News

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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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.

LAW Marion Griffin Chapter – The Lawyers’ Association for Women Marion Griffin Chapter in Nashville has launched the Coalition for Fair Courts to encourage voter education and participation in the upcoming judicial retention elections. The goal of the effort is to raise public awareness about the August retention election of three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices – Cornelia Clark, Sharon Lee and Chief Justice Gary Wade – as well as the intermediate appellate court judges. The effort also hopes to educate voters about the role of the appellate courts and the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary. Current coalition members include the Tennessee Alliance of Black Lawyers, the Napier-Looby Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Nashville and the Lawyers' Association for Women Anne Schneider Chapter in Jackson. For more information about the coalition contact Liz Sitgreaves.

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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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Lipscomb University Offers Master's in Civic Leadership

The Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Nashville’s Lipscomb University offers a unique master degree program in civic leadership to equip emerging and mid-career professionals for service in their communities and their industries. Weekend and online classes accommodate professionals seeking a leadership degree focused on social innovation and collaboration. It is designed for busy professionals and can be completed in 15 months. The school has asked if the TBA would make information about the program available to young lawyers in the state. For more information download this one page description or contact Academic Director Michelle Cummings Steele at (615) 966-5181 or michelle.steele@lipscomb.edu.

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Please Vote in TBA's Supreme Court Evaluation Poll

The Tennessee Bar Association has launched a Tennessee Supreme Court Candidate Evaluation Poll, which will remain open until June 9. For the first time in its history, the TBA is polling its members for their views on the three justices facing retention votes in the August General Election. For each of the three – Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice Sharon Lee – TBA members are being asked to select one of four options: (1) highly recommend retention, (2) recommend retention, (3) do not recommend retention or (4) do not have an informed opinion at this time. The TBA is using the SurveyMonkey platform to conduct the poll, which ensures the secrecy of votes. If you have not yet received an email to participate, please check your spam folder for an email from SurveyMonkey.com. Results will be released in mid June.

The TBA is taking this unprecedented step because it believes that lawyers are uniquely qualified to provide an informed opinion as to whether a justice should be retained, and by providing the collective view of the organized bar, it can help Tennessee voters educate themselves about the election. The poll is one part of TBA’s efforts to help ensure that the 2014 judicial elections maintain a fair, impartial and accountable judiciary. Learn more about other efforts at the TBA’s Judicial Selection Information Center.

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Library Education Project Almost Complete

As the bar year wraps up, the YLD is proud to announce that its signature public service project has been an amazing success. The goal of the Tennessee Library Education Project was to train at least one librarian in every county on how to use existing resources to help members of the public in need of legal information and advice. Presentations have been delivered in all but eight of the state’s 95 counties, and plans are in place to cover the last few locations in the coming weeks.

The project, an initiative of YLD President David McDowell, had volunteers visit libraries across the state to educate librarians on free legal resources such as OnlineTNJustice, which allows qualified individuals to post a legal question to a private messaging system and receive an answer from a volunteer lawyer; LIFT, a website that provides general information about a number of different legal issues as well as links to other pro bono resources; and aLEGALz, a toll-free hotline that provides legal information and referrals to low-income Tennesseans.

In cooperation with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), the YLD created a power point presentation and a resource page so volunteer lawyers had the information they needed to make presentations about these services. The website also offered handouts and signs that could be downloaded and left with librarians for their use. For more information about the project contact McDowell at (423) 756-5171.

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New Admittees to be Sworn in Tuesday

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hold a swearing in ceremony in Nashville next Tuesday, June 3, for new admittees to the bar. Results from the February bar exam came out last month with 194 new lawyers passing the exam. Events on Tuesday include an open house and lunch at the TBA from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for new lawyers and their families. The Swearing in Ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. at TPAC’s Polk Theater, 505 Deaderick St., Nashville 37219. YLD members will be on hand to congratulate these new lawyers and provide information about TBA membership. Please join us in welcoming these new lawyers into the legal profession!

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YLD Board to Appoint 5 District Representatives

A number of vacancies in district representative positions will be filled by the YLD Board during its summer meeting, June 14, in Gatlinburg. Pursuant to the division’s bylaws, a special nominating committee has met to consider applicants for the position and has voted to recommend the following candidates to the full YLD Board. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in these positions!

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YLD Annual Membership Meeting Set for June 13

The TBA Young Lawyers Division will hold its annual membership meeting Friday, June 13, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg. The hotel is located at 705 Cherokee Orchard Rd., Gatlinburg 37738. The meeting will take place in Tennessee Ballroom 3. All members of the division are invited to attend. Members will consider one contested election for District 2 Representative, hear a recap of the 2013-2014 bar year from outgoing YLD President David McDowell and hear from incoming President Stacie Winkler about her plans for the year.

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Affiliate News for April 2014

American Bar Association YLD – The group will hold its spring conference May 15-17 in Pittsburgh. Affiliates that want to submit projects for the annual Awards of Achievement have until June 15 to submit their applications. 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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Don’t Miss the 2014 TBA Convention

It is not too late to register for the 2014 TBA Annual Convention June 11-14 in Gatlinburg. Sign up now to make sure you don't miss any of the compelling programming or fun social events at the largest annual gathering of the Tennessee lawyers and judges. This year's event will be held at the Park Vista Doubletree Hotel in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Among the featured speakers will be Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady, who authored the opinion allowing same-sex marriage in that state; Keel Hunt, author of "Coup," the book that takes you behind the scenes of the dramatic political transition between Governors Blanton and Alexander; and Oliver Diaz, who spent much of his time on the Mississippi Supreme Court fighting attacks from special interest groups. Diaz's experience inspired John Grisham to write “The Appeal," a story of political and legal intrigue in a state where judges are elected in partisan elections.

Entertainment will include nightly receptions and an exciting journey through the Titanic Museum, where you will experience what it was like to walk the hallways, parlors and cabins of the Titanic while surrounded by more than 400 artifacts directly from the ship and its passengers. After touring the museum, join your colleagues for dinner and dancing with music from the popular Knoxville-based band PopRox.

Visit the TBA's Convention information page for details about CLE programs, entertainment, lodging, schedule and registration.

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Get Involved in a Law Day Event Near You!

Bar associations and legal organizations – including a number of young lawyer groups – across the state are gearing up for this year’s Law Day with events that began last week and run throughout the month of May. Activities include programs for lawyers, public service opportunities, presentation of awards and recognition of students who participate in law-related education programs. The theme of this year’s celebration is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters,” which asks Americans to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges we still face in ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in our democracy. Find an event near you.

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