Posted by: News Sources on Jun 1, 2020

Journal Issue Date: June 2020

Journal Name: Vol. 56 No.6


The Tennessee Judiciary Museum and Court of Appeals Judge Andy Bennett were featured recently on a new NBC program that helps families uncover interesting stories about their past. In a recent episode of “Roots Less Traveled,” St. Louis resident Sharee Burress, center, and her son travel to Nashville where they learn that one of their relatives was a key player in a famous and consequential 19th century Tennessee Supreme Court decision. 

In Nashville, they meet Judge Bennett, left, at the Tennessee Judiciary Museum where he shows them the exhibit dedicated to Larkin Ford, Burress’ great-great-great-grandfather. The 1846 Supreme Court case resulted in Ford and his fellow slaves being freed and granted property. 

Find the story at

Law Practice

Remote Online Notarization and Witnessing Extended through June 30

Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order 36 and Executive Order 37 on May 12 to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 and minimize unnecessary person-to-person contact.  

Executive Order 36 extends and consolidates many provisions in Executive Orders 15, 19, 20, 24, 28 and 32, including the remote shareholder meeting provisions that have been extended to June 30. Executive Order 37 extends until June 30 Executive Order 26 that temporarily permits remote online notarization and witnessing. Read more on witnessing and notarizing documents while social distancing, in the May Tennessee Bar Journal at

Law School

Court Sets New Policy for July Bar Exam 

The Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order May 11 that reduces the seating of the July 2020 bar exam that is scheduled for July 28 and July 29. 

The court also approved a policy that establishes protocol for seating applicants. The policy gives priority seating at the July exam to 2019 or 2020 graduates of Tennessee law schools who are taking the exam for the first time. If seats remain, additional levels of seating priorities have been established. Those who cannot be seated at the July exam will be seated at the October exam, scheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Applicants who will be seated at the October exam have the opportunity to transfer their application to the February 2021 exam without additional fees.

Lyon Appointed LMU Law Dean, VP

Lincoln Memorial University chose Matthew R. Lyon as vice president and dean of the LMU Duncan School of Law. Lyon’s appointment came after a nationwide search to replace current dean, former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade, who is retiring. Lyon has been with LMU Law since its founding in 2009, first as an adjunct professor and then as full-time faculty member in 2011. He has served as associate dean of academic affairs since 2015 and was briefly the acting dean prior to Wade’s appointment.

The TBA Appellate Practice Section recently hosted a remote Appellate Practice Roundtable, which was free to all TBA members.  From left, Clerk of the Appellate Courts Jim Hivner; panel moderator Jarod Word, who is a Section and CLE coordinator;  TBA Past President Buck Lewis; and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee. The panel discussed remote arguments, the recent oral argument white paper from the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and Justice Lee’s views on both.



TBA Annual Convention Going Virtual, for Free  TBA President Sarah Sheppeard recently announced that the 2020 TBA Annual Convention, originally scheduled to take place in-person in Knoxville, is being converted to a virtual event. The conference will take place during the week of June 15 and will include roundtable discussions on issues affecting law firm managing partners, in-house counsel, solo practitioners and diversity and inclusion in the practice of law, as well as a legislative update from members of the Tennessee General Assembly, law school alumni mixers, and a program celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment. 

Members can earn up to eight hours of CLE credit at no cost. The annual Lawyers Luncheon, featuring the passing of the gavel from President Sarah Sheppeard to Michelle Greenway Sellers, will be accessible to registrants and also live streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

“TBA appreciates its members now more than ever during this unprecedented time,” Sheppeard wrote to TBA members. Learn more and register for free at


TBA Lawyer Well- Being Resources Online  The TBA’s Lawyer Well-Being Resources page, created for Lawyer Well-Being Week in May, will remain live. 

There you’ll find access to the 1-Click CLE Wellness Package, which covers important health and wellness topics like mindfulness, work life balance, ethics of healthy lawyering and more. You will also find links to the TBA’s wellness-centered podcast, HealthyBar, featuring episodes on the importance of yoga, good sleeping habits and the new two-part series, “Path to Lawyer Well-Being.” The page also provides links to other helpful resources, including the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP), which offers numerous services addressing depression and suicide, substance abuse, stress and burnout, anxiety and much more. It’s all at

How to Spot the Signs of Burnout

Lawyer burnout is a serious problem. While legal work can be incredibly fulfilling, it also can be stressful and downright exhausting. Industrywide, a competitive culture and excessive hours are leading to overworked lawyers and widespread wellness and mental health struggles. 

A new resource from TBA Member Advantage Partner Clio looks at the causes, signs and consequences of burnout as well as how lawyers can prevent burnout, or deal with it once they have it. See it at Has Yearlong Focus on Mental Health has embarked on a yearlong investigation into mental health across every sector of the legal profession, shining a light on mental health, addiction, stress and well-being; ways to destigmatize the issue; and methods to effectuate change. 

PANDEMIC Resources

ABA Releases Employment Fact Check Resource  A new American Bar Association Legal Fact Check examines how COVID-19 is raising questions and legal challenges about employers’ actions related to keeping their workplace safe, and workers’ rights to seek reasonable accommodation under federal and state law. The resource seeks to help the public and media find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. 

Everything’s in One Place  Keep up with law-related updates, cancellations, court reopenings and other resources at 

Access to Justice

There are Many Ways to Help While Social Distancing  Legal aid organizations have made a shift to providing pro bono services via easily accessible, remote options. Many traditional in-person legal clinics and services have transitioned to phone or computer-based. Additionally, Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands and Legal Aid of East Tennessee are using the Pro Bono Matters portal, which allows attorneys to look through a list of brief case descriptions and get more information or volunteer for individual cases. Another option for attorneys is answering questions posted to TN Free Legal Answers, at https://tn.

Also, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program and Paladin, a justice tech company specializing in pro bono software, in May launched a national disaster relief pro bono portal to effectively deploy America’s lawyers to help individuals in times of emergencies. Lawyers can sign up to volunteer to serve those impacted by COVID-19, recent tornadoes in Tennessee, earthquakes in Puerto Rico and other disasters at

More information on all of these projects and more is available at