TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Jul 1, 2013

Journal Issue Date: Jul 2013

Journal Name: July 2013 - Vol. 49, No. 7

TBA Efforts

Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law the first major revisions in more than a decade to the state law that governs the process of placing state residents under the control of a court-appointed conservator.

The new statute, to take effect July 1, was the product of a series of hearings held across the state by the TBA. Speaking about the legislation, House sponsor Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, said that the “intent of this law is to clarify the process, to make sure people aren’t being taken advantage of.”

Belmont Gets Provisional Accreditation

Belmont University College of Law has been granted provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Responding to the news, Belmont University Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “The granting of provisional accreditation by the ABA validates the outstanding work being done by our administration, faculty and staff to develop a law program of the highest quality focused on preparing practice-ready attorneys.”

Under ABA rules, provisionally accredited law schools are entitled to all the rights of fully accredited law schools. Law schools must be provisionally accredited for at least two years before applying for full accreditation. The recognition comes just in time, as Belmont’s first class will graduate in 2014.


Tennessee Team Places 7th at National Mock Trial
Winners of this year's TBA YLD Mock Trial Competition — the Kingsport Area Home Education Association (KACHEA) — went on to represent Tennessee at the 2013 National High School Mock Trial Championship in Indianapolis, Ind., earlier this month and placed seventh out of 48 teams.Survey Finds Paralegal Pay Increasing

'Guns in Trunks' Article Updated After AG Opinion Issued
In last month’s Tennessee Bar Journal, Edward G. Philips and Brandon L. Morrow wrote about the recent “guns in trunks” law. However, after the article went to print, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper issued an opinion on what limitations, if any, 2013 Tenn. Pub. Acts, Chapter 16, places on employers’ rights to terminate an employee who brings a firearm or firearm ammunition onto the employer’s property. In the opinion, Cooper says the law does not impact the employer/employee relationship and does not prohibit an employer from terminating an employee for possession of a firearm or ammunition on the employer’s property. This opinion, Phillips and Morrow say, would have significantly, but not completely, altered the article. “Our advice to employers,” they write in an updated electronic version of the article, “would be to tread lightly in this area, or risk being a test case for a terminated permit carrier. In the end, the Tennessee appellate courts will have to decide.”

‘Better Next Year’

Wyrick Installed Amid Convention Festivities

Sevierville lawyer Cynthia Richardson Wyrick took office as the 134th president of the Tennessee Bar Association at the group’s annual convention in Nashville June 14. Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade administered the oath during a luncheon ceremony that was part of the TBA’s annual convention in Nashville. Wyrick, who clerked for Wade when he was on the Court of Criminal Appeals, praised him for his guidance in her career. “Justice Wade not only taught me about the law, but he taught me about the importance of service to the public and to our profession.”

Wyrick is only the second Sevier County resident to serve as TBA president. She follows John B. Waters Jr. of Sevierville, who held the position from 1983-1984. Wyrick served as president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division from 2004-2005 and was a member of the 2006 Leadership Law Class. She earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1994.

Taking office along with Wyrick were President-Elect Jonathan O. Steen of Jackson and Vice President William L. Harbison of Nashville.


The convention this year was held in conjunction with events of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, the Tennessee Association for Justice, the Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women, the Tennessee Alliance for Black Lawyers and the Stonewall Bar Association.

The TBA YLD Fellows William M. Leech Public Service award was giving posthumously to Elizabeth Collins, a Memphis lawyer who died at 50 earlier this year.

The Justice Joseph W. Henry Award was given to Knoxville lawyer Daniel Headrick for his article, “How to Act During a Deposition.” The award is given each year to the lawyer “who writes the most outstanding article that is published in the Tennessee Bar Journal for the preceding year. The judges this year were Chief Justice Wade, Dean Chris Guthrie of Vanderbilt University School of Law and then-TBA President Jackie Dixon. Later in the day, Headrick also was also presented with the Larry Dean Willks Leadership Award?from the TBA Leadership Law class.

Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder was awarded the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award for her work with lawyers’ assistance programs and access to justice issues. She was a founder of Memphis’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers and was instrumental in getting the statewide TLAP program launched, serving as the court’s liaison to it for many years.  Under her leadership in 2009, the court formed its own Access to Justice Commission which is tackling the need for more lawyers to handle pro bono cases from a variety of angles, such as firm initiatives, law students involvement, legal clinics, and just encouraging more lawyers to be pro bono volunteers. 

Awards were presented to the middle and high school winners of the TBA’s YouTube contest.

President’s Awards were given to:

  • Kay Caudle for her work with the Attorney Well Being Committee planning for the “Better Next Year” programming. She also was instrumental in getting content for the May 2013 Tennesee Bar Journal issue.
  • Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville and Rep. Andy Farmer of Sevierville for helping the bar with the rewrite of the conservatorship law.
  • Marisa Combs and Hugh Kendall for co-chairing the Transitions subcommittee of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee.
  • Chris Varner for leading the mentoring task force in developing a mentoroing program.

Also at the luncheon, these Senior Counselors were honored: Phillip D. Barber, Harry W. Camp, Lewis H. Conner Jr., Frank F. Drowota, C. Alan Lancaster, Charles A. Leach, Ben P. Lynch, Clark H. Tidwell, Charles A. Trost and Thomas A. Williams.


Outgoing Young Lawyers Division President David Veile handed off the gavel to new president David G. McDowell of Chattanooga at separate ceremonies. The TBA Leadership Law alumni had its annual meeting and the current class participated in graduation ceremonies. The Diversity Leadership Institute held a joint program with TABL. Current and former members of the Journal Editorial Board and columnists also met, as well as TBASCUS, sections and committees.

Twelve hours of continuing legal education were offered at the convention, on topics from a Glass Ceiling report, law practice succession, building your practice and managing time, legislative update and steps on how to thrive as a lawyer. Connected to that was an innovative afternoon of programming that included stress management and relaxation techniques. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean gave the the keynote address at the Bench/Bar Luncheon.  

For more convention pictures, go to www.tba.org/info/2013-tba-annual-convention. Photos by Barry Kolar, Elizabeth Slagle Todaro, Jenny Jones and Brittany Sims.