HISTORY OF MOSTOLLER, STULBERG, WHITFIELD & ALLEN LAW FIRM
Two middle-aged women graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School in October 1974. Since no one would hire them, Ann Mostoller and Dorothy Stulberg formed a partnership and set up their own law practice as Mostoller & Stulberg. They were surprised when the local Bank of Oak Ridge was willing to lend them $2,000 as start-up money without requiring their husbands’ signatures. The women rented space in the Cappiello Building on Tulsa Avenue and began to practice law. In their case, they were truly “practicing.”
Some local folks were willing to trust them with their wills and other legal matters. The new attorneys served low-income clients by offering divorces at fees based on incomes. The partners accepted appointments to criminal cases. Although women in law was an anomaly at that time, several male attorneys in the area were willing to assist them, for which the women were extremely grateful.
After about a year, the women were appointed to serve as public defenders in Anderson County. During this one year appointment, the new attorneys became experienced with criminal jury trials. Although they did not continue to practice criminal law, the appointment provided good experience and good exposure both for the attorneys and the public.
During the first few years of practice, the women represented Vickie Cape in her challenge to the half-court basketball rules then followed in Tennessee. Federal Judge Robert Taylor ruled in favor of Vickie, but the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) appealed the decision and the case was reversed in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the next year TSSAA changed the rules and women have continued to play full court basketball ever since.
As Ann and Dorothy developed their practice, they focused on the areas of social security disability law, bankruptcy, wills, probate, and other miscellaneous areas of legal concern. Ann became a certified bankruptcy specialist. Ann serves not only debtors, but was appointed as one of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees for the eastern district of Tennessee’s Federal Court in Knoxville, a position she has held since 1988.
In 1995 the firm expanded to include Judith Whitfield, another early female attorney in Anderson County. Judy practices domestic relations law. Her sister, Elaine Robinson, serves as Judy’s paralegal.
A few years later William Allen joined the firm. He had been a long-time attorney with Rural Legal Services. He is experienced in social security disability law and education law with emphasis on special education cases. When Dorothy retired, Bill took over her social security disability practice. Paralegal Alice Moore served as his paralegal and retired in 2015.
Dorothy’s death in 2011 was a tremendous loss for everyone who knew her. Her webpage has been maintained as a small memorial to her years of dedicated service to the community and is available in the link options at the top left corner of this page.
Hannah Tippett joined the firm in 2009 as an associate. Hannah was born and raised in Malawi. She attended college in Indiana and law school at the University of Tennessee. Hannah helps with the bankruptcy work and has expanded her practice to include conservatorship, criminal law and social security disability.
Tracey Williams graduated from the Nashville School of Law and is an associate with the firm. She has been with the firm since 2000. She serves as Trustee Assistant to Ann in her capacity as bankruptcy trustee and also does criminal defense work
Additionally, Tracey is now also the Director of the paralegal studies program at Roane State Community College. More information here.
Ann’s daughter Katy Everitt is the firm’s bankruptcy paralegal, preparing legal documents for our bankruptcy clients, sorting through mounds of paper and generally keeping the bankruptcy work on track.
Kathy Townsend is the firm’s paralegal for wills and probate. She prepares documents, answers many questions, and generally helps people execute their documents and get them filed with the Court. Kathy has been with the firm for more years than she would care to share.
Laura Hayden is the firm’s amazing office manager. She does all the things lawyers are loathe to do, and does them cheerfully and well. She supervises Hillary Kershaw and Jenna McCarty, who serve as office receptionists and generally keep the office running. Nancy Brown was a receptionist and paralegal until 2015 when she retired after 27 years of excellent service
Follow this link to read the original newspaper article discussing the opening of the law firm of Mostoller and Stulberg in 1974.