News

State's New Business Court, Design Patent Law Featured

The new issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal is out today, featuring everything you need to know about Tennessee’s new Business Court. Chief Justice Sharon Lee and Justin Seamon give you the details. Also, get up to speed on the design patent awards under "Apple v. Samsung” in an article by Nashville lawyers James M. Starling, Seth R. Ogden and Ryan D. Levy. Find out what else is in the September issue.

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50 Years of Travel, Plus Columns on Wills, Banking, Uber

To celebrate the Journal’s 50th birthday, travel back through some of the exotic trips the TBA has taken over the years -- Rome, Mexico, the Caribbean and more. This month, columnist Eddy Smith asks (and answers) the question, "Strictly Speaking, When Is a Will Not a Will?" and in her column, Kathryn Reed Edge gives an overview of interest rates. Humor columnist Bill Haltom suggests a slight career concept change … to Uber Attorney. See the entire August Journal here.

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Bank On It: Interest Rates 101

Ask any commercial lawyer or banker about interest rates, and you are likely to get a mixture of inappropriate language, confusion and resignation. Interest rates are complicated. How they are figured sometimes belies all reason, and why you can’t find the various rates all in one place in the Tennessee Code is a mystery.

“Interest rate” is defined as the annualized cost of credit or debt capital computed as the percentage ratio of interest to the principal.

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But Seriously, Folks! Your Uber Attorney Is 2 Minutes Away

As a busy lawyer, I spend a great deal of my life either up in the air or down on the road. At least a couple of times a month, I make sure my seatbelt is buckled and my seat back and tray table are in their full, locked, upright position as I fly off in pursuit of justice. Well, actually I’m just going to take a deposition, but that’s all a part of the pursuit of justice, isn’t it?

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50th Birthday: Wish You Were Here

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the Tennessee Bar Association did a lot of traveling, offering cruises and other trips just for fun and to promote comraderie. Now the TBA generally meets within the state although its convention has in years past ventured to Asheville, North Carolina, and Destin, Florida. CLE Ski began in 1985 with classes being offered near the slopes of Utah and later, Colorado, and is still going strong.

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Strictly Speaking, When Is a Will Not a Will?

“Close don’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”
– Hall of Fame baseball player Frank Robinson[1]


When is a will not a will, even when the testator, witnesses and drafting lawyer intend it to be a will? When the statutory requirements for execution are not strictly followed. The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently reiterated that point in In re Estate of Morris.[2] The opinion should lead lawyers to check their will forms and clients’ existing wills to make sure they comply with the statute of wills.

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TBJ: Microscopic Hair, Queen Caroline and TBA Awards

The erroneous use of microscopic hair comparison is examined by Journal columnist Wade Davies, in the July issue. Columnist Russell Fowler tells the story of the incorrigible Queen Caroline and her equally despicable husband, King George IV. He describes their divorce as a "lawyer's dream case ... the grounds and defense were salacious allegations of adultery." And in this installment of celebrating the Journal's 50 years, take a look at the many awards the Tennessee Bar Association gives every year, notably the Justice Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing.

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Stay or Pay: When Criminal Offenders Can't Pay Fines

In the July issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, out today, the Hon. Walter Kurtz writes about the incarceration of minor criminal offenders when the offense is the inability to pay fines and fees. Also, when can you compensate a fact witness? Craig P. Sanders and Brandon J. Stout explain. In Bill Harbison's first column as Tennessee Bar Association president, he writes about the many ways lawyers give their time to champion justice for others.

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TBA Honors 2 Nashville Lawyers for Outstanding Legal Writing

Jennifer Lacey, John Williams awarded annual honor

NASHVILLE, June 29, 2015 – Nashville lawyers Jennifer J. Lacey and John P. Williams were awarded the Tennessee Bar Association’s Justice Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing at the association’s annual meeting in Memphis this month.

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Columnists Hold High Standard for 'Journal' Writing

In this issue, columnist John Day shares some facts about Tennessee Tort Cases; Marlene Moses and Ben Russ explain orders of protection; and Bill Haltom writes why lawyers should “go out for lunch and home for dinner.” In the year-long commemoration of the Journal’s 50 years, this installment looks back over all the columns and the impact they have made on readers, including the 10 men and women who write in substantive areas today. Especially do not miss the granddaddy of them all, the column that started in 1965 with the pressing subject, "The Telephone: Friend of Foe."

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TBJ Includes Fiduciaries, Constitutional Convention of 1870

In the May issue, Nashville lawyer Scott Pilkinton examines the question of whether or not a felon can be a fiduciary. Turns out, it’s not an easy answer. Chattanooga lawyer and former TBA President Sam Elliott looks at "the two great issues" of the state's Constitutional Convention of 1870 and how it is still relevant today.

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Steen: Magna Carta is Basis for Freedoms Today

In the May Tennessee Bar Journal, President Jonathan Steen writes about celebrating Law Day by remembering Magna Carta on its 800th anniversary. The American Bar Association has many resources about Magna Carta, the precursor to the rights and freedoms afforded Americans under the U.S. Constitution. Among many helpful links and publications: a webcast, "The Great Charter: What Makes Magna Carta Mythic?" with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and "The Magna Carta Chronicle: A Young Person's Guide to 800 Years in the Fight for Freedom."

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Steen: Bridge the Generation Gap With Clear Communication

In his Tennessee Bar Journal column about how different generations communicate, TBA President Jonathan Steen points out how important good communication skills are -- and why sending a text late at night to a senior partner may not be the best way to make contact. In the April issue's other columns, Eddy Smith covers IRA beneficiaries and creditor protection; Katy Edge explains how banking works for legal marijuana sales; and Bill Haltom comments on Justice Ginsburg’s recent nap before the president’s speech.

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April Journal Has Insider's View to High Court

This month the Journal takes an inside look at the Tennessee Supreme Court, by former staff attorney Marshall L. Davidson III. Davidson, now presiding judge at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, writes about "unexpected discoveries about the justices, lawyers who appear before them, and pitfalls to avoid in navigating our state’s appellate judiciary." Also, read about the good work through restorative justice that Tennessee Youth Courts are doing, as well as who the TBA Young Lawyers' Division CASA Volunteer of the Year is. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; learn more about related CASA events and resources. It's no April Fool -- you can read the April issue here.

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TBJ This Month: Andrew Jackson, 50-Year-Olds and Harper Lee

This month in the Tennessee Bar Journal, Russell Fowler's column, "History's Verdict" examines Andrew Jackson's tenure on the Tennessee Supreme Court. And as the magazine continues to celebrate the Journal’s 50th birthday all year long, this month read about some Tennessee lawyers who were born at the same time and what law-related changes have taken place in their lifetimes. Yes, these lawyers turn 50 this year and are not afraid to admit it. Smile along with humor columnist Bill Haltom in his excitement over Harper Lee’s newly discovered sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird.

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TBJ Explores Mentoring, More

Mentoring programs have benefits not only for those being mentored, but also for those doing the mentoring. In the February Journal, learn about the lessons these unique relationships can teach us. TBA President Jonathan Steen stresses the importance of having a good working relationship with your legislator. And, as the magazine continues celebrating its 50th birthday, look at some of the legal stories that made news in the late '60s. 

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Haltom Book on Howard Baker's Civility Reviewed

In the January Tennessee Bar Journal, Nashville lawyer Gary Shockley reviews The Other Fellow May Be Right: The Civility of Howard Baker, a book by Memphis lawyer and Journal columnist Bill Haltom. In his column, Haltom suggests that there is only one man who can bring the two-party system back to Tennessee. Find out who it is (or did you already guess it is Lewis Donelson?).

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350 Issues Later, 'Journal' Looks Back Over 50 Years

The Tennessee Bar Journal celebrates the Big Five-Oh this year, publishing its 350th issue this month. Each issue of 2015 will feature a stroll down memory lane -- in January, in conjunction with the magazine's Access to Justice emphasis, it looks at how the bar's view of pro bono has changed over the years. Also, columnist Marlene Eskind Moses looks at criminal contempt in family law asking "Can criminal contempt create compliance?"

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Lawyers, Doctors Team Up to Help Those in Need

The January Tennessee Bar Journal explores Medical-Legal Partnerships, a concept where doctors and lawyers work together to help the overall well-being of people in need. As part of this issue's emphasis on Access to Justice, you can also read about a recent legal needs study with troubling results, as well as about those honored with public service awards for outstanding service to people in need. President Jonathan Steen writes about an important New Year's Resolution: do more pro bono, which he says he plans to keep better than his usual resolutions to eat healthier, get more sleep and exercise regularly.

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Put TBJ-Reviewed Books on Your Gift List

If you are still looking for a gift for the readers on your list, check out the reviews of two books in the December Journal. Gary Shockley reviews John Dean's book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. The book is based on "transcripts of more than one thousand White House conversations taped by the infamous Nixon taping system — less than half of which had ever been transcribed before," Shockley writes. "Even today, four decades later, the story both fascinates and repels." 

David Wade reviews The Widow Wave: A True Courtroom Drama of Tragedy at Sea. "If you try lawsuits, you will run into yourself on virtually every page of this book," Wade writes. "This book is a great excursion into a real trial wrapped into all the trappings of real trial lawyers who, even though they are at the height of their professional acumen, still agonize over decisions they must make during trial and the impact they will have on the sacred trust to protect the client’s interests. No work of fiction can ever beat that."

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Humor: Haltom Warns About Christmas Tree Discord

If you are going to get your Christmas tree this weekend, read Bill Haltom's column in the December Tennessee Bar Journal first. In it he reveals why divorce lawyers love Christmas trees. "Remember folks, it took a crew of 17 big men at the Christmas tree lot to hoist the tree on top of the van. But once I get home, it’s Daddy’s job to personally lift this giant Sequoia off the minivan and carry it (the tree, not the minivan) into the house," Haltom writes. "My wife and I snipe at each other for hours while I clutch the Christmas tree and experience Yuletide acupuncture, as thousands of pine needles pierce my aching body. After several crash landings, we somehow manage to balance the tree. Of course, by this time, my wife and I are in no mood whatsoever to trim the tree, since we’ve stopped speaking to each other. Talk about Silent Night." Consider yourself warned, everyone, and happy tree decorating.

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Vested Property Rights Act Leads December TBJ

In the December issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, lawyers Jennifer Lacey and John Williams detail the Vested Property Rights Act of 2014 and how it has given more stability to developers. Bill Rutchow looks at employer protection of confidential business information through the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. And in perhaps the best news of all, columnist Eddy Smith reports the demise of Circular 230 Disclosures in "How the IRS Saved the Planet and Returned 30 Minutes of Your Day."

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Convicted 'Stringbean' Killer Paroled Today

John Brown, 64, who admitted to killing Grand Ole Opry and "Hee Haw" comic David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife Estelle, was released from prison today. Brown, originally sentenced to 198 years, had been denied parole at least a half dozen times. He spent 40 years in prison. On Nov. 11, 1973, Brown and his cousin, Doug Marvin Brown, ransacked the Akemans' cabin on their farm in Ridgetop, but were apparently surprised by the Akemans as they returned home from the Opry. Brown shot Akeman as he walked into the cabin, then ran after his wife and shot her. Newschannel5 has more. In this 2004 Tennessee Bar Journal column, Don Paine wrote about the murders, the investigation and the trial.

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Haltom Looks at the Aging Lawyer in This Month's Column

In 1980, 36 percent of the nation’s licensed lawyers were under age 35, compared to just 13 percent in this age group in 2005, the ABA Journal reports. The figures come from The Lawyer Statistical Report, which is based on data from Martindale-Hubbell and compiled by the American Bar Foundation. Meanwhile, the median lawyer age also increased from 39 in 1980 to 49 in 2005. Tennessee Bar Journal humor columnist Bill Haltom has embraced these statistics, declaring himself and some of his colleagues "Legally Gray." Read his column in this month's issue.

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Blumstein Named Solicitor General

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery today named Andrée Sophia Blumstein as the state’s new solicitor general. She succeeds Acting Solicitor General Joe Whalen, who will return to his previous position in the office. In the new role, Blumstein will oversee appellate litigation in state and federal courts, review written opinions and advise the attorney general. “I could not be more pleased that Andrée has accepted this important appointment,” Slatery said. “Her extensive trial and appellate experience and her academic credentials are surpassed only by the type of person she is and the respect she already enjoys in the legal community.” For the past 21 years, Blumstein has been a partner at the Nashville firm of Sherrard & Roe where she focused on appellate litigation, health law, taxation and antitrust matters.

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