News

AG: Amendment Will Not Impact Equal Protection Provisions

A legal opinion from state Attorney General Herbert Slatery said a proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution regarding public school funding would not negatively impact the state's equal protection provisions. The Times Free Press reports Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, requested the opinion about his proposed amendment that would allow state lawmakers "to devote as much - or as little - funding as they wish to public education.” The proposed amendment, HJR 0493, comes after Hamilton County and other school systems have sued the state over the school funding formula. 

read more »

TBA YLD Releases 2016 Mock Trial Case

The TBA YLD Mock Trial Committee has released the problem and rules for the 2016 Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition. The list of district competition coordinators should be available later this week. This year’s case is a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of appliances for recreational vehicles. The suit is brought by a semi professional rodeo junkie and walking horse aficionado who claims a defective refrigerator is to blame for a fire that damages a high-end customized horse trailer. The manufacturer denies any liability, arguing that the owner intentionally altered the refrigerator’s cooling unit to cause the fire. High school students across the state will put their best arguments forward at local competitions in February, with district winners advancing to the state competition March 18-19 in Nashville. Follow along at @tnmocktrial or sign up to receive updates by email.

read more »

Heriges Joins TBA Staff as YLD Coordinator

Young Lawyers Division Director Stacey Shrader Joslin will be leaving the TBA at the end of the month, concluding 11 years of service with the organization. Taking her place will be Katharine Heriges, who joined the staff on Nov. 16 and has been training under Shrader Joslin this week. Heriges comes to TBA after two years of working on local Nashville political races. Prior to that she worked as an English teacher abroad in Busan, South Korea. In addition to serving as coordinator for the YLD, Heriges will work with the TBA’s Public Education Committee. She can be reached at (615) 383-7421 or kheriges@tnbar.org.

read more »

Committee Creates New Districts for High School Mock Trial

The TBA Young Lawyers Division Mock Trial Committee today released rules for the 2016 competition and a new map of mock trial districts. The new districts will be in effect for the 2016 competition. Questions should be directed to committee chair Kristen Corn, (615) 550-6603. Case material will be released in November.

read more »

Tennessee Judge Speaks to National Historians Group

Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Andy D. Bennett recently spoke to a national gathering of historians interested in legal cases at the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. Appearing as part of a panel on how to include legal cases at historic sites, Bennett explained the creation of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum and the selection of cases and display materials. He also discussed criteria for identifying cases useful in educating the public about the courts. Bennett was invited to address the group by Matthew Hofstedt, associate curator of the U.S. Supreme Court.

read more »

Supreme Court Hears 3 Cases at Cumberland University

The Tennessee Supreme Court heard arguments in three cases yesterday at Cumberland University as a part of the Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students (SCALES) Program. More than 1,000 high school and university students attended the session. Cumberland has a strong connection to the national and state judiciary. In all, 15 Cumberland alumni have served as chief justice or associate justice for the U.S. Supreme Court or the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Lebanon Democrat reports.

read more »

1st Amendment Moot Court Competition Announced

Entries are due Oct.1 for the 2016 Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, which will be held March 18-19. The competition for law students is sponsored by the Newseum’s First Amendment Center and the Columbus School of Law. First-day rounds will be at the Columbus School of Law and second-day final rounds at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

read more »

2016 Law Day to Focus on Miranda Rights

In 2016, the nation will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the best-known U.S. Supreme Court cases: Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda Warning has become ingrained in law enforcement and has permeated popular consciousness through countless recitations in films and television shows. But it is only part of the story when it comes to the procedures for ensuring justice.

The 2016 Law Day theme “Miranda: More than Words” will explore the procedural protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution, how these rights are safeguarded by the courts and why the preservation of these principles is essential for liberty.

read more »

Bar Foundation Grant Deadline is Aug. 31

A news item in yesterday’s issue of TBA Today had the wrong date for the Memphis Bar Foundation’s deadline for a law-related grant program. Applications are due by Aug. 31. The grant funds programs and projects that advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession, promote social justice, promote legal education, and recognize professionalism among members of the bar. Applications are available on the MBA's website or by contacting MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz at (901) 527-3575.

read more »

Apply Now for Memphis Bar Foundation Grants

The Memphis Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association, is now accepting grant applications for law-related programs and projects that fall within its mission, including those that advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession; promote social justice; promote legal education; and recognize professionalism among members of the bar. Applications are available on the MBA's website  or by contacting Anne Fritz  at (901) 527-3575. The deadline for submitting a grant application is 5 p.m. Central on Aug. 31.

read more »

Nashville Lawyer to Chair Public Education Panel

Mark P. Chalos, managing partner of the Nashville office of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, has been named chair of the Public Education Committee for the American Association for Justice – a national organization which promotes a fair and effective civil justice system. He also has been re-elected to the Tennessee Association for Justice Board of Governors and Executive Committee. Read more from his firm.

read more »

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program on Chopping Block?

Based on reports out of Washington, discussions on the future direction of federal student loans include a possible plan to end the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The TBA has begun discussions with representatives of a broad range of groups representing organizations that have members receiving student loan debt relief under the program. Also participating in the discussions are non-profit and public agencies, that are able to employ talented graduates because the program allows them to work for lower public sector salaries. The TBA has set up a TBA IMPACT contact page for members to register their interest and to contact members of Congress, particularly Sen. Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate HELP Committee that oversees the program.

read more »

5 Lawyers Recognized for Service During Bar Year

Awards presented at TBA Convention in Memphis

NASHVILLE, June 29, 2015 – The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) recognized five lawyers who provided especially distinguished service to the legal community during the past year. Each was recognized by then President Jonathan Steen.

read more »

Jackson Legal Group Recognized for Public Service

Awards presented at TBA Convention in Memphis

NASHVILLE, June 29, 2015 – Outgoing Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) President Jonathan Steen presented the Liberty Bell Award to the Jackson-based Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court at the TBA Convention in Memphis this month. Inn President Laura Williams with Rainey Kizer Reviere & Bell and Vice President Kristi Rezabek with the Tennessee Appellate Courts were on hand to accept the award.

read more »

Law Camp Features Veteran Civil Rights Attorney Fred Gray

High school students from across the country learned about the development of key freedoms and the concept of equality under the law during the annual Law Camp held recently at Lipscomb University. The Tennessee Bar Association, the Napier-Looby Bar Association and law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings were among program sponsors. Veteran civil rights attorney Fred D. Gray was the featured guest at the camp, which this year had a special focus on the Civil Rights Movement.

read more »

Law Camp Participants Learn About Legal System, Civil Rights

(NASHVILLE, June 8-12) — The TBA partnered with Lipscomb University for its annual Law Camp, held in Nashville June 8-12. Other Law Camp sponsors included the Napier-Looby Bar Association and law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.

read more »

Fred Gray to Speak Thursday in Nashville

Veteran civil rights attorney Fred D. Gray will speak this Thursday at Lipscomb University as part of the 2015 Law Camp. The camp, which is sponsored by the TBA and the university’s Institute for Law, Justice & Society, brings high school students from across the country to Nashville for a week of programs on historical and currently relevant legal issues. This year’s camp is focused on the development of key freedoms and the concept of equality under the law, with a special focus on the Civil Rights Movement. Gray, who represented Rosa Parks in her fight for equality in Montgomery, Alabama, and was Dr. Martin Luther King’s first lawyer, will speak at 6 p.m. in Swang Chapel of the Ezell Center. The event is open to the public.

read more »

DA Creates Unit to Prosecute Human Trafficking

Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk has formed a human trafficking unit inside the DA's Office. Four assistant district attorneys have been assigned to the unit, led by lawyer Tammy Meade, and will ensure full prosecution of human sex trafficking cases in Nashville, a press release from the office read. The move comes as the TBI creates the Middle Tennessee Human Trafficking Task Force, which this week arrested about a dozen people as part of an operation in Nashville, according to Knoxnews.com. The task force, which will include the DA's Office, End Slavery Tennessee and several local law enforcement agencies, is currently working to secure a federal grant to assist in prosecution of offenders and services for victims. Fox 17 has the story. Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill giving TBI jurisdiction over investigations of human trafficking. 

read more »

Jackson-Madison Bar Recognizes Law Day Art

In conjunction with this year’s Law Day celebration, the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association sponsored an art contest at Malesus Elementary School, and displayed the winning artwork at its Law Day Luncheon. TBA President Jonathan Steen joined Chancellor James F. Butler and local bar president Matthew West for the presentation of the student awards. Read more in the Jackson Sun.

read more »

Law Firm Creates Texting and Driving Essay Contest

Hollins, Raybin & Weissman PC hopes to raise awareness among young people on the hazards of texting while driving with the creation of an essay contest. The firm will award three scholarships — one for Williamson County, one for Davidson County and one for the rest of the country — to the teenagers who write the best essays encouraging friends to stop texting while driving.

read more »

CBA Presents Liberty Bell Award to Local Educator

The Chattanooga Bar Association (CBA) presented its 2015 Liberty Bell Award to Dr. Patricia Skates at its Law Day celebration last week, the Chattanoogan reports. Skates, who was nominated by Judge Clarence Shattuck and attorney Sam Elliott, is a career transition specialist at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. She was recognized for being a pro-active voice for quality education in the Tennessee Valley for more than 25 years.

read more »

Big Payback: Youth Courts Need Your Support

Help keep the Tennessee Youth Court program alive and growing by giving to The Big Payback Campaign. The Community Foundation fundraiser begins at midnight and runs all day Tuesday. Sponsors have stepped forward to match gifts, so your generosity can have a big impact, even if you donate just $10 or $20. The Youth Courts program is losing a major source of its funding this fall, so your contributions are vital to its future. Learn more about youth courts in Tennessee.

read more »

2015 Law Day Events Planned This Week

Bar associations and legal organizations across the state are gearing up for this year’s Law Day with events that begin this week. Activities include luncheons, a memorial service, recognition of public and legal service and inspiring remarks from Tennessee and national leaders. The theme of the this year’s Law Day is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law,” which asks Americans to remember and reflect on the legal concept that no one, no matter how powerful, is above the law. This year marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

read more »

Schools Boards in 7 Counties Sue Over State Funding

Seven school boards filed suit today, claiming the state is not fully funding education and forcing schools boards and communities to fill the gap, the Commercial Appeal reports. The lawsuit was filed in Chancery Court in Davidson County by school boards in Hamilton, Bradley, McMinn, Marion, Grundy, Coffee and Polk counties and names Gov. Bill Haslam, Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey, Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, along with the nine members of the state board of education.

read more »

High School Students to Compete in State Mock Trial Competition This Weekend

Schools from across the state to compete March 27-28 in Nashville

NASHVILLE, March 24, 2015— High school teams from across Tennessee will put their legal skills to the test during the Tennessee Bar Association's 35th annual mock trial championship in Nashville this weekend, March 27-28. The event will be held at the historic Davidson County Courthouse.

read more »