Cover Story: This Month's Top Story

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Happier Childhoods and Better Best Interest Factors

Tennessee has new best interest factors for use in termination of parental rights cases, designed to bridge the knowledge gap and operationalize a modern understanding of child development, attachment and trauma. Most lawyers and judges will need to learn about this information to effectively use the new best interest law, and Dawn Coppock explains it all. In addition to the mechanics of the statute, this article offers a very basic summary of the current understanding and links to sources of more information.

Featured: This Month's Articles

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Insufficient Care: The Failure of Tennessee Conservatorship Statutes to Account for Future Interests in Low Asset Cases

In Netflix’s I Care a Lot, Marla Grayson, a court-appointed Conservator, carries out a sordid scam. Grayson bribes doctors into declaring older adults as unfit to care for themselves, and utilizes the legal system to become their court appointed conservator. While this is a work of fiction, the film poses a disturbing question for members of the legal profession: Can the indignities endured by Grayson’s wards become a reality in Tennessee, given the protections that our conservatorship statutes afford wards? And, if so, under what circumstances? Kimya Sarayloo looks into it in this gripping feature story.

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Guarding a Judgment’s Fountain of Youth: Consider the Effect of Bankruptcy on Rule 69.04

Jonathan Steen writes about Tennessee judgments, which are good for 10 years. Rule 69.04, amended by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2016, makes the process now even easier to extend the life of a judgment. Here is where you can learn the details of how to use that effectively.

Columns: Quick Reads on Timely Topics

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President's Perspective

A New Bar Year with a Fresh Start

Newly installed TBA President Sherie L. Edwards writes in her first column about the hard year we have in our rearview mirror and what we have ahead of us. She writes about how the association has been there for you, but more importantly that you have been there for the association, as there was very little change in membership numbers during the pandemic. She also writes about purpose — your "why" — your reason for beginning a project, stepping into a new role or giving your time and money to an organization. She explains that "the ‘why’ behind my decision to run for president is simple: to use this role to promote attorney wellness initiatives and to bring business education (in addition to our subject matter CLEs) to our members." 

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President's Sidebar

Wellness Corner

"Welcome to summer in Tennessee, when the temps are so warm and the humidity so high, it’s like being wrapped in a damp blanket," Sherie Edwards writes in her first installment of "Wellness Corner," which will be a standing feature this year that goes along with her President's Perspective column. This month, it's all about water!

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The Buddy System

Asking for Help: You Can’t ‘Lawyer’ Your Way Out of Chemical Brain Diseases

Buddy Stockwell begins a new column for the Journal in this issue. Called "The Buddy System," it is a conversation about when and how to seek help. "The truth is that most of us are not good at asking for help," he writes. "For one thing, there is the myth that it makes a person appear weak. In fact, however, asking for help empowers the person because it allows them to face chronic problems head-on, instead of being stuck in a quagmire of secret misery. … Asking for help is still not easy though, especially regarding personal problems, and lawyers and judges are particularly resistant to the concept of seeking help. We are not comfortable surrendering to anything." Stockwell is the executive director of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.

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Crime & Punishment

Getting Clients Out of Jail: Bail Statutes Versus Reality

In his column this month, Wade V. Davies points out the discrepancies between what is on the books and what the practice is, when it comes to bail in Tennessee, and he lists practical issues to consider from existing statutes. This column is designed to emphasize that statutes are already in effect that, properly applied, should minimize unfair detention — but for whatever reasons, often don't. Read more here.

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History's Verdict

Benito Juárez, Pro Bono Lawyer

In this installment of "History's Verdict," Russell Fowler writes about how, in 1835, a priest who mistreated a group of poor, illiterate Zapotec Indians led to the rise of one of the greatest lawyers and leaders Mexico has seen. Fowler follows the life of Benito Juárez, from his humble beginning to his many accomplishments including as governor and president, who through it all was renowned for helping the poor for free if he felt their cause just. "Juárez never wavered in his devotion to democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, separation of church and state and, a free market economy," Fowler writes. "And it all began with a pro bono case."

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Quick Inspiration for Your Busy Day

A gathering of friends, old and new, provides this month's quick inspiration for your busy day.

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

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Edwards Is New TBA President: Convention Meets In-Person, Virtually

Like last year’s virtual convention, this year’s hybrid convention, held June 14-19, was another exercise in creativity. The TBA juggled its first in-person event in over a year while also offering a virtual component as COVID-19 restrictions began to ease. The annual event was spread out over six days — four days of that in person — with programming including the Lawyers Luncheon, continuing legal education, meetings of the House of Delegates, Board of Governors, Sections, Committees, Leadership Law (TBALL), Law School Alumni mixers, Young Lawyers Division and more.

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2021 General Assembly Adjourns After Passing Controversial Legal Bills

The Tennessee General Assembly concluded the 2021 regular legislative session on May 5, after addressing several controversial legal issues in the very last hours of session. TBA Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs Berkley Schwarz and Adams and Reese attorney and TBA lobbyist Brad Lampley tell us everything that happened.

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YLD Fellows Celebrate 30 Years

Members of the TBA Young Lawyers Division Fellows celebrated the group’s 30th anniversary during the 2021 TBA Convention with a reception and dinner in Memphis. See who those intrepid lawyers were and learn who is in the new class.

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Volunteers Lead TBA Sections and Committees

Learn who is leading your TBA Sections and Committees this year. 

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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.