Spark

The Court Clarifies the Oath

When those law school graduates who just passed the bar in July take their oath before the Tennessee Supreme Court this month, they will be pledging to do something a little different than you did. When you stood before the court with your right hand in the air, you swore or affirmed, among other things, to “truly and honestly demean myself in the practice of my profession to the best of my skill and abilities, so help me God.”

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Relaxed Practice

Are you stressed from people reminding you that the practice of law is stressful? Of course it is — you knew that going in! It turns out that even though we know stress is going to be there, it is our reactions to it that make the difference. “Many of us are in the human suffering business, where clients come to see us with complicated problems, both legal and emotional,” Jeena Cho writes in her blog On Well-being. “It’s a stressful profession where we necessarily place the client’s needs first. The stakes are often high, and there are many demands. Many times we’re asked to deliver nearly impossible results. The litigious nature of our legal system leads to incivility. Yet there’s little discussion about the toll this work takes on our well-being. Lawyers are often taught to ignore their emotional well-being, but that is a mistake both for the lawyer as a person and as an advocate for the client.”

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Tell Us a Story

TESTING TESTING 1-2-3

Kate Prince had never produced a Podcast before but that didn’t slow her down when she was given the assignment to develop a network of podcasts as another benefit for Tennessee Bar Association members. Not to be undone, she began researching how to do it. Prince is the TBA’s Leadership Development and Innovations Coordinator. “I read through as many blogs and news articles about podcasting as I could,” she explains, “and based on that info, and with our budget in mind, chose the audio equipment I thought we’d need, the editing software and the hosting website that sends the shows out to all the platforms our listeners use.”

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SPARK: Love of Law Overcomes Cultural Shock

When Leticia Mason’s husband was transferred by his employer Caterpillar Financial from Mexico City to Nashville, Leticia wasn’t worried. They didn’t have children then and as a lawyer she knew she could get a job; they saw it as an adventure. “I didn’t give it a big thought,” she says. “When a lawyer moves from the U.S. to Mexico he may not be able to go to the courts but would be able to get a good job, making money as an attorney.”

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The Right to Vote, the Responsibility to Lead

The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, was passed by both chambers of Congress 100 years ago on June 4, 1919. According to the National Archives, the House of Representatives first passed the amendment on May 21, 1919, and two weeks later, on June 4, the Senate followed with a vote of 56 to 25. The next year, following approval by three-fourths of state legislatures, the amendment was ratified into the Constitution. 

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A Different Kind of Legal Writing

If you got to the back of this magazine without noticing that we have a piece of fiction in this issue, flip back to page 16 in a minute and read our 3rd Annual Fiction Contest’s winning entry. As a nod to that and lawyers who read fiction or dabble in fiction writing, let’s look at some who have made that leap. 

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Your Colleagues Will Be There

One hundred thirty eight years ago this June some very determined and probably idealistic lawyers from across Tennessee gathered for the first time, organizing the Tennessee Bar Association. The place they chose, Bon Aqua, is a little south of Dickson. The following year TBA’s first annual convention was held there at the Bon Aqua Springs Resort. And why not? It offered the best in comfort of the day.
The resort, once the largest health spa and summer retreat in Middle Tennessee, was “known as the ‘Queen of the Southern Spas’ during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. On the western Highland Rim, the Hickman County resort’s temperate days, cool nights, and four mineral springs offered treatment for medical conditions ranging from iron-poor blood to gout, dyspepsia and yellow fever.”1

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‘Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying: You Have a Choice’

An Inteview With Catherine Henry

Ten years ago when Catherine Henry was 28, a “whitish blur” suddenly covered the center of both her eyes.

“I woke up one day and my vision was gone.” She tried to blink it away but nothing helped. “That was a dark and painful time for me,” she says of the six months and 17 doctors it took to finally get a diagnosis. “I’ll never forget it,” she says, remembering the neuro-ophthalmologist who told her her vision loss had “bottomed out” and she would likely not go totally blind, but the bad news, he said, was “that your optic nerve has atrophied and there is no cure.” That day she learned about Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a genetic condition, rare in females. She retained some peripheral vison, but is legally blind.

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What Do You Do for Fun?

You’re killing it in your job and loving (or hating) the high stakes you are faced with each day, but a lot of research says you will be better off if, when you leave the office, you do something straight-up enjoyable. “It may seem counterintuitive that if you want to get ahead at work, you should make time for a life outside of it,” according CNBC. “But career coaches and business leaders alike say that having a hobby is key to being able to handle work-life stress and thinking creatively.”1 Study after study says these nonwork, fun activities can aid work performance, improve physical and mental health, reduce stress, improve focus and increase happiness.

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Navigating Parental Leave


“As more companies offer their employees attractive leave benefits, law firms are following suit by offering their attorneys robust parental leave benefits,” Ogletree Deakins notes in a recent newsletter.1 Promoting a work-life balance, including flexible hours and leave, is key as a new generation ascends, requiring and expecting this culture of balance. Here is one person’s story:

Debbie Zimmerle Boudreaux, 33, has been a lawyer since 2011 and a mother since 2014. Her son Jack was born during her third year of practice, and daughter Mary came along 15 months later in November 2016. Daughter Lucy was born last October.

Boudreaux works in Lewisburg at the Law Office of David McKenzie, a small firm with offices located in Lewisburg and Fayetteville, providing services to clients including personal injury, criminal defense and general civil litigation. She focuses primarily on family law matters. Her husband Ross is also an attorney.

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