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 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 people 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 also 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 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 played 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.
In 1995, the firm expanded to include Judith Whitfield, another early female attorney in Anderson County. Judy specializes in 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 consumer law, as well as social security disability law and education law with an emphasis on special education cases.
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 leads our bankruptcy work as a certified bankruptcy specialist and has expanded her practice to include conservatorships and social security disability.
Katy Everitt is our bankruptcy paralegal, preparing legal documents for our bankruptcy clients, sorting through mounds of paper and generally keeping the bankruptcy work on track. She is assisted by another paralegal, Brittani Barger.
Cathy Warmbrod is our paralegal for wills and probate. She prepares all of our documents, answers many questions, and generally helps people execute their documents and get them filed with the Court.
Laura Hayden is our amazing office manager and helps Hannah with social security cases. She does all the things lawyers loathe to do and does them cheerfully and well.
Becky Davis serves as Trustee Assistant to Ann in her capacity as bankruptcy trustee. She also supervises Lisa Mashburn and Brittani Barger, who serve as office receptionists and generally keep the office running.
Click here to read the original newspaper article discussing the opening of the law firm of Mostoller and Stulberg in 1974.