Feature Story

The Music Modernization Act

One Giant Leap for Music Copyright Laws

In 2018, the Copyright Act finally entered the digital era. Musicians and other industry professionals have long called for amending the Copyright Act to address and incorporate new technology and industry trends into antiquated copyright laws. Congress finally responded to their requests with the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA).

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William Tatham

Tennessee Pro Bono Lawyer

October is “Celebrate Pro Bono Month.” Let us look back to one of Tennessee’s earliest lawyers. He led an amazingly adventurous life and championed pro bono before Tennessee was even a state.


The year was 1793. What we know today as Tennessee was the Southwest Territory, the transitionary stage as a federal domain between being North Carolina’s isolated western lands and statehood. There were only seven lawyers on this rough-and-tumble frontier serving a scattered population of nearly 100,000 from the Virginia line to Nashville.1

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The Doctor Will See You Now

How Direct Primary Care Legislation in Tennessee Can Influence Public Health and Medical Economics

Imagine, if you will, a different kind of doctor’s office visit. You arrive at the office and walk right into an exam room; your doctor pops in a couple of minutes later. You spend half an hour to 45 minutes discussing your symptoms, your stress level, the fact that you haven’t been sleeping very well lately; then you have some blood work done.

You leave with a prescription, and on your way past the fish tank out the door, no money changes hands, and no one asks for your insurance information. The next day, you text your doctor with a question that you had forgotten to ask, and you get a response before the afternoon is out.

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Rule 53 – Collaborative Family Law

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Newest Rule

Collaborative Family Law is an alternative process for achieving agreements to dissolve marriages, developing parenting plans, and resolving other family law issues. Its most distinctive features relate to the role of attorneys and the place of discovery.

On April 1, 2019, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted its newest rule, Rule 53 – Collaborative Family Law. The Rule gives definition to collaborative practice and guidelines for practitioners.

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Student Loans and Bankruptcy

Undue Hardship Is a Difficult Standard to Meet in Tennessee

Student loans weigh heavy on many. Borrowers owe nearly $30,000 on average, and Americans collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.1 For some borrowers, bankruptcy may offer relief. But for most in Tennessee, bankruptcy is currently not a viable option to help borrowers rid themselves of burdensome student loan debt.

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Invested with a Strange Authority

A Guide to the Insanity Defense in Tennessee

“Old scarred marble floors in a cold white corridor. A room where the mad sat at their work. To Suttree they seemed like figures from a dream, something from the past . … He’d never been among the certified and he was surprised to find them invested with a strange authority, like folk who’d had to do with death some way and had come back, something about them of survivors in a realm that all must reckon with soon or late.”1                 — Cormac McCarthy

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Social Security Benefits: Strategies for Divorcing Spouses

Family law attorneys should anticipate and plan for the impact that divorce will have on their clients’ Social Security benefits, a key source of retirement income for most people. Although more retirement options are available to married couples, important choices are also available to single and divorced individuals.

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TBJ's 3rd Annual Fiction Contest Winner: The Mistrial

“We’ll dynamite ‘em!” he said as he pounded his fist on his desk. His green banker’s lamp shook, and the Tennessee Code shelved neatly behind him seemed to shudder. He placed his right index finger into his pattern jury instruction book to save the charge he wanted and quickly rose from his mahogany swivel chair.

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A New Concept

Enforceable Post-adoption Contact Agreements Come to Tennessee

In 2018, the Tennessee legislature passed and then-Gov. Bill Haslam signed a legislative package that brought significant changes to Tennessee’s adoption code.1 The 2018 legislation is referred to by adoption practitioners as the “First in Adoption Act” (FIAA). In 2019, the Tennessee Bar Association Adoption Section proposed two new adoption bills. The first bill was principally a corrections bill supplementing FIAA.2

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Judicial Warfare and the Triumph of Equity

Courtney v. Glanvil (1615)

The High Court of Chancery was born in the Middle Ages to provide relief from the inflexibility of the common law courts, which could only act upon property, or in rem, usually through the award of a money judgment for compensation. Chancery’s body of jurisprudence, “equity,” was forged to remedy frauds, mistakes and various hardships the law courts could not adequately address, often remedied by Chancery acting directly upon the person through subpoena, injunction and contempt powers.

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