News

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:

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McIver Honored at ABA Events

Memphis attorney Harrison D. McIver II, executive director/CEO of Memphis Area Legal Services, was honored two times during the ABA Annual meeting in Boston. First, McIver received the 2014 Dorsey Award in recognition of exceptional work as a legal aid adviser. Later he was honored for his service to the Tennessee legal community at the Tennessee Reception, an event hosted by the TBA with support from the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Belmont University College of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School. See photos from the events.

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LAET’s Autocross Event in Knoxville This Month

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host a fundraiser at Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park on Aug. 16-17. The 4th Annual Solo in the Park Autocross competition is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America and features sports car enthusiasts driving a timed precision course. More than 100 competitors are expected during the two-day event. All proceeds benefit Knoxville Family Justice Center and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Driver registration is $35. Spectator admission is $5 per person or $10 per family. For a $10 donation, spectators may ride the course at competition speed with a participating driver. For more information visit the event website or call (865) 637-0484.

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Tennessee Lawyers Honored for Public Service at ABA Events

Tennessee lawyers received recognition across the board during this past week at the ABA Annual Conference in Boston. 


YLD Recognized for Diversity, Public Service, Overall Programming


YLD ABA Award Winners

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Incumbent Judges, DAs, PDs Defeated by Challengers

Thursday was a day for incumbent wins overall, but there were exceptions, with several Republicans upsetting Democrats across the state. In District 6, incumbent Chancellor Daryl Fansler was beaten by Republican Clarence Pridemore Jr., and Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly Jr. was bested by Republican William "Bill" Ailor. Read more in Knoxnews. In District 8, Elizabeth Asbury defeated incumbent Chancellor Andy Tillman, who was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam in April 2013.  In the same district, incumbent District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones was defeated by Jared Effler. Both are independents, but made the news in the spring when Phillips-Jones fired Effler, a 14-year prosecutor in the district. Two other district attorneys general were defeated: Mickey Layne, a Democrat, lost to Republican Craig Northcott in Coffee County, the Manchester Times reports, and Democrat Hansel J. McCadams fell to Republican Matt Stowe in Madison County. In District 10 Criminal Court, Republican Sandra N. C. Donaghy defeated Democrat incumbent Amy Armstrong Reedy, Chattanoogan.com reports. In Distrtict 26, the Jackson Sun reports that incumbent Circuit Court Judge Nathan B. Pride lost to Republican Kyle Atkins.

Two incumbent public defenders lost their jobs in this election. In District 11, Democrat Ardena Garth lost to Steven E. Smith, a Republican. Democrat David N. Brady lost to Republican Craig P. Fickling in District 13.  Also, Smyrna Town Judge Keta Barnes was defeated by challenger Lynn England Alexander. The Secretary of State’s Office has more results.

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Seminar to Help Ministers Identify Legal Needs

The Knoxville Bar Association, Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance are teaming up to host a seminar on Sept. 16 for ministers of all faiths to learn about the resources available to help members of their congregations with legal problems. “The idea is to make them aware of how to spot legal problems that are impacting the lives of people in their congregations, and to inform [the ministers] of the various legal and social resources in East Tennessee that are available,” said Knoxville lawyer Ian Hennessey. The seminar will be held in Trentham Hall of First Baptist Church of Knoxville, 510 W. Main St. Cost is $6, which includes a sandwich lunch buffet. Those interested in attending should contact Vanessa Moore. Download a handout about the event or read more in Knoxnews.

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LAS Provided $17M in Legal Aid Last Year

Year-end results for 2013 reveal that the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and its team of volunteer pro bono attorneys provided more than $17.4 million in free legal help throughout 48 counties. Throughout the year, Legal Aid handled a total of 7,709 cases for low-income individuals and families and received more than 18,000 requests for assistance. Cases covered a variety of legal issues, with family law being the most common. “These numbers not only reflect Legal Aid Society’s dedication to work toward fairness for all people in the civil justice system, they also speak to the continual need for our services,” Executive Director Gary Housepian said in a press release.

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Lipscomb, Nashville Church Host Legal Clinic Aug. 19

On Aug. 19 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society and St. James Missionary Baptist Church will host a general legal advice clinic for underserved individuals in Nashville. The event will be held at the church at 600 28th Ave., North. Attorney volunteers are needed to work with clients. No specific legal expertise is required. To participate or for more information contact the Institute's academic director Randy Spivey at (615) 966-2503.

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Details Released for CLC 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Memphis-based Community Legal Center (CLC) will mark its 20th anniversary with a celebration on July 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the home of Leslie and Renelle Ballin, 254 Cloister Green Lane, Memphis 38120. The event will feature a presentation of the center’s plans for the future as well as a celebration of past accomplishments. The CLC provides pro bono legal services and educational programs to those who are not eligible for assistance from Memphis Area Legal Services.

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AOC Seeks Pro Bono Coordinator

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has an opening for a Pro Bono Coordinator to work with the Access to Justice Commission. The coordinator will cultivate, monitor and follow-up with new pro bono initiatives, especially in parts of the state where none currently exist. The position will be grant-funded through May 2015, with the possibility of a one-year extension. Visit the AOC website to apply.

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Legal Aid Society Announces New Officers

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has announced John T. Blankenship of Blankenship & Blankenship law firm will lead the Board of Directors as president for two years. Other members of the Executive Committee includes first vice president Robert J. Martineau, second vice president Charles K. Grant, third vice president Susan L. Kay, secretary Turner McCullough Jr., treasurer J. Andrew Goddard, member-at-large Charles H. Warfield and past-president James L. Weatherly. View the press release

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TBA Wins Top Award for Public Education Project

For the second consecutive year, the Tennessee Bar Association earned the top public service award from the Tennessee Society of Association Executives. The 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors was named winner of the Association's Advance Tennessee Award. The TBA’s Public Education Committee updated the Handbook and is continuing to conduct outreach and education across the state. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur and Access to Justice/Public Education Coordinator Liz Todaro accepted the Award today at a Nashville luncheon.

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MALS Moves to New Offices

Effective today, Memphis Area Legal Services has relocated to the Falls Building, 22 N. Front Street, 11th Floor, Memphis 38103. All telephone numbers remain the same. The agency previously was located in the Claridge House Building at 109 N. Main.

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Memphis Legal Clinics Need Volunteers

The Memphis Saturday Legal Clinic will be held tomorrow (July 12) from 10 a.m. to noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Volunteer attorneys, especially with family law experience, are still needed. Those interested in helping are encouraged to arrive by 10 a.m. In addition, lawyers are needed for the weekly Courthouse Advice & Counsel Clinic (formerly known as the Attorney of the Day Clinic) held every Thursday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 134 of the Shelby County Courthouse. Volunteers talk to pro se litigants in General Sessions Court about procedural issues and how to present their case. For more information about that opportunity contact Linda Warren Seely or David Cook.

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Memphis Bar Foundation Seeking Grant Applications

The Memphis Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association, is seeking grant applications from 501(C)(3) organizations that advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession; promote social justice; promote legal education; or recognize professionalism among members of the bar. Applications are available by contacting Anne Fritz at (901) 527-3575 or afritz@memphisbar.org. Deadline for submitting proposals is Aug. 15.

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ACLU to Challenge Law Mandating Welfare Drug Tests

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is looking for people interested in challenging a new law mandating drug tests for some applicants for the state's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. ACLU-Tennessee said the law, which took effect July 1, raises “serious constitutional concerns" and singles out limited-income people. Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said in a statement that research indicates TANF recipients "are no more likely to use illicit drugs than farmers, veterans, and students, who also receive government support.”

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Legal Aid Lawyer Sought for Domestic, Sexual Abuse Cases

West Tennessee Legal Services is seeking a staff attorney with a strong commitment to the delivery of quality civil legal assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking in rural west Tennessee. Experience representing domestic violence victims is preferred and proficiency in Spanish is a plus. Applicants must possess a Tennessee law license as well as excellent writing and oral communication skills and the ability to manage multiple tasks, build collaborative relationships, travel as necessary and use case management software. Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and references to Hiring Committee, West Tennessee Legal Services Inc., P.O. Box 2066, Jackson, TN 38302 or by email to jane@wtls.org.

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Online TN Justice Selected as Finalist for Award

Online TN Justice, a statewide virtual legal clinic that helps vulnerable Tennesseans access legal advice from a network of pro bono lawyers, has been named a finalist for the Frist Foundation's Team Building Award. The winner will be announced at a gala Sept. 23 in Nashville. The award, presented by the Center for Nonprofit Management, recognizes organizations that mobilize volunteers and partner organizations to support people in need. The team responsible for the creation and operation of Online TN Justice includes the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), the Tennessee Supreme Court and its Access to Justice Commission, the Tennessee Bar Association and the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Read more about the award and see other finalists on the Center for Nonprofit Management’s website.

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Supreme Court Gives Sendoff to Justice Koch

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. was honored at a reception today (July 7) at the Tennessee Supreme Court building in advance of his upcoming retirement. Emceed by Justice Connie Clark, the program featured comments by those impacted by Koch's service over the years. Herbert Slattery, counsel to the governor, presented a gubernatorial proclamation announcing today as "Justice William C. Koch Jr. Appreciation Day" and Sen. Randy McNally presented a resolution from the Tennessee General Assembly honoring Koch. All five members of the court were present at the standing-room-only event. To honor their colleague, the justices made a donation to the Nashville School of Law – where Koch will take over as dean next week – and Chief Justice Gary Wade presented a framed copy of the recent Tennessee Bar Journal, which features Koch on the cover. Court of Appeals Judge Frank Clement, a trustee of the Nashville School of Law, also spoke. He said Koch's arrival will be a huge "shot in the arm" for the school.  See photos from the event.

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Supreme Court Gives Sendoff to Justice Koch

Justice William C. Koch Jr. was honored at a reception today (July 7) at the Tennessee Supreme Court building for his upcoming retirement. Emceed by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark, several people spoke about Koch's service in his various jobs over the years.

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Gideon’s Promise Recruits 2 Vanderbilt Law Grads

Gideon’s Promise has signed two Vanderbilt University Law School graduates to participate in its Law School Partnership Program. Jose Costales and William Howell join 13 other recent graduates who will work in underserved public defender offices with the promise of a full-time position after one year. The program is a partnership between Gideon’s Promise, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, participating law schools and public defender offices in the southeast. See the full list of participants.

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TALS Announces New Award Named for Justice Holder

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) announced today that it has created the Janice M. Holder Access to Justice Award to honor the state’s first female Supreme Court chief justice, a passionate leader in Tennessee's Access to Justice efforts and a dedicated public servant. The award will be presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to expanding access to justice in Tennessee. The group is accepting applications for this and other awards through July 18. The awards will be presented Sept. 10 during TALS' Equal Justice University.

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Training for Advocates Fighting Violence Against Women

The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence is offering an advocacy training July 9-10 in Memphis. The event, which is free, will take place at The Urban Child Institute, 600 Jefferson Ave., Memphis 38105. The training will focus on the history of violence against women, practical advocacy techniques, prevention, vicarious trauma and more. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. Register online to attend.

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Save the Date for CLC's 20th Anniversary Celebration

Supporters of the Community Legal Center (CLC) in Memphis are asked to save the date of July 31 for the group’s 20th anniversary celebration. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. that evening. The CLC provides pro bono legal services and educational programs to those who are not eligible for assistance from Memphis Area Legal Services. Watch for more information on the event.

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Silent Auction to Benefit Legal Aid Society

The Nashville Chapter of NALS will host the 2nd Annual NALS After Hours Silent Auction on July 10 to benefit the work of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz, 211 Commerce St., Suite 800. Last year, the auction raised $3,350 for the agency and sponsors are hoping to top that amount with a range of items including autographed memorabilia from the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans, hotel stays, wine and restaurant gift certificates. For more information, to volunteer or to donate an item, contact nalsnashville@yahoo.com.

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