Posted by: Jarod Word on Sep 1, 2020

Journal Issue Date: Sept-Oct 2020

Journal Name: Vol. 56 No. 9

“Tennessee, in my opinion, has one of the best health care bars in the country … It’s abundantly clear that the talent level, knowledge and expertise among Tennessee lawyers really match what anyone has. The Health Law Forum has made a difference in developing that expertise.” —  David T. Lewis, Health Law Section founding  member and  chair, 1991-1992

For 32 years, the Tennessee Bar Association Health Law Forum has remained a must-do event for attorneys in Tennessee who maintain this focus, ultimately becoming the premier event for health law practitioners across the southern United States. The concentration of health care businesses in our state has led to a group of lawyers who are among the top in their profession, creating not only a need for such a seminar, but a robust Health Law Section to make it happen.  

J.D. Thomas

In these times of uncertainty, the question became how to build on the rich history of this program and deliver the quality content expected by members who look to this forum to provide the information they need to remain at the forefront of this ever-changing arena. Traditionally, the TBA has offered a two-day, 15-hour program. Of course, this is not a viable option in our current virtual world, where folks are relegated to participate remotely on a computer screen.

“This year has been particularly challenging,” Section Chair J. D. Thomas says. With COVID-19 cases rising through the summer and regular forum attendees expressing a strong preference for an online experience, the TBA Health Law Executive Council made the decision in July to go virtual.

Considering all available options for the forum, the Council designed a hybrid program featuring two half-days of live, interactive virtual presentations, in addition to timely, prerecorded programming specific to this practice area — allowing attendees to learn on their own time. 

“This is a big deal for the forum,” Thomas says, “which is one the TBA’s longest running and best attended CLE events. Nonetheless, working with TBA staff, we think we’ve put together a great program — one that will feature many of the traditional sessions that our attendees have come to expect, as well as some timely sessions on the impact of, and response to, the novel coronavirus pandemic.” Thomas is a partner at Waller in Nashville. A former federal prosecutor, he is a member of Waller’s Government Investigations, Healthcare and Litigation groups.

To replicate the interaction provided by attending a live event, the presenters for the prerecorded sessions will make themselves available for optional Q&A roundtables the week following the program to discuss their respective topics and answer any questions you might have after viewing their presentations.

The 32nd Annual Health Law Forum will be Oct. 8 and 9. The 20th Annual Health Law Primer will be Oct. 7. Learn more at

“It’s a different year,” Thomas says, “but all of us are enthusiastically looking forward to the event.”

— Jarod Word