2017 Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners
Conference Materials now available!
Conference Presented: Thursday and Friday, November 16 and 17
Nashville School of Law
4013 Armory Oaks Drive
Attend this two-day satisfaction-guaranteed event and enhance your professional skill set while earning all of your CLE credit for the year. Featuring an all-star cast of prominent Tennessee judges and attorneys and 15 hours of CLE credit, including 3 hours of ethics/professionalism. Fulfill your annual CLE requirement at one event!
- Recent developments in tort law, including how Dedmon v. Steelman impacts medical damages
- Social media evidence – handy how-tos and real world examples
- Latest on police liability issues
- Admission of unique evidence at trial
- Family law highlights
- Recent developments in construction lien law
- Probate practice tips
- Effective and ineffective discovery practices
- Best estate planning tips and techniques
- Business Court Pilot Project overview
- Appellate practice tips
- What non-bankruptcy attorneys need to know about bankruptcy
- Update from the Board of Professional Responsibility
- Ethical issues in attorney advertising
- Legal ethics and ESI
- Discovery tips. Get practice pointers from Third Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wright on effective and ineffective discovery practices and what judges do and do not want to hear.
- Business court. Get an overview from Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle about the practice and procedures in the state’s business court.
- Updates. Get up to date on the latest developments in the areas of personal injury and family law.
- Appellate practice/standards of review. Learn the ins and outs of appellate practice and procedure and the deferential abuse of discretion standard of review from Court of Appeals Judge John McClarty.
- Timely issues. Get the latest on how Dedmon v. Steelman impacts medical damages, how Aragon v. Aragon affects parental relocation in Tennessee, current trends in police practices liability, bankruptcy issues a non-bankruptcy practitioner must know, and how Tennessee’s Construction Lien Law may affect your clients.
- Evidentiary issues. Get tips and strategies on how to get “unique” evidence admitted at trial and how to get your social media evidence admitted (and keep theirs out).
- Probate/estate planning. Get tips on improving your probate practice, as well as tips and techniques to use in estate planning.
- ESI. Gain insight from Davidson County Chancellor Russell Perkins on ethical issues that arise when attorneys are trying to admit electronically stored information.
- Board of Professional Responsibility. Get an insider’s perspective from Sandy Garrett, Chief Disciplinary Counsel, on the Board’s recent developments.
- Lawyer advertising. Get tips on how to market yourself and your law firm ethically and effectively.
Brandon Bass is a Shareholder in the Law Offices of John Day, P.C., in Brentwood. Mr. Bass focuses on helping people who have been badly injured or lost a loved one. His core practice areas include products liability, medical malpractice, and trucking lawsuits. The Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA) recently named Mr. Bass “Trial Lawyer of the Year.” According to the TTLA statement, “the award is for a trial lawyer who is an advocate of a noble cause, and who demonstrated superior skills and achieved an outstanding result for a client against great obstacles. Mr. Bass has had hundreds of successful results, including representing victims of medical negligence, child sexual abuse, and tractor-trailer collisions. He is the author of multiple articles published nationally by Trial Magazine and other publications, and has given more than a hundred CLE speeches throughout the Southeast.“ Mr. Bass’ experience in products liability lawsuits includes industrial machinery, pharmaceuticals, automotive and tractor-trailer defects, and defects in construction materials. He has also assisted victims of medical malpractice in recovering for their losses from doctors and other healthcare providers. He has significant experience in trucking lawsuits, including cases involving tractor-trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles. Mr. Bass serves on the Board of Governors for the Tennessee Association for Justice, and is the organization's Amicus Curiae Committee Chair. He is also a member of the American Association for Justice, serving on the Board of Governors of its New Lawyers Division, as well as the Tennessee and Nashville Bar Associations. He has been a member of the John Marshall American Inn of Court in Williamson County. He frequently writes on personal injury and wrongful death legal issues. In addition, Mr. Bass has served as Associate Editor of the Tennessee Trial Law Report – Tort Edition, a monthly newsletter on tort law, evidence, civil procedure and trial in Tennessee. He was formerly Associate Editor of the Tennessee Tort Law Letter.
Griffin S. Dunham, with Dunham Hildebrand PLLC in Nashville, has been in practice for 13 years and has represented large and small businesses, business owners and officers, borrowers, guarantors, private equity investment firms, property management companies, risk management companies, commercial landlords, healthcare facilities, medical field companies, farmers, electric companies, construction businesses, and developers. Mr. Dunham handles every aspect of litigation. The first six years of his practice concentrated on trial and appellate work as a judge advocate in the United States Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. He has handled cases including claims of breach of contract, business interference, fraud and misrepresentation, fraudulent transfers, contract interference, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, misappropriation, copyright infringement, harassment, and real estate claims related to contract interpretation, quiet title, partition, and easements. As a workout and bankruptcy lawyer, he represents debtors to reorganize their businesses under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. His focus in these cases is concentrated on de-leveraging the business, increasing and managing cash flow, reducing inefficiencies that are reducing margins, improving the business model, maximizing the value of the equity interests, and ensuring the company's long-term viability. He also represents creditors in contested matters or adversary proceedings. Mr. Dunham’s experience includes all aspects of the bankruptcy process, to include drafting and confirming plans of reorganization (debtor side), objecting to and defeating plans of reorganization (creditor side), prosecuting and defending adversary proceedings, claims litigation, claims trading, stay relief actions, 363 asset sales, preferences and fraudulent transfers, first day motion practice, motions to appoint a trustee, asset valuation, lien avoidance, disclosure statement approval, negotiating plan treatment, DIP and exit financing arrangements, and motions to dismiss and convert cases.
Christopher S. Dunn, with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP in Nashville, has represented owners and developers in various sophisticated construction projects, and he has the transactional and litigation experience to handle all aspects of the project, from the creation of a custom design and construction agreements to creative and efficient dispute resolution. Mr. Dunn is recognized as an industry leader and recently completed his term as the Chair of Division 12 (Owners and Lenders) of the American Bar Association's Forum on the Construction Industry, an organization of construction professionals with over 6,000 members. In 2014, Mr. Dunn was selected by his peers to serve on the twelve-person Governing Committee for the Forum, a three-year commitment that began in August 2014. Best Lawyers in America® has recognized Mr. Dunn for his work in the construction law field since 2007. He was named 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America® for construction law. Additional recognition for his work includes being rated "A-V Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell, selection to the American Arbitration Association's Construction Neutrals Panel, induction as a Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation, and being named to the Nashville Business Journal's "Best of the Bar." Mr. Dunn’s construction clients include international companies bringing projects to the United States. He has also helped clients get projects off the ground overseas, including a recent build in mainland China. On the local front and in addition to his work on project development, contracting, and dispute resolution, he has assisted many clients with licensing issues before the Tennessee Contractors Licensing Board.
Donald J. Farinato, with Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC in Knoxville, has been practicing law for more than 15 years. His practice focuses on the administration of all types of estates and trusts. Mr. Farinato represents beneficiaries and fiduciaries in routine probate matters, as well as in complex probate proceedings and in estate controversies. He builds on his administration expertise to help clients craft individualized estate plans through Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Advance Care Plans, and other estate planning documents and techniques. He works with families and courts in conservatorship and guardianship matters, and also assists individuals with wealth transfer tax return preparation and audits. Additionally, he provides legal advice to businesses for various formation and operational matters.Mr. Farinato frequently lectures on various estate planning, estate administration and related topics, including ethics in estate planning and revisions to tax laws. He has spoken at seminars produced by various organizations, including the Knoxville Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Attorneys Memo, and the Knoxville Estate Planning Council. In addition to presenting seminars to attorneys, he also presents seminars to non-attorneys, financial advisors, paralegals and civic organizations. He has written articles for the Tennessee Bar Association on trust and estate matters. He is also a contributing author to the Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors.
Sandy Garrett is Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court and has been with the Board of Professional Responsibility since October 1992. She earned her J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. She is the former Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Ethics Committee and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Ethics Committee. Ms. Garrett has been instrumental in developing and implementing the Board of Professional Responsibility’s diversion program.
Michael H. Johnson is a partner with Howard Tate Sowell Wilson Leathers & Johnson, PLLC, in Nashville. He has more than 20 years of experience defending lawsuits for individuals and businesses. An experienced litigator, Mr. Johnson has tried well over 100 liability cases to successful conclusion. He has a litigation practice involving insurance, personal injury, consumer law, professional liability, and agribusiness litigation. Mr. Johnson has presented a number of continuing legal education programs on various aspects of litigation, and he is the author of A Quick Guide to Tennessee Premise Litigation. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee and his J.D. degree from the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University. Mr. Johnson is a member of the Tennessee and American bar associations, as well as the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association.
Brent Lankford is with Stites & Harbison PLLC in Nashville. Mr. Lankford practices primarily in the field of domestic relations, assisting clients with divorce and post-divorce matters, including issues of child custody, child support, alimony, and financial and property disputes. He joined Stites & Harbison after practicing domestic relations with Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, in Nashville. Prior to that, he served as the Judicial Clerk to the Judges of the 21st Judicial District of Tennessee, which includes Williamson, Hickman, Perry, and Lewis counties. He was named a “Rising Star” by Mid-South Super Lawyers® in 2015 and 2016.
Rachel Shaffer Lawson, with the Schaffer Law Firm in Nashville, grew up in an entrepreneurial family — both her mother and grandfather owned their own businesses — so it seemed quite natural that their offspring found the study of business alluring. Ms. Lawson triple majored in marketing, entrepreneurship and music business at Northeastern University in Boston. After graduating, she attended Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, studying business law, intellectual property law, and entertainment law (as well as the occasional beignet). Her stint in the “Big Easy” also included an internship with the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints. When she decided she wanted to pursue entertainment law full time, she knew there was no better place than Nashville. In 2011, one year after her move, she launched Schaffer Law Firm PLLC. She quickly discovered her passion and the firm’s mission: to provide quality and accessible legal services to innovative entrepreneurs, budding restaurateurs, impactful nonprofits, and the wide variety of arts and entertainment the city has to offer. She loves helping local entrepreneurs succeed in their business ventures and delights in seeing her clients open their doors for business for the very first time.
Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle was appointed to Part III of the Chancery Court of Davidson County in 1996. She was elected Part III chancellor in 1998 and re-elected in 2006 and 2014. Chancellor Lyle presides over the state’s first Business Court, which began taking cases on May 1, 2015. Chancellor Lyle began her legal career at the Texas law firm of Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski. She returned to practice law in Nashville where she became a partner in the law firm of Trabue, Sturdivant & DeWitt in 1984. She is married to Walter Kurtz, a former senior judge for the State of Tennessee.
Judge John McClarty was appointed to the Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals in January 2009 and elected in August 2010. He was involved in over 5,000 civil and criminal cases during his 32 years of practicing law. He previously served as Hamilton County Juvenile Court Referee and as Special Judge, Chattanooga City Court, Hamilton County Juvenile Court, and Hamilton County General Sessions Court.
Mark E. McGrady, with Farrar & Bates LLP in Nashville, practices in the areas of insurance defense, municipal liability defense, civil rights defense, police liability defense, governmental tort liability defense, employment law, employment discrimination, and trial and appellate law. He was Fountain County (Indiana) chief deputy prosecutor from 2007-2011 and Fountain County prosecuting attorney from 1999-2006. Mr. McGrady earned his B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from Wabash College; and his J.D. degree, high honors, from Duke University School of Law.
Chancellor Russell T. Perkins was appointed to Part IV of the Chancery Court of Davidson County by former Governor Phil Bredesen in March 2008 to replace former Chancellor Richard Dinkins. He was elected to the court later that same year and re-elected on August 7, 2014. His current term expires in 2022.Chancellor Perkins began his career in August 1981 as an assistant attorney general in Ohio. A year later, he moved to Nashville to work as an associate for the law firm of Williams and Dinkins. He later became a partner of the firm and worked in that capacity until April 1994. He then joined the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office and worked in various capacities at that office until his appointment to the bench in 2008. He received his undergraduate degree from Tennessee State University in 1978 and his J.D. from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1981.
Melanie M. Stewart is a member of Heaton & Moore, P.C., in Memphis. She is a frequent speaker to various professional groups on insurance law. Ms. Stewart is a member of the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association (president, 2010-2011), Defense Research Institute, and the Mississippi Bar. She is licensed to practice in Tennessee and Mississippi. Ms. Stewart earned her B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi and her J.D. degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Joseph (Joe) L. Watson, with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP in Nashville, is a member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution team. Mr. Watson works with clients seeking to resolve business disputes in the most cost-effective way possible, whether in the courtroom or through alternative dispute resolution. His commercial litigation practice spans a broad variety of industries, and, he has been involved in matters for an array of clients. He represents real estate owners, developers and contractors in disputes related to construction defects and delays, payment disputes and construction lien issues. He has assisted banks and financial services institutions in disputes involving commercial and consumer financial arrangements. His experience also includes providing counsel to manufacturers in high-profile litigation ranging from ERISA class actions to lawsuits brought in opposition to the construction of manufacturing facilities. Additionally, he has assisted clients in conducting internal investigations and providing counsel related to employment issues.
Judge Thomas S. Wright has served the Third Judicial District – which consists of Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, and Hawkins counties – as a circuit court judge since his election in 2006. Prior to his election as circuit judge, he served as the general sessions and juvenile judge for Greene County, having been elected to that position in 1998.
Agenda Day 1: November 16
Chancellor Perkins will discuss some ethical issues that arise when an attorney is trying to admit (or exclude) electronically stored information (ESI) during a trial.
Join Ms. Garrett as she discusses current developments in Tennessee, such as proposed rule changes, recent ethics opinions, Tennessee Supreme Court disciplinary cases, fees and trust accounting issues, and social media.
Lawyer advertising spending has surpassed $1 billion and gone viral. But it was not always so! Ms. Lawson will discuss the history of lawyer advertising, the current landscape, including the Model Rules and “dos and don’ts,” and offer some tips and tricks about how attorneys can advertise effectively on a budget.
Admission/Exclusion of Unique Evidence
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Melanie M. Stewart
Heaton and Moore PC
The rules of evidence are constantly evolving in response to court decisions, technological advances in discovery, and changes to various state rules. It can be an onerous task to continuously analyze and apply them to your cases. How confident are you in your skills when it comes to gathering and working with expert witness testimony? Let Ms. Stewart walk you through some practical applications of the “Big Six” admissibility questions with regard to unique evidence.
- Collecting evidence through discovery: Evidence considerations
- Character evidence
- Evidence of a person’s habit
- Evidence of subsequent remedial measures
- Sexual assault, child molestation, and sex offense cases
- Writings, recordings, and photographs
- Medical records, charts, and x-rays
- Other records, such as business records and public records
- Other unique evidence
Lunch (Your lunch is included with registration!)
12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Construction Lien Law
1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Chris Dunn & Joseph Watson
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP
If you represent general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, lenders, or homeowners in your practice, you have to be up-to-date on Tennessee’s Construction Lien Law. Let Mr. Dunn and Mr. Watson walk you through some of the most important aspects of the law.
- Tennessee Construction Lien Act history and amendments
- Tennessee lien law fundamentals
- Prime contractors and notice of lien
- Mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens
- Lien priority
- What is lienable?
- Notices of completion
- Notice of non-payment/remote contractors
- Recording notice of lien
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Tort Law Update
2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Law Offices of John Day, PC
Mr. Bass will review recent appellate cases in the tort law area, including how Dedmon v. Steelman impacts medical damages and the latest on the pre-suit notice requirement in healthcare liability cases.
Family Law Highlights
3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Stites & Harbison
Mr. Lankford gets you up to date on highlights in the family law area from the past year, including the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Aragon decision on parental relocation.
Agenda Day 2: November 17
What Non-Bankruptcy Attorneys Need to Know About Bankruptcy and Other Related Matters
8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
The bankruptcy process is Code-driven, and can be confusing, complex, and unforgiving. Understanding how to spot the relevant issues and knowing what questions to ask can be a tremendous economic asset to a client. Whether you represent a potential debtor or creditor, understanding the basic bankruptcy process provides value. Let Mr. Dunham guide you through some basic bankruptcy concepts in order to improve your ability to represent your clients.
- Basic terminology
- Differences between Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcies
- Spot the issues that can affect your client’s rights and recovery
- The automatic stay – what is it and what does it do?
- Know if your client can benefit from a Chapter 11
- What if my client’s customer files for bankruptcy?
- Is my client’s claim against a debtor non-dischargeable?
- Is my client at risk for a preference or fraudulent transfer action?
Probate Practice: What Every Attorney Needs to Know
9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Donald J. Farinato
Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC
Probate practice is becoming an increasingly marketable skill due to the aging population and clients' reliance on competent attorneys and other professionals who can smoothly walk them through the process. Mr. Farinato will provide you with not only an understanding of the step-by-step probate process, but also with a hard-won knowledge for managing issues regarding executors, creditor claims, inventory/accounting, beneficiary distributions and closing the estate.
9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Effective and Ineffective Discovery Practices
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Judge Thomas S. Wright
Circuit Court, Third Judicial District (Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, and Hawkins counties)
Judge Wright will offer tips on getting the most out of your discovery.
- Be careful what you object to
- Discovery issues judges should never hear
- The emerging world of e-discovery
- Getting accurate answers from your clients
Estate Planning: Tips and Techniques
11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Donald J. Farinato
Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC
Let Mr. Farinato walk you through the basics of estate planning and beyond with old and new techniques that practitioners have found to be the most effective in their practice. Find out what makes these estate planning tools "superstars" and gain practical tips for maximizing their uses.
- Annual exclusion gifting
- Tax and estate planning for pension and IRA assets
- Using trusts effectively
Lunch (Lunch is included with registration!)
11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Admitting/Excluding Social Media Evidence: Handy How-tos and Real-World Examples
12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Michael H. Johnson
Howard, Tate, Sowell, Wilson, Leathers & Johnson PLLC
- Preservation, spoliation, and authentication obstacles
- Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Tumblr
- Emails (work-related and personal)
- Video surveillance (private and public)
- Computerized versions of contracts and other documents
- Text messages and voicemail
- Chats and instant messages
- YouTube and Vine
- Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat
Appellate Practice Tips
1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Judge John W. McClarty
Court of Appeals, Eastern Section
Judge McClarty will explain the standards of review and discuss the scope of appellate practice.
2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Section 1983 Defense and Police Liability
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Farrar & Bates LLP
- New Section 1983 liability landmines
- Current trends in police practices liability
- Advanced defense strategies
- Was the official convicted of a criminal act?
- Civil rights exceptions
- Discretionary immunity
- Due process: Recent cases of interest
- Use of body cameras/dash cams
- Videos of police actions
- Excessive and deadly force issues
- Search and seizure case law
The Tennessee Business Court Pilot Project: Two Years Later
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle
Davidson County Chancery Court
The Tennessee Business Court Pilot Project, presided over by Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, began taking cases on May 1, 2015. The Pilot Project has procedures, technology, and dockets specifically designed for and adapted to business cases. Let Chancellor Lyle walk you through the Pilot Project’s first two years in operation. Chancellor Lyle will provide you with a survey of business law issues that have come up in cases in the Business Court Pilot Project in addition to providing a roadmap for the Pilot Project.
- How is a Davidson County case assigned to the Pilot Project?
- How is a case from a county other than Davidson County assigned to the Pilot Project?
- What cases have been heard in the Pilot Project?
- What cases are excluded?
- What are some of the features of the Pilot Project?
- A look ahead to the future of business courts in Tennessee
2017 Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners
WHEN: Thursday and Friday, November 16 and 17
WHERE: Nashville School of Law
4013 Armory Oaks Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
BONUS: Attendees will receive a binder of the materials during the conference and will be able to download the materials after the seminar.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The conference begins at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at 5:00 p.m.
(There will be morning and afternoon breaks each day, and attendees will have 1 hour for lunch which is included with registration.)
CLE: 15 hours of CLE (12 hours of general and 3 hours of dual)
- $497 Full program
- $427 Full program for additional attendees
- $397 Full program for lawyers 65 and over and lawyers in practice for two years or less
- $447 Full program less ethics
- $297 Day 1 only
- $297 Day 2 only
- $147 Ethics only - Day 1
- $247 Materials only
Hear what your colleagues said about last year's Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners:
“TAM conferences are the best, and this conference is always top-notch!!”
“Great mix of topics, very engaging speakers, excellent conference, as always.”
“Always love hearing from the judges – TAM always has the best judges in the state on its programs.”
“Loved getting all (15 hours) of my CLE in one 2-day event.”
“The notebook of materials is worth the price – I am constantly referring back to the notebook in my daily practice.”
“Excellent as always – enjoyed having different speakers present on different topics and subject matters in one-hour segments.”