November 2017 - Vol. 53, No. 11

Letters of the Law

50-Year TBJ Reader Likes October Issue Best

I have been reading our magazine for over 50 years. The October issue is the best written and informative one ever.

I have been a lawyer and TBA member all these years but never knew all the history of some of our law schools. Mr. Laska has written so many articles, but this was his best. The articles about Justice Brandeis and damages were good too.

Thanks for putting together all this information.

Landis Turner,
Hohenwald, Tennessee
TBA President, 1988-1989



The Tennessee Supreme Court announced in October it will support reform of the state’s method for providing legal assistance to individuals unable to afford an attorney.

Responding to a report from its Indigent Representation Task Force, the court said it will seek funding to increase the rate attorneys are paid to work on such cases to $65 per hour, and will also request an appropriation in next year’s budget to raise compensation caps by $500 on all felonies and by $250 on juvenile matters.

read more »


Happy Birthday, Mr. Donelson!

Memphis lawyer Lewis "Lewie" Donelson III turned 100 Oct. 9 and was celebrated by many. He is a co-founder and senior counselor at Baker Donelson, which honored him for “the influence and lifelong commitment he has had upon the firm, the city of Memphis, the state of Tennessee, and the legal profession.”

He earned his law degree in 1941 from Georgetown University Law Center. In 1954, he founded the Memphis law firm of Donelson & Adams.

read more »


Former Tennessee Bar Association Executive Director BILLIE ROBERTA BETHEL died Sept. 9. She was 85. A native of Missouri, Bethel earned her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1957. She practiced in Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee before joining the TBA. She managed the organization for 18 years, until she moved to Gatlinburg in 1982. Following the move, she practiced law alongside her husband, Frank Newman Bratton. For the past 12 years she lived in Jefferson City at the Jefferson City Health and Rehabilitation Center.

read more »

Licensure & Discipline

Administrative Suspensions Online Notice of attorneys suspended for, and reinstated from, administrative violations — including failure to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility fee, file the IOLTA report, comply with continuing legal education requirements and pay the Tennessee professional privilege tax — is now available exclusively on the TBA website.
Visit to see administrative suspensions imposed since 2006.

read more »

A Failed Market?

There’s a large and growing gap between the existing legal needs of ordinary Americans — not just the poor — and the ability of the legal profession to meet those needs.

As a profession that sees self-regulation as a core value, what responsibility do we have to address this fundamental problem? More importantly, what can be done?

I put those pressing questions to an audience at the amazing Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ 40th Annual Equal Justice University, the annual gathering of Tennessee’s access-to-justice community.

read more »

Guilty Minds

Is it possible to be convicted of a criminal offense without meaning to do something wrong? It is.

read more »

Time for Lawyers to Face the Truth about Our Phones

We are all addicted to them. They don’t work for us; we work for them.

This month, Apple is releasing its newest phone, the iPhone X, which you can now purchase for a mere $1,000. (Well, okay, $999). The iPhone X hosts numerous features including “facial recognition” that will unlock the phone for its user.

That’s right, if you drop a grand on an iPhone X, your phone will actually recognize your face every time you stare at it, and if someone steals your phone or just borrows it and tries to use it, your iPhone X will scream, “Put me down, you thief!” and will then quickly call the police.

read more »



Tennessee’s only full-time ABFDE-certified document examiner. Formerly with U.S. Postal Inspection Service Crime Laboratory. Certified by American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. Substantial civil, criminal and trial experience. Thomas Vastrick, 6025 Stage Road, Suite 42-182, Memphis, TN 38134; (901) 383-9282.

read more »

Thomas E. Dewey: America’s Greatest Prosecutor

Although best remembered for his two unsuccessful runs for the presidency, Thomas E. Dewey is arguably the greatest prosecutor in American history. His cases against organized crime figures are legend, and so is his courage.

read more »