ABA group calls law school rankings 'not entirely benign'

A special committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar issued a report this month on the controversial U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. The committee -- which included 6th Circuit Judge Martha Craig "Cissy" Daughtrey and former Vanderbilt Law School Dean Kent Syverud -- calls the rankings "not entirely benign" and points to three negative effects: punishing schools that provide quality education at a low cost, encouraging schools to give financial aid based on test scores rather than need, and downplaying the importance of diversity. However, the council concludes that "for better or worse" the "rankings will continue for the foreseeable future to dominate public perceptions of how law schools compare, and...there is relatively little that leaders in legal education can do to change that..."

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Court: TCA


D. Scott Parsley and Michael K. Parsley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kelly D. McAlister.

Jennifer Noe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert A. McAlister.


In June of 2008, Kelly D. McAlister ("Wife") filed a Petition to Enforce Final Decree against Robert A. McAlister ("Husband") seeking, among other things, to enforce the parties' final decree of divorce entered in June of 2000. After a hearing, the Trial Court entered an order on November 2, 2009 finding and holding, inter alia, that the house at issue shall be sold and the net proceeds divided by the percentages stated in the divorce decree, and that Wife's share of Husband's pension shall be calculated upon Husband's salary at the time of divorce using a fraction with the denominator being the number of months worked by Husband when he retires and the numerator being the number of months of the seventeen year marriage with Wife to receive one- half of the calculated amount. Wife appeals to this Court. We affirm as to the division of the house, reverse as to the calculation of the pension based upon Husband's salary at the time of divorce, and order that Wife's share of husband's pension shall be calculated upon the amount of the pension at the time Husband retires based upon the formula stated in the divorce decree.



Court: TCCA


Larry E. Copeland (at trial and on appeal), Sean Muizers (at trial), and Joseph S. Ozment (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, E. Louis Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Glen Baity and James Wax, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, E. Louis Thomas, was convicted by a jury in the Shelby County Criminal Court of one count of first degree premeditated murder and one count of felony murder. The convictions were merged, and the appellant received a sentence of life in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Failure of County School Board Members to Attend Annual Training

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-07-29

Opinion Number: 10-87



Legal News
Election 2010
Career Opportunities
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
TAJ names new officers
The Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ) has named new officers for the 2010-2011 bar year. They are: President Phillip Miller with Phillip Miller & Associates in Nashville; President-elect Leslie A. Muse with Butler, Vines & Babb PLLC in Knoxville; Vice President (East) Bryan L. Capps with Gilreath & Associates in Knoxville; Vice President (Middle) B. Keith Williams with B. Keith Williams Law Group in Lebanon; Vice President (West) S. Drake Martin with Nix, Patterson & Roach LLP in Jackson; Secretary Eric L. Buchanan with Eric L. Buchanan & Associates in Chattanooga; Treasurer Kathryn Barnett with Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP in Nashville; and Parliamentarian Rebecca Blair with Day & Blair in Brentwood.

Memphis lawyer helped write financial reform bill
Memphis lawyer Gary Brown had a front row seat as historic financial reform legislation took shape in the U.S. Senate. But in his role working for the Senate's permanent subcommittee on investigations, Brown watched with dismay as a politically charged atmosphere squelched what he believed was the chance for real and lasting reform. The final law, he says, unfortunately does not address some of the fundamental causes of the financial crisis. Brown, an attorney with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, has helped senators prepare for the Goldman Sachs and Enron hearings and has provided advice on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
The Memphis Daily News reports
Harbison requests extension to respond to state motion
Edward Jerome Harbison today requested the state Supreme Court grant a 30-day extension for him to respond to the state's motion to set a new execution date. The request states that an extension is necessary "due to counsel's active and heavy caseload," noting that his counsel is lead on six capital cases, assists on others and represents a federal defendant in a case scheduled for trial in August.
Download this and other filings in the case on the AOC website
Memphis lawyer faces ethics charges
Memphis lawyer Javier Bailey reportedly is accused of ethical misconduct in representing a local pastor, who says Bailey filed an incorrect motion in one matter and failed to file an appeal in another matter. Since the pastor filed his complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility, 10 new complaints have been filed. The board will meet in August to decide what punishment, if any, Bailey should face.
WREG-TV Memphis has the story
TBI launches investigation of Campbell Co. jail
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) confirmed this week it is conducting an investigation of the Campbell County jail and its jailers based on a request by 8th Judicial District Attorney General Paul Phillips. Though neither the TBI nor Phillips would comment further on the allegations, Phillips did say the county sheriff was not a subject of the probe.
Read more in the LaFollette Press
Former Knoxville FBI chief dead at 92
Wallace Francis Estill died July 27 at the age of 92. A 1939 graduate of the Cumberland School of Law, Estill worked briefly in his uncle's Chattanooga law firm before joining the FBI as a special agent. After serving the bureau in cities across America, as well as in Puerto Rico and South America, Estill ran the Knoxville FBI office from 1966 until his retirement in 1974. Funeral services will be held tomorrow, Friday, July 30. The family will receive friends from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel. A funeral will follow at 11:30 a.m. with interment at Highland Memorial Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Paul Harris Foundation, Rotary Club of Knoxville, 625 Market St., Knoxville, TN 37920.
Read Estill's obituary in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Election 2010
Partisanship flares in juvenile court race
Davidson County's juvenile court clerk race has turned partisan, with the state Democratic Party chairman saying his party is "fully engaged" to defeat Metro Councilman Eric Crafton whom he calls a "right-wing, nut-job Republican." Crafton, who faces Democrat David Smith in the race, has been a target for Democrats since his unsuccessful English-only initiative a year ago.
The Nashville City Paper has more
GOP hopeful burning up the Internet
He's a long shot in the polls, but Tennessee Republican gubernatorial hopeful Basil Marceaux Sr. of Chattanooga rules the Internet, where his views have gone "viral." The candidate's promise to "immune you from all state crimes for the rest of you (sic) life!" and his desire that "everyone carry guns" has proven irresistible to bloggers, talk radio and cable television. Marceaux, a perennial candidate, is also running in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District seat.
Read about the unlikely candidate in the Times Free Press
Career Opportunities
BPR seeks disciplinary counsel
The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility is seeking a disciplinary counsel in the Investigations Section of its Nashville office. Applicants must be licensed in Tennessee and have a minimum of seven years litigation experience. Strong communication and writing skills also are required. Those interested should submit an application, resume and writing sample to Rachel Waterhouse, Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel-Investigations, Board of Professional Responsibility, 1101 Kermit Drive, Suite 730, Nashville, TN 37217. For more information contact Waterhouse at (615) 695-0931 or rwaterhouse@tbpr.org.
Learn more about the position on TBA's JobLink
Chancery Court seeks special master
The Shelby County Chancery Court is seeking an attorney to fill the position of special master. Interested candidates should send resumes to Dewun R. Settle, Clerk and Master, 140 Adams, Room 30, Memphis, TN 38103. Resumes can also be forwarded to dewun.settle@shelbycountytn.gov. All submissions are due July 30.

Disciplinary Actions
Williamson Co. lawyer moved to inactive status
Williamson County lawyer Craig Burgess Benson was placed on disability inactive status on July 27. Benson may not practice law until he shows by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law.
Download the BPR notice
TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's benefits

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