Bass, Berry & Sims Announces New Leadership in Executive Committee, Diversity & Inclusion Program, and Memphis Office

June 3, 2021
Firm News

Four Attorneys Appointed to Key Leadership Roles

Nashville, Tenn., (June 3, 2021) – Bass, Berry & Sims has appointed four attorneys to serve in the following firm leadership roles:

  • Lillian M. Blackshear (Nashville) and Richard F. Mattern (Memphis) have been elected to the firm’s Executive Committee.
  • Al Bright, Jr. (Memphis) has been selected to lead the firm’s African-American Affinity Group (3AG), succeeding Blackshear in the role.
  • Gaillard (Gil) Uhlhorn, V (Memphis) has been appointed as the new managing partner of the firm’s Memphis office. Uhlhorn succeeds John S. Golwen, who has led the Memphis office since 2017.

“We are fortunate to have such a deep bench of respected and inspiring leaders to choose from at our firm to continue pushing us and the profession at-large forward,” said Todd Rolapp, managing partner of Bass, Berry & Sims. “Lillian, Richard, Al and Gil have earned reputations for their thoughtfulness and innovative thinking, and we are excited for their fresh perspective and leadership in these essential roles.”

Executive Committee – Lillian M. Blackshear and Richard F. Mattern

Blackshear and Mattern join Rolapp on the seven-member Executive Committee, which includes attorneys from the firm’s Memphis, Nashville and Washington, D.C. locations. In this role, they will help oversee strategic priorities of the firm, including client service, diversity and inclusion, growth, and pro bono initiatives.

“Lillian and Richard are active leaders in our firm and in the community whose perspective and dedication to service will be invaluable to our Executive Committee,” Rolapp said. “The Committee is excited to welcome them aboard as we look ahead to advancing objectives for constant improvement in our firm, industry and communities.”

Blackshear practices in the firm’s Public Finance Practice Group and has represented clients in public finance transactions totaling more than $10 billion since 2010. She counsels governments and banks to secure financing for development projects and debt refinancings. She is a member of Nashville’s Metropolitan Planning Commission and serves as secretary of the Women in Public Finance Tennessee Chapter. Nationally, she is a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers. She is also a fundraising volunteer with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

Mattern focuses his practice on representing public and private companies in a variety of corporate and securities law matters. He is primary corporate and security counsel to several NYSE- and Nasdaq-listed companies and has represented clients in transactions ranging from $10 million to $1.4 billion, and securities offerings ranging from $4 million to $6 billion. He serves on the Committee on Mergers & Acquisitions in the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. He is also active with the American Health Law Association (AHLA) and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT). In the community, he previously served on the boards of directors for The Children’s Museum of Memphis and Junior Achievement Memphis.

African American Affinity Group (3AG) – Al Bright, Jr.

Bright has assumed Blackshear’s role leading 3AG, which serves as a forum for members to exchange ideas and information relevant to their experiences as diverse attorneys. 3AG participates in a number of programs, activities, sponsorships and organizations that benefit the broader community, welcoming and supporting Black attorneys at all levels – from summer associates to senior members – to help build solid foundations and relationships within the firm and community. 3AG is among five affinity groups at the firm, which work closely with the firm’s leadership to uphold its commitment to real progress in diversity and inclusion.

“It is an honor to step into this important role, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with firm leadership to continue toward progress in our firm, the legal industry and our communities,” Bright said. “I joined Bass, Berry & Sims two years ago and was impressed by the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. As the leader of our 3AG group, I too am committed in my support of our Black attorneys and professionals and am excited to work with the firm to recruit, retain and advance the next generation of diverse leaders in our firm.”

Bright counsels public and private companies in a diverse range of corporate law matters, serving as a trusted business advisor and outside general counsel to support his clients’ legal and business objectives. Among various other legal matters, he works closely with clients to navigate strategic corporate transactions, including navigating mergers and acquisitions ranging from $5 million to $1.2 billion. Bright is a Fellow with New Memphis Institute (formerly Memphis Leadership Academy) and an alumnus of Leadership Memphis’ Executive Class. He is a member of the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association, an organization founded in 1966 to address the unique needs of African-American lawyers and enhance their performance and professionalism at a time when they were largely excluded by the majority bar. He currently serves as chairman of the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County (EDGE) and on the boards of directors for Evolve Bank and Trust and Seeding Success, a nonprofit dedicated to improving outcomes for children in Memphis and Shelby County from cradle to career.

Memphis Office Managing Partner – T. Gaillard (Gil) Uhlhorn, V

Uhlhorn succeeds Golwen to lead Bass, Berry & Sims’ Memphis office. In this role, Uhlhorn leads day-to-day operations, recruiting and retention initiatives, business development activities, community outreach in the Memphis market.

“We are so grateful for John’s leadership over the past four-plus years and his instrumental role in our firm’s success in Memphis during that time,” Uhlhorn said. “As I look ahead to building on his great work, I am excited for the opportunity to work with our attorneys, clients and communities to identify ways we can continue to innovate and improve as part of our commitment to service.”

Uhlhorn focuses his practice on representing publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and commercial real estate owners in the acquisition, disposition and financing of real estate assets. Over the past five years alone, he has assisted public and private clients in more than $2.6 billion worth of real estate purchase and sale transactions and $12 billion in financing transactions. He is active with various professional organizations, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Memphis Chapter, Lambda Alpha International, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), and Lex Mundi. In the community, Uhlhorn is a trustee and current member of the Audit and Finance Committee for Dixon Gallery and Gardens, serves as chairman of the Thorn Society for Memphis University School and, is a past president and board member for the University Club of Memphis.

About Bass, Berry & Sims PLC

With more than 280 attorneys representing numerous publicly traded companies and Fortune 500 businesses, Bass, Berry & Sims has been involved in some of the largest and most significant litigation matters, investigations and business transactions in the country. For more information, visit www.bassberry.com.