President – Matthew B. Finch, ’00, Gill Ragon Owen, P.A.
Mr. Finch is president, shareholder and director with Gill Ragon Owen, P.A. He was educated at Westminster College and University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. Mr. Finch joined the Arkansas Bar in 2001. His practice focuses on general commercial litigation with experience in collections actions, commercial foreclosures, title claim defense litigation, construction litigation, creditor’s rights litigation and personal and corporate contract disputes and litigation. Mr. Finch has been recognized as a “Mid-South Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, as one of Arkansas “Best Lawyers” and as a “40 Under 40” honoree by a statewide publishing group and is a frequent speaker on collections, construction law and banking and foreclosure topics. He is a member of both the Arkansas Bar Association and the Pulaski County Bar Association.
President-Elect – Melanie H. Martin, ’92, Little Rock District Court, 1st Div.-Criminal
The Honorable Melanie H. Martin is the judge for the Little Rock District Court, 1st Div.-Criminal. She assumed the bench on January 1, 2019. As District Judge, she oversees the largest criminal district court docket in the state. Her court handles not only misdemeanor cases, but also daily felony arraignments and felony preliminary matters. Using her experience in the area of criminal justice reform, her court is set to pilot a mental health diversion program in 2019, working with Little Rock Community Mental Health, Center for Youth and Families, and the Arkansas State Hospital. She graduated from UALR Bowen School of Law in 1992 and became a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Sixth Judicial District upon her admittance to the Arkansas Bar. She has extensive bench and jury trial experience in general, juvenile, drug, domestic violence/sexual assault, gangs, major crimes, and homicide/capital cases. She served as Division Chief of District Courts/Complaints Division, Division Chief of the Drug Division, and Division Chief of various general Circuit Courts. She was promoted in 2005 to a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney position. She served as a representative to the United States Department of Justice’s Violence Reduction Network, a partnership with the Little Rock Police Department, which sought to reduce violent crimes in all areas of the city. She has served on juvenile justice committees, exploring juvenile diversion alternatives. She has lectured frequently at the local, state and national levels, provided instruction for in-house programs to law enforcement and to District Attorneys’ offices at all levels on crime related and legal topics. She has served as a Peer Reviewer for the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance. She served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Bowen, teaching Lawyering Skills and Trial Advocacy. In addition to serving as a Board Member of the Bowen Alumni Board, she is a Master of the Bench of the Judge William R. Overton Inn of Court, a member of Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers, and of the Arkansas Bar Association. She is President of the Pulaski County Bar Foundation and is a past President of the Pulaski County Bar Association.
First Vice President – Kenya Gordon Davenport, ’11, Gill Ragon Owen, PA
Kenya Gordon Davenport, Esq. is Of Counsel with Gill Ragon Owen, PA. She was previously the principal attorney at Gordon Davenport Law, PLLC. She formerly served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Judge Wendell L. Griffen in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County. She was an associate with Carney, Bates & Pulliam, where she litigated consumer protection class action cases. Before joining the legal profession, Kenya was a financial advisor for Edward D. Jones & Co., and she has had an extensive career in education as an algebra teacher. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her Master’s Degree from Christian Brother University in Memphis, Tennessee. She is admitted to practice in Arkansas, Tennessee, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western District of Arkansas. She is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, where she serves in the House of Delegates, and a member of the W. Harold Flowers Law Society, where she serves as student liaison. She is the proud wife of Kenneth Davenport and is happy to call herself an Arkansan and Bowen Alumna.
Secretary – Jacob Fair, ’15, Wright Lindsey Jennings
Jake Fair is an attorney at Wright Lindsey Jennings, where his diverse practice ranges from real estate transactions to complex commercial litigation. His transactional and commercial litigation practice includes banking, commercial lending, municipal finance, bankruptcy and secured transactions. Fair was the recipient of the prestigious John & Ruth H. Brunson Award, given annually by the Law Review Editorial Board for distinguished service to the Bowen Law Review. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Association, Pulaski County Bar Association, the Debtor-Creditor Bar of Central Arkansas, and the National Association of Bond Lawyers. Jake is a board member of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Risk Management Association and also participates in Junior Achievement.
Treasurer – William “Goose” Changose, ’15, Natural State Law, PLLC
William “Goose” Changose co-founded the Natural State Law Firm in 2015. His practice areas include business law, veterans’ benefits, real estate zoning, aviation, and firearms law. Prior to opening Natural State Law full-time in 2018, Goose was the President of Westrock Coffee Roasting and the Chief Operating Officer of four Little Rock companies. He also served as a board member of Bear State Bank and Bear State Financial, Inc. Before his time as a civilian, he served for 23 years as an officer and pilot in the US Air Force, culminating his career as the Commander of Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. A tireless proponent for his clients, Goose’s success in both the private sector and military provide a breadth of experience that allows him to bring common sense and order into some of the most complex issues.
Immediate Past President and Chair of Nominating Committee – Bill James, ’94, The James Law Firm
Bill James is criminal defense attorney in Little Rock, AR. He is admitted to practice in Arkansas, the U.S. District Court in the Eastern and Western District of Arkansas, the U.S. Court of Appeals – 8th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme. Court. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Pulaski County Bar Association, the Arkansas Bar Association Board of Governors, the American Bar Association, the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association of Justice. In recognition of his criminal defense and white collar crime work, Mr. James has been listed for four consecutive years as a Mid-South Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. James received his B.S.B.A. in Finance/Banking from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and his J.D. from the UALR Bowen School of Law.
Board Members include:
Laura Calhoun, ’11, Hodge Calhoun Giattina
During and since law school, Laura has held various litigation positions with an emphasis on criminal defense and family law. Laura clerked for the Pulaski County Public Defender’s Office before becoming an associate with the Worsham Law Firm. While at Worsham, Laura represented clients on a variety of matters including family law and criminal defense. Laura moved from the Worsham Law Firm to the James Law Firm. She then became a partner at Rogers, Carter & Calhoun in 2013, before becoming a founding partner of Hodge Calhoun Giattina. Laura has extensive experience in the area of Juvenile Law and DHS cases as she is an Assistant Director of the Parent Counsel Program, the program that oversees the representation of parents in dependency neglect proceedings. Laura also has a great deal of experience in family law cases involving domestic violence and orders of protection. Since 2016, Laura litigates these cases on behalf of petitioners twice a week.
Amber Crouch, ’09, Crews & Associates
Amber is the Senior Compliance Officer & Regulatory Counsel at Crews & Associates, an investment banking firm. Prior to accepting this position in 2016, she was a staff attorney with the Arkansas Securities Department. During her career as a law student at Bowen, she served as a law clerk for Arkansas Securities Department, the as a law clerk in the Office of Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. Amber was also a research assistant to Prof. Frances Fendler for her book on the Arkansas securities laws, “Private Placements and Limited Offerings of Securities: A Guide for the Arkansas Practitioner” and to Professor Lindsey Gustafson for her article “Blawgs Can’t Do It All: Let’s Save Short, Student-Authored Scholarship.” In 2016, she was co-chair for Broker-Dealer Operations Project Group, North American Securities Administrators Association.
Bob Edwards, ’98, Bob Edwards Law
After earning his JD, Bob worked in the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, eventually serving as the Chief of Staff for then Attorney General Mark Pryor. After leaving the AG’s office, Bob spent the next ten years with the national law firm of Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., in their Little Rock office, where his focus was on nursing home and trucking litigation. In July of 2013, Bob went out and established his own firm where he continues to represent families and their loved ones who have been injured due to no fault of their own. Bob is licensed to practice law in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. He is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). He is also active in AAJ’s Nursing Home Litigation Group and Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He previously served as president of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. In addition to practicing law, Bob has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the England Public School District in England, Arkansas and has served in the past as President of the Board of Alumni at the Bowen School of Law.
Qualenta Forrest, ’10, Tampa General Hospital
Qualenta joined Tampa General Hospital in 2021 as the Executive Vice President and Chief People and Talent Officer. Prior to that, she served as Market Vice President, Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer at CHI St. Vincent, a regional health network in Arkansas. Leading up to her time at CHI St. Vincent, Forrest worked at Medical University South Carolina as Associate Chief People Officer. Forrest earned her Juris Doctor degree from the William H. Bowen School of Law, and BA degrees in Spanish and criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Megan Hargraves, ’08, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.
Megan Hargraves, a member at Mitchell Williams, focuses her practice on healthcare regulatory, compliance and legislative matters, also providing clients with strategic counsel on public policy and implementation issues. She advises hospitals and other healthcare clients on issues related to risk management, quality assurance and regulatory and operational compliance. She advises and represents clients on matters related to the Arkansas Peer Review Fairness Act, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA), Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the False Claims Act, the Stark Act and anti-kickback statutes and other state and federal statutes. Megan’s experience as a litigator representing clients in medical malpractice, products liability, class action and general insurance defense cases makes her a trusted advisor to healthcare industry clients. Megan continues to represent clients across industries in defense of complex consumer class actions, specializing in cases brought under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Austin Harrison, ’16, Squire Patton Boggs
Prior to joining the Squire Patton Boggs, Austin interned for the US Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, focusing on international trade, EU policy and international energy law. Drawing on his international experience, he developed a comprehensive analysis on the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) during his final year at the Clinton School of Public Service. During law school, Austin held various legal clerkships with an emphasis on energy, public utilities, local government and international matters. As a clerk for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Association (AECC), Austin handled filing matters with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers to obtain permits for the electric cooperative. His knowledge of energy and utility matters strengthened as he served as a research fellow for the Clinton Climate Initiative to produce a report recommending a statewide Healthy Homes Initiative by examining housing and health data along with energy efficiency policies. While working for the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, Austin worked in the Public Protection Department with a focus on environmental, tobacco and healthcare regulatory matters. As an undergraduate student at the University of Mississippi, Austin studied public policy at the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. As a student, he gained various Associate international experiences through his studies in Quito, Ecuador; Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and Seoul, South Korea. Drawing on his domestic policy knowledge, Austin worked as an intern in Washington DC, for US Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and US Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS).
Katie Mehdizadegan, ’14, Delta Dental
Katie is Associate General Counsel at Delta Dental of Arkansas. Prior to joining Delta Dental in 2019, she was an associate attorney at Gill Ragon Owen for over three years, a firm where she clerked as a law student as well. Following graduation from Bowen, she became a judicial law clerk for Honorable Judge Vann Smith of the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Katie will complete a three-year term on the Bowen Young Alumni Board in June 2020.
Julie Mullenix, ’06, Mullenix & Associates
Julie Mullenix is a lobbyist and legal counsel for Mullenix & Associates, a governmental relations and consulting firm she co-founded with husband Ted Mullenix in January 1999. Prior to launching Mullenix & Associates, she worked with a trade association that introduced her to advocacy work at the state Capitol. Julie assists clients with legal needs and setting strategy associated with pursuing a legislative agenda and actively lobbies legislators to achieve her clients’ goals. She has advised clients for two decades, representing Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, corporations, businesses and educational institutions. She is a seasoned professional who is able to find innovative and effective solutions for our clients. Her primary areas of focus are in developing legislative strategies and drafting legislation, economic development projects and state procurements.
Thomas Odom, ’17, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Thomas Odom was born and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He received his undergraduate degree in Politics at Hendrix College in 2014, where he met his wife, Lettie. They moved to Little Rock and he attended William H. Bowen School of Law and graduated in 2017. Thomas joined his father and grandfather as a third-generation attorney at the Odom Law Firm in 2017. He took a job as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Benton County, Arkansas in early 2019, and continued his prosecution career in Pulaski County, Arkansas in late 2020.
John Rainwater, ’09, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton
John Rainwater is an Arkansas injury attorney with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton. He has consistently been recognized as a nationally-renowned trial lawyer, as one of the “Best Lawyers for Bankruptcy” by Little Rock Soiree (2015-2017), as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer”, and as the recipient of the Judith Ryan Gray Outstanding Young Lawyer Service Award (2016-2017). He is an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the Debtor-Creditor Bar of Central Arkansas. John is a board member of Volunteers’ Organization Center for Arkansas Legal Services.
Elizabeth Scott, ’09, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
In her role as a partner with Akin Gump in Dallas, Lizzy Scott assists clients in complex commercial litigation. Her practice emphasizes defense in lawsuits filed under the FCA and representing public companies and their officers and directors in securities and privacy litigation, internal investigations, regulatory investigations and other enforcement proceedings. She was recognized by the Dallas Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” honoree in 2021. After graduating from Hendrix College in 2004, she began law school at William H. Bowen School of Law and graduated in 2007.
David Slade, ’13, Carney Bates & Pulliam
After graduating from college at Yale, he moved to New York City, working at various jobs in the music industry, forming a band, and spending several years touring the country and recording albums. Throughout this period, his interest in the law was nurtured by a side job as a trial assistant in the hormone therapy litigation, In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, Case No. MDL 1507. While attending Bowen, he co-founded the Arkansas Journal of Social Change and Public Service, an online, interdisciplinary publication for which he served as Editor-in-Chief. He oversaw the Journal’s inaugural symposium, as well as a variety of community engagement efforts. In its first year, the Journal published submissions from authors throughout the world. Now an associate at Carney Bates & Pulliam, David’s principal focus is on consumer protection, with an emphasis on data privacy and data security. Extending his advocacy beyond litigation, he also organized a cyber safety training summit for Arkansas law enforcement and victim assistance professionals, in conjunction with the National Organization of Victim Assistance (NOVA). In addition to his work in the class action context, David is a member of the Volunteers Organization, Center for Arkansas Legal Services (VOCALS), an organization committed to pro bono advocacy.
Tasha Taylor, ’05, Taylor & Taylor Law Firm, P.A.
Tasha is a Partner at Taylor & Taylor Law Firm, P.A., where her practice focuses on appellate advocacy and personal injury litigation. Following graduation from Bowen, Tasha served for two years as a judicial law clerk on the Arkansas Supreme Court. She entered private practice in 2007 and co-founded Taylor & Taylor Law Firm, P.A. with her husband in 2010. Tasha has repeatedly been recognized as one of “Little Rock’s Best Lawyers” by Little Rock Soiree (2014-2018), as a “Top Attorney in Arkansas” by Arkansas Life (2015-2018), and as a “Rising Star Mid-South” by Super Lawyers (2015-2017). She is frequently invited to speak to her peers on the topic of handling appeals in Arkansas’s state appellate courts. Tasha created and co-authors the Arkansas Appeals blog. Tasha resides in Little Rock with her husband, Andy Taylor, and their three children.
Megan Wooster, ’09, M.W. Law, PLLC
Megan opened M.W. Law, PLLC in 2013. Prior to that, she was a domestic relations litigation attorney at the James Law Firm and an insurance defense litigation attorney at Anderson Murphy Hopkins, LLP. In 2010, Megan became a qualified Attorney Ad Litem for children in custody and visitation cases. She has also been consistently recognized as a “Family Law Top 10 Attorney” by Attorney & Practice Magazine (2017-2018), one of the “Best Lawyers in Little Rock” by Little Rock (2015-2017), and a “Top Attorney” by Arkansas Life. Megan is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers.