estates; Steve in products liability and toxic tort defense, transportation/trucking/marine litigation, insurance defense, and premises liability; and Tom in commercial litigation, mental health law, insurance defense, and general litigation.
R. Kim Burnette joined the firm following a judicial clerkship and concentrates on products liability, workers’ compensation, and mediation.
Jack Draper retired. He remains a valued part of the firm as of counsel.
Broderick L. Young moved from another local firm and practices in health care, business, and employment litigation. Jay Mader joined the firm and concentrates on business litigation, labor and employment.

Mr. Arnett, firm founder and senior partner, passed away.
Robert B. Frost came from another local firm and now practices in business, labor and employment, and local government law.
Stacie D. Miller relocated from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, practicing family law, estate planning, and conservatorships.
Rachel Park Hurt joined the firm after a judicial clerkship. She focuses on health care liability and regulation, premises and products liability, and insurance defense.
Paul E. Wehmeier came to the firm and practices labor and employment and litigation. Cindy Winters, office administrator, came on board.
Jean Thomas, still a treasured member of the firm family, retired.
The firm renovated its offices to maximize views of downtown Knoxville, the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee River, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Devin P. Lyon joined the firm, bringing expertise in local government law. His practice concentrates on civil litigation and medical malpractice defense.
Lewis Hagood passed away.
Mike Fitzpatrick and Dan Rhea assumed of counsel status.
Bridget J. Pyman joined the firm and practices multiple areas of law.
William A. Simms retired after practicing law for 50-years.