2015 AAfPE Conference

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I’m really excited to be in Milwaukee attending the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Association for Paralegal Educators (AAfPE)! Last year’s conference was phenomenal, so I’ve been looking forward to learning even more about best practices for teaching legal support skills and strategies. This year, not only did I have the privilege of serving on the conference planning committee, but I am presenting two separate sessions on Friday. Right now I’m sitting in a pre-conference workshop on legal technology and eDiscovery (while multitasking on my blog… don’t tell anyone). More


Means What It Says?

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How many times have courts assured you that the legislature says what it means and means what it says? Personally, I’ve lost count. The notion is seared into my legal psyche. So when Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-122* says med-mal plaintiffs can waive a defendant’s obligation to file a certificate of good faith for comparative tortfeasors, I kinda assumed that … oh, I dunno… maybe plaintiffs could waive a defendant’s obligation to file a certificate of good faith for comparative tortfeasors.

“Not so,” says the Middle Section of Tennessee’s Court of Appeals. I just had occasion to write a brief analyzing the recent opinion in Sirbaugh v. Vanderbilt, and it was like eating soup with a fork. According to Sirbaugh, when the legislature allows plaintiffs “to waive compliance,” what that reeeeally means is plaintiffs are still “obligated to file a statutorily compliant certificate of good faith.” Square peg, meet round hole. What am I missing? COA dropped the ball on this one, IMHO. And yet, the Supremes punted. So that bit of judicial wizardry has earned its ink in the reporters. This, even though the Supreme Court just a few years earlier observed (albeit in a footnote) that there’s “no similar statutory obligation imposed on plaintiffs who amend their complaint pursuant to Tenn.Code Ann. § 20-1-119 after the original defendant has asserted a comparative fault defense.” Go figure.

*P.S. – Apparently Justia hasn’t updated its site with the most recent changes to the Health Care Liability Act. Get wit’ it, Justia! Here’s an alternative, but unfortunately there’s no direct link. Navigate to Title 29, then Chapter 26, then Section 122…

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year, everyone! Hope your 2015 is full of clarity and meaning, with no splices, run-ons, or dangling participles! 🙂

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The Dunning-Kruger Lawyer

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I recently ran across more awesomeness from Bryan Garner. (Sorry if you’re over the Garner craze. I’m a fan, even though I don’t always agree with him.) Dunning-Kruger debilitates many professions, but I’d have to agree with Garner that we lawyers are all but intellectually paralyzed by it. In pondering “Why Lawyers Can’t Write” back in March of 2013 for the ABA Journal, Garner noted: More

Legal Writing Webinar

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If anyone’s bored around lunchtime on Thursday, 9/4/14, tune in to this webinar on legal writing, hosted by the Tennessee Bar Association.  The speaker will be yours truly! 🙂

New Position, New Challenge


I am excited to announce that I’ve now been appointed as the new Coordinator of the Paralegal Studies Program at the University of Memphis!  In addition to teaching up to four classes per semester, my duties now include student recruitment, curriculum development, course scheduling, representing the Program both on internal committees and in community outreach, and ensuring that the Program is staffed with top-quality adjunct faculty members. And of course, I’ll still be writing legal briefs for QP Legal and teaching CLEs as always.  So it looks like I’ll be quite a busy little bee!  Wish me luck!

What’s in a Sandwich?

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This is just proof that lawyers will fight over anything.  I love it. More

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