News

TBA Board to Fill 3 Open Positions

Three open positions will be filled by the TBA Board of Governors at its meeting June 18. The positions are West Grand Division Governor - Position 1; Governor, First District (three-year term); and Governor, Fifth District - Position 2 (three-year term). If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur by June 1 indicating your interest and include a resume.

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Apply by June 1:  Board of Governors to Fill Open Positions

Three open positions will be filled by the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors at its meeting Saturday, June 18.

• West Grand Division Governor - Position 1 is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for the seat by the deadline.

The West Grand Division includes the counties of Henry, Decatur, Hardeman, McNairy, Carroll, Chester, Hardin, Madison, Henderson, Fayette, Benton, Gibson, Weakley, Obion, Haywood, Crockett, Lake, Dyer, Tipton, Lauderdale and Shelby.

• Governor, First District (Three-Year Term) is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for the seat by the deadline.

The First District includes the counties of Johnson, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hancock, Grainger, Jefferson, Sullivan, Washington, Unicoi, Hawkins, Claiborne, Hamblen and Sevier.

• Governor, Fifth District - Position 2 (Three-Year Term) is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for the seat by the deadline.

The Fifth District includes Davidson County.

In accordance with Article 47 of the TBA Bylaws, the board may fill the vacancies, with terms through Spring 2017, at its June 2016 meeting.  

If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur in writing indicating your interest by June 1. Please include a resume.

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Register Now for the Annual TBA Convention

Registration is now open for the 2016 TBA Annual Convention in Nashville June 15-18. Along with compelling CLE programming, attendees will have time to catch up with colleagues and enjoy some of Music City’s top musicians. Hotel reservations are available at a special discounted rate at the Sheraton Music City Hotel. Call (888) 627-7060 before May 13 to receive the rate.

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Harbison: Remembering Justice Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia "counted among his close friends fellow Justices Ruth Ginsberg and Elena Kagan, members of the court with whom he often disagreed," TBA President Bill Harbison writes in the new issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. "The ability to disagree without having the disagreement become personal is of immense importance in our system of justice." Read this and more in the March issue.

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Pannu to Lead TBA in 2018-2019

Jason Pannu of Lewis Thomason in Nashville will lead the Tennessee Bar Association in 2018-2019, according to election-qualifying results released today. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After taking office as vice president this summer, Pannu will become president-elect in 2017-2018 and take over the organization’s leadership in June 2018. Candidates who filed for the following positions will take office at the June annual meeting as they did not draw opponents: Scott Sims and David Veile, Middle Grand Division Governors; Sarah Sheppeard and Shelly Wilson, East Grand Division Governors; Carl Carter, West Grand Division Governor; Donna Pierce, Fourth District Governor; and Buck Lewis, John Tarpley, Danny Van Horn and Gail Ashworth as TBA Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates. No candidates filed for a second West Grand Division Governor position, and the First and Fifth District positions. Those slots may be filled by the Board of Governors.

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Marion Co. Attorney, Former Lawmaker Howard Swafford Dies

Marion County attorney and former state representative Howard G. Swafford died yesterday (Feb. 4). He was 96. Swafford attended law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law after serving in World War II.  A Republican, he was elected to the state legislature in 1972, practiced law and won his last jury trial at age 92. He is survived by fellow lawyers, his wife Claude Galbreath Swafford; a son, Howard Graham Swafford Jr. of Jasper; a daughter, retired Magistrate Claudia Swafford Haltom and son-in-law, former Tennessee Bar Association President William Haltom, of Memphis. Visitation is Feb. 7 at 1 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Jasper. The funeral will follow at 3 p.m. The family requests no flowers, but contributions may be made in Swafford’s honor to the First Baptist Church of Jasper, the Family Life Center Fund at McKendree Methodist Church of Jasper, and A Step Ahead Foundation of Memphis or Chattanooga. Read more about his life.

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Decision Due Soon on Balloting Choice

TBA members who choose to opt out of electronic voting and receive a paper ballot for the upcoming 2016 TBA election need to either indicate their presence on their online membership profile,  or provide written notice to TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur at 221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219. This notice must be provided by Feb. 1. Candidates interested in filing for the 2016 elections need to file qualifying materials by Feb. 15. Voting will take place between March 1 and April 1.

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Attorneys Honored for Volunteer Work

The TBA honored a trio of Tennessee legal professionals Saturday, recognizing their volunteer service during the annual TBA Public Service Luncheon. Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper was the featured speaker. Winter storms kept the event from being held at the War Memorial Auditorium, but the crowd of about 70 still showed their appreciation to those recognized: Libby Sykes, the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year; Dave Yoder, the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year; and Sara Page, the Law Student Volunteer of the Year. Read more about them in the Tennessee Bar Journal, or see photos from the luncheon and other Leadership Conference activities.

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January Issue Explores Access to Justice

The January Journal puts its focus on Access to Justice — where we are in Tennessee and where we still need to go — as well as the history of the Tennessee Justice Center and an article about the needs of the self-represented litigant. Read about the honorees of the TBA’s Public Service Awards: Libby Sykes, Dave Yoder and Sara Page. President Bill Harbison points out that “thinking like a lawyer” includes pro bono work. Read the full issue here.

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Columns: Evolving Legal Markets, Robin Williams, Banking and Fred Thompson

In this issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, TBA President Bill Harbison writes about the "disruptive changes" that are occurring in the delivery of legal services. Columnist Eddy Smith details the genius of Robin Williams' estate plan and Kathryn Reed Edge covers banking and the U.S. Supreme Court. In his column, Bill Haltom remembers Sen. Fred Thompson and his tremendous contributions to the law and history.

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Harbison, Rubenfeld Named 2015 Nashvillians of the Year

TBA President Bill Harbison and Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld have been named the 2015 Nashvillians of the Year by the Nashville Scene for their work in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case. The article details the unlikely team of Harbison, “the diplomat,” and Rubenfeld, “the warrior,” and the attorneys’ work preparing the historic case, which would determine that it is unconstitutional for states to ban same-sex marriages. “Rubenfeld and Harbison were just two of many players in one of the biggest civil rights cases of our time," author Kim Green writes. Harbison “speaks quietly and deliberately, with a studied diplomacy — he's quick to agree, or at least to see your point. Unruffled, dignified and warmly polite, he behaves as if he has time for you, even if he doesn't.” Rubenfeld, who is chair of the TBA's LGBT Section, reflects on why she chose the law: "Our constitution is a really beautiful and well-constructed document," she says. "But there's so much work to do to enforce it, and to make sure that it's applied equally to everyone.”

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Murfreesboro Paper Features Legacy of City Attorney

The Murfreesboro Post has a feature on city attorney Susan Emery McGannon as she prepares to retire from the post she has held for 14 years. McGannon, who attended law school only after her brother offered to pay for the entrance exam, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. She helped form the Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (TLAW), was the only women at the time to be invited to join the Tennessee Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education, and has served on the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors. She will retire Nov. 1.

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Nashville Attorney Appointed to LaunchTN Board

Nashville attorney and TBA General Counsel Paul Ney was appointed to the LaunchTN board of directors by House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, the Nashville Ledger reports. Ney is a partner of Patterson Intellectual Property Law PC and previously served as director of the Nashville Davidson County Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development. Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee.

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TBA VP Pera to Chair ABA Coordinating Council

Memphis attorney and TBA vice president Lucian T. Pera of Adams and Reese was appointed to chair the Coordinating Council with the American Bar Association's Center for Professional Responsibility. The Center’s Coordinating Council oversees and directs legal and judicial ethical issues that come before the ABA’s policymaking body, the ABA House of Delegates and other national initiatives. Pera, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate, is the immediate past treasurer of the ABA and a former member of its Board of Governors and Executive Committee.

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New TBA President Offers Vision for His Term

Newly installed TBA President Bill Harbison laid out his vision for the coming year during a Lawyers Luncheon address at the TBA Annual Convention in Memphis on Friday. Harbison talked about challenges facing the profession and concluded by noting that "one thing that will not change is that the TBA will continue to serve as a clear and measured voice for the lawyers and judges in our state." Watch the video of his address or see photos from convention programs and events.

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McGannon to Retire at End of Year

Murfreesboro City Attorney Susan Emery McGannon will retire Nov. 1, she told the city council members and her legal staff this week. McGannon served as the assistant city attorney from 1992 until 2001, when she became the city attorney. She serves on the Board of Professional Responsibility and was an original member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Twice elected as president of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association, McGannon also served on the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors and helped found both the Lawyers' Association for Women in Nashville and the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women. The Murfreesboro Post has more.

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Holt Wins HOD Seat, Vacancies Announced

Springfield lawyer John Holt with the Law Offices of Holt & Kroeger has been declared the winner of a contested race for TBA House of Delegates (HOD) District 19. Vacancies in five other districts will be filled by appointment: District 7 (Anderson County), District 9 (Loudon, Meigs, Morgan, Roane counties), District 11 (Hamilton County), District 18 (Sumner County) and District 23 (Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Stewart counties). To be considered for one of the seats, submit a statement of interest and resume to TBA Executive Assistant Karen Belcher by June 1. In addition, an open position on the TBA Board of Governors for the West Grand Division Governor (Position 1) will be filled during the group's June 20 meeting. To be considered for the position submit a statement of interest and a resume to TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur by June 1.

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President: Court-Appointed Lawyers Should Get Raise

The March issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal includes a lot of criminal justice-related information, including articles exploring the “unnecessary rigor” provision of the Tennessee Constitution, legislative initiatives on privacy and criminal law, and the successes of a residential drug treatment program. In his column, President Jonathan Steen explains why the rate for court-appointed lawyers should be increased. "The compensation rate for lawyers appointed by Tennessee state courts to represent indigent parties in criminal, juvenile and civil cases has not changed in 20 years. The current rate for court-appointed lawyers is $40 per hour for out-of-court work and $50 per hour for in-court work," he writes. "At $40 an hour for out-of-court work, Tennessee court-appointed lawyers are the lowest paid in the nation."

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Pera to Lead TBA in 2017-2018

Memphis attorney Lucian Pera of Adams and Reese will be president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 2017-2018, according to election-qualifying results released today. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After taking office as vice president this summer, Pera will become president-elect in 2016-2017 and take over the organization’s leadership in June 2017.

There will be one contested election this spring. John Holt with the Law Offices of Holt & Kroeger and Roger Nell, the public defender in Clarksville, are both vying for the District 19 seat in the House of Delegates. Several vacancies in the House will be filled through appointment, as will the West Grand Division Governor, Position 1, post that Pera now holds on the Board of Governors.

Candidates who filed for the following positions will take office at the June annual meeting as they did not draw opponents: David McDowell, 3rd District Governor; Mary Dohner Smith, 5th District Governor; Kim Helper, 6th District Governor; Brian Faughnan, 8th District Governor; Sarah Sheppeard, East Grand Division Governor, Position 1; Andy Roskind, East Grand Division Governor, Position 2; Gary Shockley, Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 1; David Veile, Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 2; and Carl Carter, West Grand Division Governor, Position 2. Also winning without opposition are two TBA delegates to the ABA House of Delegates: Jonathan Cole, Position 1, and young lawyer delegate Troy Weston, Position 3.

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ABA Midyear Meeting Opens in Houston

Immigration, access to justice for persons of modest means and money’s influence on elections are just some of the issues that will be tackled by attendees in hearings and panel programs during the 2015 ABA Midyear Meeting. The meeting runs through Monday when the 560-member House of Delegates, which sets policy for the ABA, convenes. The Tennessee Bar Association with support from Tennessee law schools will host a reception in Houston Saturday for former TBA president Danny Van Horn. View the invitiation here

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There’s Still Time to Run for TBA Office

With the approaching Feb. 15 deadline to file a petition or declaration of candidacy, there is still time for Tennessee Bar Association members to offer themselves for a service in the leadership of the TBA. A complete notice of the elections was published in the December 2014 Tennessee Bar Journal. In publishing that notice, there was one error. The notice indicated that Carl Carter, 8th District governor, was eligible for an additional term. In fact, Carter is term-limited by the bylaws for running for another term for the 8th District governor slot.

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Bar Leaders Convene in Nashville

The Tennessee Bar Association's annual Leadership Conference kicked off today in Nashville with meetings of the group's House of Delegates, TBASCUS (TBA Seasoned Lawyers Up to Something) and various committees. Events also included a rededication of the Tennessee Bar Center's flagship conference room, Nippert Hall, and the opening session of the Diversity Leadership Institute, a leadership and mentoring program for Tennessee law students. On Saturday, leaders will participate in informational and group-building sessions, followed by the annual Public Service Luncheon where Rep. Chuck Fleischmann will address the group. Two lawyers and a law student will be honored for their work: Rebecca McKelvey Castañeda as the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year; Michele Johnson as the the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year; and Jennifer Mayham as the Law Student Volunteer of the Year. The rest of the weekend includes meetings of the Board of Governors, Section leaders and local bar leaders, the Tennessee Legal Community Foundation board and the board of directors of TBA Member Services Inc.

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Wife of Former TBA President Dies at 90

Janet Graf Tate, the wife of former TBA President S. Shepherd "Shep" Tate, died Sunday (July 27) at 90. A native of Cincinnati, Janet met and married Tate while he was clerking for Judge John D. Martin in Cincinnati. The couple later moved to Memphis, where she was involved in a number of civic organizations and founded the Mental Health Society of Memphis and Shelby County. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the parish hall at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1720 Peabody Ave., Memphis 38104. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Grace-St. Luke’s. Burial at Elmwood Cemetery will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to The Church Health Center, to Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church or to a charity of the donor’s choice. The Commercial Appeal has more.

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Mergers, 'Kaley' Ruling, Seersucker and More Covered in July TBJ

Kathryn Reed Edge gives the details of what a merger entails in the July issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. Enjoy TBA Convention photos and stories in the printed version -- and read new TBA President Jonathan Steen's column, "If Not Us, Then Who?" Wade Davies explains the recent Kaley ruling about criminal defendants using their earnings to retain counsel (spoiler: they can't). And if you are wavering about buying a Seersucker suit this summer, read Bill Haltom's column for a nudge in favor of the cool, cotton ensemble.

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Opinion: Judicial Board’s Integrity Unfairly Attacked

In response to a June 7 article, immediate past president of the Tennessee Bar Association Cindy Wyrick denounces state Sen. Janice Bowling’s accusations that the Board of Judicial Conduct is “failing to do its job” and that members of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission were “pressured” into changing their votes. Wyrick defends the integrity of the board’s members, stating “In reviewing the performance of judges, the commission makes a preliminary finding. Fairness demands that judges have an opportunity for a hearing to offer an alternate viewpoint. Similarly, judges and lawyers who have experience with the judges being evaluated should, and did, come forward to recommend a different result. The implication that it was unusual or improper for those opinions to be offered to the commission is simply false. The idea that Commission members succumbed to ‘improper influence’ is equally incorrect and untrue.” She goes on to state that the board’s counsel found no misconduct, based on a careful reading of the Code of Judicial Conduct. “Inappropriate and unnecessary distractions that unfairly call into question the integrity of the ethics process should, therefore, be viewed in light of the fact that they conveniently come during an election year,” Wyrick concludes. The Tennessean has the full letter.

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