March 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 3

The Triumph and Tragedy of Earl Rogers

He was a new kind of criminal defense lawyer: daring, flamboyant, creative and ready to use forensic evidence, visual aids and reenactments like never before. He moved criminal trials into the modern age. His tactics (some said “tricks”) were shocking yet effective. He appeared for the defense in almost 100 murder cases. He lost only three, and only one client was executed. He made the practice of criminal law exciting and attractive. Young lawyers rushed to handle criminal cases. He was who Clarence Darrow hired when he needed a lawyer.

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When John Jay Hooker Almost Shot Me

John Jay Hooker once challenged me to a duel. Well, his actual words were, “Bill, if dueling wasn’t illegal in Tennessee, I would challenge you to a duel.”

I responded, “Well, John Jay, I am very thankful that dueling is illegal in Tennessee since if it were not, I’m confident you would kill me.”

“Yes,” replied John Jay. “And you would deserve it.”

This conversation really did happen, and although I disagreed with my friend John Jay that I deserved to die, I probably did deserve to be shot.

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Licensure & Discipline


The law licenses of the following Tennessee attorneys were transferred to disability inactive status. They may not practice law while on disability inactive status, but may petition the court for reinstatement by showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and they are fit to resume the practice of law:

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Longtime Shelby County attorney ROSCOE ADAMS FEILD died on Jan. 17. He was 84. Feild graduated from University of Tennessee College of Law and Southwestern at Memphis. He practiced law for 60 years following service in the United State Army, where he was stationed in Guam. University of Tennessee School of Law Memorials may be sent to Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, or the Ellen Feild Todd Fund at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, 60 Perkins Ext., Memphis, TN 38117.

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Letters of the Law

A Little Law School Rivalry

I want to say “Amen” to Bill Haltom’s “In Defense of UT-Knoxville” article in your January 2016 issue. I attended a different law school, and I must admit that, on occasion, I have been guilty of looking down my nose at the Big Orange law school. I even may have indulged in making derogatory comments to my UT partners and friends (Donn Southern, Marty Regan, Brad Lampley, just to name just a few).

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Substance Abuse, Mental Health Issues Big Problem for Lawyers
A new study sheds light on the substantial levels of problem drinking and mental health issues plaguing attorneys, according to the American Bar Association. The national study, conducted by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation was reported in February in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

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Eight Do’s and Don’ts in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Below, in no particular order, are a few key pointers for counsel and self-represented parties, after approximately eighteen months’ experience in the new Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims.

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Remembering Justice Scalia

News came this past weekend that Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly while visiting a ranch resort in Texas. I began to get calls and emails on Saturday afternoon, and the sad news dominated the news coverage for the rest of the weekend. There is no doubt that Justice Scalia’s death is a huge event in the legal community. I offer a few observations about this provocative and controversial person.

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On the Record

Best Practices for Using Depositions at Trial

The law favors the presentation of live witness testimony at trial. Just because a party takes a deposition does not mean it can be used at trial, and even if it can be used it may be only for limited purposes, or under certain circumstances. The purpose of this article is to discuss the many ways that depositions can be used in the trial of a civil case, including uses for proof, impeachment, to refresh recollection, with unavailable witnesses, experts, adverse parties, for completeness and offers of proof.

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Significant Appeals Board Opinions: 2014-2015

Virtually every opinion bears some new nugget of law, and therefore practitioners should read and familiarize themselves with all of them. Looking back, however, these are some of the weightiest and most frequently cited.

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