Solo in a Box Spotlight: The Business of Law

With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new lawyers – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit. Each issue of E-DICT this year will spotlight one of the toolkit’s 12 sections. This month we look at the resources available for making two key business decisions.

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YLD Transactional CLE on Tap for October

The YLD will offer its annual Transactional CLE Oct. 17 in Knoxville and Oct. 24 in Nashville. This six-hour seminar will provide lawyers with the information, tools, and tips needed to successfully handle transactional, traditional business and probate matters. Specifically, the course will offer practical approaches to handling wills and trusts, probate matters, employment agreements and corporate formation. It also will cover issues specific to health care transactions. The day will wrap up with a presentation about ethics in the practice of law. Make plans to attend now!

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Corporate, Criminal Law Mentors Needed

  The TBA Mentoring Program still needs lawyers with a background in criminal or corporate law to join the program as mentors for upcoming classes. Mentors should be attorneys with at least eight years of legal practice experience. Volunteers are needed in the following areas:
  • Nashville/Brentwood/Franklin Area: Experience in Criminal Law
  • Gatlinburg: Experience in Criminal Law or Corporate Law
Contact TBA staff member Christy Gibson, (615) 383-7421 at the TBA for more information.
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Diversity Plan Amendments Adopted

At the YLD Board Meeting in June, the group adopted two amendments to the division’s Diversity Plan. The first amendment added the category of “persons with disabilities” to the plan’s definition of a diverse individual. With that change, the YLD now is tasked with actively recruiting persons with disabilities to join the membership and leadership of the organization; promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the YLD; assessing bias against persons with disabilities in the state; and encouraging law school enrollment by persons with disabilities. The change also means that the YLD Diversity Survey now will ask members if they consider themselves to be persons with disabilities.

The second amendment reduced the frequency of the YLD Diversity Survey from being conducted annually to being conducted every other year. The Diversity Committee proposed this amendment based on comments received from the YLD membership. The survey was last conducted in 2012 so look for information on this year’s edition soon.

Download the revised plan.

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Candidates Sought for 2 District Representative Vacancies

Two vacancies among the YLD’s district representative positions have occurred since this spring’s election. The openings are for District 4, which serves Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea and Roane counties, and District 13, which represents Chester, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison and Tipton counties. Eligible candidates must retain a primary residence or office in the district they are interested in representing.

Pursuant to the division’s bylaws, the president is to nominate members of the division to fill these unexpired terms. The voting members of the YLD Board must then approve the nominations.

Those interested in being considered for the positions should contact YLD Director Stacey Shrader Joslin at (615) 383-7421 no later than Aug. 11. Learn more about the duties of a district representative in this handout.

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'Barmageddon:' Bar Exam Takers Can’t Upload Tests, Deadlines Extended

Bar exam takers in multiple states experienced delays and failures Tuesday when trying to upload their completed exams using ExamSoft software. Test takers reported staying up late trying to upload their exams multiple times, even as they faced a second day of exams today. One student even dubbed the situation “Barmageddon.” The software provider, ExamSoft Worldwide Inc., says delays were caused by a “processing issue.” State bars in all the affected states have extended their deadlines, the ABA Journal reports.

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Memphis Lawyer Takes Office as YLD President

Memphis lawyer Stacie Winkler took office as president of the TBA’s Young Lawyers Division during the TBA’s convention earlier this month. She succeeds David McDowell of Chattanooga. Winkler, an attorney with Regional One Health, praised McDowell for his leadership over the past year and congratulated him on completion of the Library Education Project. With a last-minute flurry of activity, volunteers completed visits to libraries in all of Tennessee’s counties before McDowell relinquished the gavel.

Also taking office at the division’s annual meeting were President-Elect Rachel Moses with the Legal Aid Society in Cookeville; Vice President Rachel Ralston Mancl with Hunter Smith & Davis in Kingsport; Secretary Troy Weston with Eldridge & Blakney in Knoxville; and Treasurer Steven King with Ducks Unlimited in Memphis.

New YLD President Stacie Winkler (right) presents a plaque of appreciation to outgoing president David McDowell at the Lawyer's Lunch at the TBA Convention.

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YLD Affiliate News for June 2014

American Bar Association YLD – The ABA YLD held its 2014 Spring Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 15-17. Based in the historic Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, the conference included an 80's-themed dinner dance, the annual International Oratory Competition and a reception at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The group meets next in Boston Aug. 7-9. For more information about the ABA YLD visit the group online or contact Nashville lawyer Matt Potempa at (615) 810-8438.

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Turn Your Expertise into an Article

Do you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in your practice area? Want to share this knowledge with your colleagues in the Tennessee Bar Journal? Not sure how to begin? Journal Editor Suzanne Robertson provides this advice: Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines, which provide information about length, notes and other details.

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Fellows Elect Officers, Induct New Members

The TBA YLD Fellows held its annual meeting and inducted new members at the YLD & Fellows Dinner, held in conjunction with the TBA Convention. New officers elected were President Charlotte Knight Griffin with Memphis Light, Gas & Water in Memphis; Vice President J. Russell Parkes with Hardin, Parkes, Kelley & Carter in Columbia; Secretary Lisa Richter, the 19th Judicial District Child Support Referee in Clarksville; and Treasurer Glenn Walter with Lewis Thomason of Knoxville.

The group also inducted nine new members: Daniel Berexa with Cornelius & Collins in Nashville; Colleen Sweeney Bracken with HCA in Nashville; Brad Carter with Schell & Davies in Franklin; Howard Hayden with the Wiseman Ashworth Law Group in Nashville; Thomas Santel with Parkerson | Santel in Murfreesboro; Chris Varner with Evans Harrison Hackett in Chattanooga; David Veile with Schell & Davies in Franklin; Mason Wilson with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Memphis; and honorary member Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Finally, the Fellows awarded its annual William M. Leech Jr. Public Service Award to Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder for her many years of outstanding service to the profession, the legal system and her community. She was specifically recognized for her work on lawyers' assistance and access to justice issues.

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Law Student Leadership Group Wraps Up

Law students participating in the YLD’s Diversity Leadership Institute joined lawyers across the state at the TBA Convention this month. The group’s activities included programs on networking and the importance of public and pro bono service. On Saturday, the group conducted a briefing on the TBA’s Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors for concerned citizens in the Gatlinburg area.

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Young Lawyers Recognized for Service

At a dinner and awards ceremony on the last night of the TBA Convention, outgoing YLD President David McDowell recognized several young lawyers with awards for their service to the organization, the profession and the community. Murfreesboro lawyer Aimee Luna, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, received the President’s Award for her exceptional efforts educating Tennessee lawyers and librarians about free legal resources through this year’s YLD public service project. Luna personally visited almost 10 libraries and made additional presentations to several groups of lawyers. She also was honored for seven years of service as District 7 Representative and for her strong support of the Wills for Heroes program.

In addition to receiving the President's Award, Luna was selected as the first place finisher in the YLD's "Paying for Press" Challenge. An initiative of YLD President David McDowell, the challenge encouraged young lawyers to get press coverage of the events, activities and projects they planned. Using his own funds, McDowell pledged to support the charity of the winners' chosing. Luna was able to designate a donation of $500 to her favorite charity.

Outgoing YLD President David McDowell presents the President's Award to Aimee Luna of Murfreesboro.

McDowell presents a check to Luna for her favorite charity.

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‘Solo in a Box’ Toolkit Offers New Resources

With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new attorneys – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit, a new resource offering advice on everything from how to choose office space to managing client files. An initiative of Immediate Past President Cindy Wyrick, the toolkit was developed and produced by the TBA’s Mentoring Committee under the guidance of Franklin attorney David Veile.

The toolkit contains 12 main components, each of which will be featured in an issue of E-DICT throughout the upcoming year. Watch for the first installment on "the business of law" in July’s issue.

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TBA Members Honored for Service to Profession

Former TBA president George “Buck” Lewis was recognized by the Supreme Court for his service as Chair of the Access to Justice Commission during the TBA Annual Convention in Gatlinburg. Lewis was presented with a certificate of appreciation signed by the entire Court during the June 12 Bench Bar luncheon. At the YLD’s Annual Board Dinner also held during Convention, outgoing president David McDowell presented the President’s Award to Murfreesboro lawyer Aimee Luna for her exceptional efforts educating Tennessee lawyers and librarians about free legal resources through this year’s YLD public service project. Brad Carter of Franklin and Ashley Holliday of Jackson also received special recognition awards. Carter was recognized for six years of service to the YLD, most notably as chair of the Wills for Heroes Committee. Holliday was recognized for her support for the Diversity Leadership Institute.

Also at the convention, Nashville lawyer Lynne Ingram was presented with the Larry Dean Wilks Leadership Award by fellow members of the TBA’s 2014 Leadership Law class during the group’s graduation ceremonies in Gatlinburg. The award, named for former TBA President Larry D. Wilks, recognizes a Leadership Law class member with exceptional leadership qualities. Ingram, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, is the third recipient of the award.

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MALS Fundraising Campaign Kicks off Tuesday

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) is kicking off its annual fundraising campaign with an event Tuesday at the Wiseacre Brewery from 5 to 7 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Young Lawyer Committee of the Campaign for Equal Justice and the Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, will feature food, drinks and a silent auction. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton is expected to make a special appearance. A donation of $20 is requested. For more information or to RSVP contact Sarah Pazar.

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Deadline for TBA Mentoring Program July 1


Applications are due tomorrow (July 1) for the next class of the TBA Mentoring Program. TBA members in their first three years of law practice may apply to be matched with a mentor. Those participating in the program will commit to a formal mentoring relationship for one year, beginning in August, with a requirement that mentors and mentees meet face-to-face at least once a month. Participants will choose from a variety of curriculum topics, materials for which will be available on the TBA website.

In addition to seeking mentees, the TBA is recruiting attorneys with at least eight years of legal practice experience to serve as mentors. Contact Christy Gibson at the TBA for more information.

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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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Williamson YLD Elects Officers

The Young Lawyers Division of the Williamson County Bar Association recently elected the following officers for the 2014-2015 year: Katie Mathews Zipper, president; Cort Bethmann, secretary/treasurer; and Ben Signer and Wes Southerland, members-at-large. For more information about becoming involved with this group, please contact Katie Mathews Zipper.

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New Justice AmeriCorps to Hire 100 Lawyers, Paralegals

Young lawyers and paralegals are being sought to provide legal assistance in immigration proceedings to children who come to the United States without documentation. Officials say about 100 lawyers and paralegals will be enrolled as members of AmeriCorps in a new division called "Justice AmeriCorps" – a partnership between the Justice Department and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the new program Friday. WATE News 6 has the AP story.

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Young Lawyers Named Finalists for Chamber Award

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville have announced the finalists for the 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs), which is given to young professionals who exhibit strong leadership and impact their communities. In the legal services category the following individuals were named finalists:

Mary Taylor Gallagher, Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin; Bart Pickett, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company; Gabe Roberts, Tennessee Department of Health Care Finance & Administration; Joycelyn Stevenson, Littler Mendelson; and Casey Gill Summar, Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville. Miranda Christy of Stites & Harbison PLLC is also a finalist in the Environment and Sustainability category.

Winners in each professional category will be announced at a ceremony July 31 in Nashville.

The TBA YLD is a member organization of YP Nashville.

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New Attorneys Take Oath at Nashville Ceremonies

About 80 new attorneys were welcomed to the practice of law during ceremonies today in Nashville. All had passed the February Bar Exam. Prior to the afternoon ceremony, many of those being admitted joined with their families at an open house and luncheon at the Tennessee Bar Center, sponsored by the TBA.

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New Location for Swearing-In Ceremony

Tomorrow, June 3, new attorneys will be sworn into the practice of law at a ceremony in Nashville. TBA President Cindy Wyrick will be in attendance to sponsor and introduce new lawyers. Because of a scheduling conflict, the ceremony will take place at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Polk Theater and not the War Memorial Auditorium as originally planned. The address for TPAC is 505 Deaderick St., Nashville 37219. The ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m. Prior to the event, new admittees and their families are invited to the TBA’s Open House from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville 37219.

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YLD Invited Guest News for May 2014

The TBA YLD Board invites specialty and minority bars in the state to name a representative to serve as an unfunded member of the board. The goal of the invited guest program is to increase diversity among the board and provide an opportunity for young lawyers involved in other legal organizations to have a voice in the state bar association. See a list of all organizations invited to send representatives.

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YLD Affiliate News for May 2014

American Bar Association YLD – At the ABA YLD Spring meeting in Pittsburgh last month, ABA President Jim Silkenat gave a presentation about the formation of a new initiative called "The Legal Access Job Corps," which is designed to tackle the lack of legal services available to low-income individuals while addressing the increasing number of unemployed and underemployed lawyers. Also at the meeting, incoming ABA YLD Chair Andrew Schpak announced that his service project for the 2014-2015 bar year will focus on homeless youth. Details will be rolled out at the group’s annual meeting in Boston Aug. 7-9. For general information about the ABA YLD visit the group online or contact Nashville lawyer Matt Potempa at (615) 810-8438.

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