President's Perspective

Serving All Members of Our Profession

Having heard rumblings over the years about certain positions taken by the Tennessee Bar Association, it is important to keep in mind the purposes of the Association. Our Bylaws state:

The purposes of the Association shall be to foster legal education, maintain the honor, dignity and well-being of the members of the legal profession, enhance the performance of the legal profession, cultivate professional ethics and fellowship among its members and promote responsible relationships between the legal profession and the public.

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Encouraging Experiments

Last month in this space, I put to you the case that, today in Tennessee and almost everywhere else in our country, 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 that need.

As I pointed out, there’s very little doubt that this gap is growing.

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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.

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Give Help

As I write, two terrible natural disasters have hit states within driving range of Tennessee. Thousands are in need; those needs include legal needs; you can help; and it’s never been easier.

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Say Something

“If you see something, say something.”

I’ve always been uncomfortable with that post-9-11 anti-terrorism guidance. It reminds me more of life under the Stasi, the East German secret police, than anything remotely American. Even so, it condenses crucial, life- and career-saving advice for Tennessee lawyers.

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What’s a Court?

It’s a simple question: Is a court a place — a physical location where people go — or a service?

Today we can visualize a time in Tennessee when “going to court” might not mean walking to the courthouse on court square. It might mean firing up your tablet and logging in to an online session with a judge, other lawyers, and even witnesses.

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President's Perspective: The Challenges of Change

It’s a time of real change here at the Tennessee Bar Association.

By now, you probably know that our long-time executive director has taken emeritus status, and his successor will be joining us in a matter of days. The lawyer who guided us, seemingly effortlessly, through this change was my predecessor, Jason Long. Of course, he did this on top of the “usual” duties.

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This Mentor Relationship Withstood the Test of Time

The subject of mentor relationships between older and younger lawyers is a staple for bar associations. I was fortunate to have a number of experienced lawyers as mentors and role models when I started practicing. Now that I am a bit older myself, I enjoy interacting with younger lawyers. As I noted in an earlier column, we both have things to teach one another.

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Competition Can Be Beneficial, But Also Corrosive

Bar associations have long noticed that lawyers, more than members of many other professions, are disposed to depression, substance abuse, and similar problems. Local and state bars have worked to establish groups for lawyers-helping-lawyers and lawyers’ assistance programs. The TBA has promoted “better next year” as a way of motivating

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Remembering Justice Scalia

News came this past weekend that Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly while visiting a ranch resort in Texas. I began to get calls and emails on Saturday afternoon, and the sad news dominated the news coverage for the rest of the weekend. There is no doubt that Justice Scalia’s death is a huge event in the legal community. I offer a few observations about this provocative and controversial person.

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