Start 2019 Right: Apply to be a Lawyer Mentor

With the new year, I’ve committed to serving the community more in 2019 than ever before.

To that end, I’ve signed up to mentor 7 high school students via the tnAchieves program, I’m coaching (maybe) a Mock Trial team at one of Nashville’s inner city high schools this spring, and, of course, I’m still going to visit Legal Aid regularly and continuing my service at The Village Chapel.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get more engaged, I really recommend the Tennessee Bar Association’s Mentoring Program. It’s not too big of a time commitment and, trust me, you’ll make a lifelong friend in the process.

And, because we’re lawyers, the way we interact, foster relationships, and model civility in the bar with each other matters.

If you’ve got a few years under your belt (and, don’t worry, any experience matters and they’ll place you with an appropriate mentee), you’re needed.

Apply here.

See you in 2019…

Some months are busier than others, and, when it’s a busy month, Creditors Rights 101 is the first place to suffer. So, here I am, on December 31, posting something for December.

As you may have heard, Tennessee’s Trial Court Vacancy Commission submitted my name (along with two others) to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to be considered for an appointment to replace Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman in Davidson County Chancery Court, Part I.

Many of you know me from a variety of different contexts and courts, and so you may be surprised that I’d be content to serve in just one court. In fact, if you follow my twitter account, you’ll recall that I’ve had some days when I’ve appeared in several courts on the same day…occasionally at the same time.

I consider Davidson County Chancery Court my “home” court. Per the Chancery Court’s online database, I’ve appeared as counsel in 176 cases in Davidson County Chancery Court since January 1, 2008. To put that number in context, my two opponents have appeared in front of those courts 22 and 16 times, respectively, during that same time period. Long story short, this is a court that I know really well.

So, yes, my December has been more hectic than usual.

I look forward to continuing talking about commercial law issues with you all in 2019, whether it’s from the bench or  from my office (a/k/a via this blog).

 

2018 Nashville Lawyer Memorial Service This Week

A few weeks ago, I was walking to my office after court, and another lawyer struck up a conversation with me while we walked. I’ve known this lawyer since I was a brand new lawyer, and, after talking for a little bit outside his building about the “old-timers,” he invited me to serve on the Nashville Bar Association’s Historical Committee and, specifically, the Memorial Service Committee.

Honestly, I didn’t think much about the invite at first, but, a few days later, I discovered the NBA’s photo archive from the 1970’s. It was so fun to see these lawyers and judges who I’ve known, back when they were young (or younger) lawyers.

Maybe seeing that gave me some perspective, that there’s a rich tradition and history here in Nashville, and how lucky we are to have these photo archives to tell these stories.

And, on a more morbid note, it reminded me that, someday, some new 2030 law graduate will be surfing whatever version of the internet exists and laugh about seeing David Anthony back when he had brown hair.

So, I called the Bar Association and told them, yes, I want on all these committees. We need to preserve these stories and this history, and the memories (and advice) of those who blazed trails for the rest of us.

Last note, the 2018 Fall Memorial Service takes place this Thursday, November 15, at 11:00am. Full details can be found here.

 

Tune in For Ethical Online Marketing at Next Week’s 2018 Law Conference

Real Quick:  I’m scheduled to speak, next week, at the 2018 Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners, presented by M. Lee Smith Publishers.

This a two day conference, set to take place at the Nashville School of Law. The full agenda can be found here.

My presentation is at 4pm on Thursday, which is the last section of the day. This is a great responsibility, since people are absolutely restless by the last session.

Fortunately, I have an interesting topic: Ethical Online Marketing.

I’ll be talking about the use of social media for lawyer marketing, and I’ll review a variety of ways that lawyers use (good and bad) social media for client development and engagement.

This is generally a fun topic. Terrible blogs, inappropriate tweets, and unwanted friend requests are all fair game.

Come See Me, an “All-Star”, Talk on Ethical Online Marketing in November

I’ve gotten a little stingy about my availability for speaking engagements. Long story short, it’s sort of a pain in the neck.

But, I agreed to teach for the Tennessee Attorneys Memo group, because they have the best marketing materials. Specifically, they lead with the line: “The 12th Annual Tennessee Law Conference boasts an all-star cast of prominent Tennessee judges and attorneys, featuring David Anthony, Gail Ashworth, and James Bryan Moseley.”

So, if you give me top billing and refer to me as an all-star, I’m there.

I’m teaching on November 15, 2018, for the section titled “Ethical Online Marketing.” This is a “dual” credit course, meaning you’ll get ethics and general CLE credit. Plus, I am probably the most prolific blogging, tweeting,  and social media’ing lawyer in town. (Edited: Since publishing this post, this assertion has been questioned by a local attorney.)

The real challenge will be keeping people in their seats and paying attention at 4pm, so I plan to super-charge this talk with lots of examples of terrible and/or unethical online marketing examples.

Attend the TBA Creditors Practice Forum

The Tennessee Bar Association has asked me to teach at the 2018 Creditors Practice Forum, on September 26, 2018.

This half-day seminar is a well-attended and well-produced CLE event, designed to provide both the basics, as well as some advanced “deep-dives,” into a variety of topics in creditor’s rights practice in Tennessee.

This year, the topics will include presentations on:

  • Charging Orders and Theories of Successor Liability
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act
  • Bankruptcy Court Stay Violations
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Ethical Considerations

The full agenda can be found here.  Also, lunch is provided. If you’re going to CLE, might as well get a free-ish lunch.

 

 

Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Accepting Bad News From a Judge with a Smile

In March, I suggested/implied/explicitly promised to provide professional lawyer advice to you all. Sorry for the delay.

I saw this tweet recently, though, and I am reminded of an important lesson for you litigators out there…

No, not the part about the client dinners.

The part about how, as the Judge recites his or her oral ruling, you have to sit there, listening, and taking furious notes. And, no matter how wrong the Judge gets the decision, at the end, you have to politely smile and thank her for the ruling and consideration.

Side Note: Don’t get me wrong, if there is more argument to be made, you present that argument as quickly and respectfully as you can. If the Judge clearly gets the facts or case law wrong, then you have point that out and see if you can get them to change course.

But, here, I’m not talking about that situation. I’m talking about situations where you’ve argued your position so thoroughly and completely that the Judge has no question about the substance of your surely awesome and unassailable legal theory, but nevertheless rules against you.

In that case, my advice is to learn how to take exact and detailed notes, smile, thank the Judge for their time, and then appeal or attack the ruling (if necessary).

A few months ago, I won a hotly contested hearing and, obviously, my opposing counsel lost. And he disagreed with the Judge. A lot. And it showed. His tone toward the Judge expressed frustration, anger and condescension. To avoid any confusion, after his final efforts to get the Judge to change her mind, he threw his argument notes down on the counsel table with an audible sigh.

Don’t ever be that guy.

One, I refuse to ever acknowledge defeat, even in the face of clear defeat. Instead, I go back to the office and confidently call the other lawyer, tell them we’re preparing an appeal, and try to settle. I mean, what else can you do?

Two, judges don’t like being disrespected, and, if this Judge had any doubt in her mind about her ruling, this definitely erased that.

Finally, when you express anger or frustration at the judge, you’re showing a lack of tact and professionalism to everybody in Court, including opposing counsel. Plus, this Judge is going to remember this lawyer.

This is always a fine line to walk, between preserving your reputation for being respectful toward the court and zealous advocacy. I’m sure the lawyer’s client would have appreciated the show, but, in the end, there are definitely down-sides to an emotional outburst.