Kelsey replacing legal team, mulling litigation against former lawyers

Then-Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), right, attends a Senate Education Committee meeting in Nashville on April 16, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former state Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) is replacing his legal team after a federal judge rejected his motion to vacate his decision to plead guilty to campaign finance crimes. He also wants to delay his July 27 sentencing date by at least a month.

In a court filing on Wednesday, Kelsey said he has hired J. Alex Little and Zachary Lawson of the Burr & Forman law firm as his new lawyers. They replace Paul Bruno, David Rivera, Jerry Martin, and David Warrington.

The move came amid what Kelsey’s new lawyers called “the deterioration of attorney-client
relationships, the potential for future litigation involving prior counsel, and the need to have counsel of choice representing him at sentencing.”

Little and Lawson asked District Judge Waverly Crenshaw for at least a 30 day delay so they can familiarize themselves with the sentencing materials and because of other state and federal court obligations on July 26 and July 30.

“There is one issue that might be raised as substantial mitigation in the sentencing memorandum, and this issue requires additional time to research and investigate,” Kelsey’s lawyers said. “But .. counsel believes that this can be accomplished within 30 days.”

AG says proposed anti-discrimination rule for lawyers is unconstitutional

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery is formally opposing a proposed change to professional conduct rules for lawyers that he contends would violate the constitutional free speech rights of Tennessee attorneys, reports the Nashville Post.

Continue reading

Defense lawyers name new executive director

Press release from Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 30, 2018) – The Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is proud to announce Denise Lawrence as Executive Director.

Continue reading

Nashville attorney Paul Ney nominated as counsel for U.S. Department of Defense

President Donald Trump has nominated Nashville attorney Paul Ney to become general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense, the White House announced Monday.

Continue reading

‘Lewie’ Donelson, TN GOP leader and prominent lawyer, dies at age 100

Lewis Randolph “Lewie” Donelson III – a pioneer in developing the modern Tennessee Republican Party, a former state finance commissioner and co-founder of the Tennessee-based national law firm Baker Donelson — died Thursday at age 100.

Continue reading

Judge’s law license suspended; legislator says no impeachment plans ‘at this time’

State Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, tells the Kingsport Times News he has no plans “at this time” to launch impeachment proceedings against Hawkins County Juvenile Court Judge Daniel Boyd, whose license to practice law has been suspended because of acknowledged “dishonesty.”

Continue reading

State Supreme Court considers using nationwide test for TN lawyers

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners has filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Tennessee to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which would be a major change in the portability of bar exam results for aspiring Tennessee attorneys. The UBE is a nationwide test that has been adopted by 28 states and allows takers to transfer scores between states.

Continue reading

TN Supreme Court seeks pay raise for indigent attorneys

News release from Administrative Office of the  Courts

Nashville, Tenn. ­– The Tennessee Supreme Court, acting on recommendations from its Indigent Representation Task Force, is taking action to reform the state’s method for providing legal assistance to individuals who are unable to afford an attorney.

“The task force confirmed what many of us already suspected: The system needs major reforms,” said Chief Justice Jeff Bivins. “While no perfect solution exists, the Court believes the improvements we commit to today will move the state toward a more efficient, effective means of providing this representation that our federal and state constitutions guarantee.”

Continue reading

Trump names Tennessean USDA general counsel

President Donald Trump has formally nominated West Tennessee native Stephen Vaden as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He’s held the position, which is subject to Senate confirmation, on an acting basis since March and was part of Trump’s “beachhead team” at USDA before that.

Continue reading

Trump nominates Belmont law prof as U.S. attorney in Middle TN

Donald Cochran, a law professor at Belmont and former federal prosecutor in Alabama, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become U.S. attorney for Middle Tennessee.

He is one of 17 people nominated to U.S. attorney positions around the country who, according to a White House press release, “share the President’s vision for ‘Making America Safe Again’.”

Here’s what the release says about Cochran:

Continue reading


Posts and Opinions about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.