TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Apr 15, 2021

In the upcoming issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, Edward Phillips and Brandon Morrow write about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package signed by President Biden on March 11. Their new column about it, "The Law at Work," won't be out in print until May 1, but the information is so timely it was published three weeks early, in TBJ Select. The Act includes two major provisions likely to have an impact on employers (and employees). First, employer-sponsored health insurance plans must offer 100% subsidized COBRA continuation coverage for the period April 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2021, for “assistance eligible individuals.” Second, while ARPA does not extend the paid leave mandate found in the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), it does extend the availability of payroll tax credits to those employers who voluntarily provide paid leave for COVID-19-related scenarios. Here are the details.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Apr 1, 2021

"As you point out in your article, lawyer mental health is still taboo, and I’m not sure anyone has written about it so nakedly before," a lawyer wrote in response to Kent Halkett's recent Tennessee Bar Journal article. "We can tell our firms when we need parental leave or medical leave, or even when we have a body ailment. No one feels like we can tell our firm(s) that the pressure of the job is affecting our mental health." This letter and many more were sent to Halkett about his article, “Mental Health in the Legal Profession: A Crisis, a Case Study and a Call to Action." The publication Above the Law covered the article, which urged "the profession take mental health seriously, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. It’s a sensitive subject and Halkett’s article’s had a tremendous impact, not just because mental health has historically been verboten, particularly at high-powered law firms, but because of the death by suicide of Sidley partner Gabe MacConaill." Above the Law then followed up by writing about the responses the Journal received. Read all of the personal and sometimes gut-wrenching letters here

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Feb 2, 2021

"There are many equitable and legal maxims," writes Russell Fowler in today's issue of TBJ Select. You'll get a kick out of our "History's Verdict" columnist as he explains in this new article what makes a maxim, why they are timeless, and why you will want to know how to use them. Read "In Defense of Maxims: The Oldest Tools in the Lawyer’s Toolbox." Note that if you had an issue linking to the article from the email earlier today, you can access it in the archives. Today's TBJ Select also features David L. Hudson Jr.'s article about Civil Rights hero Sallie J. Robinson, Dan Holbrook's column "Where There's a Will," and other items of interest.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jan 29, 2021

Tennessee Bar Journal columnists really deliver in the January/February issue. In his column, "Where There's a Will," Dan Holbrook writes about Purpose Trusts. If you haven't seen one you're not alone, but Holbrook explains them in detail. "A successful non-charitable purpose trust needs a sufficient purpose, enforceability and careful drafting," he writes. And what could be more timely than decisions by divorced parents about getting vaccinations for their child? Marlene Eskind Moses and Benjamin Manuel Russ walk you through it in their column, "Family Matters." John Day cautions in his column, "Day on Torts," that readers "contemplating whether the common knowledge-exception applies to a particular set of facts are urged to … see how Tennessee courts have applied the principle over the years." His column shows you what you need to know. Lastly, there are new workplace accommodation requirements. Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow explain the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and what is crucial for employers to understand.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jan 12, 2021

"Not the year anyone planned," is how TBA President Michelle Greenway Sellers describes the last year, as she reflects on the work of the TBA and Tennessee attorneys in 2020. In her January/February Tennessee Bar Journal column, she points out that this year of twists and turns provided an opportunity to demonstrate attorneys’ resilience. Also in this issue, Nashville lawyer Nate Lykins describes the difference between "and" and "or," and how that affected the interpretation of new statutory grounds for terminating parental rights. An article by Laura Revolinski and Gordon Bonnyman argues that making the civil justice system accessible to pro se litigants must include updating archaic court forms "frozen in language prescribed by antebellum statutes." The Journal is available online and in print. 

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jan 4, 2021

"I have been a practicing attorney for nearly 40 years. I attempted suicide six years ago," Kent Halkett writes in the cover story of the new Tennessee Bar Journal. He tells his and others' heartfelt stories of mental health challenges, with both sadness and hope. This issue digs into a crisis within the legal profession: lawyers face mental illness and substance use at much higher rates than the general population. Also read about the help that is available to lawyers through the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) and get to know its new executive director, Buddy Stockwell in this feature story.

TLAP (615-741-3238 or 877-424-8527) offers free and confidential help with depression, grief, loss, stress, burnout, substance abuse, process addictions, balancing practice and family, anxiety, anger management and cognitive impairment. The Journal is available online and in print now.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Dec 31, 2020

Memphis lawyer Steve Barton wrote about the "Top 5 Greatest Legal Dramas of All Time" in a recent issue of TBJ Select -- and readers were certainly paying attention! It turns out that there are a lot of opinions about what the best legal dramas are. So, what's your Top 5? Send them in this weekend to editor@tnbar.org. We'll set the record straight and publish a comprehensive list next week in TBJ Select's first issue of 2021.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Dec 22, 2020

Just in time for the long weekend, TBJ Select offers some movie-watching ideas in an article by Memphis lawyer Steve Barton, "The 5 Greatest Legal/Courtroom Dramas of All Time." In this fresh content, you may find a new favorite movie — or maybe you have your own Best List (send that in!), but enjoy the synopses of these classics. Check out the recent issue, which includes info on TBA's Year-End CLE Blast and a sneak peak at what's in the upcoming January/February print edition of the Tennessee Bar Journal.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Sep 17, 2020

"While a plaintiff decides where to initially file its case, the defendant is not always subject to those whims — or strategic choices — of a plaintiff,"  Gil Shuette, a lawyer with Sims Funk PLC in Nashville (pictured), writes in the current issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. "One such opportunity for defendants to weigh in on the forum choice is the federal doctrine of removal." Also in this issue, our columnists cover a variety of topics. John Day writes about statutory construction in tort law. Marlene Eskind Moses and Benjamin Manuel Russ explain the 2020 Child Support Calculation Amendments. Dan Holbrook writes about how the federal estate tax exemption will drop in 2026 (or possibly in 2021), and Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow cover the landmark case of Bostick v. Clayton County, Georgia -- an expansion of Title VII.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Apr 24, 2020

The May issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal is online today — one week early — in an effort to bring you the latest in law-related updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In it you'll find ways to "work through the pandemic," with links to the TBA's pandemic resources page and results from a recent member survey about lawyers' common concerns. Read how to handle having documents witnessed and notarized, how to navigate the new paid-leave mandates, plus the options for using force majeure. Also, learn about child custody in this uncertain time, and see what some of your colleagues' home offices look like. "You will see from the articles in this edition the many steps that have been taken by, or with input from, your TBA to deal with the upheaval that COVID-19 has caused,"  Sarah Y. Sheppeard writes in this issue. "I find hope in the many things for which I am thankful, hope that we will get through this together."


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