Cover Story

A Long Journey to Justice

The Story of the ‘Geier’ Case and the Desegregation of Tennessee Higher Education

Shortly after receiving my commission as a United States District judge in August 1978, I inherited from Judge Frank Gray Jr. the 10-year-old Geier lawsuit challenging whether Tennessee had fully removed the vestiges of segregation from its public system of higher education. The case was among the most difficult and contentious of my 28-year judicial career and would consume much of my time before finally ending on Sept. 21, 2006. In this article, Carlos González tells the history of this groundbreaking lawsuit in a way that only one intimately familiar with it can.

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The ‘Geier’ Timeline

The ‘Geier’ Case and the Desegregation of Tennessee Higher Education

During the 1960s on college campuses across the country and in Tennessee, African-Americans were demanding social justice and advocating for civil rights on the streets and in the courts. History is changed by persons willing to challenge injustice. In this instance, the challenge was brought by a young woman and her lawyer intent on securing educational opportunity for African-Americans in Tennessee’s public colleges and universities.

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You’ve Been Hacked

Tennessee Law Updates Your Obligations After a Data Breach

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the protagonist Bilbo Baggins pens a memoir recounting harrowing adventures with a team of unlikely allies. His journey culminates in the improbable defeat of the mighty dragon Smaug and the return to the comforts of his beloved home. More recently, the Tennessee General Assembly has undertaken to combat the dangers of cybercrime, traversing through a meandering array of amendments that could aptly share the title of Mr. Baggins’s memoir, There and Back Again.

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The Fake Law School

How Today’s Written Tennessee Bar Exam Grew from Scandal and Disarray

J. William Farr was a crook. Make no mistake about that. He was also a lawyer, or said he was. Farr started a law school in Nashville in 1899 and sold degrees through the mail. This is the story of Farr’s Nashville School of Law (sometimes National School of Law) and how the antics of a champion huckster and fraudster prompted the state to establish the written bar exam. Sometimes it takes a scandal to bring about reform.

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Changes in Divorce Law

Recent Federal Actions Impact Military Service Members

Federal law may not be the first place family practice attorneys think to look for changes that impact their state practice but if your client is a member of the U.S. military or the spouse of a military member, then you need to know about two recent developments.

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Perfect Fit

New TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson Brings Experience, Diversity, and a Love for Bar Associations

If Joycelyn Stevenson had written the job description herself, her new position as executive director of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) could not be a better match.

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Why Mentor?

Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon guesses he has mentored 15 to 20 young lawyers over the years since being licensed to practice in 1970, after graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

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The Importance of Being Mentored

Each Generation Has a Lot to Teach … and Learn

I sat surrounded by paperwork, almost, it seemed, up to my ears. My desk was covered. The table behind my desk was covered. Part of the floor was covered. It was my second week working as a trial lawyer in a rural West Tennessee firm, and I was now responsible for answering 20 or so motions in limine filed by Ford Motor Company weeks before the trial of a complex products liability case pending in Memphis.

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Justice Under the Black Flag

Even Pirates Needed the Rule of [Their Own] Law

In the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, Captain Barbosa states that the pirates’ code “is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”[1] This was not true. The codes were taken seriously and strictly enforced. Despite their lawlessness, pirates during “the Golden Age of Piracy” in the Caribbean (1650 –1730) found that each floating community needed a measure of law and order, albeit a very different kind of social order than seen in the rest of the world.

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Violence at Work

How to Deal With Bullying, Intimidation, Threats and Physical Violence

Violence in the American workplace is not a new phenomenon. In the age of 24-hour cable news and social media, it is sometimes difficult to assess whether workplace violence is on the rise to the point of being an epidemic, or whether we simply hear more about it these days. Fear of terrorism further heightens our awareness of such incidents. Statistics can be misleading, and they can be manipulated. Moreover, the lines are blurred regarding what constitutes workplace violence, as between actual physical assaults versus threats, harassment and horseplay.

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