Vol 55 No 1

SPARK! The Advantages of Aging & Retirement

An Interview with Landis Turner

As Tennessee Bar Association president in 1988-89, Landis Turner of Hohenwald oversaw a legislative effort that resulted in public defenders' offices opening in every major city in the state. Now, at 78, he talks about that, but covers some surprising topics, too, admitting that “one of the advantages of aging and retirement is one’s ability and time to remember such things and write them down.”

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Book Review: Edward Terry Sanford

A Tennessean on the U.S. Supreme Court

Knoxville has traditionally done a poor job of honoring its greatest citizens. James Agee’s childhood home was unceremoniously demolished.1 Similarly, Cormac McCarthy’s childhood home was left abandoned, and it eventually burned to the ground.2 A gas station now sits at the location of the childhood home of the artist Beauford Delaney.3 So it was not surprising to learn that the only Knoxvillian and University of Tennessee alumnus to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States had been largely forgotten in his hometown. Thankfully, Stephanie L. Slater’s thoroughly researched new biography recovers the memory of Justice Edward Terry Sanford from its fade into obscurity.

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Ethics in Family Law Mediation

This column was updated April 25, 2019 – after its original publication, to reflect a change in the location of the forms.

Ethics for lawyers is always an important topic. Ethics in mediation, particularly in divorce cases, is an area that should be a strong focus of any family law practice, if for no other reason than that the vast majority of cases are resolved through mediation between the parties. Mediation is required by statute in divorce and separate maintenance cases by Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-4-130 with certain exceptions.

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Comparative Fault and ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Cards

A recent decision of the Tennessee Court of Appeals reminds us of the interaction between our law of comparative fault and the legislature’s gift of “get out of jail free cards” (immunity and partial immunity) to certain special interest groups.

Edna Green was hurt on a church-sponsored bus ride to a local farm. The bus, driven by a fellow parishioner, hit some berms on the farm road causing severe injury to Ms. Green. Ms. Green sued her church, and the church asked in its answer to the complaint that fault be assigned against the farm. Ms. Green elected not to sue the farm, and went to trial only against her church.1

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Lawyers Honored with Public Service Awards

Each year the Tennessee Bar Association recognizes outstanding service by attorneys and law students who have dedicated their time to helping others. The awards given are the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year and the Law Student Volunteer of the Year. Read the stories of those recognized here.

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‘A Greater Fool’

Pro Bono Experiences, Opportunities, Vision

In the 2012 HBO series The Newsroom, we begin to get to know the main character, Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, when we see him on a panel discussion on a college campus. In the first episode, a young woman from the business school asks the panel why America is the greatest country on earth? The other panelists say freedom, diversity and opportunity. After a pregnant pause, Will says he doesn’t believe America is the greatest country on earth. He embarks upon an abusive rant which cites illiteracy, low rankings for math and science, falling life expectancy, rising infant mortality, and incarceration per capita, to name a few. The rant lands Will in a good deal of trouble with the public and with his cable news network where he anchors the evening news.

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Tennessee Supreme Court Reports on Access to Justice Initiatives

More than Half Tennessee Attorneys Report Providing Pro Bono  

More than half of Tennessee attorneys reported providing pro bono legal services during 2016, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. The 2017 Pro Bono Report1 showed that nearly 9,000 practicing Tennessee attorneys provided more than 650,000 hours of pro bono service, with an estimated value of more than $130 million, based on data reported by individual attorneys, bar associations, law firms, law schools, legal service providers mediators and other organizations.

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Licensure & Discipline


The law license of Davidson County lawyer Carla L. Arevalo was transferred to disability inactive status on Nov. 21, 2018, pursuant to Section 27.4 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. Arevalo cannot practice law while on inactive status and may not return to the practice of law until reinstated by showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and she is fit to resume the practice of law. On Jan. 11, 2018, Arevalo was temporarily suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court and that suspension remains in place.

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Former Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark S. Norris was officially sworn in as the newest U.S. district judge for the Western District of Tennessee in a private ceremony on Nov. 8. A public investiture ceremony will be held on Jan. 11. Norris was nominated to the federal district court by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 11, 2018. He fills the seat left vacant when U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen took senior status in 2017. Breen is a former Tennessee Bar Association president.

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Legal News You Can Use

Student's Murder is Subject of YLD's High School Mock Trial Case

This year’s problem for the 2019 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial competition is a criminal case, involving the murder of a college student and the arrest of the student's best friend, who was accused of the crime. The competition will be held in Nashville on March 22-23, following regional competitions across Tennessee. Chairing the YLD Mock Trial Committee this year is Rob Sands, with Vice Chair Kati Goodner.

Follow developments on Twitter using the hashtag #tnmock19.

Read everything about the hallowed competition, including the case itself, at www.tba.org/info/tennessee-high-school-mock-trial-0.

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