September 2017 - Vol. 53, No. 9

Say Something

“If you see something, say something.”

I’ve always been uncomfortable with that post-9-11 anti-terrorism guidance. It reminds me more of life under the Stasi, the East German secret police, than anything remotely American. Even so, it condenses crucial, life- and career-saving advice for Tennessee lawyers.

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The TBA seeks nominations for five prestigious access-to-justice-related awards, to be presented at two events in 2018.

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Changes in Divorce Law

Recent Federal Actions Impact Military Service Members

Federal law may not be the first place family practice attorneys think to look for changes that impact their state practice but if your client is a member of the U.S. military or the spouse of a military member, then you need to know about two recent developments.

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The Cumulative Error Doctrine

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a fair trial, including fundamentally fair procedures. That is the essence of due process protected by both the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions. A key element of this protection is something known as the cumulative error doctrine. The idea behind the cumulative error doctrine is that errors in isolation may not be impactful, but that multiple errors together or cumulatively may require a finding that the defendant’s trial does not comport with the due-process ideal of fundamental fairness.

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Licensure & Discipline


Online Notice of attorneys suspended for, and reinstated from, administrative violations — including failure to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility fee, file the IOLTA report, comply with continuing legal education requirements and pay the Tennessee professional privilege tax — is now available exclusively on the TBA website.

Visit administrative-suspension-lists to see administrative suspensions imposed since 2006.

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Tennessee’s only full-time ABFDE-certified document examiner. Formerly with U.S. Postal Inspection Service Crime Laboratory. Certified by American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. Substantial civil, criminal and trial experience. Thomas Vastrick, 6025 Stage Road, Suite 42-182, Memphis, TN 38134; (901) 383-9282.

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Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America

By Brian McGinty | Liveright Publishing Corporation | $26.95 | 208 pages | 2015

Most Americans believe that Abraham Lincoln was our greatest president. Lincoln was also one of America’s greatest lawyers. His folksy style made him a natural as a trial lawyer. He also handled more than 400 appellate cases, most of them in the Illinois Supreme Court and several in the U. S. Supreme Court.

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Modifications to Child Support Laws in 2017

The Tennessee General Assembly has been very busy this past session in addressing the issue of child support arrearage through two major modifications of the existing law on child support, one affecting the interest rate on arrearages and the other affecting the time period of accumulation of retroactive support for a child or children. Both are important when advising family law clients going forward regardless of which side of the issue they find themselves.

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Longtime University of Tennessee General Counsel BEAUCHAMP “BEACH” E. BROGAN died on July 9. He was 87. Brogan earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky, and served as head litigator for the Tennessee Valley Authority before joining the university in 1975. He served as general counsel and secretary to the UT Board of Trustees until his retirement in 1999. He served four years in the U.S. Navy and qualified to attend college with education benefits via the federal G.I. Bill, which he did at UT.

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