News

Nashville Bar Foundation Accepting Grant Requests

The Nashville Bar Foundation is accepting grant applications through Jan. 15, 2015, at 4 p.m. Central. Non-profit organizations that support the provision of law-related educational and charitable programs and services that promote the knowledge, understanding and respect for the law among students, the general public and the legal community are encouraged to apply. Download the eligibility and application guidelines.

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Constitution Day Celebration to Focus on Bill of Rights

Sept. 17 is recognized each year as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This year, the celebration is focused on the the 225th anniversary of Congress’ approval of the Bill of Rights. The purpose of Constitution Day is to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Judges and lawyers have a unique opportunity to bring awareness to the nation’s founding document. The TBA offers a number of resources for those who wish to speak on these issues. Also on Wednesday, a new partnership of 26 nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to raising awareness of civics education and providing free, high-quality resources for teachers and classes will be announced in Washington, D.C. The groups, including the American Bar Association and the U.S. Courts, will form the new Civics Renewal Network.

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TBA Unveils Resources for Amendment 2

Tennessee voters will be asked to vote on four amendments to the state constitution on Nov. 4. Among them is Amendment 2, which would change the way appellate judges are appointed and retained in the state. The TBA has created an Amendment 2 Resource Page to help lawyers and members of the public understand the issues at stake. The page includes the text of the amendment, a frequently-asked-questions section that answers common questions about the amendment, the text of and rationale for the TBA’s resolution supporting the amendment and links to resources offered by the Yes on 2 Campaign.

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UTC Hosts Constitution Day Lecture Sept. 17

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will host the fourth annual Constitution Day public lecture Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the UTC Center Auditorium. In the lecture, “American Constitutional Politics in Perspective: Why Parchment Barriers are Insufficient,” Dr. Michael Federici will discuss why the underlying “Unwritten Constitution”—the attitudes about ethics and religion, human nature, the individual and the role of government in society— has and always will shape American constitutional theory, practice and our public and private lives. The Chattanoogan has more.

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Handbook for Tennessee Seniors Receives National Award

The TBA today received the LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award for production and distribution of the 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors. The award, given each year by the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), was presented during the NABE Annual Meeting taking place in Boston in advance of the ABA meeting this weekend. Since the handbook was released earlier this year, it has been distributed to thousands of Tennesseans through live presentations and more than 8,000 visitors have been on the TBA’s website to learn about the resource. The award honors outstanding public service and law-related education programs by state and local bar associations.

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Handbook for Tennessee Seniors Wins National Award

“Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors” recognized by national legal group in Boston today

NASHVILLE, Aug. 7, 2014 – The Tennessee Bar Association today received the LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award for production and distribution of the 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors. The award, given each year by the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), was presented to the TBA during the NABE Annual Meeting in Boston.

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Roberts to Launch Magna Carta Celebration at Annual Meeting

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts will launch the ABA's yearlong, 800th anniversary commemoration of the Magna Carta during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston this week. In his address to the House of Delegates, Roberts will talk about the historical and current significance of the document sealed by King John of England in 1215 in response to demands by landowning barons. A traveling exhibit curated by the Library of Congress, “Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015,” will be unveiled at the meeting and then move to cities around the country. Its travel will culminate with the ABA's London Sessions next June in England. The ABA Journal has more.

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League of Women Voters Recognizes Nashville Lawyer

The Nashville League of Women Voters has awarded this year’s Molly Todd Award to lawyer Diane Di Ianni, who has practiced for two decades in the areas of civil rights litigation, public sector law and government relations, and teaches at Vanderbilt University Law School. Di Ianni, who has been active with the league for many years, has been involved in the group's promotion of the Informed Voters–Fair Judges project this year. Prior to relocating to Tennessee, she served as general counsel to the Boston Public Schools during a time of historic litigation involving the use of race in school assignments.

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TBA Resource for Seniors Wins Statewide Award

Legal handbook named best public service project by a Tennessee association

NASHVILLE, July 23, 2014 – For the second consecutive year, the Tennessee Bar Association earned the top public service award from the Tennessee Society of Association Executives. The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors won the Association’s Advance Tennessee Award as the best public service project by an association in the state. The award was presented last week at a luncheon in Nashville.

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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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Federal Bar Marks Civil Rights Milestone

U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier, the senior federal judge in Chattanooga, spoke at the Federal Bar Association’s 50th anniversary civil rights celebration this week. Hundreds of people – blacks, whites, attorneys, students and professionals – listened to speeches, freedom songs and soul-moving music to commemorate the event, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. “Civil rights didn’t happen by magic,” Collier told the crowd. “People made tremendous sacrifice. That’s why we come to celebrate.”

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Law Camp Teaches Youth About Legal Professioon

The Tennessee Bar Association joined Lipscomb University in sponsoring the annual Law Camp program this week in Nashville. TBA volunteers presenting at Law Camp included TBA Public Education Committee Chair Shauna Billingsley, past TBA President Jackie Dixon, Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur and Tiffani Pope. TBA staff members Denise Bentley, Josie Beets and Liz Todaro also led sessions. The school's Institute for Law, Justice & Society hosts high school students from across the country to participate in the week-long residential camp that exposes the students to various aspects of the legal profession. The Napier-Looby Bar Association and Bradley Arant Boult Cummings were also camp sponsors.

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TBA Public Ed. Volunteers Take Message to Law Camp

The TBA partnered with Lipscomb University for its annual Law Camp, held in Nashville this week (June 23-27). Other Law Camp sponsors included the Napier-Looby Bar Association and law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. Each summer, Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice & Society hosts high school students from across the country to participate in a week long residential camp that exposes them to various aspects of the legal profession.

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GOP Lawmakers Call for Education Commissioner’s Resignation

Fifteen Republicans lawmakers have asked for the immediate resignation of state Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman. In a letter sent to Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday, the legislators -- including several with tea party affiliations -- accuse Huffman of withholding scores to conceal low results on the TCAP test. They also raise the possibility the department, in performing "post-equating," removed questions from tests to alter and improve results. Haslam spokesman Dave Smith accused the group of playing politics and denies the allegation of tampering and altering scores. The Tennessean has more.

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Civics Education Program Captures Emmy Award

The groundbreaking civics education campaign backed by the TBA has earned an Emmy Award for a public service film featuring former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The Informed Voters Project was developed by the National Association of Women Judges. It focuses on providing non-partisan education to increase public awareness about the judicial system, to inform voters that politics and special interest attacks have no place in the courts, and to give voters the tools they need to exercise an informed vote in favor of fair and impartial courts.

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President Steen Lays Out Plans for Coming Year

Newly sworn in TBA President Jonathan Steen outlined initiatives for the upcoming TBA membership year during his Lawyers Luncheon speech at the TBA Annual Convention in Gatlinburg (June 13). The Jackson attorney plans to carry on the association's work in responding to unjust criticism of our judges and provide educational materials on how to be informed voters. In addition, he wants the association to build on the mentoring and Solo-in-a-Box programs to help lawyers to succeed in the practice of law and deliver first-rate services to their clients. Steen also outlined plans for expanding civics education in schools and developing medical/legal partnerships across the state. Watch his presentation to learn more.

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Steen New TBA President, Lawyers Recognized

Jackson lawyer Jonathan Steen was installed today as president of the Tennessee Bar Association at the Lawyers Luncheon, part of the group's annual convention in Gatlinburg. "Our founders knew that a strong judicial branch is critical for the health of a democracy," Steen said, and "blatant partisan attacks of late undermine the public's confidence in the judiciary. Lawyers need to be informed and educate their family and friends about these important issues." Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade administered the oath of office to Steen, as well as the new members of the TBA Board of Governors. Nashville lawyer Bill Harbison is now president-elect and Knoxville lawyer Jason Long is vice president.

Also at the luncheon, Senior Counselors and these award winners were recognized: The TBA Young Lawyers Division Fellows William M. Leech Public Service Award was given to Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder by Memphis lawyer Charlotte Knight Griffin. Two awards were given for the Justice Joseph Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing. First to Nashville lawyers Kimberly Stagg and John E. Anderson Sr. for their article published in the Tennessee Bar Journal. Second, a Lifetime Acheivement Award was given posthumously to Donald F. Paine for his continuous and important contributions to and shaping of the Journal. The Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award was given to Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade. Former Chief Justice Drowota was on hand to help present the award. You Tube Video Awards were presented and the winning videos shown. Three President's Awards were given: to Angelia Nystrom, Richard Johnson and Jeff Levy. TBA Sections and Committees Coordinator Lynn Pointer was honored on her retirement from the TBA. Read more and see pictures from the event.

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Steen Takes Office as President, Awards Given at Lawyers Lunch

Lawyers Luncheon 2014

Jackson lawyer Jonathan Steen takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Gary Wade, while a group of former TBA presidents look on.

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Law Professor Looks at Lawyers’ Role in Elections

An ethics column by University of Tennessee College of Law Professor Judy Cornett ran in this month’s issue of DICTA, the Knoxville Bar Association’s monthly newsletter. In the piece, which appears on page 19, Cornett reminds lawyers of their ethical obligations regarding judges and judicial candidates. Her recommendations: don’t lie about judges, defend judges who are unjustly criticized, and if you want to educate others about the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary contact the bar for an Informed Voters Project presentation.

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TBA Earns National Award for Public Service

The Tennessee Bar Association has been awarded the LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award for production and distribution of the 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors. Written and edited by volunteers working with the TBA Public Education Committee, the handbook contains practical information on topics ranging from Social Security benefits to long-term care considerations and estate planning, as well as sections addressing online security and new health care legislation. The handbook has been distributed to several thousand Tennesseans through live presentations and requests on the TBA.org website since its launch in February. Members of the National Association of Bar Executives who reviewed entries for the award praised the breadth of information in the handbook and the volunteer involvement with its preparation and outreach. Formal presentation of the award will take place during the NABE's annual meeting this August in Boston.

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Help Celebrate the Magna Carta's 800th Anniversary

In anticipation of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015, the ABA is planning a range of events to promote the historical and contemporary relevance of the document, including new publications, a London meeting for lawyers and a tour of Runnymede. In addition, the ABA is partnering with the Library of Congress to create a traveling and stationary exhibit. The traveling exhibit will launch in August and will travel across the country to law schools, courthouses, public libraries and other venues. Educational and commemorative events also are planned. Lawyers can get involved by helping to refurbish the ABA Memorial at Runnymede, promoting awareness of the charter and supporting events that mark the anniversary.

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Saturday Marks 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Decision

This Saturday marks 60 years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka finding school segregation unconstitutional. The U.S. Courts website has resources to commemorate the landmark ruling including a history of the doctrine of “separate but equal,” how the NAACP mounted a two-decade-long legal campaign to challenge that idea and a profile of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who as a young lawyer led numerous lawsuits against segregation.

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TBA Announces 2014 Video Contest Winners

Winners in the TBA’s 2014 YouTube Video Contest have been announced, with Jack Tucker of Signal Mountain winning first place in the middle school category for his video “A Four Day School Week” and Caroline Rogers of Knoxville taking top honors in the high school category for her video “Ban Mountaintop Removal.” This year’s contest challenged students to produce three-minute videos addressing the statement “There ought to be a law…” Students were asked to identify an issue affecting their communities and either propose a new law or suggest taking one off the books to address the situation. Tucker and Rogers each will receive a cash award of $500 and their videos will be shown during the Lawyers Lunch at the TBA Convention in Gatlinburg in June. See a list of all the winners and watch their videos.

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TBA Announces 2014 YouTube Video Contest Winners

Annual contest challenged students to propose legislative responses to issues affecting their communities

NASHVILLE, May 15, 2014 — Middle and high school students from across Tennessee were challenged to produce three-minute videos addressing the statement “There ought to be a law…” The contest asked students to identify an issue affecting their communities and either propose a new law or suggest taking one off the books to address the situation.

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O’Connor Pushes Civics Education at Nashville Event

More than 100 lawyers and judges from across the southeast today heard about the “appalling level of public ignorance” about our democratic system from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The lawyers were in Nashville attending SEABOTA, the regional gathering of members of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Among the solutions offered to what was described as a “crisis” in civics education was the iCivics program, which now numbers more than 65,000 registered teachers; the new civics education and engagement and assessment requirement for Tennessee schools sponsored by Sen. Mark Norris, R-Memphis; and respect for jurors and effective access to justice programs. Also at the event, Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade moderated a panel of judges from 10 southern states who highlighted the importance of fair and impartial state courts. Learn more about ways to assist civics education efforts in Tennessee.

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