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Hellos and Goodbyes in the Law Department 
Late summer saw the departure of two employees with over five years of experience each at the City of Knoxville Law Department – they actually started with the City on the same day! Devin Lyon left to pursue private practice and Crista Cuccaro returned to North Carolina to work for the City of Durham. Cuccaro’s areas of responsibility have been placed with a new employee, Christina Magráns-Tillery, while George Shields will be coming on board this month to assume Lyon’s area of work.

“We were extremely fortunate for five years to have the level of talent we had in Devin and Crista,” said Law Director Charles Swanson. “We are grateful for their contributions to the City and we are confident that Christine and George will bring similar energy and talent, and look forward to seeing them grow in their positions.”

Crista Cuccaro

Devin Lyon

In August, Devin Lyon departed the City, joining the law firm of Arnett, Draper & Hagood as an associate, focusing his practice on medical malpractice defense and other business and financial litigation. Lyon served as a law clerk with the City from 2012 until 2013 as he finished law and business school. He then transitioned to an attorney in the Law Department, representing the City for the past five years through its Community Development, Employee Benefits & Risk Management, Fleet Services, Civil Service, Real Estate Management, and Community Relations Departments, and serving as lead labor and employment counsel.

Crista Cuccaro wrapped up her five years with the City in September and is now working as a staff attorney with the City of Durham, North Carolina. Cuccaro was looking forward to returning to an area where both she and her husband have family; but shared before she left, that she will be visiting Knoxville often for events such as the Big Ears Music Festival.

Cuccaro received her law degree from the University of Tennessee and while there, worked with a variety of organizations: Legal Aid, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the Tennessee Clean Water Network. It was during this time that she first learned about the City’s Law Department and became interested in the variety of meaningful work the position offered. While with the City of Knoxville, Cuccaro worked on land use and zoning, business support, and emerging issues such as short-term rentals and food trucks. ‘I spend my time doing work I really believe in,” said Cuccaro, as she ended her week sharing her collection of office plants with co-workers.

Law Department's Alice in Wonderland theme at the 2018 Chili Challenge

Christina Magráns-Tillery has quickly jumped in as Crista’s replacement, participating as the Cheshire Cat character as part of the Law Department’s Alice in Wonderland theme, in the recent City’s Chili Challenge.

Prior to joining the City, Magráns-Tillery was an attorney at Legal Aid of East Tennessee in Knoxville. She received her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville and her B.A. in Economics, Spanish, and Latin from Rhodes College in Memphis. During law school Magráns-Tillery was a clerk with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands in Oak Ridge, and she was a published member of the University of Tennessee’s Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice.

After law school, Magráns-Tillery served as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission where she worked to help establish legal resources for low-income Tennesseans statewide. In 2014 she accepted a position as a staff attorney with Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Her work at Legal Aid focused on housing matters including discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and the Violence Against Women Act. For her work in housing discrimination, she received the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services New Advocate of the Year Award in 2017. She also worked with the Mountain View Youth Development Center in Dandridge, Tennessee where she advised the youth population on a variety of matters including civil rights, due process, and sentencing issues.

Magráns-Tillery also has served as a volunteer mediator with Community Mediation Services of Anderson County since 2012. She has presented on housing law many times to numerous groups including the Knoxville Community Development Corp., the City of Knoxville, the NAACP, the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless, the Maryville Housing Authority, the Sevier County Bar Association, the Blount County Bar Association, and more.

Magráns-Tillery is a member of the Equality Coalition for Housing Opportunities (ECHO) board, a member of the Knoxville Bar Association and its Diversity Committee, and co-chair of the Barrister’s Diversity Committee. She is a yoga enthusiast and currently resides in Knoxville with her husband and their three dogs.

New additions to the law department. Christina Magráns-Tillery is pictured left and George Shields, right

George Shields began his career with the U.S. Air Force as an Intelligence Officer overseas. Shields holds a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Tennessee and a M.A. in intelligence studies from American Military University. After his military career, Shields attended law school at the University of Tennessee and was a member of the Tennessee Law Review. While in law school, he interned with Senator Lamar Alexander and the Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee and clerked with Hodges, Doughty & Carson.

While working as a law clerk and associate attorney with Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, Shields continued work with Legal Aid of East Tennessee begun in law school. Beginning in July 2016, Shields began full-time work as a staff attorney with Legal Aid. While at Legal Aid, he managed Knox County’s Legal Assistance for the Elderly Program, providing representation, advice, and referral to over 200 seniors. Shields co-coordinates a monthly veteran’s legal clinic, serves as a scoutmaster with Boy Scouts of America and is on the Board of the Cades Cove Preservation Association. Shields was a member of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee and is the immediate past president of the University of Tennessee Young Alumni Council.
Posted by fmcanally On 05 November, 2018 at 12:32 PM