About Us

About Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC

When facing challenging legal issues, choose to work with the trusted attorneys at Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC. We serve the Memphis metropolitan area, West Tennessee, and Northern Mississippi.
Don L. Dowden

Don L. Dowden

Don L. Dowden is the founding partner of the law firm of Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC. He has over 42 years in the practice of law focusing primarily in the areas of personal injury litigation and the general practice of law. Mr. Dowden has been an active member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Association. He has made numerous presentations in seminars in the areas of personal injury litigation and workers’ compensation. Mr. Dowden is a Rule 31 listed General Civil Mediator. Besides representing clients in the areas of personal injury, he and other members of his law firm assist clients in the preparation of wills.
 
Mr. Dowden received his B.S. degree in Finance in 1962 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After graduating, he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy for 3 ½ years, where he served aboard a ship in the Pacific for 1 ½ years and was honorably discharged in 1965. After his service in the armed forces, Mr. Dowden was employed as a claims adjuster with Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. specializing in insurance casualty claims.
 
Mr. Dowden obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Memphis, formerly Memphis State University, in 1971 and has practiced law continuously in the Memphis area for the past 42 years. Aside from the practice of law, Mr. Dowden obtained his pilot’s license and is currently an avid sailor and a member of various sailing associations.

Don can be reached at ddowden@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
Patricia M. Worley

Patricia M. Worley

Patricia M. Worley has been a member/shareholder in the law firm of Dowden, Worley Jewell & Olswing, PLLC since its inception in 2007. Prior to 2007, she practiced law with the founding member of the firm, Don L. Dowden, for 15 years. Patricia received her law degree from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1990 and has concentrated her law practice primarily in the area of family law representing clients in divorce, child custody, child support, and alimony cases. She has served as court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem for children in the circuit, chancery and juvenile courts of Shelby and Tipton counties in Tennessee. Patricia became a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 certified Family Law Mediator in 2000 and has assisted countless lawyers and clients throughout the Mid-South in the amicable settlement of their family law disputes through the mediation process. She is enrolled to practice in all state, local, and federal courts in Tennessee and has been sworn into practice before the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
 
Prior to entering law school, Patricia earned a B.S. degree from the University of Memphis in 1971 and later earned two nursing degrees, a B.S.N. and an M.S.N. from the University of Tennessee College of Health Sciences in Memphis, Tennessee. She practiced as a certified nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist at LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center. While at LeBonheur, she held an adjunct faculty position at the University of Tennessee College of Health Sciences and taught developmental pediatrics and nutrition to nursing and medical students. Additionally, she assisted in the development of the triage system at LeBonheur and co-authored two published articles concerning the triage system. Patricia also served as a member of the LeBonheur Child Abuse and Neglect Review Team.

Patricia is an active member in the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Association. She has held leadership positions in the Memphis Bar Association Family Law Section and is active in the Memphis Bar Association Alternate Dispute Resolution Section. She has been a speaker at and has made numerous presentations at family law seminars sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association.
 
Patricia has actively served the Memphis community in a legal capacity by taking pro bono referrals from the Memphis Area Legal Services and the Community Legal Center of Memphis. She served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Parents and Children until it was dissolved in 2010. Through her extensive education, years of practicing law, and community involvement, Patricia has earned the respect of her peers and has developed good working relationships with other professionals who participate in resolving legal disputes, including, but not limited to, psychologists, educators, physicians, toxicologists, and financial planners.
 
Pat can be reached at pmworley@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
Melinda Plass Jewell

Melinda Plass Jewell

Melinda Plass Jewell is a native Memphian who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1983. She attended the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and received her law license in 1987. After receiving her law license, she was enrolled in all state, local, and federal courts in Tennessee. She is a member of the Memphis Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association Family Law Section, Memphis Bar Association Alternative Resolution Section and the Tennessee Bar Association. Melinda has been a member/shareholder in the law firm of Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC since its inception in 2007.
 
Melinda has focused her continuing legal education primarily in the areas of family law and alternative dispute resolution. Divorce and child custody cases make up the majority of her law practice. She has handled complex adoption and termination of parental right cases and frequently appears in the juvenile courts in custody and child support disputes. She has represented clients before the Tennessee Appellate Courts. Furthermore, she has been appointed by trial courts to serve as and has served as Guardian Ad Litem in child custody cases. As a result of her years of experience in practicing law, Melinda has worked with child psychologists, toxicologists, educators, physicians, adult psychologists, psychiatrists, tax advisors, financial planners, accountants, and other professionals who participate in resolving child custody, divorce, and other family law-related cases. Melinda frequently mediates child custody and divorce cases for other attorneys. She is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 certified Family Law and General Civil Mediator. In addition to practicing law, Melinda is active as a volunteer in her community. She previously was a member and officer of the Sassy Fras chapter of the TWIGS of LeBonheur. She served on the Board of Directors of TWIGS of LeBonheur, first in the capacity as the Enchanted Forest Gala chairman and later, as the president of the TWIGS of LeBonheur. TWIGS is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. During her tenure as a TWIGS leader, the TWIGS of LeBonheur donated the funds to buy LeBonheur Children’s Hospital its first ambulance and donated funds to buy several “giraffe” beds for LeBonheur’s neonatal unit. Melinda was a Girl Scout troop leader for 7 years in her church Girl Scout Service Unit. She has been active in fund raising efforts for her church and her children’s schools for many years. Much of her community involvement, volunteer activities, and years of law practice have focused on children and pursuing the best interests of children. Melinda can be reached at mpjewell@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075. 
Gordon B. Olswing

Gordon B. Olswing

Gordon Olswing is from Memphis, Tennessee and has been in the private practice of law since 1986. He received his undergraduate degree in business with an emphasis on accounting from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1977. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Gordon was employed by a national and large regional certified public accounting firm, where he assisted clients with business and tax matters, including, but not limited to, audit engagements, the preparation of business tax returns and financial statements, the preparation of business plans, and with the evaluation of business and accounting procedures.
 
Gordon attended the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and Moot Court Board; he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1986. After attending law school, Gordon graduated from the Mid-South School of Banking in 1990. In addition to his private practice, he currently serves as an assistant Shelby County attorney and Shelby County Divorce Referee in the circuit and chancery courts for the Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis. Gordon is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 certified Family Law and General Civil Mediator.

Gordon is enrolled to practice law before all federal, state, and local courts in Tennessee and before the United States Tax Court. He has been a consultant to Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Division of the City of Memphis, Tennessee as to real estate and commercial law transactions and litigation matters. As an assistant Shelby County, Tennessee attorney, he assisted with the structuring, documentation, and negotiation of the relocation to Memphis, Tennessee and other agreements regarding an NBA franchise, now known as the Memphis Grizzlies. He has represented clients before banks and other financial institutions; consulted with the bond department of a major banking institution as to the legalities of various investment documents; negotiated with the General Counsel to and the Chief Accountant of the Securities Exchange Commission as to accounting and disclosure issues and disputes and he has drafted proposed municipality and banking legislation. Furthermore, as part of his business litigation practice, Gordon has negotiated and structured documents to comply with the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in addition to having handled complex banking, merger, acquisition, and capital rising matters.

Gordon’s financial background has been a positive asset to his law practice. He has focused his law practice primarily on business and probate matters. He frequently represents clients in probate court, and he has been appointed by probate court judges to serve as Guardian Ad Litem for minors or incompetent individuals. He has served as a conservator for individuals who are unable to manage their own affairs and has assisted numerous families in the Probate Court in establishing conservator and guardianships, in contesting and probating wills and in the administration of both simple and complex estate matters.
 
Gordon has been and is a member of various charitable and nonprofit organizations of which he has often served on the Board of Directors and on numerous committees.

Gordon can be reached at gbolswing@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
G. Chadwick Reeves

G. Chadwick Reeves

G. Chadwick Reeves began his professional career as a tax accountant with the Memphis office of PricewaterhouseCoopers after graduating from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Accountancy (1997) and Master of Accountancy (1998).
 
After working a year and a half as an accountant, Chad decided to continue his education by attending law school at Louisiana State University. Chad’s initial plan was to become a tax attorney; however, after his first year of law school, Chad decided to become a “real lawyer” and litigate cases. Chad graduated in 2003 with a Juris Doctorate from LSU.

Chad joined Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC in November 2008. He relishes that there're few professions where you can say you either “won” or “lost” at the end of the day, and being a litigator is one of them. Chad has worked at previous law firms with various areas of specialty, honing his craft as a litigator and his knowledge of the law, which has been critical in building the successful law practice he has today.

Chad mainly concentrates his law practice in the areas of personal injury (wrongful death, auto accidents, slip and fall cases, and worker’s compensation), family law (divorce, custody, child support, post-divorce modifications, adoption and contempt matters), and bankruptcy.

Chad is licensed in Tennessee and Mississippi. He is also admitted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee and the Northern District of Mississippi. He has been a Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator since 2009.
 
Chad has represented NFL athletes in various legal matters. He has helped recover millions of dollars for injured individuals throughout the Mid-South and was lead counsel for the defendant in the first same-sex divorce case in Mississippi. Chad is married with a son and daughter.
 
Chad can be reached at creeves@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
Kevin Cavender

Kevin Cavender

Kevin Cavender is a native of Macedonia, Mississippi, and graduated from West Union High School as Star Student in 1989. He earned B.A. degrees in both History and Journalism from the University of Mississippi in 1993 and then taught high school history in public schools in North Mississippi for four years. In 2001, Kevin graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he was a Moot Court Board officer and a teaching assistant in legal research and writing.
 
After several years of practice, Kevin joined Spicer Flynn & Rudstrom PLLC’s Southaven office as an associate in 2005 before forming Taylor and Cavender as in-house counsel for Direct General Insurance Company in 2008 in Memphis. In 2012, he joined Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC and currently represents clients in the areas of personal injury, personal injury defense, divorce, child custody, business litigation as well as criminal matters. Kevin is licensed to practice in both Tennessee and Mississippi.
 
Kevin currently lives in Holly Springs, Mississippi with his wife, Stephanie, and their two daughters. He is an active member of First Baptist Church of Holly Springs, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Preserve Marshall County and Holly Springs.
 
Kevin can be reached at jkcavender@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
Kathy Laughter Laizure

Kathy Laughter Laizure

Kathy Laughter Laizure is a native North Carolinian and received her undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kathy has lived in Memphis since 1987. She graduated first in her class from the University of Memphis (then Memphis State University), Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1992.
 
Since graduating law school, Kathy has practiced in various areas of civil litigation but focused her practice in the area of family law for approximately nine years, then practiced exclusively in the area of employment law for approximately nine years, as in-house counsel for a major corporation. In that capacity, she defended claims of all areas of employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and successfully defended a major wage and hour class action. She has also conducted management training in state and federal employment law compliance and litigation avoidance. Kathy is focusing her practice now in both the areas of family and employment law.
 
When not practicing law, Kathy spends time with her husband and two sons, and she is active in her church and community. She served as Board Chair for two years and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the Community Legal Center, an organization that provides pro bono representation for the working poor. She also regularly participates in fundraising efforts for St. Jude Children’s Research hospital and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
 
Kathy can be reached at klaizure@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
S. Scott Taylor

S. Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor was born and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and graduated from Father Ryan High School. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. In 1988, Scott received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis (then known as Memphis State University), Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
 
Since graduating, Scott has been working for several insurance companies in their claim departments for approximately ten years. In 1998, Scott transitioned to the practice of law in civil litigation, as a litigation attorney for Allstate Insurance Company, defending Allstate policyholders in western Tennessee Courts. Since leaving Allstate, Scott continued to practice civil litigation in the areas of insurance defense, plaintiff personal injury, workers’ compensation and disability. Scott joined Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC, in 2015 and is focusing his practice now in personal injury, worker's compensation, disability, criminal defense, and contractual disputes with insurance carriers.
 
Scott is admitted to practice in all local courts as well as the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. He is also a member of the Memphis Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association.
 
When not practicing law, Scott enjoys spending his time with his wife, Marilyn and their family.
 
Scott can be reached at staylor@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
Sarah Johnson Carter

Sarah Johnson Carter

Sarah Johnson Carter grew up in Memphis attending Saint Agnes Academy. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Mississippi State University. Sarah received her Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law and became licensed to practice law in Tennessee in 2011.
 
Sarah is admitted to practice in all local courts as well as the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee and the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. She is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Association for Justice, American Bar Association, and an honorary member of the University of Memphis Alumni Association.
 
Sarah joined Dowden, Worley, Jewell & Olswing, PLLC in 2016 where her law practice is focused in the area of family law representing men and women in many aspects, including litigation of divorce, contempt and post-divorce enforcement, child custody, child visitation, alimony, child support, protective orders, adoption, child relocation, termination of parental rights, legitimation, paternity, prenuptial agreements, and postnuptial agreements. She has been serving as court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem since 2011 and became a certified Rule 31 Family Law Mediator in 2015. Appointed by Mayor AC Warton in 2015, Sarah continues to serve as a commissioner for the City of Memphis Civil Service Commission.
 
Sarah can be reached at sjcarter@dwjlawfirm.com or 901-755-8075.
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