News

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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194 New Lawyers Pass the Bar

Results from the February bar exam came out this month with 194 new lawyers passing the exam. The Tennessee Supreme Court will hold a swearing in ceremony in Nashville on June 3 for those who meet the final requirements for licensing. Please help us welcome these lawyers-to-be into the legal profession! TBA YLD members will be on hand to talk to new admittees about the benefits of membership in the association. The new lawyers also will be invited to an open house at the bar center that day. See the full list of successful candidates.

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National Mock Trial Judges Needed

The National High School Mock Trial Competition is taking place May 8-10 in Madison, Wisconsin, and the host committee is still looking for judges and attorneys to volunteer for the event. Four rounds will be held during the weekend: one in the morning and one in the afternoon on both Friday and Saturday. Volunteers may judge as many rounds as they wish, but they are required to have judged a minimum of two rounds at a state mock trial competition. Volunteers also are needed to monitor courtrooms, staff registration and information desks, assist with volunteers meals, collect score sheets, provide directions for teams, or monitor events such as the pin exchange, judges’ reception, awards gala and dance. Learn more or sign up to volunteer here.

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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 4/30/14)

The following Wills for Heroes events have been scheduled across the state. Please contact the event organizer for more details or to volunteer. To get involved in the Wills for Heroes Committee or to request a clinic in your area, please contact committee chair Brad Carter. Learn more about the Wills for Heroes program.

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Candidates Sought for Appointed Positions

Open seats for five district representatives still need to be filled for the 2014-2015 bar year. Young lawyers interested in being considered for these positions should contact YLD President-elect Stacie Winkler at (901) 545-7089 by May 5. After that date, a nominating committee will be convened to consider all applicants. Those recommended for appointment must then be approved by the voting members of the YLD Board. The open positions are as follows:

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Contested Race Set for District 2 Rep.

One contested race -- for District 2 Representative -- will be decided at the YLD’s Annual Meeting June 13 in Gatlinburg. The following candidates* qualified to stand for election:

  • John Billings, Appalachian Underwriters Inc., Oak Ridge
  • Bryce McKenzie, Law Office of Bryan Delius, Sevierville
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New Leaders Elected to Lead YLD in 2016-2017

Kingsport lawyer Rachel Ralston Mancl, an attorney with Hunter Smith & Davis LLP, will lead the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) in 2016-2017. Mancl will take office in June as vice president, and then assume the office of president-elect in 2015 and president in 2016. She was deemed elected earlier this month after the filing deadline passed with no opposition. Mancl has been active in the YLD for a number of years, serving as District 1 Representative and coordinator of the Wills for Heroes initiative in the eastern division of the state. She also is a member of the current Leadership Law class.

Other officers elected without opposition were Secretary* Troy Weston with Eldridge & Blakney in Knoxville; Treasurer Steven W. King with Baker, Donelson in Memphis; East Tennessee Governor Ian Hennessey with London & Amburn in Knoxville; Middle Tennessee Governor* Marisa Combs with Lewis Thomason in Nashville; West Tennessee Governor Ashley Holliday with West Tennessee Legal Services in Jackson; and district representatives Erica Eberle with Crump & Richardson in Cleveland (District 4), Jason Hicks with Moore, Rader & Fitzpatrick in Cookeville (District 6) and Chasity Sharp Grice with the Sharp Legal Group in Memphis (District 14).

See full election results, including information about a contested race and several open seats here.

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ABA President Talks Pro Bono During Memphis Visit

ABA President James R. Silkenat was in Memphis today to speak with the Memphis Rotary and tour the city, including a visit with the editorial board of the Memphis Business Journal and a stop at Memphis Area Legal Services. According to the Business Journal, at each of his stops, Silkenat addressed one of the most pressing questions facing the legal profession: how to find jobs for all the new lawyers coming out of law school. Silkenat believes the answer may be to find ways to make pro bono work more attractive to new graduates. "We are working on ways to get young lawyers to engage in pro bono work. So many of our citizens have never even met a lawyer or can't afford a lawyer. It would seem natural to put those two together and find the funding to make that work."

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Tennessee Bar Exam Results Now Available

Tennessee Bar Association President Cindy Wyrick today congratulated those who were successful candidates for the February bar exam, welcoming them to the practice of law and inviting them to join the TBA. The Tennessee Supreme Court will hold a swearing in ceremony in Nashville on June 3 for those who meet the final requirements for licensing. TBA members will be on hand at the event to welcome the new admittees into the practice of law. New lawyers also will be invited to an open house at the bar center that day. See the full list of successful candidates.

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Congratulations! Welcome to the Practice of Law

Dear Colleague:

Congratulations on joining the practice of law in Tennessee! This is an important milestone and an achievement of which you should be proud. I look forward to joining you at the Tennessee Supreme Court admission ceremony in Nashville. If you like, I can introduce you to the Court on behalf of your colleagues.

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Kingsport Lawyer Elected YLD Vice President

Kingsport lawyer Rachel Ralston Mancl with Hunter Smith & Davis will lead the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) in 2016-2017. She will take office in June as vice president, and then assume the office of president-elect in 2015 and president in 2016. Mancl was deemed elected April 1 after the filing deadline passed with no opposition. Mancl has been active in the YLD, serving as District 1 Representative and coordinator of the Wills for Heroes initiative in the eastern division of the state. She also is a member of the current Leadership Law class.

YLD members will decide one contested race for District 2 Representative at the group's Annual Meeting June 13 in Gatlinburg. Five open seats for district representatives also need to be filled. Learn more here.

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YLD Election Petitions Due Tuesday for 2014-2105 Offices

Young lawyers interested in running for leadership positions within the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) have until next Tuesday, April 1, to file a nominating petition with YLD Secretary Troy Weston. Positions open for the 2014-2015 bar year include the following:

  • Vice President (must be from the Eastern Grand Division)
  • East Tennessee Governor
  • Middle Tennessee Governor
  • West Tennessee Governor
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Even-numbered District Representatives:
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Affiliate News for March 2014

American Bar Association YLD -- The ABA YLD welcomed nearly 350 young attorneys to Chicago for its Mid-Year Meeting Feb. 6-8. The Windy City lived up to its name with subzero temperatures all week. Raul Chacon Jr., a lawyer with the Colorado law firm of Burns, Figa & Will, covers highlights from the meeting in this article from the March issue of The Affiliate. The group’s next meeting will take place May 15-17 in Pittsburgh. 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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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 3/27/14)

The following Wills for Heroes events have been scheduled across the state. Please contact the event organizer for more details or to volunteer. To get involved in the Wills for Heroes Committee or to request a clinic in your area, please contact committee chair Bradley Carter. Learn more about the Wills for Heroes program.

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Events Mark Child Abuse Prevention Month

Across the state, numerous organizations work to make Tennessee a better place for children and families. One such group is Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which currently serves families in 47 counties through 30 local agencies. During the month of April, a number of these local agencies will host events to mark the 2014 Child Abuse Prevention Month, designed to raise awareness of the problem of child abuse spread the word about the services CASA can provide. Events scheduled include several 5K races, a number of fundraisers, volunteer training sessions and educational programs for the community. See a list of events on the TBA website. Don't see your area listed? Find a CASA agency near you at the Tennessee CASA website.

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Springfield High Wins 2014 Mock Trial Title

Springfield High School of Robertson County claimed the top spot at the 2014 Tennessee State High School State Mock Trial Competition this month. Following a hard-fought final round, Springfield's team prevailed over second-place finisher, White Station High School of Memphis. The team was coached by Robertson County natives Marisa Combs, an attorney with Lewis Thomason in Nashville, and Lisa Richter, a Child Support Referee in the 19th Judicial District.

The two-day state competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, involved 16 teams and nearly 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds at the Metro Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville. Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark presided over the championship match Saturday evening.

Teams across Tennessee put their skills to the test as they argued the case of Jesse Jameson v. Jordan Evergreen. Jameson, a struggling songwriter, asserted a copyright infringement claim against Evergreen, alleging that Evergreen's hit single, "He's My Still Loving You," was actually a stolen copy of Jameson's "June to July Girl." In addition to addressing the complex law of copyright infringement, students were tasked with mastering and presenting certain aspects of music theory.

Springfield's team will now represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Madison, Wis., May 8-10.

See photos from the competition and a full list of volunteers.

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