COVER STORY: This Month’s Top Story

Courts this year have wrestled with issues such as rights in a band’s name, the intersection of new technology and copyright infringement, traditional claims of copyright infringement, rights in “monkey selfies,” the fair-use doctrine in the Copyright Act and the appropriate methodology for calculating attorneys’ fees for a prevailing party. Although the cases discussed here focus on substantive issues arising in the context of the entertainment industry, the principles addressed by the underlying lawsuits apply to any civil-litigation practice.

FEATURED: This Month’s Articles

In the sweltering heat of September 1934, when the last thing anyone probably wanted to think about was wearing an additional layer of clothing, a movement began among Knoxville Bar Association’s members to get Knox County judges to adopt the custom of wearing robes while on the bench.1

The supporters of the movement “point[ed] to the fact that the late Justice Edward Terry Sanford, of the United States Supreme Court, a Knoxvillian, introduced the custom in Tennessee” while he was a federal district court judge2 and cited “the added dignity that the wearing of the black robes brings to the bench, the robe being the symbol of the judiciary, which is in turn the embodiment of the people’s majesty as applied to the settlement of legal controversies.”3

COLUMNS: Quick Reads on Timely Topics

President's Perspective

We recently witnessed a spike in discourtesy and vulgarity during the November midterm elections. The dirty election campaigns, lack of respect, and even outright hatred were palpable. It is fair to state that incivility is at a crisis point in our society. This incivility has permeated the legal profession in so many ways. As lawyers, we have the opportunity to address the incivility plague that divides our communities. We also must do better to be respectful when dealing with one another as lawyers.

Bank on It

From time to time, mergers of banks doing business in the same markets make so much business sense as to cause us to wonder why they have not yet decided to “partner up.” As lawyers engaged in assisting in these transactions, the first job is almost always an analysis of whether or not there are anti-competitive factors that may stall or completely derail in-market mergers. 

Where There's a Will

In his seminal book, The Common Law, future Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously wrote: “The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.” This aphorism has endured, influencing one legal commentator to remark as follows:

Society creates law and law has to respond to society. Not slavishly and it can always guide society and you have to make choices and in the end someone’s going to decide in our society, we hope in some sort of democratic, small “d” manner what’s good. But you have to choose. You have to choose and of course the most horrible, difficult thing is to take responsibility and choose. And that’s what law is all about.1

Book Review

By James M. Scott | W.W. Norton & Company Inc. | $32.95| 640 pages | 2018

What happens when a modern and Americanized city becomes as much a massive crime scene as the site of a vast battlefield?  The saga of the violation and obliteration of Manila and at least one-tenth of its one million occupants, and the ensuing legalities and war crimes trials, is the focus of Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila by James M. Scott.

But Seriously, Folks

Twenty-five years ago I began writing this column for the Tennessee Bar Journal. This is my 261st column. It is also my last.

At the end of this month, I will be retiring from the practice of law. I’ve been a full-time lawyer and part-time writer for 40 years. That’s a biblical timespan, and I’m concerned that if I keep practicing law, my next era might be seven years of tribulation.


This month we introduce a new feature, back here on the last page. After 25 years of reading Bill Haltom’s column on this page every month, there will be a big space to fill — we know you will need something fun to raise your spirits, to inspire you in your work. So we offer you “SPARK,” a rollicking page of random, light-hearted, law-related ideas and thoughts, with perhaps a spark of inspiration.

YOU NEED TO KNOW: News, Success, Licensure & Discipline

Reminder of TBA Elections

(NOTE: This item has been updated) This is a reminder that petitions for the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) elections are due on February 15. During 2019, the following officers, governors and delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) will be elected as set forth in the association’s bylaws:

TBA Officers and Board of Governors

Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor, ABA President Bob Carlson, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, ABA President-elect Judy Perry Martinez and past TBA President Buck Lewis gathered at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., in honor of the 10th anniversary of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. Justice Kagan served as the honorary chair this year and spoke at an event at Georgetown Law Center.


The Tennessee Supreme Court transferred the law license of Coffee County lawyer Harry B. Gilley to disability inactive status on Oct. 26. Gilley may not practice law while on inactive status but may return to the practice of law by showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume practicing.

TBA CLE: Upcoming Programs from the Tennessee Bar

There is not a lot of time left to meet your CLE requirements this year, so take a look at what the Tennessee Bar Association has to offer in the Course Catalog. Start with the Ethics Roadshow, which will be stopping in Chattanooga on Dec. 4, Knoxville on Dec. 5, Nashville on Dec. 11, Memphis on Dec. 12, Jackson on Dec. 18 and Johnson City on Dec. 18. But if you miss that, we have you covered right up to the end of the year, with our CLE Blast Dec. 11 in Johnson City and Dec. 17, 26-28 and 31 in Nashville.