August, 2012

Cover Story

The chief justice of the United States occupies a unique position in our constitutional and legal structure. Like the eight associate justices, he casts only one vote in each case. But the chief — known as the “first among equals” — has numerous special roles both inside and outside the Supreme Court. These roles position the chief to influence the Court...

President's Perspective

Last December, I had a multiday trial. The case involved a lot of documents so I had a big load of banker’s boxes to get into the courthouse from my vehicle early on the first day of trial. I had just loaded a dolly with boxes and begun pushing it toward the court house doors when I was approached by a polite, well-dressed young man who offered his...

Book Review

By Bryan A. Garner | Oxford University Press | $42.84 | 991 pages | 2011

I am nutty enough to enjoy reading dictionaries. Three are at my left hand: the one I’m reviewing and Black’s (edited by Garner) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate. A fourth is within left arm’s reach: the compact OED.

Why do smart appellate...

History's Verdict

The Tennessee Bar Journal welcomes a new column this month. Russell Fowler will look to the past to help inform the practice of today in “History’s Verdict.” His column will appear three times a year.

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. It is time to pause and ponder its importance and plan how to commemorate this...

Where There's a Will

Few cases become standard references in gift tax planning: Crummey, Cristofani, Hackl.[1] Add another to our short list: Wandry,[2] a case many of us dared hope for, one that a reviewer said “may be the ‘Blockbuster Case of the Year.’”[3] It provides a simple yet revolutionary way to limit gift tax exposure, and I predict that the...


The Tennessee Bar Association was recognized in October with three Luminary Awards from the National Association of Bar Executives. The Tennessee Bar Journal earned a Luminary Award for The Law Launch Project, which followed 15 law students through their last year of school.


Kara Hunter has joined the Nashville law firm of Gilbert Russell McWherter PLC as an associate. Hunter is a 2011 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law. She will work primarily in the firm’s civil litigation group as a labor and employment lawyer.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP recently welcomed E....


More than 46 percent of Tennessee attorneys reported performing pro bono legal work in Tennessee, an increase of 6 percent from last year, according to recent data from the Board of Professional Responsibility.

This is the highest percentage of pro bono reporting since attorneys began to report voluntarily in 2009 and more than twice the level of...


Former Criminal Court Judge and TBA senior counselor FRED A. KELLY died Sept. 27 at the age of 93. Kelly graduated from the University of Tennessee and later served in World War II, earning the rank of captain. He graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1948 and began practicing law in Gallatin. A native of the city, he went...

Licensure & Discipline


The following attorney was reinstated to the practice of law after the Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order vacating their suspensions nunc pro tunc. In both cases, the Board of Professional Responsibility erred in suspending them.

Robert Stephen Butler, Somerville

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.

Bank on It

My colleague, Elizabeth Wilee Sims, is fond of asking our clients and their constituents, “What keeps you up at night?” It’s a good conversation starter and a way to find out what’s uppermost on clients’ minds. We are rarely surprised by the answers but fascinated by perspectives.


Bankers remain worried about the economy and how...

Paine on Procedure

Today the coram nobis (“before us”) remedy helps a few clients convicted of crimes. We’ve had it in Tennessee since 1955, and it’s now codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §40-26-105. Although that statute purports to incorporate procedures governing the writ in civil cases, the civil statutes were superseded in 1971 by adoption of Tennessee Rule of...

But Seriously, Folks

On June 28, the United States Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, or Freedom-Loving Right-Thinking Americans vs. Crazy Liberal Obama Care or Right-Wing Nut Jobs Who Are Determined to Drag Us All Back to the Dark Ages vs. The Wonderfully-Sensible...