2019 Tennessee Legislature is considering a new homestead that would eliminate a creditor’s ability to collect against residential real property

One of my most common phrases on this site is “Tennessee is a creditor friendly state.” Another is “Always file a Judgment Lien against real property.”

Well, that may change very soon. The Tennessee Legislature is considering a very debtor-friendly increase to the homestead exemption that will make Tennessee, literally, one of the most generous states in the country for debtors.

I’m specifically talking about House Bill 0236 and Senate Bill 0399, which would increase Tennessee’s homestead exemption to as high as $750,000. Except for those states that have an “unlimited” exemption, this would make Tennessee’s homestead the highest in the nation.

The Legislature considered a similar increase in 2012, which I wrote about back then, which didn’t pass.

“Exemptions” allow a debtor to protect certain property from the reach of creditors. Exemptions are designed so that a judgment creditor can’t take everything, so household goods, retirement accounts, and other necessities can be exempted, so that a downfallen debtor can keep the shirt on his back and rebuild his life.

Or, if this new law passes, the downfallen debtor can keep 100% of the equity in his $750,000 house entirely out of the reach of creditors.

Wait a second. Is this law designed to protect downtrodden debtors seeking a fresh start in life (who very probably do not have high value real property at all) or, maybe, is it designed to protect high income individuals whose businesses fail?

Because that’s all this proposed law does. It grants fairly absolute protection to the high value real property owned by judgment debtors in Tennessee, and all the garnishments, levies, liens, and bankruptcies will never touch a penny of that equity.

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.