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The Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award

The Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award was established in 1989, on the 10th anniversary of the founding of the AWA, to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to women in the legal profession. The award originally was designated the “Frances Grant Loring Award,” and the recipient was Frances Grant Loring in recognition of her courage, vision, humor, faith and dedication. At Ms. Loring's request, the award was designated the “Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award” in honor of the first woman elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives.
The Honorable Diane K. Vescovo
2020 Marion Griffin-Frances Loring
Award Honoree

Past Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award Recipients


1989       Frances Grant Loring

1990       The Honorable Martha Craig "Cissy"                       Daughtrey

1991       Gail O. Mathes

1992       The Honorable Julia S. Gibbons

1993       The Honorable Karen R. Williams

1994       The Honorable Bernice B. Donald

1995       Blanchard E. Tual

1996       The Honorable Penny J. White

1997       Dorothy J. Pounders

1998       Ellen B. Vergos

1999       The Honorable Janice M. Holder

2000       Veronica F. Coleman

2001       The Honorable Carol J. Chumney

2002       Linda L. Holmes

2003       The Honorable Kay Spalding Robilio

2004       Susan Clark

2005       The Honorable Rita L. Stotts

2006       Barbara Zoccola

2007       Amy J. Amundsen

2008       Ruby R. Wharton

2010       Professor Janet L. Richards

2011       The Honorable Donna M. Fields 

2012       Amy P. Weirich

2013       The Honorable Paulette J. Delk

2014       Linda Warren Seely

2015       The Honorable Holly Kirby

2016       Maureen Holland

2017       Mary Wolff

2018       The Honorable Claudia Haltom

2019       Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg

2020       The Honorable Diane K. Vescovo

In 1977, the Honorable Diane K. Vescovo graduated with highest honors from the University of Virginia.  She continued her education by attending what is now The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, receiving her juris doctor in 1980.  While in law school, Judge Vescovo served as one of the first female Editor-in-Chiefs of The University of Memphis Law Review.  Upon graduation, Judge Vescovo remained in Memphis, serving as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Harry W. Welford, then U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.  For the next six years, Judge Vescovo worked with her father, Lloyd C. Kirkland, Jr.  Beginning in 1987, Judge Vescovo left private practice and served as in-house litigation counsel for International Paper Company for six years.  Judge Vescovo then returned to private practice, becoming a partner at Wolff, Ardis, P.C.


In 1995, Judge Vescovo was appointed to the bench as a federal magistrate judge for the Western District of Tennessee, making her the first female federal magistrate judge in the district.  Since her appointment, Judge Vescovo has served three consecutive eight-year terms as a federal magistrate judge and was named Chief Magistrate Judge in November 2014.


At age 17, Judge Vescovo opined that “all women should have a choice in whether to be . . . involved in the world, with all the rights and privileges of men.”  As such, it is no surprise that she has dedicated her time to organizations which seek to support women, minorities, and her community as a whole.  Judge Vescovo served on the Memphis Bar Association’s Committee on Minorities in the Profession from 1991-1992 and has been a member of the Association of Women Attorneys since her law school graduation in 1980.  She has also served as a Memphis Area Legal Services Campaign for Equal Justice Cabinet Member as well as on the Lawyers Committee for the National Civil Rights Museum and on the Youth Villages Board of Directors.


Judge Vescovo also has a long history of participating in various professional associations and engaging in community activities.  She is a member of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association and served on its Board of Directors for several years as the Sixth Circuit representative, is a master member of the Leo Bearman, Sr. American Inn of Court, and is the past chair of the Memphis Bar Association Bench Bar Conference.   


Judge Vescovo is also a proud Memphis alumna.  She has served on The University of Memphis Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors, The University of Memphis School of Law Alumni Board as president, and The University of Memphis School of Law Advisory Board.  Judge Vescovo aided in re-locating the law school and served as Co-Chair of the Grand Opening Gala for the new law school building.  Judge Vescovo was also instrumental in implementing the Pillars of Excellence Awards Dinner, which aims to recognize those who have given significant service to the legal profession and community.


During her tenure, Judge Vescovo has dedicated her efforts to hiring newly graduated law students from The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, ushering in further generations of legal professionals in the Memphis community.  Judge Vescovo has also contributed to the Memphis legal community by giving numerous presentations in the fields of e-discovery, technological advancements, ethics, and mediation.


Judge Vescovo has won several awards throughout her career including the Young Lawyer’s Division Outstanding Judge of the Year Award in 2010 and the University of Memphis Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. 


While not on the bench, Judge Vescovo enjoys tennis, bicycling, traveling, and spending time with her loving family.

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