February, 2011

Cover Story

“The future isn’t what it used to be.”
— Paul Valery

Late in 2010, Congress amended the federal estate tax. A chart (download pdf at the end of this article) lists the new federal estate and gift tax exemptions and the Tennessee inheritance tax exemptions by year, as well as the combined federal and Tennessee death taxes and...

President's Perspective

While I was in Nashville last February, I saw a collection of photographs at the Nashville Public Library commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Nashville sit-ins of 1960, which were the main hallmark of a nonviolent campaign to end racial segregation at lunch counters. Although the planning for this protest started in 1958, it began on Feb. 13, 1960...

Letters of the Law

You did a terrific job on the Bar Journal article about Access to Justice (“Front Burner: Supreme Court Turns Up the Heat on Access to Justice; Lawyers and Advocates Respond,” January 2011 Tenn. Bar J.). Thanks for all your effort. It inspired me further!  

— Margaret L. Behm, Nashville, Tennessee Access...
Senior Moments

Debilitating mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and others often drive families to the attorney’s office. Why? Isn’t this more a medical than legal issue? Patients suffering mental illness are sometimes in denial of dangerous symptoms and refuse treatment, or they are so incapacitated by the illness that they suffer self-neglect...


Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia Clark gave the keynote address at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County. Clark emphasized the role the juvenile court has played during its century of service to the children and families of Memphis and Shelby County, including serving as a...


A program designed to prepare new lawyers for successful careers in the law would also provide up to 12 hours of continuing legal education for mentors and beginning lawyers if it is approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court. A pilot program from the Tennessee Bar Association is planned for this spring.

Licensure & Discipline

In January, the Tennessee Supreme Court appointed four new members to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. They are Michael E. Callaway, Bell and Associates in Cleveland; Wade V. Davies, Ritchie, Dillard & Davies in Knoxville; Michael U. King, King Law Office in Huntingdon; and ...

The Law at Work

Tennessee employers took one on the chin when the Tennessee Supreme Court recently decided Gossett v. Tractor Supply Inc.,[1] holding that the burden-shifting paradigm of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green[2] is “incompatible with Tennessee summary judgment jurisprudence.”

Crime & Punishment

Corporate crime is big news. Lawyers practicing in Tennessee face an increasing likelihood of being asked to assist business clients in responding to an allegation of criminal wrongdoing. To protect the business and to avoid inadvertent harm to others (and your license), counsel must both understand the attorney-client privilege of an organization.

Paine on Procedure

What is a writ of error coram nobis? Justice Drowota detailed the history in State v. Mixon, 983 S.W.2d 66 (Tenn. 1999). Originally used in English and early American common law for civil as well as criminal cases, today the writ is confined to the criminal arena. See Civil Rule 60.02, rendering Tenn. Code Ann. §27-7-101 obsolete.

But Seriously, Folks

One of the greatest lines in Hollywood history occurred in the 1967 Paul Newman film, Cool Hand Luke: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” Well, 43 years later, that is no longer a problem in 21st century America. In fact, just the opposite is true. What we’ve got here is way too much communication, and we’ve got to figure out a...