Ashworth is new TBA president

Fourth woman to lead the association

Gail Vaughn Ashworth was to be sworn in as the new Tennessee Bar Association's president on June 19. Other members of the executive committee are Sam Elliott, president-elect; Danny Van Horn, vice-president; Buck Lewis, immediate past president; Jason Pannu, secretary; and Richard Johnson, treasurer.

Ashworth is a partner with the Nashville law firm of Gideon & Wiseman PLC. She earned undergraduate and masters degrees at Tennessee Technological University and her law degree from Vanderbilt.

Look for coverage of Ashworth's installation, along with other information from the TBA's annual convention in Memphis in the August Tennessee Bar Journal.

Chairs have been appointed for Tennessee Bar Association Sections and Committees for 2009 - 2010.


Administrative Law: Tom Stovall
Appellate Practice: Paul Summers
Bankruptcy Law: David Houston,
Business Law: Van East
Construction Law: Tim Gibbons
Corporate Counsel: Laura Chastain
Creditors Practice Section: David Mendelson
Criminal Justice: Andy Roskind
Disability Law: Sherry Wilds
Dispute Resolution: Linda Warren Seely
Elder Law: Dana Perry
Entertainment & Sports Law: Chris Vlahos
Environmental Law: David Higney
Estate Planning & Probate: Angelia Nystrom
Family Law: Mitzi Johnson
Federal Practice: Paul Ambrosius
General Solo & Small Firm Practitioners: Matthew Evans
Health Care Law: Bill Young
Immigration Law: Terry Olsen
Intellectual Property: Sam Miller
Juvenile & Children's Law: Rae Anne Seay
Labor & Employment Law: Rhonda Taylor
Law Office Technology: Tom Shumate
Litigation: Travis McDonough
Real Estate Law: Kelley Hinsley
Tax Law: Les Wilkinson
Tort & Insurance Practice: Elizabeth Ferguson

To find out more about each section, go to


ABA Resource: Jonathan Cole
Access to Justice: Deb House
Continuing Legal Education: Danny Van Horn
Ethics and Professional Responsibility: Brian Faughnan
Governmental Affairs: Tom Lee
Lawyers Professional Liability: Barbara Perutelli
Legal-Medical Relations: Chuck Cagle
Long-Range Planning: Danny Van Horn
Publications: Jonathan Steen
Public Education: Barbara Holmes
Committee on Protection of the Public from Unauthorized Practice of Law: Sean Lewis
Tennessee Bar Journal Editorial Board: Andrée Sophia Blumstein
TBA Leadership in the Law: Larry Wilks and Pam Reeves, co-chairs
Racial & Ethnic Diversity: Bruce Bailey and Cristi Scott, co-chairs
Attorney Well-being: Andy Branham

To find out more about each committee, go to

Court considers revised MJP proposal, comment through Aug. 10: In June, the Tennessee Supreme Court published for comment revisions to last summer's TBA proposal to provide for multijurisdictional practice. The proposal includes a registration process for in-house or corporate counsel for limited permission to practice for their employer, and permission for registered corporate counsel to do pro bono work. The deadline for commenting on the proposal is Aug. 10. Download the proposal at

Supreme Court clerks cleared to do pro bono work: A newly adopted amendment to the Supreme Court Rules allows research assistants in Tennessee's appellate courts to provide certain pro bono legal services. The rule sets limitations including that the work involve no in-court appearances and be done on the lawyer's own time. The amendment took effect May 26. Read a copy of the new rule at

Student practice rule broadened: Law students from any school that would make a student eligible to sit for the Tennessee bar may now take advantage of Tennessee's limited student practice rule. The change, adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court by order entered May 20, removes the requirement that only students from Tennessee law schools could practice. The change was supported by the Tennessee Bar Association. See the amendment to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Sec. 10.03 at

Study recommends no judicial redistricting: An 18-month-long study of judicial redistricting in Tennessee has again concluded that there is no need for changing judicial districts in Tennessee. The study, made available in May by the Comptroller's Office of Research and Education Accountability, was conducted by the Justice Management Institute and the Center for Justice, Law and Society at George Mason University. The study concludes that workload equalization and access to the courts can be achieved without redrawing district lines through the use of the weighted case load methodology currently employed by the Judicial Council to allocate judicial resources. The study recommends better mechanisms for documenting the work of limited jurisdictions courts, General Sessions courts in particular, and that a plan be developed to collect and maintain case data. The TBA House of Delegates was asked to provide input in the 10 local level focus group sessions held throughout the state.

Download a complete copy of the study at

Memphis law student wins TBA environmental law writing competition:
A University of Memphis law student took first place in the Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award Writing Competition sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association. Shannon Wiley won for her essay "Lurking in the Water: Withholding Attorneys' Fees as a Threat to Effective Enforcement of the Clean Water Act."

Find out more at

Court denies petition on employment of disciplined lawyers: On May 26, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied a petition of the TBA seeking clarification of the policy on the employment of disbarred, suspended and disabled lawyers. The court denied the petition without soliciting comments from the public or the bar at large, although the court did receive comments from the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.

The petition, filed Jan. 13, asked the court to adopt rules that would have barred the employment of disbarred lawyers in any law office; provided limited participation in law offices that were not the primary home of suspended lawyers; and permitted special rules for disabled lawyers who had no pending disciplinary complaints.
In its petition, the TBA said that authorities on the subject did not give ample guidance to the bar on the status of lawyers who have been disciplined.

Download a copy of the petition and the order denying it at

Vanderbilt Law School names new dean: Vanderbilt University Law School has named Chris Guthrie, 42, a seven-year veteran of the school and the former associate dean for academic affairs, as new dean of the law school effective July 1. Guthrie has agreed to a five-year appointment, subject to approval by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. He replaces Edward L. Rubin, who will continue as a faculty member at the school. He earned a masters degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a law degree from Stanford Law School.

New site to track CLE Commission proposals: The Commission on CLE & Specialization has launched a new Web site to track and discuss policy proposals pending before it.

"The site makes it easier for individuals and organizations to contribute to and track discussions on policy proposals under consideration by the Commission," Commission Executive Director David N. Shearon says. Proposals under consideration include mentoring, minimum engagement requirements for distance learning programs, granting CLE credit for some forms of one-on-one coaching of attorneys, and a definitional change for ethics/professionalism programs and their accreditation. "We want to make sure attorneys can both speak up and keep up," he says. Check it out at

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