TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Letters of the Law on Aug 1, 2015

Journal Issue Date: Aug 2015

Journal Name: August 2015 - Vol. 51, No. 8

Aw, Thank You, Judge!

I just wanted to take a moment and tell you how much I enjoyed the recent feature stories you wrote commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Tennessee Bar Journal.

When I began my practice in 1980, as a “green as a gourd” lawyer hanging out a shingle in a rural county, I could not wait to get the TBJ. There was always at least one article that gave me a valuable practice tip, and it helped me begin the process of networking with other lawyers who would become mentors for me in their areas of practice. I feel I grew up with the TBJ, too.

It was pure fun looking at the chronology of old TBJ covers, almost all of which I remember. The stories behind the cover photos and illustrations were fascinating snapshots of the transitions in our law profession through the years.

What a great job was done creating those catchy covers on a shoestring budget! I really got a kick out of the photo covers which featured your daughters and your mother, seeing them then and now. Those must be sweet memories of the early days at the TBJ. It reminded me of how much of my own life has passed under the bridge, since reading my first TBJ edition.

In May 2001 I had the privilege of an article making the cover story [“The Impossible Balance: A Tennessee Judge Makes the Case for Abolishing State’s Part-time Judgeships,” vol. 37, no 5, www.tba.org/sites/default/files/journal_archives/2001/TBJ0501.pdf]. I got a lot of letters about that article at the time, and I am still occasionally asked about it by my colleagues on the bench. It struck a chord with some and a nerve with others.

Months ago, you and others at the TBJ were also very helpful to me in obtaining a photo of the late Chief Justice Adolpho A. Birch Jr., whom we have honored among others, like our own native son Howard H. Baker Jr., in our legacy room at the Scott County Justice Complex. We have worked hard to bring a historical touch to the lobby and sidebar rooms of our justice center in Huntsville, and if you are ever traveling over our way, I would be honored to give you the nickel tour.

I suspect we lawyers and judges over the years have taken our wonderful publication, the Tennessee Bar Journal, for granted. Your wonderful articles have reminded me of how fortunate we are to have the TBJ, and the dedicated and talented folks like you and the others who work on the TBJ staff.


— James L. Cotton Jr., General Sessions Judge, Scott County, Tennessee

Note: Judge Cotton is the author of The Greatest Speech, Ever: The Remarkable Story of Abraham Lincoln and His Gettysburg Address, which was reviewed in the February 2014 Journal.