News

ABA Honoring Judge It Once Opposed

Alabama's first black federal judge, U.W. Clemon of Birmingham, will be honored next month by the ABA despite the fact that the group opposed his appointment 33 years ago, WKRN reports. The ABA is scheduled to give its 2013 John H. Pickering Award to Clemon, who is now retired, at its annual meeting in San Francisco. Clemon said he was gratified to be selected for the award and that it showed how far the association had come. President Jimmy Carter nominated Clemon in 1980, and he was approved by the U.S. Senate though the ABA found at the time that he was unqualified.

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Drafter of ABA Model Code Dies

John F. Sutton, former dean of the University of Texas Austin School of Law and drafter of the ABA’s Model Code of Professional Conduct, died Friday at age 95, the ABA Journal reports. A Texas native and 1941 graduate of the law school, Sutton served with the FBI as a special agent at the start of World War II and then served in Judge Advocate General’s Corps during the Korean War. From 1950-1957 he was in private practice and from 1957-2003 he served on the law school faculty at his alma mater, serving as dean from 1979-1984. From 1965-1970, Sutton was one of the original draftsmen of the ABA's Model Code of Professional Responsibility, which replaced the 1908 Canons of Ethics. Later, he consulted on the drafting of the association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Visitation and funeral services will be held Friday and Saturday in San Angelo. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church of San Angelo, the San Angelo Area Foundation or a charity of one's choice.

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Apply By Monday for ABA Posts

Tennessee lawyers interested in any of the more than 600 positions for which the ABA president makes appointments, should file their application by Monday. The TBA’s ABA Resource Committee is offering assistance to lawyers interested in applying for the various committees, commissions and other entities. Contact ABA Resource Committee Chair Jonathan Cole or ABA State Delegate Randy Noel for more information.

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ABA House Adopts Range of Resolutions

The ABA House of Delegates approved a range of resolutions today at its winter meeting in Dallas, the ABA Journal reports. Proposals garnering support included those urging lawmakers to provide adequate funding for federal courts and the Legal Services Corp.; creating a new national entity to help public defenders dealing with excessive caseloads; providing guidance for an amicus brief in a case on the patenting of isolated human genes; giving foreign lawyers limited authority to serve as in-house counsel in the United States; encouraging lawyers to provide unbundled legal services; clarifying a model rule dealing with conflicts of interest in multi jurisdictional cases; and urging federal courts to instruct grand jury members that they are not bound to indict just because a conviction can be obtained. The body also approved a series of resolutions addressing human trafficking, a key issue for ABA President Laurel G. Bellows.

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S.C. Lawyer in Line for 2014 ABA President

The ABA Nominating Committee yesterday confirmed its selection of William C. Hubbard, a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia, S.C., as the association's president-elect nominee. Hubbard, who served as chair of the House of Delegates from 2008 to 2010, is running unopposed, the ABA Journal reports. His nomination was announced at the ABA House of Delegates meeting today in Dallas, where the association is holding its 2013 Midyear Meeting. He will be inducted as president-elect this August and take office as president in August 2014.

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Apply Now for ABA Posts

Applications are now available for lawyers interested in being appointed to any of the more than 600 positions for which the American Bar Association (ABA) president makes appointments. The deadline for submitting applications is Feb. 25. The Tennessee Bar Association's ABA Resource Committee is offering assistance to lawyers interested in applying for service on the various committees, commissions and other entities to which the ABA president appoints. Contact ABA Resource Committee Chair Jonathan Cole or ABA State Delegate Randy Noel for further information about ways in which the committee can be of assistance.

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Tennessee Native, Former ABA President Dies

Wm. Reece Smith Jr., whose legal career was recounted in the book "A Consummate Lawyer", died Jan. 11 after a brief illness. He was 87. Smith was president of the American Bar Association from 1980-1981 and during that time established the ABA Center for Pro Bono. He also chaired the ABA's Committee on Legal Services for 12 years. During the 1980s, Smith opposed the Reagan Administration's efforts to defund the Legal Services Corporation and is credited with leading a lawyer "March on Washington" – an event that eventually led to the creation of ABA Day. Though he was born in Athens, Tenn., Smith attended the University of Florida College of Law and practiced in Tampa with the firm of Carlton Fields. Funeral services will be held Thursday at the Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, the Florida Bar Foundation, Bay Area Legal Services or the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation. Learn more about his life and the funeral arrangements from Carlton Fields.

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Tarpley to Chair ABA Journal Board

John Tarpley of Lewis King Kreig & Waldrop in Nashville has been named chair of the Editorial Board for the American Bar Association Journal. Tarpley, former president of the Tennessee Bar Association, will assume the role in August for a three-year term.

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ABA Meeting Features Justice Ginsburg, Sen. Graham

The Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association kicks off tomorrow with a keynote address by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is expected to talk about how the practice of law can be enhanced by an appreciation for opera. Later in the day, she will join Israeli Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran and M. Cherif Bassiouni, president emeritus of the International Human Rights Institute at DePaul University College of Law, for a program comparing constitutional law in North America and the Middle East. Also on the agenda is a keynote speech by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who will address the Opening Assembly. The meeting will wrap up with the ABA’s first ever battle of the bands featuring five groups of lawyers from across the country, and the oath of office for Chicago native Laurel G. Bellows, who will be installed as the group’s new president. Read more about the meeting

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Firm Honored for Death Penalty Representation

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP will be among those honored by the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project for its commitment to prisoners on death row, with the Exceptional Service Award. The firm, with offices in Nashville and six other Southeastern cities, has provided pro bono legal assistance for inmates on death row since 1988. In total, Bradley Arant lawyers have helped provide representation for 22 prisoners, nearly all of them from the extremely active death penalty jurisdiction of Alabama. The awards will be presented at the Project’s 2012 Volunteer Recognition & Awards Event this Friday during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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Civil Rights Lawyer to Receive ABA Medal

The American Bar Association (ABA) will present its highest award, the ABA Medal, to Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, when the group meets next month in Chicago. In announcing the news, ABA President Bill Robinson said Dees is an outstanding example of a lawyer who has moved the country toward tolerance and equality. He is known for winning cases that helped integrate government and public institutions and for fighting white supremacist hate groups. WKRN reports

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Opinion: Tenn. Plan a National Model, Don't Change It

In an opinion piece in the Tennessean today, American Bar Association President William T. 'Bill' Robinson explains how Tennessee's system for selecting appellate court judges, the Tennessee Plan, is nationally respected as "an open process that is as free from political influence as possible." He warns that a proposed constitutional amendment would change the system "for the worse" and would "politicize the courts and diminish the perception of appellate judges as fair, impartial and well-qualified." The proposed amendment allows the governor to appoint judges who have gone through no public screening process, with no assurance that a broad candidate pool had been considered, he points out, saying "it is critical for courts to be insulated from undue political influence."

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Report: Just Over Half 2011 Law Grads Find Legal Jobs

Only 55 percent of people in the law classes of 2011 are known to have found employment in full-time legal jobs, according to an American Bar Association report released Friday. Above the Law looks into what that means.

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Robinson: Lawyers Need to Speak Up on Court Funding

American Bar Association President Bill Robinson III implored members of the Chattanooga Bar Association to bring public awareness to a nationwide funding crisis in state courts, during his address at the group's annual Law Day lunch on Thursday. "We must stand up and speak out for our courts," he said, adding that 42 states had reduced their budgets for courts last year and no state contributes more than 5 percent of its budget to courts. Robinson said it's the responsibility of those in the legal profession to educate the public on the importance of the judicial branch. The Times Free Press has more

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ABA Ethics Commission Issues Findings

The American Bar Association's Commission on Ethics 20/20 has made final recommendations about the impact of technology and globalization on the practice of law, as well as the structure for regulating U.S. lawyers. The ABA House of Delegates will consider a series of resolutions based on those recommendations when it meets in August. Discussion will center on lawyer mobility, legal process outsourcing and maintaining client confidences. Among the report’s main findings are that (1) lawyers must understand technology in order to provide clients with the competent and cost-effective services they deserve, and (2) globalization means that more clients are confronting legal problems that cross jurisdictional lines, requiring lawyers to cross real and virtual borders. The ABA Journal has more from the report

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Chattanooga Bar Holds Law Day Event Thursday

The Chattanooga Bar Association will host its annual Law Day celebration on Thursday at the Sheraton Read House. The event will feature remarks from William T. "Bill" Robinson III, president of the American Bar Association; presentation of the 2012 Liberty Bell Award; announcement of the Law Day High School Essay Scholarship recipient; announcement of the 2012 class of Chattanooga Bar Foundation Fellows; and presentation of the Judge W. Neil Thomas III Paralegal Utilization Award. For more information contact the CBA at (423) 756-3222 or visit the association online.

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LMU Appeal Will Be Heard in June

The American Bar Association notified Lincoln Memorial University's John J. Duncan Jr. School of Law two weeks ago that it would refer the school's appeal back to the organization's top accrediting body, according to court documents filed Thursday. The association said it would send certain issues back to the Council of the Section of the Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which will consider the panel's written notice, including the opportunity for an appearance by representatives of the law school, at its June 8 meeting. In the meantime, the ABA has asked U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan to continue to stay the lawsuit Lincoln Memorial filed against the ABA until June 15, when lawyers would file another update on the appeal process. The suit alleges antitrust and due process violations. The school opted also to appeal the decision through the ABA. The News Sentinel has more

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ABA Offers Alternate Approaches to LSAT Requirement

An American Bar Association committee has tentatively agreed on two alternative approaches to the current requirement that all law school applicants must take a valid and reliable admissions test. The first approach to altering the Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools would keep a pared-down version of the current requirement in the standards. The second would eliminate the requirement altogether. Learn more from the ABA

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ABA Policy Changes Prohibiting Nonlawyer Ownership of Law Firms No Longer Sought

At its April 12-13 meeting in Washington, D.C., the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 decided not to propose changes to ABA policy prohibiting nonlawyer ownership of law firms. "Since its creation in 2009, the commission has undertaken a careful study of alternative law practice structures," co-chairs Jamie S. Gorelick and Michael Traynor said. "Based on the commission's extensive outreach, research, consultation, and the response of the profession, there does not appear to be a sufficient basis for recommending a change to ABA policy on nonlawyer ownership of law firms." The ABA has more

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Requirement to Report Graduate Salaries Rejected

The American Bar Association's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar on March 17 gave preliminary approval to a new accreditation standard that would require law schools to report additional details about their scholarship retention rates and the jobs that their graduates land. But the council rejected a recommendation that it require law schools to report school-specific salary data. Transparency advocates said the omission would leave prospective students without important information about their earning prospects. Law.com has the story

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ABA Foundation Names New Class of Fellows

The American Bar Foundation has named a new class of fellows, which includes 26 Tennessee lawyers. Those from Knoxville are Hon. Sharon G. Lee, Dwight E. Tarwater and John A. Walker Jr. Those from Memphis are Benjamin C. Adams Jr., John A. Bobango, Denise D. Burke, Charles E. Carpenter, Carl Q. Carter, Charlotte Knight Griffin, David Harris, David P. Jaqua, Connie Lewis Lensing, Cheryl W. Patterson and Kevin H. Smith. Those from Nashville are Cynthia Mitchell Barnett, J. Randolph Bibb Jr., Scott D. Carey, Robert E. Cooper Jr., Jacqueline B. Dixon, Aubrey B. Harwell III, Melvin Malone and Kevin Hunter Sharp. Other attorneys around the state who were inducted include Sam D. Elliott of Chattanooga, Michael Lee Forrester of Kingsport, Linda C. Warren Seely of Jackson and Cynthia Richardson Wyrick of Sevierville. Memphis lawyer Randall D. Noel serves as state chair of the Fellows in Tennessee. Learn more about the Foundation

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TBA Hosts Reception Honoring Judge Childers

A reception honoring Memphis Judge Robert L. Childers, immediate past chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, was held during the recent ABA Mid-Year Meeting in New Orleans. The reception was hosted by the Tennessee Bar Association with generous support from the University of Tennessee College of Law, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School and Belmont University College of Law. Download the invitation

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