News

'Justice in Motion' Proceeds Presented to Domestic Violence Shelters

First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark and Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal presented checks to two local domestic violence shelters yesterday, WJHL reports. Clark and Graybeal presented the proceeds from the April 26 Justice in Motion 5K run/walk to Safe Passage of Johnson City and CHIPS of Erwin. The checks totaled more than $5,000.

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Legal Sector Jobs Fall in April

The legal services sector lost 1,200 jobs in April, the steepest one-month dip in employment numbers in five months, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s latest monthly report. There were still 700 more jobs in April compared to the same time last year, but the total number of legal jobs – 1,136,400 – is well below the 10-year high of 1,180,000 set in May 2007, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

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Britton Named to NALP Planning Council

Karen Britton, director of admissions, financial aid and the Career Center at the University of Tennessee College of Law, is a new member of the Past Presidents Council of The National Association for Law Placement (NALP). As such, she will have a formal role in the organization’s long-range strategic planning process. The law school also reports that Britton will continue as a member of NALP’s Lawyer Career Pathways & Satisfaction Work Group, which is designing a research tool to measure law school graduate employment status and career satisfaction. A pilot program with 20 law schools, including UT, is currently underway. Results will be used to refine the tool for a national launch this summer.

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May TBJ Looks Into Alternative Careers for Lawyers

A recent study indicates that fewer lawyers are practicing traditional law than ever before. In the May issue, the Tennessee Bar Journal takes a look at some Tennessee lawyers who have chosen career paths that use their law degrees in alternative ways. Also headlining this issue, George Orwell's classic essay on writing and how it can help lawyers and judges communicate more effectively. Read these and more in the May TBJ.

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Bike Ride to Honor Lebanon Attorney, Raise Funds

A bicycle ride to honor Lebanon attorney Jere McCulloch's life and to raise funds for a special needs organization will be April 26 at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. McCulloch died of a heart attack last August while competing in the Heart of Tennessee 100, a bicycle race sponsored by the Murfreesboro Bicycle Club. He was a founding partner of Rochelle, McCulloch and Aulds. The first "Jere’s Ride," sponsored by Leadership Wilson, will feature three course options, a three-mile family ride, a 15-mile novice course and a 31-mile expert race. Jere’s Ride will benefit the Empower Me Day Camp, a nonprofit corporation established to provide more opportunities for children with disabilities in the greater Nashville area. The Lebanon Democrat has more.

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Lawyer Suicide Addressed, 'Paine on Procedure' Continues

In her latest Journal column, Tennessee Bar Association President Cindy Wyrick addresses the subject of lawyer suicide and offers tips about what to say to a colleague who you suspect is suicidal, and what you can do if you find yourself feeling that way. And "Paine on Procedure" continues with another column Don Paine wrote before his death, this one about aggravated rape of a dead victim.

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Drug Testing of Judges Proposed in New Bill

A bill filed for introduction by Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, would allow for drug testing of judges in criminal trials on the motion and demand of either party. If the judge refuses, the judge would be deemed disabled for that trial and a new judge appointed. If neither party brings the motion for drug testing, the issue may not be asserted on appeal. Check out TBAImpact for the TBA take on this new legislation

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Suicide and the Legal Profession

Recent data from the Center for Disease Control suggests that lawyers rank fourth in proportion of suicides by profession. Due in part to professional stress, lawyers are 3.6 times more prone to suffer from depression than non-lawyers, a condition identified by the American Psychological Association as the most likely trigger for suicide. Many state bar associations are working to curb this disturbing trend, CNN reports. Eight out of the 50 bar associations they reviewed are so concerned about suicide, they took measures such as adding a “mental health” component to mandatory CLE. In Tennessee, the Supreme Court created the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) to help attorneys with alcohol and drug abuse, depression and suicide. Since its inception in 1999, TLAP has helped more than 300 attroneys. Read more about TLAP and other impaired lawyer resources in a 2011 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal

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Do You Find Curling up with a Good Book to be Therapeutic?

Check out David Mikics article from The New York Times titled In Praise of (Offline) Slow Reading and let us know your thoughts.

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Court Upholds Sentencing Review Standards for Capital Cases

The Tennessee Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, has upheld a death sentence for a Memphis-area man who was convicted of first-degree felony murder. While the entire court agreed that Corinio Pruitt was guilty, the dissenting justices would have modified the sentence to life without parole. The majority concluded that the sentence of death was not imposed arbitrarily, that the evidence supported the jury’s finding of guilt, and that the sentence was not excessive or disproportionate. In their separate opinion, Justice William C. Koch Jr. and Justice Sharon G. Lee wrote that comparing all first-degree murder cases would be more consistent with the Tennessee law that requires proportionality review and with the rule that capital punishment is not appropriate for all murders but is reserved for only the most heinous murders and the most dangerous murderers. The two dissenting justices also pointed to a 2007 American Bar Association study of Tennessee’s death penalty, which said that the limited pool of cases the court adopted in 1997 undercut the purpose of proportionality review.

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Report: Lawyer Assistance Programs Expand Scope

Despite budget reductions in some jurisdictions, lawyer assistance programs in 48 states have reported a continued commitment to maintaining the number of clients served and offering a diversity of services, the ABA reports. According to a 2012 report from the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, while all programs continued to offer services related to alcoholism and drug addiction, more programs in 2012 than in 2010 provided services for other problems, such as cognitive impairment and mental health issues.

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Memphis Judge, Nashville Lawyer Receive TLAP Awards

Memphis Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft has been given the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program’s (TLAP) first Judicial Volunteer of the Year Award. He was recognized for his participation in the Judicial Assistance Group (JAG) – a network of Tennessee judges who volunteer their time to make sure TLAP’s consultation, intervention, expertise and assistance is available to other judges and lawyers. The group also named Nashville lawyer Becky Freeman its attorney volunteer of the year and presented her with the Stephenson Todd Award. Freeman is an attorney with Metro Nashville’s General Sessions Court Probation Department. Read more about the winners in this press release from the program.

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Better Next Year: Program Helps Lawyers Thrive

The Better Next Year program offered a range of opportunities to explore a healthier life, build better relationships, manage stress, and use relaxation techniques to find the balance we need at home and at the office.

This program included short rotating presentations, exhibits, and demonstrations, all designed to help lawyers increase their energy and engagement.

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Survey Finds Weight Gain a Job Hazard for Lawyers

Lawyers, judges and other legal professionals work in one of the top professions for weight gain, the ABA Journal reports. According to a Career Builder survey of nearly 3700 full time workers, 48 percent of legal professionals reported weight gain in their current jobs.

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Better Next Year

You. Are. Stressed.

Everyone and everything are telling you to get healthy. But they don’t understand the pressures you are under as a lawyer. Your job is hard and the stakes are high. There is no time. You are s-t-r-e-s-s-e-d. You think it’s just the way it has to be — and there’s research to back you up:

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Better Next Year Extras

Contributing Authors

Read personal stories from these lawyers, with tips about what has helped them.

Thanks to the Tennessee Bar Association’s Attorney Well-Being Committee, Kay Caudle, chair.

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Put Yourself on Your Own Priority List

When I entered the University of Tennessee College of Law in May 1990, my physical well-being was the last thing on my mind. The institution where I studied law is not the opulent building of today. Most of my exercise in law school consisted of climbing the submarine-like steps in the library. But 22 years have passed, and focus on my physical well-being has shifted to front and center.

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Adventures in Eating Clean

Age is not kind.

I can remember a time, not that long ago, when I could eat anything (in just about any quantity) and not gain an ounce. Or if I did gain weight, all I needed to do was watch what I ate and I could drop the extra weight with no problem. I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant with my first child and dropped it within 12 months. Losing weight was a piece of cake (chocolate, if you please).

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Random Acts of Kindness

Last August, in the middle of a surgery I was having, I woke up. I was at an outpatient surgery center, under anesthesia when I opened my eyes and saw blurry blue lights and faces leaning over me. “Hey, everybody! What’s going on?” I said in my perkiest voice. Then I heard someone say an expletive, followed by, “She’s awake!” and I was out again. Fade to black.

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Hopefully every lawyer will recognize the words from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence credited as being penned by the esteemed Thomas Jefferson along with help from other founding fathers as our country was on the verge of breaking free of the motherland. 

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The Pursuit of Happiness Has Many Avenues

Our founding fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence that one of our unalienable rights is the pursuit of happiness. Fast forward to the present time and happiness is a hot topic with books such as former lawyer Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project becoming best sellers. In a recent ABA Journal article, “Hunting Happy,” the authors note that happiness has become hip in our profession, which once earned a reputation for almost pathological misery.

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Why Thriving Is Hard for Lawyers

Thriving — achieving personally meaningful goals in multiple areas of life despite significant challenges — is tough for lawyers because we face a uniquely tough set of challenges. Everyone faces challenges, but lawyers face a unique configuration of five challenges and, unfortunately, law school not only did not prepare us for these challenges, it tipped us into some adaptations for them that get us by but inhibit thriving.

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Nine Pathways to Lawyering (and Living) in the Thriving Zone

Thriving, both in the law and in other areas of our lives, requires commitment, energy, and engagement. As the flowchart shows, failure is part of thriving.

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Opinion: Gender Gap Continues to be Problem

Despite a substantial growth in the number of female attorneys, a gender gap continues to exist in the legal profession, Nashville attorney Ann Peldo Cargile of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings writes in today’s Tennessean. Not only are fewer female attorneys reaching partner status, many are leaving the profession entirely, she writes. These trends and ways that firms can develop better practices for hiring, developing and retaining diverse legal talent will be the topic of a program at this year’s Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention in Nashville. Presented jointly by the TBA and Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women, the session will be part of the CLE lineup during the June 12-15 event.

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Vandy Law Professor Teaches Judges to Channel Emotions on the Bench

In the wake of the viral video of a Florida judge’s harsh reaction to a disrespectful teenage defendant, Vanderbilt law professor Terry Maroney held a session for roughly 40 judges in Washington about how to channel a range of feelings on the bench in an appropriate manner. “We tell judges, 'If you ever detect an emotion, squelch it.' That's an extremely bad idea," she told the Newstimes. "You're going to have emotions as a judge, no matter how many people tell you you won't or aren't supposed to."

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