Steve Lister, Partner
Steven Lister moved to Forest Park in 1968 and has resided in Clayton County ever since. He worked as a uniformed police officer and later as a detective with the City of Forest Park from 1970 until 1973 when he was recruited by then District Attorney William H. Ison as an investigator in the Clayton County District Attorney's Office. While serving Clayton County in this capacity Lister was responsible for and participated in a number of investigations involving public corruption and numerous other major investigations which led to indictments and successful prosecutions in high profile cases.
Attending law school while working in the DA's office, Steve Lister was admtted to the Georgia Bar in 1981. He then began prosecuting cases until going into private practice in November of 1982 with David Harris and now judges John Carbo and Harold Benefield. During tenure in the DA's office as a prosecutor, Lister was the primary prosecutor of Cocaine Trafficking cases made at Hartsfield International Airport. He also successfully prosecuted many other crimes ranging from burglary and theft to rape, homicide and child molestation.
Since leaving the District Attorney's office he has been engaged in the exclusive practice of criminal defense for the past 35 years. He has represented a wide spectrum of persons ranging from doctors, lawyers, police officers, and political figures to indigent individuals.
Lister has served as the Municipal Court Judge for the City of Jonesboro from 1990-1991; again from 2008-2010; for the city of Forest Park from 2006-2010. He has also sat on a pro hac basis in the cities of Riverdale, Lake City, and Morrow and the State Court of Clayton County.
Steve Lister has been a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers since 1982, serving a year as vice president; he has maintained membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; is a member of the Clayton County Bar Association since 1981, serving as vice president and president; he is a member of both the Clayton and Henry County Bar associations as well as an approved mentor through the Georgia Supreme Court in the mentor program of the State Bar of Georgia. He is also admitted to practice in the Georgia Court of Appeals and Georgia Supreme Court; the United States 5th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeal; and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Timika Dennis, Partner
Timika Woods Dennis was born in Jacksonville, Florida before moving to Decatur, Georgia where she graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Howard University in 2001 where she graduated magna cum laude. While at Howard, she served as the President of the College of Arts & Science, President of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Chief of Staff of the Undergraduate Student Association as well as a staff writer for both The Hilltop newspaper and The Bison yearbook. Timika also hosted her very own radio show with WHUR called “Mika in the Morning.”
Timika earned her Juris Doctor degree from The University of Georgia School of Law in 2004 where she clerked for Superior Court Judge Steve Jones who is now a jurist of the Federal Bench. She also had the opportunity to work as a summer associate with the law firm of Dawson Cornwell in London, England where she focused on international child abductions. While at the UGA, Timika served as the President of the Black Law Student Association, Secretary of the Student Bar Association and a member of the Georgia Law Democrats. She was the first recipient of the Larry E. Blount award for scholarship and service.
Timika has practiced with Lister & Holt since 2004 and became a junior partner of the firm in 2009. Her practice is devoted solely to criminal defense where she has actively tried over 80 cases and argued numerous motions. Additionally, she has authored several appellate briefs in addition to training and developing staff attorneys. For years, she has volunteered as an attorney coach for the Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition.
Timika is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Clayton County Bar Association as well as the Henry County Bar Association where she serves as the Public Relations Chair. She is admitted to practice law in the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Timika is married to Patrick Lynn Dennis. They live in Jonesboro with their son, Phillip Benjamin.
Scott Holt, Partner
Scott Holt is a lifetime Georgia resident having lived in Henry/Clayton counties since 1968. He was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2000 and practices exclusively criminal law. He interned in the Clayton County Solicitor General’s office while in law school and is very familiar with the personnel and procedures of the State Court having prosecuted under the Third Year Practices Act. He has likewise built a stellar reputation for competence and zealous representation of his clients. He now practices exclusively criminal law.
Prior to passing the Georgia Bar, Holt received his degree in undergraduate studies from National Lewis University in behavioral sciences with emphasis in business management, communications and supervision of upper level employees. He has twenty four years’ experience in the business world.
From 1979 until 1996 he was vice president of International Processing/Darling International which became a publicly held company. During his tenure there, he negotiated and executed several acquisitions, business mergers and negotiated hundreds of contracts. Holt was responsible for personnel policies for the transportation and engineering/maintenance departments. He was responsible for developing personnel policies, employee assistance programs and benefit packages. These duties also included being responsible for seeing that the company complied with equal employment practices. Holt’s responsibilities included supervision responsibilities of over four hundred employees.
Scott Holt is a member of the Clayton County and Henry County Bar associations as well as the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Carrie Richardson Lead Attorney
Carrie graduated from The University of West Georgia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Minor in Philosophy. Carrie went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from Atlanta's John Marshall Law School. While attending law school, Carrie interned at the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office.
Upon graduating from law school in 2013, Carrie managed a successful solo practice concentrating on criminal defense and family law. Carrie is a zealous advocate for her clients.
When not tirelessly advocating for her clients, Carrie enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and taking day trips to the park with her dogs.
Kyra Lynn Attorney
Kyra Lynn is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, living there most of her childhood before moving to Stone Mountain, Georgia, where she graduated from Stephenson High School. She then attended the University of South Florida as a Journalism major and Modern Dance minor, ultimately receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication/Broadcast Journalism, Cum Laude, from Clark Atlanta University in 2005. Ms. Lynn went on to earn her Juris Doctor degree from Mercer Law School in 2015, and is an active member of the Georgia Bar.
Ms. Lynn recognized her passion for working directly with the community early in her legal career by participating in various programs including Study Abroad in Sydney, Australia where she pursued Immigration and Refugee Law. Subsequently, she worked as an intern at the Georgia Legal Services Program with the Community Development of Rural Georgia Project, and with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) at DeKalb County Juvenile Court handling child deprivation and delinquency cases. Here, Ms. Lynn assisted a team of attorneys, guardian ad litems, and case managers in determining the fitness of parents receiving custody back of their children in over 30 cases.
While attending Mercer Law School, Ms. Lynn was an active participant in moot court, placing top 4 out of 64 in Mercer Law’s Annual Lawson Moot Court Competition, and serving as moot court coach to the NBLSA Frederick Douglas Moot Court team leading them to the top 8 out of 32 national teams in 2015. She served as social action chair in the Black Law Student Association, was a member of the Association of Women Law Students, and the recipient of the 2014 Mercer Law Summer Fellowship Stipend.
Prior to joining Lister and Holt, Ms. Lynn worked as a Social Security Disability attorney where she was primarily responsible for litigating social security disability hearings, and drafting appellate letter briefs to the Social Security Administration Appeals Council. In her spare time, she enjoys performing liturgical dance, and seeks to continue her work with at-risk youth to improve their lives and conditions of their communities.
Mary Elizabeth Horton Lead Attorney
Mary Beth was born and raised in Augusta, GA where she graduated from Augusta Preparatory Day School. She then attended Oglethorpe University, where she played soccer and was a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Academic Team before graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2011. Mary Beth received her law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2015.
While in law school, Mary Beth developed a keen interest in criminal law. She interned for the District Attorney’s Office, in Augusta, GA under the Third Year Practice Act, as well the Cobb County Solicitor’s Office in Marietta, GA under the Graduate Act. She received the CALI Excellence Award in Trial Advocacy & Writing her second year in law school. During her time interning, Mary Beth gained valuable experience in criminal law and through these experiences she has developed a strong passion for criminal defense work.
Mary Beth was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2015 and is licensed to practice in all State and Superior Courts. She has a history of working in civil litigation at James Lee Ford, PC.
Mary Beth comes from a military family. Her father is a Colonel in the United States Army. She is interested in advocating for military veterans and families. In her spare time she likes to play soccer at the Atlanta Silverbacks Park, travel, and spend time with her friends and family.
Shannin Render Attorney
Shannin Render grew up in Savannah, GA where he graduated from Jenkins High School in 2009.
Shannin then attended Georgia State University where he attended the J. Mack Robinson College of Business. While at Georgia State he was involved in intramural sports, The Pre-Law club, and different community based charitable groups. In 2013 Shannin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business.
Shannin is a 2016 graduate of Florida Coastal School of Law. While in Law School, Shannin interned at the Duval County Courthouse doing family mediations. He then moved back to Atlanta and interned at the Cobb County Juvenile Court. Shannin is an active member in the community and he still plays team sports weekly
Cherise Challenger Attorney
Cherise Challenger was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she attended Chicago State University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.
Cherise graduated from the University of Arkansas, School of Law where she excelled in the Criminal Defense and Criminal Prosecution clinic as well as the Negotiations and Trial Advocacy Competitions. During her law school summers, Cherise clerked with a United States District Judge and a criminal defense law firm. As a result, she grew a strong passion for criminal defense work. After graduation in 2008, Cherise moved to San Antonio, Texas and worked for Thomson Reuters in their I.T. legal department.
In San Antonio, Cherise met her husband, a soldier in the U.S. Army and moved from Texas to Washington D.C. as a military spouse. In D.C., Cherise worked as a contract attorney and later took a legal position at Vinson & Elkins law firm.
Recently, Cherise and her family moved to Atlanta, Georgia after her husband retired from the U.S. Army. They decided to make Georgia their permanent residence since her husband is from Atlanta, and they have family here.
Cherise is currently barred in Texas, Washington D.C., Georgia, and the Supreme Court of the United States. She is a member of each bar where she holds a license as well as a member of the MSJDN (military spouse juris doctor network).
She is enthusiastic to represent her clients with zealous and the utmost professionalism.
In her spare time, Cherise loves spending time with family, friends, and the family bulldog.
Dane Uhelski Attorney
Dane Uhelski was born and raised in Tennessee. In 2003 he graduated from Collegedale Academy, and in 2007 he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a B.A. in English and a minor in Philosophy. Subsequently he moved to Atlanta to attend Emory University School of Law, where he earned his J.D. in 2011. He has lived in Georgia ever since.
While at Emory, Dane worked as a legal research assistant for Criminal Law Professor Martha Grace Duncan and taught LSAT classes for The Princeton Review. He also spent a summer in Tennessee as a judicial clerk for Court Director Bowman LeNoir at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. After earning his law degree, Dane spent several years in education management, teaching the LSAT, MCAT, GRE, ACT, and SAT in various locations throughout the Southeast. More recently he interned at the Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender (Juvenile Division), where he gained substantial litigation experience assisting in the representation of indigent juvenile defendants accused of a wide range of misdemeanor and felony offenses.
Dane was admitted to the Georgia Bar in November 2017. Before joining Lister & Holt as a Staff Attorney in 2018, he represented misdemeanor criminal defendants as an apprentice attorney for the McLendon Law Firm in Atlanta and served as a dispossessory answer clinician at the Fulton County Housing Court Assistance Center. Dane is licensed to practice in the Superior Courts and all lower Courts of Georgia. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and composing music on his keyboard and guitar.
Averiel Jackson Attorney
Justin Moore Lead Attorney
Justin grew up in Bullitt County, Kentucky. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. In 2008, Justin graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law. While attending the University of Dayton he served all 3 years on the Student Bar Association executive committee and the Student Board of Governors. While attending law school he had the opportunity to work as a law clerk for several criminal and domestic relations law firms as well as the Montgomery County Public Defender's Office in Dayton, Ohio. He also gained experience representing indigent clients at the University of Dayton Law Clinic. Prior to taking the Arizona Bar in 2009, Justin interned with the Office of the Arizona Attorney General. Justin is currently admitted to the practice of law in Kentucky, Arizona, and Georgia.
Before joining Lister and Holt in 2017, Justin worked as a Deputy Public Defender in Maricopa County, Arizona, and as an associate attorney in a private criminal defense firm in Phoenix, Arizona. His practice is devoted solely to criminal defense. Justin is passionate about protecting the rights of indigent clients and the mentally ill.
Justin and his wife moved to Georgia in 2017. They currently live in Atlanta with their two dogs, Leela and Lucy. In his spare time he enjoys playing sports, reading, cooking for his wife, and spending time with his family and friends.
Kim Gross Sr Attorney
Kim Gross is a native of Clayton County, Georgia, growing up in Jonesboro. Kim graduated from Jonesboro High School, participating in the Mock Trial program where the Jonesboro Team competed for the first time in the National Competition in 1987.
Kim received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Georgia State University where she graduated cum laude. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in 1994. She interned with the County Attorney’s Office in Bibb County during law school and was actively involved with the Christian Legal Society.
After graduation, Kim came back to Clayton County and worked as a Law Clerk for Chief Superior Court Judge William H. Ison. She then became an Assistant Solicitor with Clayton County in 1995, prosecuting cases in Clayton County State Court and handling Appeals in the Georgia Court of Appeals for the next ten years. She returned to the Mock Trial program as a volunteer attorney coach and served on the State Bar Mock Trial Committee, and as a volunteer evaluator for the program.
In 2005, Kim left the Solicitor’s Office and began working with Lister and Holt, conducting training seminars for attorneys. In 2006, she went to work for the Public Defender Standards Council in Spalding County, representing clients in misdemeanor and felony cases in Spalding County Juvenile Court.
In 2018 Kim joined Lister and Holt as a Senior Attorney. Kim trains and develops staff attorneys and searches for ways to better protect the rights of our clients.
Kim is admitted to practice in the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court.
Leanna Marino Attorney
Leanna Marino grew up in Upstate New York. She graduated from Liberty University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History. She then received her Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
After her first year of law school, Leanna interned with the District Attorney’s Office in Boone, North Carolina. She obtained her third year practice certificate and actively participated in the misdemeanor criminal cases. During her last semester of law school, Leanna participated in Wake Forest’s litigation clinic where she interned with the Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board. Throughout these internships, Leanna was able to actively participate in the cases pursuant to a third year practice license. Leanna was also a staff member on the Journal of Business and Intellectual Property throughout law school.
Leanna graduated a semester early from law school, took the Georgia Bar Exam in February, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in May 2018. When not working, Leanna enjoys being outside and traveling. Lately, all her free time is spent exploring the great city of Atlanta.
George Graves Attorney
George was born in New Jersey and spent his early years living in Burlington Township, NJ. He moved to Marietta, Georgia when he was 6 years old. He graduated from Sprayberry High School in 2010. While in high school, George was an excellent student and involved in numerous extra-curricular activities, including Freshman Basketball, Student Government, Men of Distinction, S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions), and Mock Trial. He then attended Georgia State University where he majored in Political Science and received his Bachelor of Arts and Sciences Degree in 2014. Immediately following high school, George attended Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where he was a member of the Criminal Law Society and Sports and Entertainment Law Society. George rigorously pursued his goals and ambitions and earned his Juris Doctor in 2017. George is a member of the Georgia Bar.
George’s earliest influence was his father, who has been an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for over 20 years. Respect and an understanding of the law were instilled in him at an early age and from that his desire to pursue law as a career began to grow. His passion was further fueled while participating in Mock Trial at Sprayberry High School. During his years of competition, George was twice awarded Outstanding Attorney and was nominated team captain during his junior and senior year.
Through excellent internship opportunities, George has gained a great deal of exposure to various areas of law, such as Criminal Defense, Family Law, Sports and Entertainment, as well as Employment and Legislative Sessions. He acquired valuable experience while interning at top notch firms such Cohen, Cooper, Estep, & Allen L.L.C., The Mabra Firm, Karen Williams P.C., and with the Minnesota Vikings Legal Department, where George has interned twice. George was also one of a few selected into the highly regarded and coveted Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) and was a House of Representatives Intern (Judiciary) where he prepared all documents for bill hearings, researched specific legislation and completed memoranda assigned by Legislators. George has experience drafting motions, subpoenas, and memoranda (Brady motions, discovery motions, notice of appearance of counsel, plea in absentia, subpoena duces tecum, and expert witness qualification letters to federal court, etc.). He has successfully completed many legal research projects regarding specific statutes pertaining to family and employment law, prepared legal documents and filings and created discovery indexes. George is proud to be part of the Lister and Holt team.
In his spare time, George enjoys reading, working out, sports, and spending time with family, friends, and his Husky.
Owen Lynch Attorney
Owen graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Minor in Political Science. Owen received his Juris Doctorate from Atlanta's John Marshall Law School, graduating Magna Cum Laude. While attending law school, Owen worked as a research assistant for several faculty members and completed two internships under the supervision of Atlanta attorneys practicing criminal defense as well as other areas of law.
After graduating from law school in 2016, Owen worked for legislative session at The Georgia Senate as a Legislative Aide. Afterwards, he took a position as an Assistant Public Defender under the supervision of the Georgia Public Defender Council, working in the Office of the Circuit Public Defender for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. That experience strengthened his resolve to become a successful advocate for people charged with criminal offenses who are unable to afford counsel.
Owen is proud to be a member of the team at Lister and Holt and is committed to working zealously on behalf of the Firm’s clients.
Steven Little Attorney
Steven grew up in Jonesboro, Georgia. He graduated from Lovejoy High School, and while there competed with the school’s Mock Trial team.
Steven graduated from Georgia State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. In 2012, he graduated with honors from Georgia State University College of Law. While in law school, he clerked for the Hon. Judge Wendy Shoob of the Fulton County Superior Court, researching and briefing civil and criminal cases. He also completed an internship with the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Division, representing children under the Third-Year Practice Act.
After being admitted to the State Bar in 2012, Steven moved to southeast Georgia and joined the Public Defender’s Office in Reidsville, Georgia. There he represented indigent clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. In 2015, he transferred to the Public Defender’s Office in Newnan, where he continued to represent clients charged with felonies.
In 2017, Steven left the Public Defender’s Office and went into private practice. The focus of his practice was to provide zealous representation to children and adults charged with crimes in the south metro Atlanta area. Steven joined Lister and Holt in 2018 to continue his mission of providing his clients with the best representation possible.
In his free time, Steven enjoys running, listening to podcasts, and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Ian Walker Attorney
Blake Bennett Sturm Attorney
Blake Sturm earned his law degree from Emory University School of Law in May 2017. He has a substantial working knowledge of Georgia and federal criminal law, both at the trial and appellate levels.
Prior to joining Lister & Holt, Blake worked at a prominent Atlanta criminal defense firm for two years. During that time, he was intimately involved in hundreds of state and federal cases spanning multiple areas of criminal law, including malice and felony murder, armed robbery, assault, battery, sex crimes, unlawful surveillance, extortion, possession with intent to distribute narcotics, possession of a firearm by convicted felon, forgery, fraud, and white collar crimes. Blake also performed research on complex legal issues, and drafted numerous appellate briefs for State of Georgia courts, including the Supreme Court of Georgia. His appellate work has focused on an expansive range of Constitutional issues, and resulted in the reversal of multiple convictions.
Blake earned his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University with an English major and a Corporate Strategy minor. At Vanderbilt, he acted as Vice President of the Vanderbilt Prison Project, a student-run organization with the goal of reducing recidivism rates in the Nashville area.
Allison Whitfield Attorney
Allison is a native of Marietta, Georgia and attended Kennesaw Mountain High School. She graduated from Auburn University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and minors in History and French. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she was honored to serve her country as a political intern with the United States Department of State at the Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.
Prior to law school, Allison was a paralegal at various civil law firms around Atlanta. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the Georgia State University College of Law in 2018. Allison found her passion for criminal defense in her first semester of law school, and with the intent on being a defense attorney took advanced classes on criminal procedure, forensic evidence, and wrongful convictions. Allison was invited to join the award-winning Georgia State College of Law’s Mock Trial team, in which she competed against other top law schools in the Southeast. During her summers and as a student practitioner, Allison interned at the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office in both State and Superior Courts, as well as at the Georgia Public Defender Council Appellate Division in Atlanta. She was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 2018.
In her spare time, Allison enjoys baking, traveling, history, and attending Atlanta United games with her husband.
Shalisha Williams Attorney
Shalisha Williams is a native of Miami, Florida and a first-generation college graduate. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami in 2014, where she majored in Political Science and minored in History. During her undergraduate career, Shalisha was an active student leader in multiple student organizations such as Strong Women Strong Girls, the Black Female Development Circle, the Pre- Black Law Student Association, and the Iota Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
After graduating from the University of Miami, Shalisha worked for the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office, where she assisted a team of attorneys as they represented indigent clients. Afterwards, she relocated to Atlanta and earned her Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2018 where she was an active member of the Black Law Student Association. During her tenure in law school, she acquired significant experience by working for a small estate planning firm for two years, interning with the Honorable Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams, and representing indigent clients at the DeKalb County Public Defenders Office. She was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2018.
In addition to her professional endeavors, Shalisha is also dedicated to serving her community through volunteerism and mentorship. To that end, she mentored elementary school girls throughout her undergraduate career and continues to pour into her community by mentoring middle school girls with the Power of Girls Mentoring Program.
On a personal note, Shalisha lives in the Decatur area with her husband Brandon and dog Nina. She loves cooking new recipes, visiting new restaurants in the Atlanta area, and all things Miami Hurricanes.