In 1926, John Y. Brown Sr. graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law. The son of a tenant farmer and the first in his family to attend college, John Y. Brown Sr. used his law degree to become a trial attorney – the career he later said he’d wanted since he was five years old – and a longtime politician.
This was just the beginning of the Brown family’s relationship with the college. Over the next century, four generations of John Y. Browns would graduate from the same law school.
“Lawyers are sometimes also mothers,” UK Rosenberg Law Dean Mary J. Davis said. “These stories from women graduates of UK Rosenberg Law who are also mothers remind us of the strength, determination, and resilience that lawyering while mothering requires. Happy Mother's Day to all.”
Denotra Spruill Gunther
Class of 1996
The Women’s Law Caucus, a student organization at the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law, held its annual spring reception on March 23, honoring Fayette District Court Judge Melissa Murphy, an alumna of the law school; Blanche Bong Cook, Roberg E. Harding Jr. associate professor of law; and second-year law student Sterling T. Crayton.
Crayton won the Rebecca Westerfield Award for Excellence in Leadership for his advocacy for women in the legal profession.
Sarah Howard Jenkins (’82) serves as the Charles C. Baum Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. In 2017, the University of Kentucky College of Law, now the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law, inducted Jenkins into its Alumni Hall of Fame.
As an academic-legal professional, Jenkins has devoted her time and energy to challenging her students to develop a commitment to diligence and competence in the study and practice of the law. But Jenkins wasn’t always certain that she would become an attorney.
Born and raised in inner-city North Philadelphia, John G. McNeill recalls a lawyer who visited his elementary school of predominately Black teachers.
“One of my teachers in fourth grade brought in this white lady who was a lawyer to talk to our class,” McNeill said. The lawyer didn’t talk about the courtroom dramas on TV. “She talked about the little things, like looking at documents, lease contracts, apartment contracts, and installment agreements.”
In 1955, Ollen B. Hinnant II became the first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, overcoming various forms of discrimination while in law school. Hinnant, who died in 2016 at age 85, went on to become the first African American lawyer for State Farm Insurance in Montclair, New Jersey.
UK Rosenberg Law alumni Melissa Moore Murphy '01 and Daniel (Danny) Murphy Jr. '98 were featured in the Aug. 26 edition of Business Lexington. Melissa Moore Murphy, Fayette County district court judge, appeared on the cover. Judge Murphy and Danny Murphy, UK Rosenberg Law’s senior assistant dean of community engagement & operations/chief diversity officer, were featured in a story, titled “Pillars of Community,” inside the publication.
Thomas “Tom” Kerrick has had a long and distinguished 40-year career as an attorney, culminating in his swearing in as president of the Kentucky Bar Association on July 1.
Kerrick, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1977 and his law degree in 1980 from the University of Kentucky, considers the education and support he received at UK instrumental in any success he has had. This is why he has continued to support the university and the J. David Rosenberg College of Law.
Herb Stapleton and his teams at the FBI have stayed busy as cyber criminals attempt to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stapleton, a section chief in the FBI’s Cyber Division, oversees the Cyber Criminal Operations section, and he is often called to educate the public about cyber scams. He recently appeared on the Today show and has presented during webinars and virtual presentations for various groups, including a hospital association and the National Association of Attorneys General.
La Tasha Buckner graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, now the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law, in 2000. She currently serves as Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s chief of staff and general counsel and previously served as assistant deputy attorney general. Buckner is a native of Glasgow, Kentucky. She began her career as a state prosecutor in the office of longtime Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson. Buckner is the first person to hold both the general counsel and chief of staff positions simultaneously in Kentucky.