The two inaugural awards for the Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr. Memorial Scholarship were presented today to Belmont University College of Law student Candace Meagan Carter and University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Law student Rameen J. Nasrollahi. The family of the late Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr. and the Napier-Looby Bar Foundation announced the establishment of the scholarships earlier this year. The scholarships, supported by the Adolpho A. Birch, Jr. Legal Education Fund, are the beginning of an ongoing effort to recognize Justice Birch’s commitment to academic excellence, public service and diversity in the legal and judicial professions.
Adolpho A. Birch, III, senior vice president at the National Football League, said, “Our father recognized the potential in every student, and he sought to encourage all to reach that potential in a way that served the greater good. I believe he would be extremely pleased with the establishment of these scholarships and particularly with its first two recipients.”
A rising second-year student at Belmont University College of Law, Candace Carter serves in leadership positions in the Student Bar Association, Black Law Students Association and the Women’s Law Student Organization, and is a College Ambassador, among other commitments. Carter graduated from Northwestern University in 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science and a double minor in International Studies and Legal Studies. The scholarship will support Ms. Carter’s judicial internship this summer for Williamson County Circuit Court Judge James G. Martin, III.
Rameen Nasrollahi is a rising third-year student at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He serves as the Articles Editor for the Tennessee Law Review, and last summer he participated in the China Law Summer Program at Renmin University in Beijing. Mr. Nasrollahi is a 2008 graduate of Rhodes College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Music. The scholarship will support Mr. Nasrollahi’s judicial internship for Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins.
Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr. was the first African-American to win a judicial election in Davidson County, becoming a General Sessions Court judge in 1970. He went on to serve as a judge for the Davidson County Criminal Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals in Nashville, Tennessee. He was later appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, becoming the first person to serve at all four levels of the Tennessee Court system. Prior to his passing on August 25, 2011, the newly constructed Davidson County Criminal Courthouse was named in his honor.