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Research and Writing

Background and Experience

I serve as counsel and consultant on a variety of matters—sometimes as counsel of record, often as a researcher and drafter. I’ve drafted successful Tennessee Supreme Court applications, appellate briefs, advisory memos, legal opinion letters, and Tennessee Supreme Court Commission reports. I am also called upon to edit or co-author a variety of law articles and other resources and to speak on a variety of topics related to legal research, writing, and law practice.

Examples of my work:

  • Selected Cases

    • In re Estate of Smallman, 398 S.W.3d 134 (Tenn. 2013).

      Successful Tennessee Supreme Court application for permission to appeal, securing new trial for widow regarding husband’s estate

    • Morrison v. Allen, 338 S.W.3d 314 (Tenn. 2011).

      Securing $1.7 million in life insurance proceeds

    • Westmoreland v. Bacon,
      No. M2011-01811-COA-RM-CV
      (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 26, 2013).

      Successful Supreme Court action resulting in remand to Court of Appeals & preservation of medical malpractice claim

  • Selected Published Works

    • Appellate Advocacy: A Handbook on Appellate Practice in Tennessee (Assistant Editor since 2008)

    • Tennessee Tort Law Letter (Assistant Editor, 2008-2015)

    • Tennessee Practice Series (Assistant Editor, Vol. 15, Ch.11-12, 2008-2014)

    • “Sign Here: Life After Morrison and Allstate.” 49 Tenn. B.J. 14 (April 2013) (co-authored with Donald Capparella)

    • “Basic Tips for the ‘Curiouser’ World of Estate Planning,” Nashville B.J. (March 2016) (co-authored with Harlan Dodson).

    • “Judicial Selection in Tennessee: Deciding ‘The Decider,’” 1 Belmont Law Review 143 (co-authored with Margaret L. Behm)

  • Research & Drafting Staff

  • Selected Recent Presentations

    • “First Things First:  Preliminary Business Contract Negotiation, Necessities, Tips, and Tricks,”
      Tennessee Business Law Conference     May 3, 2018

    • “Best Practices in Legal Writing”    Williamson County Bar Assoc.
      November 3, 2017

    • “Contract Law for Family Lawyers”
      10th Annual Family Law Conference for Tenn. Practitioners 
      December 2, 2016

    • “Rules You Don’t Know: Civil Procedure,  Evidence, Court Rules, and Standards of Review”
      9th Annual Law Conference for Tenn. Practitioners
      November 12, 2015

    • “Anatomy of an Appeal—Appellate Practice for the Trial Lawyer”            Nashville Bar Association (co-presenter with Hon. W. Neal McBrayer and John C. Hayworth)                              
      April 16, 2015