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February 01, 2024

ABA to honor Penny White with its Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2024 — The American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) will honor Penny White with its Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award.

The award recognizes law professors who have shown commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship and the legal profession, demonstrated by outstanding contributions to the fields of tort, trial practice or insurance law.

The award will be presented at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, during the TIPS Networking Reception on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. EST at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.

“Penny has a long and distinguished history of service and scholarship. She was an incredible professor that helped shape the next generation of lawyers,” said TIPS Chair Loren Podwill. “We are delighted to recognize her with this Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award.”

Until her retirement in 2022, White was the Elvin E. Overton Distinguished Professor of Law and served as the director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the University of Tennessee College of Law. She taught courses in evidence, trial practice, pretrial litigation and negotiation and assisted with the law school’s various clinical and externship programs.

Before beginning her teaching career, White practiced law in a small firm and was a solo practitioner focusing on criminal defense, civil rights and family law. As a solo practitioner, she successfully argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. After leaving private practice, she served as a judge at every level of the court system in Tennessee, serving as the first female circuit judge in the 1st Judicial District and the second woman to serve on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court.

White has published several articles on evidence, criminal procedure and ethics, including her article “Relinquished Responsibilities,” which was published in Volume 123 of the Harvard Law Review. She also co-authored a bench book for judges on capital trials and solely authored a book on the defense of capital cases, for which she was awarded the Ritchie Award by the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

White received her bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University. She received her LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow, and her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Tennessee Law Review.

Click here for a photo of Penny White.

For media registration, please contact Shanda Ivory at 202-662-1508 or [email protected].

The ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section unites plaintiff, defense, insurance and corporate counsel to advance the civil justice system. TIPS is a national source of expertise in tort, trial and insurance practice and brings lawyers together to share information and speak out on issues of importance. The section has over 10,000 members and more than 30 general committees that focus on substantive and procedural matters in areas across the broad spectrum of civil law and practice. 

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.