Cover Story: This Month's Top Story

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Mental Health in the Legal Profession: A Crisis, a Case Study and a Call to Action

"I have been a practicing attorney for nearly 40 years. I attempted suicide six years ago," TBJ's cover story begins. 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. What can be done? Where can you go for help?

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Stress, Law & Happiness: New TLAP Director Offers Hope Past the Pain

Eight months after his sister went into treatment for addiction, Buddy Stockwell sat on the side of his bed with a loaded pistol in his mouth. He’d been in denial about his own situation. Now 38 years later Stockwell is the executive director of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program -- and when he says there is help and that he understands, you can believe him.


Featured: This Month's Articles

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Remembering Sallie J. Robinson

The name Rosa Parks resonates deeply in the nation’s civil rights history as “the founding symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. She bravely refused to move to the back of a bus and started what became known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. But, precious fewer recall the woman who truly was the progenitor of these later-day heroines — Sallie J. Robinson. She was the woman who sued the Memphis & Charleston Railroad Company for refusing her a seat in the ladies section in May 1879, solely because of the color of her skin.

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Termination of Parental Rights: Formal Logic and Legislative Intent

In July 2016, the Tennessee General Assembly laid the foundation for a disagreement about the meaning of a common conjunction by adding a new statutory ground for terminating parental rights. This article describes the disagreement and argues that the second interpretation is consistent with the principles of formal logic and, more importantly, the drafters’ intent. Indeed, as of this writing, the Tennessee Supreme Court has resolved this split in favor of the second interpretation. 

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Stuck in a Time Warp: Tennessee's Archaic Court Forms

Tennessee’s bench and bar have made important strides in improving access to justice for all Tennesseans, but making the civil justice system accessible to pro se litigants remains an enormous challenge. … The challenges are all the greater because the central content of the principal General Sessions forms is frozen in language prescribed by antebellum statutes. While it will not solve all problems, modernization of General Sessions’ archaic forms can make a material contribution to improving unrepresented defendants’ ability to understand the process and make themselves heard.

Columns: Quick Reads on Timely Topics

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President's Perspective

Happy New Year!

I welcome 2021 with open arms. However, I want to reflect on the work of the TBA and Tennessee attorneys in 2020. Although 2020 was not the year any of us had planned, it provided an opportunity to demonstrate TBA attorneys’ resilience, and we are a resilient bunch. 

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The Law at Work

New Workplace Accommodation Requirements: The Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

For the majority of the last year, the Tennessee General Assembly has been focused on passing legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one non-COVID piece of legislation was passed in June that will be sure to impact employers and employees, especially those who are pregnant or have recently welcomed a child and have returned to work.1 

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Day on Torts

Flies, Buttermilk and Malpractice

Not every Tennessee health care liability case requires expert testimony on the issue of whether the defendant violated the standard of care. An expert is not required when “common knowledge” exception negates the need for it.

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Family Matters

Vaccinations and Parental Decision Making

The effects of the global pandemic have reached into every area of our lives, and family law is no different. While we understand that a safe and effective vaccine will become available to the public soon, this opens a new door for disputes among couples who have differing views on vaccinating their children. 

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Where There's a Will

The Evolution of Purpose Trusts

In a recent informal survey of more than 30 Tennessee trust lawyers, only four had ever seen a “purpose trust,” only three had actually drafted one, and many admitted they had never heard of them. So what are they, and why should we ever use them?

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The late U.S. Rep. John Lewis provides this month's quick inspiration for your busy day.

The Legal Life: Passages, Licensure & Discipline, 50 Years Ago, Sections

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NEWS: Court Order Allows All CLE Hours to Be Earned Remotely in 2021

Tennessee lawyers may continue fulfilling their CLE requirements through approved distance learning courses through 2021, per an order issued Dec. 3, 2020, from the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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Lawyers and Vets Team Up for Animal Law Program

Nosey, a 38-year-old circus elephant, spent more than 30 years in captivity before being seized by authorities who found her living in squalor, showing signs of neglect and abuse. In a recent program the Tennessee Bar Association Animal Law Section reassembled the team who saved Nosey, to detail a firsthand account of the legal battle surrounding the animal’s rescue, and to provide members with commentary on legal issues pertaining to animals in captivity. 

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Tennessee Bar Association members who have died recently are memorialized.

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Read about the lawyers who have recently been reinstated, disbarred, suspended, censured, or transferred their licenses to disability inactive status.

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It’s the Volunteer State, After All

The insert in December 1970’s Tennessee Lawyer newsletter detailed a “Proposed Plan of Unification of the State Bar of Tennessee.” TBA President Joe W. Henry (later a Tennessee Supreme Court justice) wrote: “This is a call to arms. … A time when our courts are under attack and our judicial system is suffering from a loss of public confidence. The lawyers of Tennessee need to rise, as one man, and stand up to be counted in solid, united and wholly unified opposition to the unbridled attacks being made upon the bench and bar. ….”