Pera on the Law, the Bar, Barbecue and More

TBA President Lucian Pera offers his thoughts on the legal profession, the importance of bar work, and more (including his favorite spot for barbecue) in a series of web video interviews. The first video in the four-part series premiered today on YouTube. In the video, Pera discusses the inspiration for his year as president, as well as the importance of bar work to the legal profession. Stay tuned for part two to debut later this week, in which Pera discusses his goals for the bar, as well as challenges and trends he sees emerging.

read more »

October TBJ: The Scandalous Start of Tennessee's Written Bar Exam

The October Tennessee Bar Journal documents a time when just about anyone could practice law with little or no formal training. Lewis Laska writes about a "fake law school" that sold degrees, one of the factors that propelled the legal community to work toward uniformity, education and a written bar exam as standards to practice law. President Lucian Pera tells about lawyers' efforts in the wake of recent hurricanes, as well as ways you can help. Scott Ross gives an update on injury damages under Tennessee law. Russell Fowler shows how Louis Brandeis promoted the idea of pro bono — which is fitting because October is "Celebrate Pro Bono Month!"

read more »

August Issue: Meet TBA's New Executive Director

The August TBJ features the Tennessee Bar Association’s new executive director, Joycelyn Stevenson, as she steps into the role held for nearly 20 years by Allan Ramsaur, who is now executive director emeritus. Read about what makes her perfect for the job, as well as what her plans and dreams are for the association. In his column, President Lucian T. Pera asks readers to consider the possibilities that the changing market for legal services will bring. "Today we can visualize a time in Tennessee when 'going to court' might not mean walking to the courthouse on court square," he writes. "It might mean firing up your tablet and logging in to an online session with a judge, other lawyers, and even witnesses." Pera writes about Modria and companies like it, that provide online dispute resolution services, and what that and related technologies may mean for the practice of law.

read more »

TBA President Lucian Pera Lawyers Luncheon Address

Newly installed TBA President Lucian Pera addresses the profession during the Lawyers Luncheon at the TBA Annual Convention in Kingsport.


Lucian Pera Installed as New TBA President

Jason Long concluded his term as the TBA President today and passed the gavel to Memphis attorney Lucian Pera at the TBA’s annual Convention in Kingsport. Pera said his goals will be to ensure a smooth transition and successful first year for incoming Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson, as well as to focus on the recommendations from the recent Indigent Representation Task Force. Also on day three of the convention, the Young Lawyers Division will hold its annual meeting, and YLD President Rachel Mancl will pass the gavel to incoming leader Ahsaki Baptist. See photos from the day's events and award presentations.
read more »

Voting Continues in TBA Election

Reminder emails are being sent today to TBA members who have not yet taken part in the 2017 election. These emails come from, so make sure that address is on your safelist to ensure the emails don't get caught in your spam filter. If you do not receive an email, but are eligible to vote in one of the contested races, you can go to the ElectionsOnline website to get access to the ballot. Voting ends April 1.

read more »

Nashville, Knoxville Services for Former TBA Director Gil Campbell

Former Executive Director of the Tennessee Bar Association Gil Campbell died on Friday in Nashville. He was 84. An East Tennessee native, Campbell worked as the Executive Director of the Decatur/DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta for 20 years prior to beginning his tenure at the TBA in 1983. He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, a captain in the U.S. Army and a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation and the Tennessee Bar Foundation. There will be two services in his honor. A celebration of life will be held in Nashville on Thursday at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Nashville, 4815 Franklin Pike, with a reception following. A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Knoxville, 620 State Street, at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Memorial donations can be made in his name to the University of Tennessee College of Law.
read more »

Deadline Tomorrow to File for TBA Office

Candidates interested in serving in a TBA leadership position must file a qualifying petition by tomorrow, Feb. 15. A list of positions up for election this year can be found on the website. To qualify as a candidate, members must file a nominating petition with the executive director containing the names of 25 members of the association in good standing. Lawyers interested in running for a Young Lawyers Division post face the same Feb. 15 deadline and should file a nominating petition with YLD Secretary Joshua B. Dougan.

read more »

Ramsaur to Step Back From TBA Day-to-Day Management

Longtime TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur will begin stepping back from day-to-day management of the association on the first of the year. “You would be hard pressed to find an individual who has done more to advance our profession, promote access to justice, and facilitate an understanding of the legal profession in the past 20 years,” TBA President Jason Long said of Ramsaur. “We are eternally grateful for Allan’s dedication and skill in leading the association.” As Ramsaur transitions into the new role of Emeritus Director, he will assist in the search for a new executive director and continue to work in governmental affairs and other strategic initiatives until full retirement in June 2018.

read more »

MBA Names New President, Officers

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) held its Annual Meeting & Elections last night. New officers are President Dean DeCandia of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vice President Earle Schwarz and Secretary/Treasurer Annie T. Christoff with Bass Berry & Sims. Christoff will become president in 2019. The group also presented the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyers’ Lawyer Award to Lewis Thomason shareholder and former TBA President William H. “Bill” Haltom. The award is given annually to an association member who has practiced law for more than 15 years and exemplifies professional courtesy and conduct.

read more »

Nathan Ridley is NBA's New President

Nathan Ridley was elected president of the Nashville Bar Association (NBA) Thursday during the group's annual meeting and banquet at the Music City Center. Erin Palmer Polly is the new president-elect; Robb Bigelow is first vice president; Marnie Huff is second vice president; Stephen Young is treasurer; and Lela Hollabaugh is general counsel. Jocelyn Stevenson, who served as president in the previous bar year, is now immediate past president. Lauren Paxton Roberts is the Young Lawyers Division president. The NBA previously announced the results of contested board elections.

Awards also were presented. The YLD Enterprise Award went to Mollie Gass and Peter Malnchuk. The YLD President's Award was given to Kelly Donley and Lauren Spahn. The Nashville Bar Journal Award was presented to Jim Thomas, Kimberly Faye and Caroline Hudson; the CLE Excellence Award was given to Judges Philip Smith and Phillip Robinson. Pro Bono Awards were given to James A. Beaks and Waller LLP. And the John C. Tune Public Service Award went to Bill Harbison and Abby Rubenfeld.

read more »

TBA President Urges Unity, Consensus Building in Profession

In the new Tennessee Bar Journal, President Jason Long discusses our divided country after the recent election, urging lawyers to be “united now more than ever in our commitment to the profession and its bedrock principles.” He writes that “we can provide that opportunity in a controlled and structured environment, operating within the framework of our democratic institutions. If there is an opportunity for consensus building and unity in today’s political climate, the legal profession can and should facilitate that.” Also in this issue, learn if you are protecting your clients’ electronic information enough, in the cover article by Trey Forgety. Brian Dobbs writes to help you understand the law of construction in Tennessee. Read the December issue.

read more »

MBA to Honor Haltom With Lawyers’ Lawyer Award

Lewis Thomason shareholder and former TBA President William H. “Bill” Haltom will receive the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyers’ Lawyer Award at the Memphis Bar Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting on Dec. 8. The award is given annually to an association member who has practiced law for more than 15 years and exemplifies the aims and aspirations embodied in the group’s Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct. Haltom is also an author and regular columnist for the Tennessee Bar Journal.

read more »

TBA Director to Speak on Indigent Pay Issues

TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur is among those who will address the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force when it meets Friday in Nashville for the next stop on its listening tour. The hearing will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Nashville School of Law, Room 200, 4013 Armory Oaks Dr., Nashville 37204. The TBA has long supported an increase in the compensation rate for those who handle court-appointed cases. After Friday's session, the task force will hold one last hearing in Franklin on Aug.11.

read more »

TBA President Long Among TALS EJU Speakers

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) has announced the lineup of speakers for its 2016 Equal Justice University (EJU) conference. Among those speaking is TBA President Jason Long, who will address the group during the Leadership Lunch on Sept. 1. Registration for the conference closes Aug. 19.

read more »

New TBA President Outlines Initiatives in Convention Speech

New TBA President Jason Long outlined his plans and objectives for the coming year after being sworn in to office during the TBA Annual Convention last week. Long brought special attention to the work of the recently created Evolving Legal Marketplace Committee, which is analyzing the landscape of legal services delivery in Tennessee and will lead educational efforts and other projects to help Tennessee lawyers thrive in this environment. View Long's speech now.

read more »

Jason Long Sworn in as TBA President; Others Honored

Knoxville lawyer Jason H. Long was sworn in as president of the Tennessee Bar Association today during the group’s annual convention in Nashville, with Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee administering the oath of office. In his remarks, Long paid tribute to the many people who had inspired him in the law, including “all of the great TBA presidents who have shown me what a difference one person with a vision can make." The luncheon also featured recognition of Senior Counselors and the outstanding work of several members throughout the past year. Andrée Sophia Blumstein was honored with the Justice Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing; the Hon. William Joseph Haynes Jr. was given the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award; the Hon. Pamela L. Reeves was awarded the Young Lawyers Division Fellows' William M. Leech Public Service Award; and Gail Vaughn Ashworth was given the President’s Award. The convention wraps up on Saturday.

read more »

June 16 Declared 'Seersucker Day' for Legal Community

TBA President Bill Harbison and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee issued a joint proclamation announcing Seersucker Day for the legal community on June 16. “…The wearing of seersucker has been known to cool tempers and promote great civility among lawyers,” the proclamation reads in part. Seersucker Day will fall next week during the TBA Annual Convention in Nashville, so TBA members are encouraged to celebrate the striped cotton fabric. You can read more about the history of seersucker in a new book authored by former TBA President Bill Haltom.

read more »

TBA Convention Hotel Deadline is Friday

Make your hotel reservations now for the 2016 TBA Annual Convention in Nashville. The special TBA rate at the Sheraton Music City Hotel expires Friday, May 20. This year's convention, June 15-18, is packed with compelling programming, along with dinner and music at the George Jones Museum. 

read more »

TBA Board to Fill 3 Open Positions

Three open positions will be filled by the TBA Board of Governors at its meeting June 18. The positions are West Grand Division Governor - Position 1; Governor, First District (three-year term); and Governor, Fifth District - Position 2 (three-year term). If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur by June 1 indicating your interest and include a resume.

read more »

Apply by June 1:  Board of Governors to Fill Open Positions

Three open positions will be filled by the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors at its meeting Saturday, June 18.

• West Grand Division Governor - Position 1 is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for the seat by the deadline.

The West Grand Division includes the counties of Henry, Decatur, Hardeman, McNairy, Carroll, Chester, Hardin, Madison, Henderson, Fayette, Benton, Gibson, Weakley, Obion, Haywood, Crockett, Lake, Dyer, Tipton, Lauderdale and Shelby.

• Governor, First District (Three-Year Term) is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for the seat by the deadline.

The First District includes the counties of Johnson, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hancock, Grainger, Jefferson, Sullivan, Washington, Unicoi, Hawkins, Claiborne, Hamblen and Sevier.

• Governor, Fifth District - Position 2 (Three-Year Term) is an open seat created when no one sought to be considered for the seat by the deadline.

The Fifth District includes Davidson County.

In accordance with Article 47 of the TBA Bylaws, the board may fill the vacancies, with terms through Spring 2017, at its June 2016 meeting.  

If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur in writing indicating your interest by June 1. Please include a resume.

read more »

Register Now for the Annual TBA Convention

Registration is now open for the 2016 TBA Annual Convention in Nashville June 15-18. Along with compelling CLE programming, attendees will have time to catch up with colleagues and enjoy some of Music City’s top musicians. Hotel reservations are available at a special discounted rate at the Sheraton Music City Hotel. Call (888) 627-7060 before May 13 to receive the rate.

read more »

Harbison: Remembering Justice Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia "counted among his close friends fellow Justices Ruth Ginsberg and Elena Kagan, members of the court with whom he often disagreed," TBA President Bill Harbison writes in the new issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. "The ability to disagree without having the disagreement become personal is of immense importance in our system of justice." Read this and more in the March issue.

read more »

Pannu to Lead TBA in 2018-2019

Jason Pannu of Lewis Thomason in Nashville will lead the Tennessee Bar Association in 2018-2019, according to election-qualifying results released today. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After taking office as vice president this summer, Pannu will become president-elect in 2017-2018 and take over the organization’s leadership in June 2018. Candidates who filed for the following positions will take office at the June annual meeting as they did not draw opponents: Scott Sims and David Veile, Middle Grand Division Governors; Sarah Sheppeard and Shelly Wilson, East Grand Division Governors; Carl Carter, West Grand Division Governor; Donna Pierce, Fourth District Governor; and Buck Lewis, John Tarpley, Danny Van Horn and Gail Ashworth as TBA Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates. No candidates filed for a second West Grand Division Governor position, and the First and Fifth District positions. Those slots may be filled by the Board of Governors.

read more »

Marion Co. Attorney, Former Lawmaker Howard Swafford Dies

Marion County attorney and former state representative Howard G. Swafford died yesterday (Feb. 4). He was 96. Swafford attended law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law after serving in World War II.  A Republican, he was elected to the state legislature in 1972, practiced law and won his last jury trial at age 92. He is survived by fellow lawyers, his wife Claude Galbreath Swafford; a son, Howard Graham Swafford Jr. of Jasper; a daughter, retired Magistrate Claudia Swafford Haltom and son-in-law, former Tennessee Bar Association President William Haltom, of Memphis. Visitation is Feb. 7 at 1 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Jasper. The funeral will follow at 3 p.m. The family requests no flowers, but contributions may be made in Swafford’s honor to the First Baptist Church of Jasper, the Family Life Center Fund at McKendree Methodist Church of Jasper, and A Step Ahead Foundation of Memphis or Chattanooga. Read more about his life.

read more »