Nashville, Tenn., (February 29, 2024) – Bass, Berry & Sims has appointed five attorneys across its offices in Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. to serve in the following firm leadership roles:

  • Michael R. Hess (Memphis) and Shelley R. Thomas (Nashville) have been elected to the firm’s Executive Committee effective January 1, succeeding Richard F. Mattern and Lillian M. Blackshear, who completed their terms at the end of 2023.
  • Russell E. Stair (Knoxville) will be the new Knoxville Office Managing Partner effective March 1. Stair succeeds Mark Mamantov, who served in this role for more than three decades.
  • Jeffrey I. Davis (Washington, D.C.) now co-chairs the Pride Affinity Group effective January 1 alongside fellow co-chair David W. Smith. Davis succeeds Lauren M. Gaffney, who previously served in the role.
  • Russell A. Miller (Nashville) will be the new Public Finance Practice chair effective March 1. Miller succeeds Mark Mamantov, who served in this role previously.

“We are fortunate and grateful to have such respected leaders as Mike, Shelley, Russell, Jeff, and Russ within our firm, and we greatly appreciate their service and vision as they assume these crucial roles and responsibilities,” said Todd J. Rolapp, managing partner of Bass, Berry & Sims. “This group is a true representation of our firm’s diversity of talent and passions across our practice areas and geographical reach and showcases the exceptional leadership pipeline we have available.”

Executive Committee – Mike Hess and Shelly Thomas

Hess and Thomas become the newest members of the firm’s seven-member Executive Committee, which includes attorneys from the firm’s Memphis, Nashville and Washington, D.C. locations. Members of the Executive Committee are charged with overseeing strategic priorities of the firm, including client service; diversity, equity, and inclusion; growth; and pro bono initiatives.

“Mike and Shelley bring exceptional leadership, vision and dedication to our firm’s and clients’ success to the Executive Committee,” Rolapp said. “They are well-recognized for their service to their clients and communities, and their vision and stewardship will be an invaluable asset to our leadership team.”

Hess leads the firm’s Specialty Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals Practice. Utilizing his extensive experience as former chief counsel & VP of strategic development of Accredo Health Group and assistant general counsel of Medco Health Solutions, he now serves as the outside general counsel for many of the nation’s largest independent specialty, infusion, mail order and mental health pharmacies, and pharmacy benefit management and pharma service companies. Hess’ strategic business advice and regulatory guidance help manufacturers and pharmacies safely and efficiently deliver high-cost specialty drugs to patients. He serves on the Executive Board and is the executive vice president of the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America and previously served as board chairman of the Regional One Health Foundation, on the board of trustees for the Memphis Leadership Academy, on the advisory board for the National Infusion Center Association, on the board of directors for Make-a-Wish of the Mid-South, and on the advisory board for the Institute for Health Law & Policy (iHeLP) at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Thomas counsels clients in the development, commercialization, transfer, and protection of intellectual property assets. She represents private and public companies in various industries, helping them structure and negotiate technology and commercial agreements to promote their business objectives and protect their assets. Thomas’ practice focuses on health information (HIT) contracts, mergers & acquisitions, privacy & data security, technology agreements, and media & content syndication. She recently completed the 2023 Fellow program with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Thomas serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. She previously served as vice chair of the American Health Law Association’s (AHLA) Health Information and Technology Practice Group.

Knoxville Office Managing Partner – Russell Stair

Russell Stair headshot

Stair has been appointed to serve as the managing partner of the firm’s office in Knoxville, Tennessee. Stair succeeds Mamantov, who previously served in the role since the Knoxville office officially opened in 1991.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen for this position in an office filled with such talented and knowledgeable attorneys and respected leaders from our industry and community,” Stair said. “Mark Mamantov is such a pillar of our community and industry, and I am grateful for the successful path he has created for our office and firm as I step into this role and look forward to continuing to elevate our services for our clients in Knoxville and around the country.”

Stair’s practice focuses on public finance, economic development incentives, affordable housing projects, governmental revenue debt, and nonprofit healthcare financing. He has experience serving as counsel for local governments, industrial development boards, public housing authorities, and other developers. Prior to coming to Bass, Berry & Sims, Stair worked with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and practiced as a CPA for Ernst & Young. He was a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Class of 2011 and he is active with the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the AHLA.

Pride Affinity Group Co-Chair – Jeff Davis

Davis has assumed the co-chair role of the firm’s Pride Affinity Group. The Pride Affinity Group at Bass, Berry & Sims promotes diversity, equity and inclusion by raising awareness and visibility of the firm’s commitment to all forms of diversity, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Members can benefit from support, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The group provides a voice regarding the firm’s policies and practices related to LGBT attorneys and staff.

“The Pride Affinity Group has played a pivotal role in establishing an inclusive culture at the firm, and I am grateful for and proud of the opportunity to contribute to this important initiative in my new role,” Davis said. “Thanks to this group’s efforts, we have been able to foster a sense of belonging among our members by providing a platform to network, connect, and voice opinions. We continue to take steps to expand our reach by inviting allies and friends to join our group, which enables us to create more opportunities for everyone in the firm to build meaningful relationships and work toward a common goal of promoting an inclusive firm environment.”

In his legal practice, Davis advises healthcare organizations on various Medicare and Medicaid billing and reimbursement issues, including the federal 340B drug pricing program. He also offers strategic insights to clients on public policy matters under consideration by Congress and various federal agencies. Davis spent over seven years as vice president and legislative and policy counsel for 340B Health, an association of more than 1,400 hospitals and health systems participating in the 340B program.

Public Finance Practice Chair – Russ Miller

Miller will assume the leadership role of a public finance and economic development team that has completed over 400 transactions worth a total of $10.5 billion in the last three years alone. The firm’s public finance attorneys represent local governments, nonprofits, and financial institutions, and have served as bond counsel, underwriters, and disclosure counsel in a wide range of public financing matters, including government finance, economic incentives, 501c3 financings, affordable housing, public finance investment banking, commercial banking, and post-issuance tax & securities law compliance.

“I am thrilled to continue the legacy that Mark Mamantov has instilled with the stellar team of public finance attorneys we have at Bass, Berry & Sims,” said Miller. “Our firm’s extensive and unparalleled experience in public financing matters in Tennessee and beyond, combined with our commitment to providing value and sophisticated counsel, makes me excited to further my legal practice as the group’s next chair. I look forward to continuing the work of this talented group of attorneys and contributing to the firm’s continued success for our clients.”

Miller’s practice focuses on bond financing for governmental and large nonprofit entities. He has closed approximately $420 million in bond transactions for nonprofit colleges and universities since 2010, almost $1 billion in nonprofit hospital bond transactions, and over 30 direct placement bank transactions for nonprofit and governmental entities in the last three years. He is a former member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, representing Nashville-based social entrepreneurs focused on pursuing solutions to social problems while creating and sustaining social value.

About Bass, Berry & Sims PLC

Bass, Berry & Sims is a national law firm with more than 350 attorneys dedicated to delivering exceptional service to numerous publicly traded companies and Fortune 500 businesses in significant litigation and investigations, complex business transactions and international regulatory matters. Our people are true partners who work seamlessly across substantive practice disciplines, industries and geographies to deliver highly-effective legal advice and innovative, business-focused solutions. In 2022, the firm celebrated its centennial anniversary and continues to build on our foundational attributes of agility, tenacity and collaboration. For more information, visit

Media Coverage

This announcement was covered in several media outlets, including: