Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna M. Barnes of Tupelo was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour on July 26, 2004, to a vacancy on the Court. She was elected in November 2006, and re-elected in November 2010 and November 2018. She became Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals on February 1, 2019. She is the first woman Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. Born in Natchez, Judge Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 from the University of Mississippi, summa cum laude, with majors in classical civilizations and English. Judge Barnes obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1985. She was a member of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity and a research editor of Mississippi Law Journal. Judge Barnes is a member of the University of Mississippi Lamar Order. For more than 18 years, Judge Barnes practiced law with Mitchell, McNutt and Sams in Tupelo with concentrations in appellate practice, real estate, health care, employment discrimination, Section 1983 litigation and professional liability defense. Admitted to the practice of law in Mississippi in 1985, Judge Barnes is qualified to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and all Mississippi state courts. She is a member of the Mississippi Bar and the Lee County Bar Association. She has served as president of both the Lee County Bar Association and the Lee County Young Lawyers Association. Judge Barnes was honored as the 2019 recipient of the Susie Blue Buchanan Award. The annual award, presented by the Mississippi Bar’s Women in the Profession Committee, honors an outstanding woman lawyer who has achieved professional excellence and has actively paved the way to success for other women lawyers.
Gabriel works in the Consulting Department at Postlethwaite & Netterville in Baton Rouge. Gabriel joined the firm in 2019. Gabriel’s practice focuses on financial consulting and valuation advisory services. Gabriel assists clients with valuations of closely held businesses, transaction advisory, matrimonial dissolution analysis, and economic damage analysis. Gabriel has experience performing business valuations in estate and gift matters, litigation, transactions, and shareholder disputes. In addition, Gabriel has experience providing financial consulting services related to economic damages, forensic accounting and asset tracing, financial forecasting and modeling, and due diligence.
Mr. Kaplan has more than 45 years of experience in the areas of forensic accounting, business valuation and litigation consulting.
He has served as an expert in numerous litigation matters, including business litigation, professional malpractice matters, fraud and embezzlement, intellectual property, marital dissolution, loss of earnings, employment matters, and partner and shareholder disputes. He is called upon regularly to testify in court as an expert witness. Mr. Kaplan has also served as a court appointed expert and accounting referee.
AJ is an Associate Director in the Consulting Department at Postlethwaite & Netterville. AJ joined the firm in 2014. AJ’s practice focuses on financial consulting and valuation advisory services. AJ assists clients with valuations of closely held businesses, transaction advisory, matrimonial dissolution analysis, and economic damage analysis. AJ has experience performing business valuations in estate and gift matters, litigation, transactions, and shareholder disputes. In addition, AJ has experience providing financial consulting services related to economic damages, forensic accounting and asset tracing, financial forecasting and modeling, and due diligence. AJ has contributed to numerous written opinions related to economic damages and valuations of closely-held businesses. AJ brings considerable training and experience to projects through his study to obtain the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts’ Certified Valuation Analyst credential (CVA).
Samantha is a member of Butler Snow's Tax Group and focuses her practice on estate and trust planning, international tax and trust planning, estate administration, and taxation law.
Sean M. Sarsfield
Sean Sarsfield, is a Director with BKD’s Forensics & Valuation Services division and leads its Houston practice, providing forensic accounting, fraud investigation, business busines interruption and litigation support services. In addition to being a CPA, Sean has the following accreditations: CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst), CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics), and CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner). For over twenty years Sean has provided advice to attorneys, executives, and shareholders to assist them throughout the dispute process. He has extensive experience guiding his clients through the duration of the legal process, from initial fact gathering and discovery through arbitration, mediation, and trail. This includes preparation for the deposition of fact and opposing expert witnesses, providing financial opinions through expert witness reports and testimony, and assistance with trial preparation.
Susan L. Steffey is a Member with Watkins & Eager in Jackson. She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1987 and to the Mississippi Bar in 1991. She is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Mississippi and Florida, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Choctaw Tribal Court. Before joining the firm in 1991, Susan practiced in Tampa, Florida, with the law firm of Sessums & Mason (1987-90), and served as law clerk to The Honorable Rhesa H. Barksdale, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1990-91). Susan's practice has included both federal and state court litigation in the areas of pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, medical malpractice, general product liability, and personal injury. She has extensive experience in novel, complex divorce matters and pre-/post-postnuptial agreements. Susan also assists parties and their attorneys in resolving domestic cases through mediation and is listed in the Mississippi Bar Mediator's Directory.