ABA to honor Penny White with its Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award

The American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) will honor Penny White with its Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award.
The award recognizes law professors who have shown commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship and the legal profession, demonstrated by outstanding contributions to the fields of tort, trial practice or insurance law.

The award will be presented at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, during the TIPS Networking Reception on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.

“Penny has a long and distinguished history of service and scholarship. She was an incredible professor that helped shape the next generation of lawyers,” said TIPS Chair Loren Podwill. “We are delighted to recognize her with this Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award.”

Until her retirement in 2022, White was the Elvin E. Overton Distinguished Professor of Law and served as the director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the University of Tennessee College of Law. She taught courses in evidence, trial practice, pretrial litigation and negotiation and assisted with the law school’s various clinical and externship programs.

Before beginning her teaching career, White practiced law in a small firm and was a solo practitioner focusing on criminal defense, civil rights and family law. As a solo practitioner, she successfully argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. After leaving private practice, she served as a judge at every level of the court system in Tennessee, serving as the first female circuit judge in the 1st Judicial District and the second woman to serve on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court.

White has published several articles on evidence, criminal procedure and ethics, including her article “Relinquished Responsibilities,” which was published in Volume 123 of the Harvard Law Review. She also co-authored a bench book for judges on capital trials and solely authored a book on the defense of capital cases, for which she was awarded the Ritchie Award by the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

White received her bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University. She received her LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow, and her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Tennessee Law Review.