Cover Story: This Month's Top Story

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Thinking of Rebranding Post-Pandemic? The ‘Tacking’ Doctrine May Say Otherwise

Many businesses are re-assessing and planning for an economic future after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott Douglas and Dominic Rota explain one pathway to growth — corporate rebranding of a company name, logo or design. But businesses looking to bridge historic brand recognition with a modern update should explore the legal doctrine of “tacking.”

Featured: This Month's Articles

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Getting to Know the Federal Executive Branch Ethics Laws: A Primer Part II

In Part One of “Getting to Know the Federal Executive Branch Ethics Laws: A Primer” (March/April 2021 Tennessee Bar Journal), we reviewed the origins and essence of the federal executive branch ethics laws and regulations. In this second part, we will turn to the nuances of post-employment rules binding federal employees and issues arising when federal employees seek a new job; the ethics of the appropriate use of government resources; and the essence of political speech and political activities for federal employees, centering on the Hatch Act.

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Restoring Rights of Individuals Convicted of a Felony Crime: A Manual

R. Culver Schmid writes about his practice as a corporate lawyer forming companies with new members, partners or shareholders. But he recently expanded his practice to advise individuals convicted of a felony crime to restore their voting rights. "The reason for donating my time, energy and legal experience in this effort was simple," he says. "According to the Campaign Legal Center, approximately 450,000 Tennesseans, around 9% of the voting-age population, are not able to vote on account of a felony conviction. It is estimated nearly 80% of those individuals completed their probation and parole obligations and are potentially eligible to restore their voting rights.

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Chancellor Heard and His Defense of Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is “of transcendent value” and “a special concern of the First Amendment.” It carries profound significance to those at the college and university environments, which are supposed to be the places where ideas are tested, debated and sometimes debunked. David L. Hudson Jr. looks into the legacy of Vanderbilt Chancellor Alexander Heard, who in the 1960s  stood up for the right of students, faculties, and others to be exposed to what many might consider controversial expression.

Columns: Quick Reads on Timely Topics

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President's Perspective

Pandemic Year Offers Lessons, Hope

TBA President Michelle Greenway Sellers writes in her last column about the wild ride that has been the past year. She talks about the big pivot to all remote CLE courses and meetings and Mock Trial, and how the association "worked with the judicial, executive and legislative branches on issues such as the expiration of the governor’s orders, legislation and important Supreme Court rules affecting attorneys across the state. We worked closely with members of the legislature to amend several bills that would drastically impact the practice of law. We also successfully defended the Rule of Law by strongly opposing a resolution that would have removed a judge from office for a court ruling."

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The Law at Work

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: COBRA Subsidies and Paid Leave

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes two major provisions likely to have an impact on employers (and employees). The act includes two major provisions likely to have an impact on employers (and employees). In their column "The Law at Work," Edward Phillips and Brandon Morrow give us the details.

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Day on Torts

Traffic Citations: Their Impact on Statutes of Limitations in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Every lawyer who has crossed the threshold of a Tennessee courthouse door knows mentally competent adults are subject to a one-year statute of limitations for Tennessee personal injury tort cases. The Tennessee Legislature has lengthened the period to file suit for personal injury cases for mentally competent adults under three circumstances: claims for sexual misconduct against therapists, claims under the Drug Dealer Liability Act, and in the presence of the initiation of criminal charges against the defendant. John Day's column this month focuses on the latter of the three.

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Family Matters

Navigating Divorce and Custody: Transgender Issues

As the world is well aware, issues surrounding gender identity, and many legal ramifications that flow from that identity, are changing rapidly everywhere. As this article was being composed, a new bill from the General Assembly went to Gov. Lee’s desk for his signature that would require Tennessee athletes to compete under their birth genders rather than the gender that they identify with when they seek to compete. Marlene Eskind Moses writes about that and a recent addition to the criminal code makes it an offense for a transgendered person who has not yet transitioned to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity rather than their birth sex.

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Where There's a Will

The Great Estate Tax Mismatch

Dan Holbrook kicks off in his column this month with two multiple choice questions, which assume no changes to current law. Answers are after the second question. Don’t peek!

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Spark

Quick Inspiration for Your Busy Day

A toddler and a granddaddy provide this month's quick inspiration for your busy day.

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

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Barry Is New VP, Will Lead TBA in 2023-24

Germantown attorney James “Jim” Barry will serve as president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 2023-2024, and Billy Leslie will become the TBA YLD president this June. Read more election results along with information about this year's state Mock Trial Championships, Tennessee Bar Foundation awards -- and especially the news that the TBA was named one of the best places to work in Nashville!

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Groups Pivot for Education, Socializing

TBA Sections began providing free, remote roundtable discussions on practice-specific topics to benefit Section members at the outset of the pandemic. While these groups have traditionally sponsored and presented learning opportunities by way of annual forums, TBA leaders realized the importance of getting certain rapidly changing information in front of members in a more immediate fashion. Considering this, many Sections began to adopt the roundtable format. Read about the variety of Sections offering Roundtables, and their successes.

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LICENSURE & DISCIPLINE

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

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PASSAGES

Tennessee Bar Association members who have died recently are memorialized.