News

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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Court Launches Pro Bono Recognition Program

The Tennessee Supreme Court is launching a volunteer recognition program to honor lawyers who provide at least 50 hours of pro bono service annually. The program is entirely voluntary and based on self-reporting. Attorneys are encouraged to begin tracking their work this year. Those who meet the goal will be named “Attorneys for Justice” by the court and will be honored at regional events across the state. Those meeting the criteria also will receive a certificate signed by the justices, be listed in an Honor Roll published by the court, and be authorized to use a seal of their accomplishment on websites and marketing materials. The program was recommended by the court’s Access to Justice Commission.

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Gov. Haslam, 2 Former Governors Headline Civility Forum

Gov. Bill Haslam will be joined by former governors Phil Bredesen and Don Sundquist to headline a public forum on civility and effective governance sponsored by the TBA on Feb. 21, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Knoxville. The event, the third in a series of forums held across the state, will explore how issues of civility play out in the political and public policy arena by focusing on the service of former U.S. Senator and Ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr. Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom, who is writing a book about Baker, will moderate the discussion. The forum will take place in the Toyota Auditorium of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee. The Baker Center, the University of Tennessee College of Law and the First Amendment Center are co-sponsors of the program, which is made possible by a grant from the American Bar Association Division for Public Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Pro Bono Groups, Public Defender to Help Homeless

On Feb. 13, the Legal Aid Society, Nashville Pro Bono Program and Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender’s Office will organize more than 40 legal professionals and volunteers to provide free legal help to those who attend Project Homeless Connect – a one-day event that brings together more than 70 agencies to serve approximately 1,500 individuals and families struggling with homelessness, housing issues and unemployment. It is the first time the pro bono groups have joined the public defender in providing services to this group. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, 300 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville.

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Farewell Reception for Cole Next Tuesday

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) invites friends and colleagues to a farewell reception honoring departing Executive Director Erik Cole next Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the law firm of Dodson, Parker Behm & Capparella, 1310 6th Ave. North, Nashville. Remarks will begin at 5 p.m. Cole has served as TALS’ executive director since 2005. He is departing to take a position with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, where he will oversee the Financial Empowerment Center hosted by the mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development. Cole will work on creating new programs to bring financial stability and empowerment to low-income Nashvillians. Download the invitation.

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Durand Remembered as Kind, Giving Advocate

Memphis lawyer Kemper Durand, who died last Saturday, is remembered by friend and law partner Bill Haltom in this tribute out today. Among Durand's notable accomplishments was his pro bono work that secured freedom for an innocent man who had been in jail 22 years. Read that inspiring story in a 2002 Tennessee Bar Journal article. A crime victim himself, Durand once testified, Haltom writes, for one of his kidnappers to recieve the most lenient sentence possible because he felt the man was an unwilling accomplice. Details for a memorial service, set for next month, are incomplete.

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50 Years after 'Gideon,' Indigent Defense Funding Still an Issue

In her Tennessee Bar Journal column this month, President Jackie Dixon looks back at the 50 years since the Gideon decision, explaining why adequate funding is still needed for indigent defense.

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Court to Require Electronic Filing of Indigent Compensation Claims

The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued an order, effective July 1, that requires electronic submission of all compensation claims for counsel of indigent defendants. The order, Rule 13A, makes amendments to Supreme Court Rules 13, 15 and 42, concerning indigent counsel, mental health proceedings and standards for court interpreters.

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Court Initiative Connects Pro Bono Lawyers, Faith Communities

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission has formed a faith-based initiative to encourage lawyers to provide pro bono services within their places of worship, and to support faith-based groups that commit to provide legal resources to their congregations and communities. The Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance (TFJA) is designed to connect with people in need in a place they already go to seek help with a problem. “Faith communities are a natural fit with our efforts to help those in need find access to legal advice,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark. “And with our goal of helping more lawyers find more occasions to provide pro bono services, this is the ideal opportunity for attorneys to put faith in action in their own worship communities." For more information contact Palmer Williams at (615) 741-2687 ext. 1414 or palmer.williams@tncourts.gov.

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Legal Aid Receives Grant to Help Low-Income Women

Legal Aid of East Tennessee has received a $10,000 grant to represent low-income women in Washington County through its Access to Civil Justice Project for Women. The money, according to the Kingsport Times News, comes from the Harris Fund for Washington County. The agency said the funds would provide representation to 25 women facing legal crises such as domestic violence, homelessness due to unlawful eviction or foreclosure, and wrongful denial of unemployment compensation benefits.

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Immigration Attorney Finds Ideal Job with CLC

Johnna Bailey began working as immigration attorney for the Community Legal Center (CLC) in January, an ideal job for her given her nonprofit background. “It’s what I dreamed of returning to after law school,” she told the Memphis Daily News. After college, Bailey worked as a program coordinator for the family literacy program at a refugee resettlement agency in Chicago. That inspired her to go to law school where she then served as an associate in a private immigration group. Now at the CLC, Bailey represents clients and trains lawyers to take on pro bono immigration cases. She said the Memphis legal community has been willing and eager to help when called.

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aLEGALz in the News

Stories from Knoxville’s WATE News 6, Nashville’s WDEF News 12 and WSMV News 4 covered the new aLEGALz toll-free hotline, which provides free legal information and referrals. The service was launched by the joint effort of a coalition of Tennessee legal groups, including the Tennessee Bar Association.

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Sandy Relief Bill Includes $1 Million for Legal Services

The Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill that passed the U.S. Senate yesterday includes $1 million for the Legal Services Corporation to provide assistance to low-income people in areas significantly affected by the super storm. The Legal Services Corporation says that individuals and families encounter a variety of civil legal needs after recovering from a natural disaster, including preventing wrongful eviction, obtaining repairs to damaged rental housing, and contesting inappropriate denials of insurance claims.

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Public Service Luncheon Video Now Available

If you missed the 2013 Public Service Luncheon, you can now watch it online. The program features the presentation of awards to the Law Student Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year and the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteers of the Year, as well as the keynote address from former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate.

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Law Student Pro Bono Conference Wraps Up

More than 30 students and faculty representing law schools across Tennessee gathered at the Belmont University College of Law last week to strategize and plan for increasing pro bono opportunities for law students. The group was invited by the TBA Access to Justice Committee and joined by representatives from the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. The event kicked off with a keynote speech by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and continued with planning discussions led by TBA committee members. See photos from the event.

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UT Law Reps to Speak at Poverty, Access to Justice Symposium

University of Tennessee College of Law Dean Doug Blaze and Access to Justice Coordinator Brad Morgan will be among the speakers at the upcoming Poverty and Access to Justice Symposium, sponsored by the Pro Bono Initiative at the University of Mississippi School of Law. At the symposium, The Informant freports that state supreme court justices, appellate and trial judges, scholars and practitioners will examine barriers to the justice system, creative legal service delivery methods and specific programs that are proving effective.

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Justice Holder Addresses Law Student Pro Bono Conference

Attorneys, students and faculty from Tennessee laws schools are studying ways to involve more students in pro bono activities at a conference this weekend in Nashville. The event at Belmont College of Law kicked off today with opening remarks from University of Tennessee attorney Brad Morgan. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder later gave the keynote address, talking about her own law school experience and the lack of pro bono opportunities at the time. She encouraged today's students to take advantage of the many programs available, saying that, “Perhaps the most significant benefit to pro bono work for law students is the integration into the legal community, [the] opportunity to get to know people in the legal profession. That is how you get jobs, get active in bar associations and get integrated into this profession.” See photos from the event.

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Apply for TALS Executive Director Job by Feb. 1

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is seeking a dedicated, experienced and creative individual to serve as its next executive director. Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest, resume and three references by Feb.1 to Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Executive Director Search, 50 Vantage Way, Suite 250, Nashville, TN 37228; by fax to (615) 627-0964; or by email to info@tals.org (please list “Executive Director Search” in the subject line). Download the job announcement.

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TBA Joins Forum Focusing on Law Student Pro Bono

Members of the TBA Access to Justice Committee’s Law School Subcommittee will join a group of student leaders and representatives from law schools across the state for the second annual Law School Public Interest Forum this weekend. The event begins Friday at 11 a.m. at the Belmont University College of Law in Nashville. The agenda includes a presentation by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, planning for this year’s Alternative Spring Break and a discussion on how best to encourage students to get involved in pro bono activities. For more information about the event contact TBA Access to Justice Coordinator Liz Todaro at (615) 383-7421 or ltodaro@tnbar.org.

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Tate Keynotes Public Service Luncheon

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate challenged the crowd at the Tennessee Bar Association's Public Service Luncheon in Nashville to keep their work in perspective. Her address followed the recognition of a number of Tennessee lawyers who have performed outstanding public and pro bono service during past year. See photos from the event.

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Public Service Awards Luncheon 2013

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate told the crowd at the Tennessee Bar Association's Public Service Luncheon in Nashville to keep their work in perspective. "Your family is more important than any case you try," she said, "or even your nonprofit work." Tate was the keynote speaker at the Saturday event held at the Hermitage Hotel where awards were given to the Law Student Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T.

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Legal Clinic Saturday for Artists

Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts will hold a pro bono legal clinic for artists of every genre this Saturday at the Church of the Redeemer, 920 Caldwell Lane, Nashville 37204. The Nashville Arts & Entertainment Law Clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteer attorneys will answer questions about intellectual property (including copyrights, trademarks and licensing) and entertainment law issues. Prospective clients should sign up for 30-minute appointments by emailing vlpa@abcnashville.org.

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Watch the 2013 TBA Public Service Luncheon

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Tennessee Bar Association Public Service Luncheon, where awards were given to the Law Student Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year and the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year. The video below include's Tate's address and the presentation of these awards.

 

Lawyers To Be Recognized for Service at TBA Event

Tennessee attorneys who generously gave their time and talents in service to others will be recognized this Saturday at the TBA Public Service Luncheon. The event is the centerpiece of this weekend's TBA Leadership Conference, and will feature former FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate as keynote speaker. Honored at the event will be Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteers of the Year Phillip Cramer, Bill Harbison, Elliott Ozment and John Farringer; Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Jean Crowe; and Law Student Volunteer of the Year Chris Martin. Also meeting this weekend are the TBA House of Delegates, the TBA Board of Governors and a number of TBA committees, sections and divisions.

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MLK Day: A Day On, Not A Day Off

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Day of Service, Nashville is holding its first-ever Day of Service Volunteer Fair Saturday at the Center for Nonprofit Management. From 10 a.m. to noon, attendees will have a chance to learn about volunteer opportunities available throughout the year with about 40 nonprofit organizations in Nashville.

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