Published on April 5, 2022 by Morgan Black
For 175 years, Cumberland School of Law has graduated excellent attorneys dedicated to service and professionalism. Each year, we are honored to recognize our accomplished alumni through our Distinguished Alumni Awards. The 2022 recipients are:
Distinguished Alumnus: Louis E. Hatcher ’90
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given to a Cumberland School of Law graduate who has distinguished himself/herself in the practice of law, service to the community, and leadership in the profession.
An attorney at Watson Spence LLC in Albany, Georgia, Louis Hatcher graduated magna cum laude from Cumberland School of Law where he was associate editor of the Cumberland Law Review. After years in practice that included the representation of health care providers with respect to physician contracts, HIPAA compliance, and employment law matters, Hatcher became increasingly concerned at the inability of rural health care providers to afford more comprehensive health care legal services. Hatcher understood that all communities have a critical need for accessible health care, and that rural providers have limited resources with which to attempt compliance with the ever-increasing complexity of health care laws and regulations. To help met these needs, he returned to school (while continuing his practice) and earned a Master of Science in Health Law and Policy from Cumberland School of Law. He has also obtained Compliance Certification Board (CCB) certifications in Healthcare Compliance and Healthcare Privacy Compliance.
Hatcher concentrates his practice in the areas of health care law and compliance, employment law, qui tam, and other complex civil and commercial litigation in state and federal courts. He has extensive jury trial experience in Florida and Georgia, in both the civil and criminal courts.
Many distinguished Atlanta and out-of-state law firms have recognized Hatcher’s federal court and litigation experience, utilizing him as local counsel in all phases of litigation, including trials.
Hatcher is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is admitted to the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal district courts in Georgia, and the Middle District of Florida. He is currently a member of the Grievance Committee for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia and has served on that Court’s Local Rules Committee. He is a former member of the Review Panel of the Georgia Bar Disciplinary Board. He also has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1991 and actively practiced in Florida for eight years where he served on the Professional Ethics Committee of the Florida Bar from 1996 until 2002.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business while enrolled at the University of Florida. After graduating from law school, Hatcher built upon his experience in management/employee relations while serving in an ombudsman role for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, and as division supervisor for the Office of the State Attorney in Florida.
He and his wife, Ovaline, reside in Lee County, Georgia. He is a member of the Cumberland School of Law Advisory Board. He served as an elected member of the Lee County Board of Education from 2002 through 2018, remains active in his church, and has devoted substantial time and resources to the youth of his community.
Distinguished Young Alumna: Stephanie Houston Mays ’07
The Young Alumna/nus award is given to a Cumberland School of Law graduate who received her/his J.D. within the past 15 years, and who has distinguished herself/ himself in the practice of law, service to the community, and leadership in the profession.
Stephanie Houston Mays is a shareholder and the chief talent officer in Maynard Cooper’s Labor & Employment Practice. She has experience defending public and private employers ranging from large manufacturers to municipalities, poultry processing facilities, health care providers, large retail companies, post-secondary colleges and small businesses. She represents clients in litigation and federal agency proceedings and provides training, day-to-day legal advice and pragmatic solutions that are tailored to meet her clients’ needs.
Her practice consists of representing management and advising clients in all aspects of the employment relationship, including EEOC charges and cases arising under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. She also assists clients in drafting employment policies and employee handbooks and conducting internal investigations.
As chief talent officer for the firm, Mays coordinates strategic talent initiatives across the firm’s national footprint, specifically focusing on attorney recruitment and retention, professional development, integration and diversity and inclusion.
Mays is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers for Litigation: Labor and Employment. She was included in the 2016 and 2018 Benchmark Litigation “Under 40 Hot List,” an elite accolade honoring the achievements of the nation’s most accomplished legal partners who are 40 years old or younger. In addition, Mays was recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as “Rising Star Lawyer” in 2017 and a “Leader in Diversity and Inclusion” in 2022.
Mays has served on the Cumberland School of Law Advisory Board since 2015 and regularly volunteers at the law school when there is a need.
Volunteer of the Year: Honorable Martha Reeves Cook ’96
The Volunteer of the Year recognizes an alumnus/na who has demonstrated exceptional loyalty and commitment to Cumberland School of Law through volunteer service to the school.
Judge Martha Reeves Cook was appointed as a district court judge for Jefferson County, Alabama, in March 2019.
Judge Cook is a native of Selma, Alabama, and a graduate of Selma High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Prior to her appointment, Judge Cook practiced civil law for more than 20 years, representing individuals and businesses, plaintiffs and defendants. Most recently, she opened her own mediation and law practice where she mediated cases involving real estate disputes, divorce and family matters, federal consumer laws and personal injury cases.
Judge Cook volunteers for Cumberland School of Law’s wills clinics and the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and speaks on conflict resolution topics at local and national events. In addition, Cook mentors law students, conducts mock interviews, and steps in to judge advocacy competitions when her schedule allows. Over the years, her number has climbed to our “first call” list!
Judge Cook is an active member of the Alabama State Bar, the Birmingham Bar Association and the Magic City Bar Association. She is the former chair and board member of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce and a graduate and former board member of Leadership Vestavia Hills. Most importantly, she is the mother of two wonderful sons.
Friend of Cumberland: Charles W. Gamble
The Friend of Cumberland award recognizes a person, who though not a graduate of Cumberland School of Law, has contributed time and resources to enhance the quality of the law school and the educational experience of the students.
Charles W. Gamble is dean emeritus and the Henry Upson Sims professor emeritus of law at the University of Alabama School of Law. But his academic career began at Cumberland School of Law where he taught for through the duration of the 1970s and held the J. Russell McElroy professorship of law.
While at Cumberland, Gamble was voted outstanding classroom teacher on several occasions and published the third edition of McElroy’s Alabama Evidence in 1977. In 1982, he went to the University of Alabama School of Law as acting dean for two years after which he became dean. Upon returning to the Alabama faculty, Gamble was named the Henry Upson Sims professor of law. He served as reporter to the Alabama Rules of Evidence Committee which was responsible for drafting the Alabama Rules of Evidence as adopted by the Alabama Supreme Court in 1996.
Gamble has served throughout Alabama for over four decades as a lecturer on evidence law. He has made presentations to the Alabama State Bar Association, the Alabama Bar Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Cumberland’s Continuing Legal Education department, the Alabama Judicial College, the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Alabama Family Law Association, local bar associations, and individual law firm retreats. For this and other service, Gamble was presented in 2008 The Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award by the Commission on Professionalism of the Alabama State Bar.
In 2021, Gamble coauthored the seventh edition of McElroy’s Alabama Evidence. This treatise is widely considered the “bible of evidence.” He is a graduate of UA Law where he was a member of Order of the Coif and its law review. Additionally, he received an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
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