Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

Clicking an "A" changes how big the words are.

Nashville Office

Managing Attorney

DarKenya Waller is a 1999 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law. She earned a Masters of Business Administration from Belhaven College in 2005. Mrs. Waller was a solo practitioner in Jackson, Mississippi, where she specialized in domestic law and real estate. She also worked with Chinn & Associates, PLLC, one of the premier domestic relations firms in Mississippi. From 1999 to 2001 she worked with the Mississippi Attorney General’s office, Division of Medicaid. She established and ran a Technology and Communications company that represented clients such as the City of Atlanta and the National Conference of Black Mayors. Mrs. Waller is a member of the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars. She joined the Legal Aid Society in 2008 and has been the Managing Attorney of the Nashville office in 2010.  Her legal practice is focused on family law. She was a member of the 2011 class of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program for outstanding young lawyers. She serves on the Tennessee State Domestic Violence Coordinating Counsel, the Tennessee Bar Association Family Law Code Committee and the Williamson County Pro Bono Committee.        


Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program

Lucinda Smith is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and a 1976 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. After clerking for the Davidson County Chancery Court and practicing with the State of Tennessee and in private practice, she served as Managing Attorney of the Legal Aid Society’s Family Law Section from 1987 to 1990. From 1991 to 2003 she was with the firm of Dodson, Parker Dinkins & Behm. She was Nashville’s Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year in 1995. She returned to the Legal Aid Society to direct The Nashville Pro Bono Program, a joint venture of the Legal Aid Society and Nashville Bar Association. She has taught family law as an adjunct professor at the Vanderbilt University Law School. She is former Chair of the Metro Human Relations Commission and is active in the Nashville Bar Association, having served as First Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee and the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee.


Lead and Staff Attorneys

Russ Overby, Health, Income and Education Practice Lead, is a graduate of Wheaton College and a 1974 graduate Vanderbilt Law School. He worked at the Legal Aid Society in Nashville from 1974 until 1993 and was lead counsel in several significant federal and state cases involving public benefits and the rights of children in state institutions. He was a Clinical Instructor at Vanderbilt from 1974 to 1977. In 1993 he became managing attorney of the Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro office. From 1997 to 2005 he worked as the Welfare Reform Lawyer at the Tennessee Justice Center. He rejoined the Legal Aid Society in 2006, where he handles health and public benefits cases. He has written extensively about public benefits issues and conducted training on the topic for national audiences. He received the State Advocate of the Year Award from the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare in 1998 and the Harry Chapin Advocacy Award from MANNA in 1997. In 2008 the Tennessee Bar Association awarded him its Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award. In 2011 the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services gave him its B. Riney Green Award for his commitment to improving collaboration among public interest advocates in the state. His interests include following the Chicago White Sox and swimming. 

David Tarpley, Lead Attorney for Housing and Consumer Law, is a 1971 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. He joined the Legal Aid Society in 1971 and became managing attorney of the Consumer Section in 1974. He holds the Herman O. Loewenstein Chair, named for the donor of a generous endowment to support consumer advocacy in Nashville. He has practiced extensively in the field of consumer law and is a frequent presenter at local, state and regional training. He served for 26 years on the Board of Directors of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Middle Tennessee. He has been an affiliate faculty member of the Vanderbilt University Law School since 1986 and teaches a course on consumer credit protection. He is on the faculty of the Nashville School of Law, where he teaches a course in Consumer Protection. In 1997 he received the Tennessee Bar Association’s award for the Public Service Attorney of the Year. In 2003 the Nashville Business Journal identified him as one of the outstanding 100 lawyers in the Nashville bar. In 2013, the Nashville Business Journal named him one of three finalists for the 2013 Best of Bar in consumer law.  David is an avid amateur musician and plays French horn with the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra and sings in the choir at Vine Street Christian Church.

Allison Jones joined Legal Aid Society in July, 2016 as the Middle Tennessee Medical-Legal Partnership attorney. She most recently served as a law clerk for Senior Judge John T. Nixon of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. She is a 2013 graduate of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Allison received her Master of Social Work from Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work. While receiving her advanced degrees, she worked as a legal intern and did her social work practicum at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Her undergraduate degree in History was earned at Brown University.

Vidhi Sanghavi Joshi is a Skadden Fellow in the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society. She founded the Re-Entry Project at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and helps her clients combat the civil legal barriers a criminal conviction imposes. She is a 2009 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University and a 2015 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School. While in law school, she partnered with Vanderbilt’s business school and Project Return to co-found the Re-Entry Entrepreneurship Project and served as the Notes Development Editor on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. Her final year of law school, Joshi received the Justice-Moore Family Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have a demonstrated commitment to public service following graduation.

Samuel Keen is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law. He completed his undergraduate work at Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to joining Legal Aid Society, Sam worked for a plaintiff’s-side employment law firm advocating for victims of employment discrimination and wage theft. During law school, he worked as an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 licensed attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, defending low and moderate-income renters and homeowners facing eviction or foreclosure. He also completed an externship with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and was a devoted participant in DePaul’s Poverty Law and Civil Rights clinics. Sam spent his weekends in Chicago running a legal help desk for Chicago’s homeless which focused on sealing and expunging criminal records and helping clients obtain state identification. Sam was the recipient of several scholarships, fellowships, and honors for his service to his community and DePaul, including the Faculty/Staff Endowment Scholarship, the Benjamin L. Hooks Distinguished Service Award, and the Senior Service Award. In 2013, Sam was honored as a top 10 national finalist for the PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award.

Zac Oswald, Housing Practice Lead, is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and a 2013 cum laude graduate of University of Miami School of Law. While at law school, he also earned a Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries and acted as the Student Director of Business Affairs for Cat 5 Music Publishing. While awaiting his bar exam results, he worked as a grill cook at Chipotle Mexican Restaurants and still cuts chicken faster than most Tennesseeans. He started at Legal Aid Society in 2014 as a University of Miami Legal Corps Fellow, working primarily in the Family Law Unit. He currently works in the Nashville Office, practicing Housing and Consumer Law, and is the Team Lead for the firm’s Housing Practice Group. He was the 2016 recipient of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Service’s New Advocate of the Year award.

Emma Sholl is a magna cum laude graduate of Colgate University and 2014 graduate of Tulane University Law School. While in law school, she had an externship with the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she worked on a special education class action lawsuit. She was also a Juvenile Justice fellow at Children at Risk in Houston, TX, a New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center intern, and an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps summer fellow at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. At Tulane, she was involved in the Disability and Health Law Society and served as a managing editor of the Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property. Her comment, “Exhibit Facebook: The Discoverability and Admissibility of Social Media Evidence” was published in 2013. She joined Legal Aid Society upon graduation. She works on health and benefits and special education cases. She is the leader of Legal Aid Society’s Health and Elder Law Program (HELP) and the co-chair of the Harris Gilbert Family Fellowship. She is also a member of the Nashville Council on Aging’s Leadership Council.

Michelle "Miki" Brady Sisco is a 2013 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to law school, she received a joint master’s degree in Anthropology and Women’s & Gender Studies at Brandeis University, and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at Bates College. Miki primarily practiced family and employment law at the Justice Bridge Legal Center in Boston, MA before moving to back to her home state of Tennessee. Miki has committed her legal and anthropological career toward advocacy of women’s and LGBT rights and, in particular, empowering domestic violence survivors to reclaim their lives and safety. Miki enjoys yoga, animals (especially pugs), and travel.

Shaina Thompson is an attorney in the Family Law Section of the Nashville office, joining the firm after volunteering and working as a contract attorney there since October 2015. She has worked as an intern in a private practice and as an elementary school teacher. Of note, Thompson participated in the creation of an all girl’s high school in Nairobi, Kenya, while serving as a Board Member of Reach One Mission International in Marietta, Georgia. Thompson is a May 2015 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law. She received her bachelor’s degree and Master of Arts in Executive Leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. During her law school career, she worked at the Family Violence Clinic and the Probate Court in Athens, Georgia.