Nashville lags in number of women minority law partners

A new study by the Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP) finds that only 0.26 percent of Nashville law firms have minority women partners. The study, which compared large law firms in 44 cities, identified only two cities with fewer minority women partners than Nashville. Nationwide, the study found that women of color represent only 1.48 percent of law partners but that women and minorities are making small gains in the profession as a whole. Read an executive summary of the report on NALP's Web site at The following story from the Tennessean summarizes the report and adds reactions from local attorneys:

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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TCA


James F. Taylor, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, E.M.R.

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General and Reporter, and William N. Helou, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee, Division of Children's Services.

Judge: LEE

E.M.R. (Mother) appeals the trial court's order terminating her parental rights. After careful review, we reverse the trial court's decision for two reasons: (1) the permanency plan setting forth Mother's requirements to achieve reunification with and custody of her children was not entered into evidence; therefore, the trial court erred in finding Mother in substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan; and (2) the evidence did not clearly and convincingly demonstrate that the conditions that led to the children's removal have continued to persist and are unlikely to be remedied and that termination was in the best interests of the children. We therefore reverse the trial court's decision to terminate Mother's parental rights.


Court: TCA


Ronald E. Sharp, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gatlinburg Airport Authority, Inc.

Danny P. Dyer, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tennessee Museum of Aviation, Inc.

C. Dan Scott and Melissa Edwards, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Josephine Burchfiel, Norman Burchfiel's Family Trust, and GST Exemption Marital Trust.


The plaintiffs filed this trespass action against the defendants, Gatlinburg Airport Authority, Inc. (the Airport Authority) and Tennessee Museum of Aviation, Inc. (the Museum), seeking injunctive relief and damages as a result of the defendants' construction of a sign within a right-of-way conveyed by the plaintiffs to the Airport Authority. The trial court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs, ordering the defendants to remove the sign. The defendants appeal. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Edward T. Autry and Michael R. Parham, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Estate of Eva Friedman Weisberger.

Joe M. Duncan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Philip J. Cooper.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a petition for attorney's fees in probate. The petitioner attorney was retained to represent the estate in the underlying probate action. After his duties were essentially completed, the representatives of the estate hired new counsel for the estate. The petitioner attorney then filed a petition for attorney's fees, asserting that there had been an oral contract for 3 percent of the estate's assets. The estate's representatives objected, contending that there had been no agreement on attorney's fees, and that the amount of the fee requested was excessive. After a hearing, the trial court determined that the parties had entered into the agreement as asserted by the attorney, and that the fee agreement was reasonable at the time it was made. Therefore, the trial court enforced the fee agreement and entered a judgment in favor of the petitioner. The estate now appeals. We affirm, concluding that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's decision.


Court: TCA


Basil Marceaux, appellant, pro se.

Ronald D. Wells and Stacy Lynn Archer, Chattanooga, Tennessee, attorneys for appellee, The Citizen David Norton.


The plaintiff, Basil Marceaux, filed a pleading in the trial court which he entitled "Motion for Doctrine of Mandamus." The trial court dismissed the motion. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Helen Sfikas Rogers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Greg Chris Nelson.

James R. Tomkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lynne Marie Nelson Maynor.

Judge: CAIN

Husband and Wife were divorced on March 11, 1998, at which time the court declared Wife primary residential parent of the parties' two minor daughters. Husband filed a petition to modify custody on June 24, 2004. At the close of Husband's proof, Wife moved to dismiss. The trial court granted the motion, finding that Husband's petition was devoid of merit since the children were influenced and coached in their testimony. Husband appealed. We affirm the decision of the trial court in all respects.


Court: TCCA


Bradley Copeland, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Bradley Copeland, filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The habeas court denied relief, and the Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because the trial court erred when it re-sentenced him to a longer effective sentence than he received for his original convictions, and that his guilty pleas were constitutionally defective. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.


Court: TCCA


Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawk, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

George Edwin Hardin, Appellant, pro se.


Petitioner, George Edwin Hardin, was convicted by a Lauderdale County jury of first degree murder and received a sentence of life in prison. On August 5, 2005, petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Bledsoe County Criminal Court. On November 22, 2005, the trial judge dismissed the petition without an evidentiary hearing or the appointment of counsel. Petitioner filed a motion asking the trial court to make additional findings of fact and to set aside the order of dismissal. When the trial court denied petitioner's request on December 15, 2005, petitioner timely appealed. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert D. Hoffman, Jr., Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Christi Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Robert D. Hoffman, Jr., appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his motion for reduction of sentence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

Deadline for Registering to Vote

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-11-22

Opinion Number: 06-171

Authority to compel emergency evacuations

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-11-22

Opinion Number: 06-172


Legislative News
Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legislative News
Cohen to resign Friday
U.S. Congressman-elect Steve Cohen plans to resign his state Senate seat on Friday to avoid the need for a second special election in Memphis, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. Cohen said he would resign early so that the primary election for his seat can be held on the same day set by Governor Bredesen to fill the seat of state Rep. Henri Brooks, who resigned from the legislature to join the Shelby County Commission. Cohen will join the U.S. House of Representatives in January as Tennessee's 9th district representative.

Legal News
Dixon begins prison term
Former Tennessee state Senator Roscoe Dixon reported today to the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, La. to begin serving a five-year sentence for accepting bribes.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
Memphis law dean takes leave of absence
James R. Smoot, dean of the University of Memphis School of Law, has taken a leave of absence from his post until the first of the year following the death of his wife, Patricia Jean Armstrong Smoot, last Wednesday. Visitation will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 in Trezevant Hall of Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church with the funeral to follow at noon. The family has requested that memorial donations be made to Playhouse on the Square/Circuit Theater, Wings Cancer Foundation or Grace St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

U.S. Supreme Court review
Yesterday, the justices heard testimony in a pay discrimination lawsuit, issued a one-sentence order allowing the government to review the telephone records of two New York Times reporters involved in a terrorism leak probe, and let stand an Illinois ruling that dismissed a $10.1 billion verdict against Philip Morris USA.
The Commercial Appeal has more on these actions
Sheriff's deputy sentenced to 2 years
Patrick Allen Taylor, former chief deputy of the Cocke County Sheriff's Department, was sentenced today to two years in prison for his role in a scheme to traffic thousands of dollars worth of stolen property. The two-year sentence is quadruple what was originally estimated he would face. In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer said that a message needed to be sent to those who hold positions of trust.
The News Sentinel has more
Humboldt schools seek unitary status
Humboldt school district officials plan to petition the court for dismissal of a long-running civil rights lawsuit, claiming city schools are racially integrated and can be freed from federal supervision. Local black leaders plan to oppose the move, saying there is still work to be done.
The Kingsport Times News published this AP story
Memphis lawyer receives Ben F. Jones award
Herman Morris Jr., former president and CEO of Memphis Light Gas and Water and now currently with Pinnacle Airlines, was awarded the 2006 Presidential Award for Outstanding Service from the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association last week. Morris was honored for his work chairing the National Bar Association's Judicial Evaluation Committee during this year's judicial elections. He graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1977.

Legal arts group names board, launches Web site
Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (TNVLA) has named its board of directors for the year. Officers include: Chairman Bo Spessard, director of operations for Emma LLC; Treasurer Jamie Cheek, an accountant with Flood, Bumstead, McCready, McCarthy; and Secretary Michael Bressman, professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Additional board members include: Michael Aurbach, professor at Vanderbilt University; David Bennett, executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music Commission; Casey Gill, executive director of TNVLA; Hank Adam Locklin, senior manager of the Country Music Association; Mike Milom with Bass, Berry & Sims PLC; Bob Sullivan of Loeb & Loeb LLP; and Van Tucker, executive vice president of First American Financial Holdings. The organization also recently launched a new Web site at
Check it out here
TBA Member Services
Student loans at low rates through SunTrust
The TBA and SunTrust Bank now have a Partnership Program to help alleviate the burden of student loans. Members and their families can consolidate their federal student loans at a special low fixed rate - right now as low as 5.375%. In addition, those with consolidation loans greater than $10,000 are eligible to reduce their interest rate by another 1.5% for on-time payments and automatic debit payments.
Learn more

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