Journal Online

In the December Journal, Jen Lacey and John Williams detail the Vested Property Rights Act of 2014 and how it has given more stability to developers. Bill Rutchow looks at employer protection of confidential business information and two books are reviewed. Columnists Eddy Smith reports the passing of Circular 230 Disclosures and Katie Edge explains the differences in the definition of "applicant." TBA President Jonathan Steen gives hope and suggestions for help to anyone whose holidays are not happy and Bill Haltom reveals why divorce lawyers love Christmas trees.

Committees, Task Forces

Corporate Council Initiative

The TBA Access to Justice Committee, in partnership with the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, will host the Ninth Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala March 7, 2015, at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. Law firms, corporations and individuals are invited to support the event by becoming sponsors or purchasing tickets. Presentation of the 2015 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative (CCPBI) awards – which recognize the Tennessee law firm and corporate legal department that best exemplify a commitment to access to justice – also will take place at the event. CCPBI engages corporate counsel and in-house lawyers in pro bono work. Since the inception of the program, more than $425,000 has been raised and distributed to organizations across the state that connect corporate lawyers to local pro bono projects.

Two Nashville lawyers and a recent University of Memphis School of Law graduate will be honored with the state’s top pro bono and public service awards at a Nashville ceremony in January, the TBA has announced. Nashville lawyer Rebecca McKelvey Castañeda of Stites & Harbison will receive the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award for handling a number of time-intensive pro bono cases this past year, as well as her service on the board of the Tennessee Justice Center. Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, will receive the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award in recognition of nearly 20 years of service with the center, which she co-founded in 1996. And Jennifer Mayham, a 2014 graduate from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, will be recognized as the Law Student Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Memphis Area Legal Services. Read more about the honorees.

The TBA Public Education Committee has updated The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors for 2014. The updated Handbook contains practical information on a wide range of topics, including issues such as applying for Social Security benefits, long-term care considerations and estate planning, as well as completely new sections addressing online security and new health care legislation. 

Sections, Divisions

Writing Contest

The TBA YLD Mock Trial Committee has released the problem and rules for the 2015 Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition. The list of district coordinators also is now available. This year’s problem involves charges of vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment against the driver of a car, who may have been texting when a motorcycle rider is hit and killed. The case comes down to discrepancies in eyewitness reports, physical evidence at the scene and the vehicle’s event data recorder. This year for the first time, TBA is using Twitter to communicate case and competition news. Feel free to follow along at @tnmocktrial or sign up to receive updates by email.

The TBA Environmental Law Section has announced the eighth annual Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award writing competition for law students enrolled in a Tennessee law school in 2014 or 2015. The competition is held in memory of one of the section's most outstanding founding members and has a cash prize pool of $1,200. It is a juried competition for the best legal writing on a topic of Tennessee or federal environmental law. Entries are due May 1, 2015. The competition rules and announcement are available here in downloadable format.

The 12th Edition Alimony Bench Book is now available from the TBA Family Law Section. Produced by the members of the section’s Alimony Committee, the book is available for purchase in a loose-leaf format for $40 or a three-ring binder for $50. To order the book, visit the TBA’s online bookstore or contact TBA at (615) 383-7421. Members of the Family Law Section can download the new edition at no charge by logging in to and going to the Resources link on the Family Law Section's webpage.  



For your last minute CLE needs the Tennessee Bar Association brings you 3 tracks of dual and general credit CLE programs. This 4-day program offers CLE from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on December 22 and 29-31, 2014. If you need 15 hours, you can get it all here and more. Take as many or as few hours as you need.

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Join us January 18-23, 2015, for the Tennessee Bar Association's 30th Annual CLE Ski in Vail, Colorado!! This program offers a wide variety of CLE topics to benift lawyers from various practices. Earn 3 hours of CLE each day without missing anytime on the slopes. 

The Vail Cascade Resort and Spa is nestled at the base of...

Need guidance setting up or maintaining a trust account? A new publication from the Board of Professional Responsibility can help. This presentation will cover topics ranging from the basics of trust accounting rules, to the day-to-day chores of reconciliation and recordkeeping, to more complicated issues regarding the kinds of internal controls lawyers must have in place...

Attorneys for the state asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to keep the identities of those who carry out executions secret during oral arguments yesterday. The arguments come just as two lower...

Metro Nashville officials are exploring relocation of the Criminal Justice Center, which real estate brokers say is on a prime development property. Possibilities include consolidating the Sheriff...

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