News

ABA Issues Ethics Opinion on Limited-Scope Legal Services

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility today issued ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 472, "Communication with Person Receiving Limited-Scope Legal Services." In this opinion the committee addresses the obligations of a lawyer under ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2, "Communication with Person Represented by Counsel," commonly called the “no contact” rule, and ABA Model Rule 4.3, "Dealing with Unrepresented Person," when communicating with a person who is receiving or has received limited-scope representation under ABA Model Rule 1.2, "Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer." The opinion also provides recommendations for lawyers providing limited-scope representation.

read more »

ABA Committee Proposes Lifting Ban on Credit for Paid Externships

The American Bar Association's Standards Review Committee is again proposing that a ban that prevents students from receiving academic credit for paid externships be lifted, the ABA Journal reports. The ban has been one of the most contentious issues to come before the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in recent years. The Law Student Division has lobbied hard to eliminate the prohibition, saying it limits the amount of field placement opportunities available to students. But many clinicians believe that eliminating the ban would undermine the academic purposes of the placements.

read more »

ABA to Honor Rubenfield for Gay Rights Work

Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld was among attorneys selected to receive the American Bar Assocation’s (ABA) third annual Stonewall Award for their work as gay rights advocates. Rubenfeld was co-counsel for some of the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges. Evan Wolfson and Thomas Fitzpatrick will be honored alongside Rubenfeld at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting, Feb. 6. “The ABA is pleased to recognize these three gay rights pioneers. Each has been a forceful voice for LGBT inclusion and legal progress,” said the commission’s chair, Mark Johnson Roberts. 

read more »

TBA VP Pera to Chair ABA Coordinating Council

Memphis attorney and TBA vice president Lucian T. Pera of Adams and Reese was appointed to chair the Coordinating Council with the American Bar Association's Center for Professional Responsibility. The Center’s Coordinating Council oversees and directs legal and judicial ethical issues that come before the ABA’s policymaking body, the ABA House of Delegates and other national initiatives. Pera, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate, is the immediate past treasurer of the ABA and a former member of its Board of Governors and Executive Committee.

read more »

ABA: Better Debt Counseling, Loan Transparency Needed

The ABA House of Delegates this week adopted several recommendations aimed to help students better understand the financial impact of law school. The package calls on law schools to provide better debt counseling, disclose more information about revenues and expenditures, and experiment with new ways to lower the costs of legal education.  The House also backed changes in law school accreditation standards, most of which were described as technical corrections or clarifications. The ABA Journal has more on both issues.

read more »

TBA Honors Former President at Chicago Reception

TBA President Bill Harbison joined attorneys from across Tennessee and other states in honoring Memphis attorney Randy Noel during a reception in his honor Saturday at the annual ABA Convention in Chicago. Noel, with Butler Snow, is a former TBA president and a former Tennessee delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Support for the event was provided by the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Belmont University College of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School. 

read more »

TBA Reception Honors Former President Noel

(CHICAGO, Aug. 1, 2015) — TBA President Bill Harbison (left) salutes Memphis attorney Randy Noel and his wife, Leesa, during a reception in his honor held the annual ABA Convention in Chicago. Noel, with Butler Snow, is a former TBA president and a former Tennessee delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Support for the event was provided by the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Belmont University College of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School.

read more »

New ABA President to Work on Diversity, Inclusion

Paulette Brown took office today as president of the American Bar Association at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. She is the first woman of color to become president of the 136-year-old organization. Brown, a labor and employment law partner at Locke Lord LLP in Morristown, N.J, plans to devote her presidency to serving ABA members and highlighting the value of the association by reaching out to lawyers and communities across the country. She also plans to build on the work the ABA has already done in the area of diversity and inclusion through a newly created Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360.

read more »

ABA Establishes Task Force on Body Cameras

The ABA Criminal Justice Section has formed a Task Force on Law Enforcement Body Cameras to analyze whether the use of these cameras by law enforcement promotes public safety and guards against unsubstantiated claims of police misconduct. The task force also will assess the cameras' impact on the criminal justice system and individual liberties. Finally, it will be charged with reporting on best policies and practices for the deployment and use of body cameras. The group will announce task force members and detail objectives tomorrow at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

read more »

ABA Annual Meeting Shares City with Massive Music Festival

Lawyers and music lovers will dominate the downtown Chicago landscape during the American Bar Association Annual Meeting and Lollapalooza music festival this week. The annual meeting is the ABA’s largest gathering, with more than 5,000 lawyers and other attendees registering for the meeting as of late July. It gets underway Thursday. Lollapalooza, which will feature 130 musical acts, has become an economic behemoth every summer in Chicago. In 2013, it drew 300,000 attendees over three days and helped pump an estimated $120 million into the local economy. The ABA Journal has more.

read more »

TBA to Honor Randy Noel at Chicago Reception

The TBA will honor Memphis attorney Randall D. “Randy” Noel during a reception at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on Saturday. The event will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Gold Room of the Fairmont Hotel. Noel, with Butler Snow, is a past TBA president and a past Tennessee delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Support is provided by the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Belmont University College of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School. All Tennessee lawyers are invited to attend.

read more »

ABA President Reflects on Year in Office

In an interview with the Memphis Business Journal, ABA President William Hubbard says he has used his year in office to try to modernize the profession, lower costs, break down barriers and encourage attorneys to rethink the way legal services are delivered. “There’s this latent market for legal service … people who are less fortunate … people in the middle class and the moderate income class ... If you have that gap you have to ask yourself, maybe our model needs reform. Maybe we need a new delivery mechanism." One solution he points to is Online TN Justice, a virtual legal clinic that was developed by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the TBA. The ABA plans to roll out a nationwide version of the program soon.

read more »

ABA President Pushes Online Models for Civil Disputes

The president of the American Bar Association told Tennessee lawyers that the traditional method of providing pro bono legal services in civil matters isn’t working, the Memphis Daily News reports. “People are migrating en masse to these online services,” William C. Hubbard told a group of 200 attorneys and judges Thursday at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual meeting in Memphis. “We need to make sure we don’t have perhaps two justice systems that operate independently – one totally online and totally unregulated and one highly regulated but not innovative enough. We need to synthesize those two systems.”

read more »

Task Force Proposes Reforms for Legal Education Financing

A report released today by an American Bar Association presidential task force calls for enhanced law student debt counseling, wider collection and publication of law school financial data and innovation at law schools to lower costs for students while maintaining sound educational programs. The report of the ABA Task Force on Financing Legal Education notes that tuition hikes are slowing and that tuition discounting, largely through merit-based grants and scholarships, is widespread and growing.

read more »

ABA Seeks Comments on Externship, LSAT Rules

An American Bar Association (ABA) panel voted over the weekend to accept public comments on a proposal allowing law students to draw both pay and academic credit for externships. The ABA will hold a public hearing on the proposal on July 16 and again on July 30, the National Law Journal reports. Under current rules, students are barred from receiving both pay and credit. The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar also submitted for public comment a proposal to alter a rule that allows schools to admit certain students who have not taken the Law School Admission Test.

read more »

Committee Wants Applicants to Take LSAT

An American Bar Association committee is recommending the elimination of a rule that allows most law schools to fill up to 10 percent of their entering classes with students who haven’t taken the Law School Admission Test. Barring that, the committee is proposing to make the rule applicable to all schools, the ABA Journal reports. The rule, approved last year by the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, currently applies only to students enrolled in undergraduate programs at the same university as the law school and/or students pursuing another degree in addition to their JD.

read more »

TBA Leaders in DC for ‘ABA Day’

TBA President Jonathan Steen, President-elect Bill Harbison, YLD President Rachel Moses and Executive Director Allan Ramsaur are in the nation’s capital this week as part of the ABA Day legislative effort. The group will be meeting with Tennessee legislators as well as learning about issues of importance to the legal profession. The Tennessee participants join other leaders from national, state and local bar associations across the country. Learn more about the effort in the ABA Journal.

read more »

ABA Urges Corporations to Fight Labor Trafficking

The ABA called on Fortune 500 companies this week to help eradicate human rights abuses by adopting and implementing anti-human trafficking policies consistent with its Model Business and Supplier Principles. The group also unveiled a new database to assist companies in this effort. In a letter to CEOs and general counsels, ABA President William C. Hubbard reiterated the need: an estimated 21 million people are subjected to forced labor around the world and 168 million children are in situations of child labor. Read more from group.

read more »

ABA Group Wants Detailed Reporting on Law School Attrition

Law schools would be required to provide more detailed information about student attrition rates under a proposed change requested by an ABA committee, the ABA Journal reports. Under a resolution approved this week by the committee, law schools would be required to break down their numbers based on students’ LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point averages. Currently, schools only disclose the overall number and percentage of students that fail, transfer to another school or drop out for non-academic reasons. The committee says more detailed reporting is necessary to promote greater transparency and provide greater consumer protection for law school applicants.

read more »

ABA Midyear Meeting Opens in Houston

Immigration, access to justice for persons of modest means and money’s influence on elections are just some of the issues that will be tackled by attendees in hearings and panel programs during the 2015 ABA Midyear Meeting. The meeting runs through Monday when the 560-member House of Delegates, which sets policy for the ABA, convenes. The Tennessee Bar Association with support from Tennessee law schools will host a reception in Houston Saturday for former TBA president Danny Van Horn. View the invitiation here

read more »

ABA Releases Opinion on Prosecutors’ Ethical Duties

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility today released Formal Opinion 467, which deals with the managerial and supervisory obligations of prosecutors under Model Ethics Rules 5.1 and 5.3. The opinion finds that (1) prosecutors with managerial authority must adopt reasonable policies and procedures to ensure all lawyers and non-lawyers in their office conform to model rules, (2) prosecutors with direct supervisory authority must make reasonable efforts to ensure all lawyers and non-lawyers they supervise conform to the rules, and (3) prosecutors with both managerial and supervisory authority may be required to fulfill both sets of obligations.

read more »

New ABA President Calls for Innovation in Delivery of Legal Services

South Carolina lawyer William C. Hubbard accepted the gavel as the new president of the ABA and urged lawyers to join him in his signature effort: closing the legal services delivery gap for the poor. Hubbard outlined several ways to accomplish that goal, including connecting lawyers, judges and academics with technology innovators who are spending millions of dollars on finding new ways of providing legal services. “We must marry this creativity with our own justice system to provide greater access while protecting the public,” he said. He also noted that several specific issues “clamor for our attention and rational evidence-based solutions.” These include a criminal justice system that is breaking down fiscally, the continued imprisonment of low-level offenders, the number of mentally ill in prison, the need for more pro bono representation for domestic violence victims, and the balance between privacy and security. Read more about Hubbard’s goals for the year in the ABA Journal.

read more »

ABA House of Delegates Acts on Range of Issues

The ABA Annual Meeting continued yesterday with a number of actions by the group’s House of Delegates. The body approved new standards and procedural rules to be used in the accreditation process for U.S. law schools and adopted resolutions urging:

read more »

TBA Reception Honors Harrison McIver

The TBA will host a reception in honor of Memphis lawyer Harrison D. McIver on Saturday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. The Tennessee Reception is made possible through the generous support of the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Belmont University College of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School. McIver is executive director and CEO of Memphis Area Legal Services.

read more »

ABA Meeting Kicks Off Friday in Boston

The ABA Annual Meeting kicks off tomorrow in Boston. Among the programs planned are a keynote address by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, screening of “The Case Against 8” and a presentation by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson on marriage equality, and a keynote speech by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts. The House of Delegates will meet Monday and Tuesday and consider a number of policy resolutions. At the conclusion of the meeting outgoing president James R. Silkenat of New York will hand the gavel to his successor William C. Hubbard of South Carolina. The ABA Journal provides an overview of the meeting.

read more »