May, 2014

Cover Story

Whether it’s the economy or the growing awareness that a law degree can be valuable in many career areas, attorneys are increasingly moving away from conventional law practices. One recent study that tracks law school graduates from the class of 2000 found that almost a quarter of them are not practicing law today.[1]

President's Perspective

I am sure I do not have to tell you that judicial elections are on the horizon. After all, you see the campaign signs everywhere you look, and each day at mail call you receive additional solicitations for contributions to various judicial campaigns. Many of you give generously to support candidates who you believe will make (or continue to be)...

Letters of the Law

He Was Always Willing to Help

Ramsay A. Leathers was appointed Tennessee Supreme Court Clerk, a position that included serving as clerk to all Tennessee appellate courts, as well as Clerk to the Court of the Judiciary and Clerk to the Board of Professional Responsibility. He retired in 1987 after more than 20 years of service. He died March 28...

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...

Day on Torts

The federal courts have misconstrued Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-1-119 (2009) for almost two decades. The Tennessee Supreme Court finally got an opportunity to set the record straight, and it did so in Becker v. Ford Motor Co.[1]


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.


Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be the new dean for the Belmont University College of Law, effective June 1. The news comes on the heels of founding Dean Jeff Kinsler’s announcement that he has decided to become a full-time faculty member. Gonzales joined Belmont in 2012 and has taught courses in constitutional law,...



Criminal Appeals Court Judge Jeff Bivins will be the next person to join the Tennessee Supreme Court, Gov. Bill Haslam announced April 4. Bivins will replace Justice William C. Koch Jr., who is retiring July 15, 2014, to become dean of the Nashville School of Law. Bivins, 53, was appointed to the Tennessee...


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 Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated the law license of Nashville lawyer Lee Michael Sprouse on March 10. Sprouse had been temporarily suspended on Feb. 4 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. Sprouse filed a petition to dissolve the temporary...

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.

Family Matters

As everyone is aware, the use of electronic technology in business as well as people’s personal lives has grown beyond anyone’s imagination in recent years. With this rise in the use of various forms of technology, people often forget that what you use a computer for and what you store on a computer are just as relevant, and just as easily documented,...

Paine on Procedure

During three months in 1997, Paul Reid murdered seven victims connected with fast-food restaurants in Middle Tennessee.

On Sunday morning, Feb. 16, Reid shot Steve Hampton and Sarah Jackson as they were opening the Captain D’s on Lebanon Road in Donelson. He stole over $7,000.[1]

A month later, on Sunday, March 23, at the end of the...

But Seriously, Folks

I love oxymorons. My favorite is “jumbo shrimp.” Here’s a list of some of my other favorite oxymorons: