The UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law will host a luncheon on Oct. 1 to honor the public service of one outstanding alumnus and one outstanding faculty member. This year’s honorees are Don Zimmerman (’72) and Associate Dean and Professor of Law Terrence Cain (’99).
Don, who passed away on June 24, 2018, was the longtime executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League and the longest serving director of a state municipal league in the nation. A giant man with gentle ways, Don deeply loved his family and his “League family.”
Don was a graduate of North Little Rock public schools, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a BSBA, and the UALR School of Law with a JD degree.
He began his career at the Arkansas Municipal League as a federal aid coordinator and field representative. He also served as managing editor of the League’s magazine, legislative counsel, and assistant director before becoming executive director in 1974. He represented Arkansas municipalities before the Arkansas General Assembly for 46 years.
A 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling held that municipal corporations could be held liable for damages to an individual, which set off a flood of litigation against cities. Because insurers considered cities a bad risk, Don created the Municipal Legal Defense Program, which allowed cities to pool their risks. It was the first of its kind in the country.
Don worked incredibly hard to create more optional benefit programs to offer League members, including the Municipal Health Benefit Fund, the Municipal League Workers’ Compensation Trust, the Firefighters Supplemental Income Protection and Death Benefit Program, and Municipal Vehicle and Property Programs. These programs have saved Arkansas municipalities millions of dollars over the last three decades.
In 1981, Don and the League pressed for a local option sales tax for cities and towns. Since then voters have passed local sales taxes to fund essential services like public safety, street and infrastructure, and amenities like parks and recreation facilities.
Throughout his career Don promoted legislation and initiatives that help cities, such as home rule authority for cities and towns of all sizes, and the State Aid City Street Program. The League celebrated a victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 in the case Plumhoff v. Rickard, which was argued by the League’s Michael Mosley. It was the first time a state municipal league has argued a case before the country’s highest court. In 2018, the League partnered with Arkansas counties and the state to bring unprecedented litigation against the opioid industry.
Don served three terms on the board of directors of the National League of Cities (NLC), as well as on the NLC Mutual Insurance board. He was a founding chair of the NLC Risk Management Group, and served on the Southern Municipal Conference Board of Directors. He was a past chairman and board member of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System and served on the Winrock Advisory Council. He was also inducted to the North Little Rock Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame.
Don was a Presbyterian and a lifelong resident of Arkansas. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Jan Lea Zimmerman; three children, G.G. Millard (Chad), Lea May (Chris), and Bo Brister; and seven grandchildren, Garrison and Finn Brister; Owen and Mary Evelyn May; and Austin, Madison, and Cooper Millard.
Professor Cain graduated from the UALR School of Law in 1999.
After graduation, he began a solo appellate practice, primarily before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Arkansas, and the Arkansas Court of Appeals. His practice areas consisted chiefly of employment discrimination, domestic relations, and criminal defense.
Between 2004 and 2007, he taught Employment Discrimination and Civil Liberties as an adjunct instructor. Terrence joined the faculty full-time in 2007.
Terrence also serves as the associate dean for faculty development at Bowen. He is a demanding teacher who challenges his students to critically evaluate current legal doctrines and consider whether they deal effectively and fairly with contemporary issues.
In addition to his class and administrative responsibilities, Terrence devotes over 100 hours per year to pro bono legal representation of people who cannot afford to pay an attorney. These cases, primarily in the areas of family law and criminal law, help low-income people deal with life-changing legal matters. In addition, he offers his counsel – academic and legal – to countless students, graduates, and attorneys.
His insight is highly valued. For example, his work as an appellate lawyer led to his appointment to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s outreach program. Twice each year, the court travels across the state to hold oral arguments. Terrence delivered a presentation about the court’s work to students from middle school through college during these proceedings.
The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Little Rock Marriott. The funds raised will be used for student scholarships and access to justice programming. Tickets are $100 each, $60 of which is tax deductible. If you would like more information, please call 501-324-9967.