Mr. Downard worked for the Social Security Administration for over 11 years prior to receiving his law degree. Since then, he has spent another 8 years handling Social Security and Disability cases. That's nearly 20 years of direct experience working both for and against the Social Security Administration.
At Downard & Associates, our team of lawyers and staff bring similar experience to our other areas of practice as well, including criminal defense, domestic relations, personal injury, and more. Contact us today for more information.
Our goal at Downard & Associates, PLLC is to treat every client with the respect every person deserves. We focus our talents on helping the person and not just handling the case. As our client, you can expect us to resolve your issue promptly in the most favorable manner possible.
Downard & Associates, PLLC is made up of real lawyers working hard for real people. We are not a law firm made of stuffy lawyers, but a team of professionals dedicated to helping our community.
David Downard, Firm President
Hello, my name is David Downard. I was born in Springfield, Tennessee in 1968. I would like to tell you why the Disability Program is important to me. My father died when I was (12) twelve years old, and I was raised by my grandparents. I received Social Security Benefits which, in turn, financially helped me graduate high school.
After I graduated high school, I went to college. While in college, I was married. We had a son that was born with a disability. I worked full time, but we still qualified for SSI and Medicaid. His medical bills were paid (in excess of $1,000,000.00) while I was able to graduate. He died of heart failure in 1991. That year, I decided to work for the Social Security Administration and started as a service representative.
At the same time, my grandmother applied for disability and was denied. I had no idea how to help her win. She gave up on trying to get her disability. She was (60) sixty years old.
I continued working for the Social Security Administration. After awhile, I knew I could help people fight for disability. I enrolled in law school and graduated in 2002.
Since then, I have committed myself to disabled people who need guidance to obtain the monetary and medical benefits they deserve.
Jim Tiller, Attorney and Office Manager
A resident of Tennessee for the past 20 years, Mr. Tiller worked his way through law school and passed the bar immediately upon graduating. Mr. Tiller is dedicated to protect, preserve and defend his clients’ legal interests. He believes through open, honest communication, hard work and preparation, he can provide dedicated, compassionate service that will achieve results.
Jim Tiller continues to focus his legal practice in the area of social security disability, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice and general negligence and tort claims.
Jim is an active member of the Tennessee Bar Association and Tennessee Association for Justice. Jim is a member of the Tennessee State Bar, and is admitted to practice law in the Tennessee Supreme Court and United States District Court of Middle Tennessee.
Jim serves the local community by being a volunteer and sitting on the Board of Directors at Genesis Learning Centers, a non-profit school in Nashville which provides specialty programs, schools and services for children and adolescents who are experiencing emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges.
Robert Parker, Attorney and Technical Issue Manager
Mr. Parker is an associate with the firm. His practice focuses primarily in the areas of Social Security Disability/SSI, Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation, Medical Malpractice, and Veteran's Disability Claims. He is accredited by the VA to represent Veterans in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for VA Benefits.
A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Mr. Parker obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Lambuth University in 2004 and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2008 from the Nashville School of Law.
Bobby Parker has successfully litigated multiple cases for auto accident victims and disability clients.
Mr. Parker is a member of the Nashville Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association. He is admitted to practice before all Tennessee trial and appellate courts.
Member of NOSSCR (National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives)
Mr. Parker is currently the #1 ranked tennis player in the South in the 5.0 singles division and the 9.0 doubles division.
Ms. Benson is an associate attorney with the firm. Her practice focuses primarily in the areas of social security disability/SSI, family law, worker's compensation and personal injury.
She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from Middle Tennessee State University and received her Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2006 from the Nashville School of Law.
While attending law school, Ms. Benson served as law clerk for Chancellor Robert Corlew, III and in the Clerk and Master's Office gaining much courtroom exposure in the various Circuit and Chancery courts of Rutherford County.
Ms. Benson is a member of the Nashville Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association and the Andrew Jackson American Inns of Court. She chose Social Security law as her primary focus because of her compassion for disabled individuals who are in need of and deserving of their benefits.
Forrest Jackson, Associate Attorney, Chattanooga
Mr. Jackson's primary area of practice has been in Social Security Disability/SSI. He has successfully represented hundreds of claimants before Administrative Law Judges throughout the Southeastern United States.
A Birmingham, Alabama native, he graduated from Auburn University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance. After completing his undergraduate education, he received his Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Mr. Jackson spent several years practicing law in Birmingham, while gaining valuable experience in many areas.
Since September 2009, Mr. Jackson has been practicing Social Security Disability law nearly exclusively. He is licensed in all Alabama state courts and admitted in all Federal Courts of Alabama. He is also a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR).
Derrell Payne, Public Affairs Director
Derrell Payne has more than 28 years experience with the Social Security Administration assisting the public with their social security claims.
Over the course of his professional career, he has helped more than 10,000 people with their disability and social security benefit claims.
The most memorable of his accomplishments was starting “Social Security Morning Line” television program which had loyal following.
He has now started a new public service program, “Let’s Talk Benefits.” The program features special guests and takes live on-air callers to answer their questions regarding social security, disability, and related topics. The bi-monthly program airs on NewsChannel 5+, currently on Comcast Channel 250 on Mondays from 9 – 10 am.
For more information, check out our new Downard Law SSD blog for links to past programs and other information regarding your legal rights.
Veronica Dismuke Paralegal
Kaplan Center Institute College, Nashville, TN Associate of Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies, ABA Approved 3.54 GPA (Honors) in 2008
Legal Support Areas: Social Security Disability, Worker's Composition, Domestic, Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Bankruptcy Law
Lisa Tittle, Business Manager
Graduate of Hendersonville High School.
Attended Volunteer State Community College.
Spent 30 years in Administrative Management with the Tennessee Department of Health where management responsibilities included budget, personnel, contracts, purchasing and legislative affairs. Retired in June 2008 and joined Downard and Associates in 2010.
Karen K. Chapman, Legal Assistant/Office Manager of Jackson Office
Graduate of Lambuth University with a Bachelor of Science Degree
Legal Support Areas: Social Security Disability
Agnese C. Henderson, Legal Case Manager
Graduate of Hendersonville High School.
Currently pursuing a degree in Psychology.
Spent five years in restaurant management before joining Downard and Associates in 2010.
Celeste Grant, Office Consultant
Graduate of Gallatin High School.
Worked in restaurant management for two years, prior to joining Downard and Associates in 2010.
Tanekia Brown, Administrative Assistant/Paralegal
Graduate of Daymar Institute with an Associates degree in Paralegal Studies.
Legal Support Areas: Social Security Disability
Vicki Johnson, Paralegal/Office Consultant
Hamilton College, Mason City, IA
A.A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies
Attended Riverland Community College in Albert Lea, MN.
A.A.S. degree in Medical Administration. Worked for two years at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a Medical Transcriptionist.
Ginger L. Ecton, Legal Case Manager
Graduate of Owensboro Senior High School.
Worked as Regional Manager for 26.5 years for a Large Formal Wear company.
Martha A. Ruehle, Receptionist / Intake Specialist
Martha has 31 years as a Legal Assistant, specializing in personal injury, medical malpractice, insurance defense, workers’ compensation, real estate, probate, juvenile court and social security disability administration. She served 11 years as a legal assistant/office manager for a family law firm, as well as 4 years with a PI firm handling criminal defense cases.
Kimberly Bush, Receptionist / Intake Specialist
Kimberly worked in her family’s business for 20 years, and she raised a family of 3 boys. She also worked as a Human Resources Director, where she helped people with their benefits.
Annie Burns, Intake Specialist
A.A.S/ degree in Office Administration/Medical Professional from Nashville State Community College.
Worked in the medical field for over 35 years, most recently spent the last 12 years with Fresenious Medical Care Hemodialysis clinic. She joined Downard and Associates in 2013.
Michael Jensen, Intake Specialist / Data Processing
Martin L’Pree Dismuke, Correspondence Specialist
Graduate of LaVergne High School. Attending Tennessee State University for Nursing. Hobbies are football and basketball.