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, 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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Event to Celebrate Court Building Will Preview Judiciary Museum, Constitutions

The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society will host a cocktail reception Dec. 4 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Supreme Court building in Nashville. At the celebration, attendees will be given an exclusive preview of the new Tennessee Judiciary Museum, and will see the original 1796, 1835 and 1870 constitutions of Tennessee. Tickets are $100 per person -- limited to 250 people -- and can be purchased by contacting Joy Day at 615-771-5008 or at

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Wade to Be Sworn In as Chief Justice Sept. 1

Justice Gary R. Wade is to be sworn in as the 29th chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court at 10 a.m. on Sept. 1 at the Sevier County Courthouse. He will succeed Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, who has served as chief justice since Sept. 1, 2010. On Sept. 5, Gov. Bill Haslam will administer the ceremonial oath to Wade at the Knoxville Bar Association’s annual dinner honoring the Supreme Court. Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006 by Gov. Phil Bredesen. Prior to his appointment, Wade served on the Court of Criminal Appeals for 19 years and was elected by his colleagues to serve as presiding judge from 1998 to 2006. Learn more from the Administrative Office of the Courts

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TBA Programs Named Best in State

Two Tennessee Bar Association programs were named the best in the state by the Tennessee Society of Association Executives (TNSAE) at a luncheon and award ceremony in Nashville July 20. The Tennessee Bar Journal -– the TBA’s flagship publication -- was named best magazine for the third time. In addition, the TBA Young Lawyers Division was recognized for its Judicial Internship Program, which matches Tennessee law students with trial judges across the state for summer internships. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur was on hand to accept the awards.

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Study: Elected Judges More Likely for Discipline Than Appointed

A California study shows that judges who are first elected are more likely to be disciplined than initially appointed judges. Other findings of the report from the state Commission on Judicial Performance said that judges previously sanctioned by the commission made up a large share of disciplined judges; male judges were about twice as likely to be disciplined as female judges; and judges on small courts were more frequently sanctioned than judges on larger courts. has the details

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Opinion: Tenn. Plan a National Model, Don't Change It

In an opinion piece in the Tennessean today, American Bar Association President William T. 'Bill' Robinson explains how Tennessee's system for selecting appellate court judges, the Tennessee Plan, is nationally respected as "an open process that is as free from political influence as possible." He warns that a proposed constitutional amendment would change the system "for the worse" and would "politicize the courts and diminish the perception of appellate judges as fair, impartial and well-qualified." The proposed amendment allows the governor to appoint judges who have gone through no public screening process, with no assurance that a broad candidate pool had been considered, he points out, saying "it is critical for courts to be insulated from undue political influence."

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New Judicial Conduct Rules Effective July 1

The Tennessee Supreme Court today reissued the comprehensive rewrite of its Code of Judicial Conduct, adopted on Jan. 4, making a few minor changes in campaign activity provisions. Most of the rules changes came as the result of a two-year effort by the Tennessee Bar Association to revise the rules for the first time since 1990. New recusal standards and procedure were a major focus of the TBA effort. The new Code of Judicial Conduct, which is Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10, will take effect on July 1. Learn more from the Administrative Office of the Courts

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Jackson Lawyer Takes Office as TBA Vice President

Jonathan O. Steen to lead group in 2014

NASHVILLE, June 12, 2012 -- Jackson lawyer Jonathan O. Steen took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's vice president at the association's annual convention in Memphis on Friday. The move puts him in line to assume the presidency in June 2014. 

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Sevierville Lawyer Takes Office as TBA President-Elect

Cynthia Richardson Wyrick to lead group in 2013

NASHVILLE, June 12, 2012 -- Sevierville lawyer Cynthia Richardson Wyrick took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's president-elect at the association's annual convention in Memphis on Friday. The move puts her in line to assume the presidency in June 2013. During her time in office, Wyrick hopes to encourage more citizens to run for public service, increase professionalism in the practice of law, and provide greater support for lawyers who open solo practices.

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'Section Cup' Winners Named at TBA Convention

News from the Appellate Practice, Criminal Justice and Health Care Law Sections
Recipients of the 2012 Section Cup were announced recently at the Section Chairs Roundtable, kicking off the TBA Convention in Memphis. TBA President Danny Van Horn created the Section Cup to encourage service to section members. Over the past year, sections accumulated points for holding meetings and CLEs or providing new services to members. Sections of like size competed against each other for the honor. 

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Sellers, Helper Elected to TBA Board

At the meeting of the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors on Saturday, two were elected to fill open seats. Andrew Sellers will represent the 7th District and Kim Helper will represent the 6th District until next year's election.

Dixon Takes Office; Lawyers Honored at Luncheon

Lawyers Luncheon Highlight of 131st Annual TBA Convention

Nashville lawyer Jacqueline B. Dixon took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's 130th president at the association's annual convention in Memphis today. After being sworn into office by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark (above), Dixon laid out her vision for the year, which will include a focus on civics education, civility in the profession, pro bono efforts and working to preserve an impartial judiciary.

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Nashville Lawyer Jackie Dixon Takes Office as TBA President

Nashville lawyer Jacqueline B. Dixon took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's president at the association's annual convention in Memphis today. After being sworn into office by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark Dixon laid out her vision for the year, which will include a focus on civics education, civility in the profession, pro bono efforts and helping preserve an impartial judiciary.

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YLD Fellows Recognize Late President with Public Service Award

News from the YLD Fellows
Springfield lawyer and former TBA president Larry Dean Wilks, who died Aug. 30, 2011, was posthumously presented the William M. Leech Jr. Public Service Award by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) Young Lawyers Division Fellows at the TBA’s annual meeting in Memphis. Wilks was recognized for his service to the practice of law, the bar and the profession. The award was presented by Fellows President Cynthia Richardson Wyrick, a lawyer in Sevierville, and accepted by Wilks' widow Jan and his son John.

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Memphis Judge Receives Judicial Service Award

News from the TBA Board of Governors
Memphis Circuit Court Judge Robert L. Childers was honored with the Tennessee Bar Association's Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award today at the group’s annual meeting in Memphis. The Drowota Award is given to a judge or judicial branch official of a federal, state or local court in Tennessee who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice as exemplified by the career of former Supreme Court Justice Frank F. Drowota III – the award’s first recipient.

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TBA President Jackie Dixon Outlines Initiatives for 2012-2013

Nashville Lawyer Becomes 130th TBA President

Nashville lawyer Jacqueline B. Dixon took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's 130th president at the association's annual convention in Memphis. Here are her remarks to TBA members as she outlines initiatives for the upcoming bar year.


Blumstein, Griswold Win Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing

Nashville lawyer Andrée Sophia Blumstein and Knoxville lawyer J. Scott Griswold were each honored with the Justice Joseph W. Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing today (June 8) at the Lawyers Luncheon during the Tennessee Bar Association's Annual Convention in Memphis. A panel of three judged their two articles to be the best of all those published in the Tennessee Bar Journal during 2011. The judges this year were TBA President Danny Van Horn, Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark and Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Dean Kevin H. Smith. It is the first time in the 31-year-history of the award that two articles have been named.

Blumstein’s winning article is “Bye Bye Hannan? What a Difference Two Little Words, at trial, Will Make in the Formulation of Tennessee’s Summary Judgment Standard,” which was published in the August 2011 issue. She is a partner at Sherrard & Roe PLC in Nashville. Her practice, which concentrates on appellate litigation, includes a special focus on state and federal antitrust counseling and litigation. She received her law degree from Vanderbilt University and is chair of the Tennessee Bar Journal Editorial Board. She also wrote in the February 2009 Journal an article called “Bye, Bye Byrd?” which explores the ramifications of Hannan v. Alltel.

Griswold’s article, “Service of Process After Hall v. Haynes: Practice Tips for Counsel and Advice for Management” was published in the March 2011 Journal. He is an associate with Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP in Knoxville. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2007. During law school, he served as chair of the Moot Court Board and as a member of the Trademark Moot Court Team. He was elected to the Order of the Barristers and received awards for academic excellence in Advanced Property and Trial Practice. After graduation he served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William M. Barker of the Tennessee Supreme Court, and joined the firm in September 2008. Last year, he won the TBA’s Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award.

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TBA Board to Fill Open Seats; Apply by June 4

Two open positions will be filled by the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors at its June 9 meeting. The first — 6th District Governor — is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for it by the deadline. The 6th District covers Giles, Lawrence, Humphreys, Houston, Wayne, Perry, Cheatham, Stewart, Lewis, Hickman, Montgomery, Sumner, Maury, Dickson, Robertson and Williamson counties.

The second position is the unexpired term for the 7th District Governor. This vacancy is being created by Jonathan Steen assuming the vice president position. The 7th District covers Henry, Decatur, Hardeman, McNairy, Carroll, Chester, Hardin, Madison, Henderson, Fayette and Benton counties. The individual who fills this seat will serve for one year. Under the new configuration of the board adopted this year, the 7th and 8th districts will be combined into a new 7th District and a second grand division governor seat will be created.

In accordance with Article 47 of the TBA Bylaws, the board may fill the vacancies, with terms through Spring 2013, by election at its June 2012 meeting. Individuals interested in being considered for either of these positions should email TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur or call him at (615) 383-7421 by June 4.

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