News

TJC Foundation Seeks Donations for Paine Scholarship

In honor of the late Don Paine, the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation is accepting donations for the Donald Franklin Paine Scholarship. The scholarship is the organization’s largest endowment and rotates annually among students at each of the law schools in Tennessee. In a recent email, foundation president and retired judge Eddie Beckner encouraged Tennessee judges and lawyers to honor Paine's memory with a contribution to the fund. Those wishing to donate, should make checks payable to the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation and mail them to the attention of Suzanne Keith, Treasurer, 1903 Division St., Nashville, TN 37203.

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7 Tenn. Lawyers Admitted to U.S. Supreme Court

Seven Tennessee lawyers were admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court during admission ceremonies last week in Washington, D.C. The annual event, known as TBA Academy, is two-day program that includes continuing legal education seminars, a tour of the Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol, and the swearing in ceremony. Lawyers admitted were Daniel Berexa, Molly Glover, Gregory Groth, Angela Bolton Rauber, TBA President-elect Jonathan O. Steen, David Veile and District Attorney General Randy York. See photos from the event.

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Visitation for Paine Set for Sunday Afternoon

Friends of Donald F. Paine will be received at Mann Heritage Chapel, 6200 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919, on Sunday (Nov. 24), from 2 to 4 p.m. Burial will be at a private service at Old Gray Cemetery. Paine died early Monday morning (Nov. 18) at the age of 74. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Legal Aid of East Tennessee, 502 S. Gay St., Suite 404, Knoxville 37902. Read more about Paine's life in this press release from his firm, Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers, or read remembrances from those who worked with him, learned from him, served under his leadership at the TBA in 1986-1987, or benefited from his friendship.

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Knoxville Lawyer Don Paine Dies

Knoxville attorney Donald F. Paine died early Monday morning (Nov. 18). He was 74. A former president of both the Knoxville and Tennessee Bar Associations, Paine also was a founder of the Tennessee Law Institute and a well-known speaker and author. He was a founding member of the Tennessee Bar Journal Editorial Board and wrote a monthly column for the magazine, "Paine on Procedure," since 1989. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Paine was of counsel with the firm of Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP. Among awards he had received were the Knoxville Bar Barristers Law and Liberty Award, the Knoxville Bar Association Pro Bono Award, the Tennessee Bar Association Pro Bono Award and the Chancellor's Award from the University of Tennessee. He is the only adjunct faculty member to receive that award.

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TBA Votes to Support Constitutional Amendment on Judicial Selection; Merit Selection to Be Made Part of the Process by Executive Order

Following a complete review of the TBA policy on judicial selection, the TBA Board of Governors on Oct. 12 reaffirmed its commitment to merit selection to fill judicial vacancies and voted to support the Constitutional amendment, which provides for gubernatorial appointment, legislative confirmation and retention elections for judges. The Board did so because of assurances that Governor Bill Haslam would include merit in the process via an Executive Order, if the amendment is adopted. The amendment will be on the ballot in the state’s November 2014 general election.

The TBA leadership has worked closely with Governor Haslam’s Administration in the weeks prior to the release of the Governor’s executive order of Oct. 17, which, when viewed in conjunction with the notice and application instructions, sets in place a commission and protocol for judicial appointments very much like the former Judicial Nominating Commission.

TBA President Cindy Wyrick, in announcing the TBA’s support for the constitutional amendment, said “the TBA will support the constitutional amendment because we have been assured that the Governor will implement a merit selection process to appoint qualified judges. We applaud Governor Haslam for his recent executive order, which demonstrates his continuing commitment to filling vacancies with qualified judges through use of a merit selection process.”

TBA support for merit selection and retention elections goes back almost 50 years. This year’s policy review began with discussions and votes in the association's Governmental Affairs committee and its policy making House of Delegates. Final approval came as the Board met for its quarterly meeting.

“The advantage to the constitutional amendment, from our perspective, is that it puts retention elections squarely in the constitution,“ said Wyrick. The TBA maintains that retention elections, under current law, are constitutional as decided by three separate courts. “The combination of merit selection and retention elections is the best way to bring fairness, impartiality, stability, consistency, and clarity to our legal system. These are the values we believe in,” said Wyrick.

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'Father of Pro Bono' Featured for Pro Bono Month

October is Pro Bono Month, a good time to learn about one of Tennessee's "fathers of pro bono," Pleasant Miller. Read about him and his 19th century colleagues in this Tennessee Bar Journal article by Legal Aid of East Tennessee's Russell Fowler. Don't miss TBA President Cindy Wyrick's column, in which she dreams big about her hope for the profession.

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Lewis to Receive UT Alumni Service Award

Memphis lawyer and former TBA President George T. "Buck" Lewis has been selected to receive the University of Tennessee’s Alumni Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary service to the school. Lewis, a shareholder with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, earned his undergraduate, business and law degrees from the university, and has remained engaged with alumni and development activities. Lewis “gives generously of his time as one of the university's most ardent and influential advocates in West Tennessee,” said Dr. Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee System. Douglas A. Blaze, dean of the College of Law, added, "Buck is an extraordinary individual who has devoted his career to serving his clients, his alma mater, his profession and his state. He represents all that is great about the University of Tennessee and the legal profession." Read more on the Baker Donelson website.

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U.S. Attorney Sued to Remove Supreme Court ... in 1870

In this month's issue, Chattanooga lawyer and former TBA president Sam Elliott looks back into history and tells the surprising story of when the U.S. attorney sued to remove half the Tennessee Supreme Court. Another former TBA president, Knoxville lawyer Don Paine, gives practical advice for collecting a judgment. Read these and more in the August Tennessee Bar Journal.

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TBA Board Fills 3 Vacancies at Saturday Meeting

The TBA Board of Governors, meeting Saturday in Nashville, named three lawyers to fill vacancies on the body. They are: Jackson lawyer Michelle Sellers with Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, who was named West Tennessee Grand Division Governor (Position 1); Memphis lawyer Brian Faughnan with Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson Mitchell, who was named West Tennessee Grand Division Governor (Position 2); and Sewanee lawyer Donna Pierce with The University of the South, who was named 4th District Governor.

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Chattanooga Lawyer, Former TBA President Dead at 74

Chattanooga lawyer and former TBA President Charles J. Gearhiser died Monday (June 17) at 74. A 1961 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Gearhiser was an original founder of the firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon PLLC, where he practiced until his death. Early in his career, Gearhiser was law clerk to U.S. District Judge Frank W. Wilson, and served in that position during the historic Jimmy Hoffa trial in 1964. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Tennessee, and then as a part-time U.S. Magistrate. While in private practice, Gearhiser made a name for himself as a prolific litigator, trying over 100 cases before Tennessee juries. His areas of expertise included federal criminal defense, professional liability defense, and product liability, personal injury, commercial and business cases. Gearhiser also has worked to improve the profession, serving as president of the Chattanooga Bar Association, chair of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation, member of the Judicial Performance Program Committee and a charter member of the Tennessee chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He served as president of the TBA from 2001-2002 after serving on the association’s board of governors from 1999 to 2001 and during two earlier stints in 1992 and 1994.

Visitation will be held Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Rd., Chattanooga 37421. A service honoring his life will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Gearhiser’s late wife, Joy. Donations may be sent to 7625 Hamilton Park Dr., Suite 22, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

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President Cindy Wyrick's Address to TBA Members

Speech at Lawyer's Luncheon Sets Forth Theme for 2013-2014


Below are comments given to Tennessee Bar Association members by TBA President Cindy Wyrick following her installation as president of the organization during the 2013 TBA Convention, June 14 in Nashville.

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Reeves to be Nominated for Federal District Court

President Barack Obama today announced his intention to nominate Knoxville attorney and former TBA President Pamela Reeves for the federal district court seat currently held by U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips, who plans to retire July 3. Reeves practices with Reeves, Herbert & Murrian PA focusing on commercial litigation, labor and employment law and dispute resolution. She is known statewide for her work as a Rule 31 registered mediator and as an approved mediator for the Eastern and Middle district federal courts. Reeves was the first female to serve as TBA president. She currently serves on the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission and on the Board of Judicial Conduct. She also writes a monthly column on business law for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Reeves earned her law degree in 1979 from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She is married to Charles Swanson, another former TBA president, who serves as Knoxville city attorney.

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TBA Board of Governors to Fill Open Positions

Three open positions will be filled by the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors at its June 15 meeting.  The positions — West Grand Division Governors (Positions 1 and 2) and the 4th District Governor — are open seats created when no one sought to be considered for the seats by the deadline. If you would like to be considered for one of the positions, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur by June 10. The West Grand Division includes Henry, Decatur, Hardeman, McNairy, Carroll, Chester, Hardin, Madison, Henderson, Fayette, Benton, Gibson, Weakley, Obion, Haywood, Crockett, Lake, Dyer, Tipton, Lauderdale and Shelby counties. The 4th District includes White, Warren, Franklin, Lincoln, Van Buren, Fentress, Moore, Marshall, Pickett, Bedford, Cannon, Putnam, Smith, Rutherford, DeKalb, Overton, Jackson, Wilson, Macon, Clay, Coffee, Trousdale, Grundy and Sequatchie counties. In accordance with Article 47 of the TBA Bylaws, the board may fill the vacancies at its June meeting, with terms running through spring 2014.

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Court Denies Advertising Rules Changes

A petition proposing several rules changes restricting lawyer advertising was denied today in a per curiam order issued by the Tennessee Supreme Court. In taking the action, the court said, "We have determined that the continued enforcement of the existing rules is preferable to any of the changes sought by the petitioners."

The petition, which was filed last spring, would have required that lawyers have a "bona fide" office in Tennessee, prohibited actors from portraying clients, banned commenting on results and imposed requirements for pre-submission of ads to the Board of Professional Responsibility.

The petition drew comments from a wide array of organizations and individuals including the Tennessee Bar Association, Knoxville Bar Association, two law school professors from the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, the Federal Trade Commission and others. TBA Ethics and Professionalism Committee Chair Brian Faughnan authored the TBA comment.

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What's Next on Judicial Redistricting?

With Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey’s judicial redistricting bill failing to garner support in the House of Representatives, supporters of the plan are asking if they have time to bring it back up when the legislature reconvenes in January 2014. Allan Ramsaur, executive director of the TBA, tells The Commercial Appeal that “It’s technically possible they could get something done when the legislature first convenes next year, but the qualifying date for judges running next year is Feb. 15” and “it would be disruptive to the system to redraw things that quickly and put judges and district attorneys and public defenders — all of whom are up for election next year — into play.” For his part, Ramsey indicated he was walking away from the effort, The Tennessean reports.

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Merit Selection Falls to Squabble, Legislature Adjourns for Year

Merit selection, considered by many to be the key feature of the successful Tennessee Plan, was eliminated from the process today when lawmakers could not, at the last minute, reach an accommodation on an unrelated squabble.

Three attempts to pass a bill to extend the life of the Judicial Nominating Commission in the House were stymied during the last day of the session. Since the constitutional power to fill vacancies is vested in the legislature, there will be no mechanism to appoint trial or appellate judges to replace jurists who die, retire or are removed.

Appellate judges will be evaluated by the present Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission before standing for election in August 2014. No changes in the composition or membership of that commission will come as a result of the inaction.

Some observers also saw developments early in the day on judicial redistricting (see related story) as part of the overall spat.

The legislature adjourned for the year this afternoon.

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House Rejects Judicial Redistricting Plan

The state House today failed to pass a plan pushed by Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey to enact the first judicial redistricting in the state since 1984. Richard Locker, Nashville bureau chief for The Commercial Appeal, writes today that opponents of the bill moved to kill it for the session but House Speaker Beth Harwell ruled that a motion to reject must wait one day. House members whose districts were directly affected by the plan persuasively argued against it and convinced a majority of their colleagues to join them on a 28-66 vote to oppose the bill. One lawmaker also expressed a common sentiment that the bill was "crammed down" their throats by the Senate, which had approved it 27-4 on Tuesday.

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Judicial Redistricting Passes State Senate

The state Senate has passed a proposal to redraw Tennessee’s judicial districts for the first time since 1984. The plan from Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey was approved 27-4 today, Chattanoogan.com reports. The measure would affect 22 counties in eight districts by (1) reducing the number of districts from 31 to 29; (2) creating separate districts for Rutherford and Williamson counties; (3) merging two districts (27 and 29) in northwestern Tennessee; and (4) creating a new district comprised of Coffee, Cannon, Warren and Van Buren counties.

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Lawyers Overwhelmingly Support Tennessee Plan

Lawyers across the state overwhelmingly support maintaining the current plan for merit selection, performance evaluation and retention election of appellate judges according to a TBA survey of Tennessee lawyers. The survey found that TBA members support The Tennessee Plan by 83 percent while non-member lawyers support it by a slightly smaller margin of 72.3 percent. Lawyers also were asked to express their opinion about a new plan that would eliminate merit-based review of potential judges by an independent panel, and instead provide for nomination by the governor, confirmation by both houses of the General Assembly, and yes/no retention votes in subsequent years. According to the study, 73.9 percent of association members oppose that plan, while 50.2 percent “strongly oppose” it. The study, conducted by Yacoubian Research of Memphis, had a very high response rate. According to Berje Yacoubian, chief statistician at the survey research firm, the “statistically significant” response rate reflects the full demographics of the Tennessee legal community and is highly reliable.

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50 Years after 'Gideon,' Indigent Defense Funding Still an Issue

In her Tennessee Bar Journal column this month, President Jackie Dixon looks back at the 50 years since the Gideon decision, explaining why adequate funding is still needed for indigent defense.

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Golden Appointed to Judicial Nominating Commission

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, on Thursday appointed David A. Golden of Hawkins County to the Judicial Nominating Commission, the Chattanoogan reports. Golden, one of those recommended for the post by the Tennessee Bar Association, will fill the vacancy left by the retirement of commission member Theresa Lee. Golden joined Eastman Chemical Company in 1995 as an attorney, eventually rising to the position of vice president, associate general counsel and corporate secretary.

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Services Sunday for Memphis Attorney Ross Clark

Retired Memphis attorney Ross Bert Clark II died Thursday (Nov. 8) at his home. He was 79. Mr. Clark was a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and was active in the Tennessee legal community for many years, serving as a partner in the law firms of Laughlin Halle, Apperson Crump and Armstrong Allen. He also served as president of the Memphis & Shelby County Bar Association and was a co-founder of Memphis Area Legal Services and of the Memphis Bar Foundation. At the state level, Mr. Ross served as an officer of the Tennessee Bar Association and was a founder and president of the Tennessee Bar Foundation. He was also a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Services will be on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Calvary Episcopal Church, 102 North Second Street in Memphis. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Clark suggested gifts in his memory be sent to Calvary Church; Sewanee, the University of the South, 735 University Ave., Sewanee, TN 37383; The Baylor School, 171 Baylor School Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405; or a charity of the donor's choice.

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TBJ: Gift-Tax Exemption Expiration Explained

On Dec. 31, the $5.2 million gift-tax exemption expires, making your job helping your clients with year-end gifts even more important. Hunter Mobley and Jeffrey Mobley help you know the details for this year in the November Tennessee Bar Journal. The issue also gives a glimpse into the history of Nashville's Supreme Court Building in preparation for its 75th anniversary celebration next month. Read these and much more -- and don't miss Jackie Dixon's president's column and Bill Haltom's humor column as they both give their takes on being thankful -- and how cornbread figures in.

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Memorial Service Set for Paul Campbell Jr.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 22 at First Centenary United Methodist Church in Chattanooga for Paul Campbell Jr., who died last Friday. Visitation will begin at 1:30 in the church. A funeral service was held on Monday for the longtime Chattanooga lawyer. Memorials may be made to any charity, but the family notes its collective appreciation for hospice services as well as their parents' attachment to the church. Read Mr. Campbell's obituary in the Times Free Press

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Chattanooga Lawyer Paul Campbell Jr., 96, Dies

Lawyer Paul Campbell Jr. died this morning in Chattanooga. He was 96. A graduate of George Washington University Law School, Campbell was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1940 and joined his father in law practice at the firm the elder Mr. Campbell founded in 1908, which continues today as Campbell & Campbell. Campbell was a special agent for the FBI and also served in the United States Navy Reserve. He was the father of former Tennessee Bar Association President Paul Campbell III. Arrangements are not available at this time.

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