You Need to Know

Twelve Tennessee lawyers were sworn in Nov. 4 to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. TBA Past President Jason Pannu was on hand to move the admission of the group, which also included TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson and TBA President Sarah Sheppeard. The group arrived in D.C. Sunday afternoon for a reception at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel, and following the morning’s ceremony, heard oral arguments in Barton v. Barr and Kansas v. Glover. They later enjoyed a tour of the Capitol conducted by staff from Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s office. The events were part of the TBA Academy, an annual program. Those admitted include Anthony Bradley, Beth Bradley, Bill Bradley Jr., Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton, Crystal Jessee, Melinda Jewell, Rachel Lambert, Jennifer Sisson, Richard Spore, Matthew Stephens, Rachel Stephens and Lynn Thompson

Members of the Tennessee bar traveled to Washington, D.C., in November to be sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court, as part of a Tennessee Bar Association program. Photo courtesy of the Clerk’s Office of the Supreme Court of the United States.


Workers’ Comp Court Expands Reach
The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims has expanded its service area to reach portions of the state it says have been underserved. In addition to the eight standing locations where the court hears cases and approves settlements, it is now using local courtrooms in Hamblen, Maury, Montgomery and Weakley counties to provide greater accessibility for injured workers and lawyers involved in their cases. Get detailed scheduling information on the court’s website,

Court Amends Rule 11 to Improve Caseload Statistics
The Tennessee Supreme Court at the end of October issued an order amending Rule 11, section II of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court to delete subsection (c) in its entirety and replace it with a revised subsection (c), as set out in an appendix of the order. The court said the change was made to more accurately collect, develop and maintain uniform statistical information about court caseloads across the state.

State Supreme Court Names New AOC Deputy 
Michelle J. Long has been named deputy director of the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Long has served as assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health’s Division of Health Licensure and Regulation since 2012. She previously was senior vice president and general counsel for the Tennessee Hospital Association, executive director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and legal counsel to former Gov. Don Sundquist. AOC Director Deborah Taylor Tate said Long will focus on modernization of the court system, civil and criminal justice reform, the opioid epidemic, and communicating the court’s mission to the public.

Sumner County Approves New Judicial Center Plan
The Sumner County Commission recently approved plans for a new judicial center, including a new courthouse, parking garage and jail expansion, the Portland Sun reported. County leaders also approved $10.2 million in additional funding for the project in downtown Gallatin. In August, the commission approved a 34-cent property tax increase, with four cents helping to pay for the project. The project is estimated to cost $91 million.

Old Knoxville Supreme Court Building Set to be Repurposed 
Construction to repurpose the former State Supreme Court Building in downtown Knoxville will begin soon, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported last month. The renovation is part of a $76 million project to transform the city block bounded by Locust Street, Cumberland Avenue, West Church Avenue and Henley Street. The old Supreme Court building, its attached office tower and its parking lot, will be made into a short-term rental hub and a mixed-use apartment community. Official groundbreaking took place in late October with site completion expected in the fall of 2021.

Poll Finds Court Most Trusted Branch of Government
Americans have more confidence in the Supreme Court than they do in the other two branches of government, according to a new and wide-ranging national survey about the court by the Marquette University Law School. As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the survey finds that 57% of those polled say they trust the Supreme Court the most of the three branches, compared to 21% who chose the presidency and 22% who chose Congress. Respondents did not favor expanding the court, but do say they support establishing fixed terms instead of lifetime appointments.

Participants in the TBA’s Public Service Academy gathered for two weekends this fall for this bipartisan training program for attorneys who wish to seek local public office in their communities. Attorneys learned about running for city council, school board, county commission and other local offices.



Lutton Appointed Knox Public Defender
Gov. Bill Lee has appointed Eric Lutton as the interim public defender for Knox County, effective Nov. 1. He fills the vacancy made by outgoing public defender Mark Stephens, who announced in August he was resigning at the end of October. Lutton will hold the interim position until a special election is held in 2020 to determine who will fill the remaining term. Lutton was sworn in at Nov. 1 by the Hon. Steven Sword in Criminal Court Division 1.

Members of the Tennessee Supreme Court traveled the state in November, to conduct swearing-in ceremonies in four cities, like this one in Nashville.

New Attorneys Welcomed to Practice at Ceremonies Across the State
In November, the Tennessee Supreme Court welcomed new attorneys to the practice of law at ceremonies in Memphis, Jackson, Nashville and Knoxville. These were candidates who passed the July 2019 Tennessee Bar Exam. During the Nashville ceremonies at the Music City Center, the Tennessee Bar Association hosted a reception to honor the new admittees and their families.


KBA Launches Redesigned Website for Lawyer Referral
The Knoxville Bar Association has launched a newly redesigned website for its Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) at The site features a monthly blog, e-newsletter, videos on what to expect when hiring a lawyer, and resources available for download. Those looking for a lawyer may also continue calling the LRIS intake staff at 865-522-7501 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

TBA Health Law Section chair Monica Wharton hands the ceremonial cup to  Section Vice-chair J.D. Thomas during the 31st Annual Health Law Forum, as Thomas becomes chair.













Leadership Conference Moves to Spring 
The TBA’s annual Leadership Conference and Public Service Luncheon will be moving from January to April in 2020. The two-day event is centered around the TBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates meetings. It also features educational programming for TBA leaders and recognition of public service efforts from Tennessee lawyers and law students. In the past few years, the conference has suffered because of inclement winter weather. In moving the event to April, TBA leaders hope to avoid that problem. The 2020 conference will also incorporate the annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala, the Young Lawyers Division spring planning meeting and the annual Section and Committee Leaders Conference. Watch for more details.

2020 TBA Election Notice

Deadline to Run for TBA Office is Feb. 15

During 2020, the following officers, governors and delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) will be elected as set forth in the association’s bylaws:

TBA Officers and Board of Governors

A vice president (from the East Tennessee Grand Division) will be elected by the association’s
membership-at-large.The vice president automatically assumes the office of president-elect in 2021 and president in 2022.

District Governors

District governors in the 2nd, 5th (Position 1) and 7th districts will be elected to three-year terms. These governors are elected by the members in their respective district.
Those who currently hold those positions are: Heidi Barcus (2nd), Amy Bryant (5th, Position 1) and Matt Willis (7th). They are all eligible for reelection.

Grand Division Governors

TBA Grand Division governors are elected for one-year terms by the membership in each grand division.

  • Two East Tennessee governors from the 1st, 2nd or 3rd district.
  • Two Middle Tennessee governors from the 4th, 5th or 6th district.
  • Two West Tennessee governors from the 7th or 8th district.

To qualify, the petition must specify the particular seat the candidate is seeking in the denominated Grand Division (Position 1) or (Position 2).

Those who currently hold those positions are:
East Tennessee:   

Tasha Blakney (Position 1)
Mary Beth Maddox (Position 2)

Middle Tennessee:

Aimee Luna (Position 1)        
Jamie Durrett (Position 2)

West Tennessee:

Ahsaki Baptist (Position 1)        
Trey Thacher (Position 2)

Aimee Luna, Jamie Durrett, Ahsaki Baptist and Trey Thacher are eligible for reelection.  Tasha Blakney and Mary Beth Maddox are ineligible for reelection because of term limits.

TBA Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates

Four members to represent the TBA in the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates will be elected for two-year terms by the TBA membership in 2020. The positions are designated positions 2, 4, 5 and 6.
Those who currently hold these positions are Buck Lewis (Position 2), Jackie Dixon (Position 4), Danny Van Horn (Position 5) and Gail Vaughn Ashworth (Position 6).

Qualifying, Balloting & Elections

The officers, governors and delegates to the ABA are elected by the membership as provided by election procedures with petitions due Feb. 15, 2020.
   To qualify for any of these offices, a candidate must file a nominating petition with the executive director of the TBA.  The petition must contain the names of 25 members of the association in good standing. The petition must be received at the TBA office on or before Feb. 15, 2020, via electronic mail at, hand delivery at 221 4th Ave North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219 or via certified mail.
   The Board of Governors has authorized an electronic balloting system supervised by auditors selected by the Board. The Tennessee Bar Association elections will be primarily carried out electronically — using online balloting. Most members are familiar with this electronic method, but those who still prefer to cast paper ballots will be able to choose that method. Members will be able to opt out of electronic voting either through the website ( or by providing written notice to TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson at 221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219. This notice must be provided by Jan. 31, 2020.
   As in the past, TBA members voting electronically will receive an email with a link to the election site along with a password to use to cast their ballots. Tabulation of election results will continue to be carried out by an accounting firm selected by the board.
   Candidates have until Feb.15, 2020, to qualify to run in the 2020 elections. Voting will take place between March 1 and April 1, 2020. Electronic voting will close at 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2020. If a mail ballot is requested, those ballots must be received by the deadline at the office of the TBA auditors on April 1, 2020.  If there is only one duly qualified candidate for an office by Feb. 15, 2020, that candidate will automatically be declared elected.


This notice is in accordance with bylaws of the TBA §15 and 40 through 46.

For more information on running for any of these offices, visit the TBA’s website at or call (615) 383-7421 for an election handbook.

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