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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YLD Election Petitions Due April 1

Young lawyers interested in running for leadership positions within the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) have until April 1 to file a nominating petition with YLD Secretary Troy Weston. Positions open this year include vice president (who must be from the Eastern Grand Division), East Tennessee Governor, Middle Tennessee Governor, West Tennessee Governor, Secretary, Treasurer and even-numbered District Representatives. Petitions should be submitted no later than April 1 at 11:59 p.m. Central to Weston by email at or by fax to (865) 544-2015. Questions about the election should be directed to Weston at (865) 544-2010. Read the full election notice or visit the YLD’s election webpage for details about length of term and qualifications for office.

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CASA Red Shoe Party April 12

CASA Nashville will host its annual Red Shoe Party on April 12 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Rocketown. Held during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Red Shoe Party is CASA’s largest fundraiser of the year and will feature a silent auction and contest for the best red shoes. Click here for more information, tickets or to become a sponsor.

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Springfield Takes 2014 Mock Trial Title

Springfield High School claimed the 2014 State High School Mock Trial Championship with a final round win on Saturday, March 15. Sixteen teams from across the state qualified for the competition by winning local mock trial events. More than 100 attorneys volunteered to help with the event, which is sponsored and presented by the TBA's Young Lawyers Division. Springfield will now move on to the 2014 National Mock Trial Competition, May 8-10 in Madison, Wis.

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High School Mock Trial Tournament Underway in Nashville

Hundreds of high school students from across Tennessee are in Nashville this weekend to take part in the state High School Mock Trial Championships sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.  Preliminary rounds take place today and tomorrow, with the final round slated for late Saturday afternoon at the Historic Metro Courthouse.

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Child Abuse Prevention Month Events

CASA agencies across Tennessee will mark Child Abuse Prevention Month with events, fundraisers and educational programs throughout the month of April. To get involved contact the appropriate invidual below. Don't see your area listed? Find a CASA agency near you at the Tennessee CASA website.


Contact: Karren Herman,

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YLD Affiliate News for February 2014

American Bar Association YLD -- Affiliate young lawyer groups in Tennessee have until March 1 to apply for an ABA YLD grant to assist with member and public service projects. The group's Law Day Art Contest for students in grades 9-12 also wraps up early next month with a deadline of March 7. This year's theme is "American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters." Finally, the group recently announced a new Affiliate Leadership Listserv, which is intended to serve as a resource for leaders of young lawyer associations that are affiliates of the ABA YLD. The email list is designed to connect leaders, allowing them to share information and get feedback from colleagues. The list is open to chairs-elect, chairs and immediate-past chairs of local, state and special-focus young lawyer organizations. For more information about this new service contact Anna Romanskaya. For general information about the ABA YLD visit the group online or contact Nashville lawyer Matt Potempa at (615) 810-8438.

Blount County Bar Association YLD -- For information about the Blount County YLD contact President Donna Ridgel at (865) 309-5291.

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Deposition CLEs on Tap for April

You can't win a trial at deposition, but you certainly can lose one! Make sure that does not happen to you by attending the YLD's 2014 Litigation CLE "Mastering the Deposition." This year's program will focus on deposition techniques in general personal injury cases. Attendees will hear from experienced litigators -- both from the plaintiff and defense perspective -- who will discuss key components of the deposition process. Session topics include an Overview of State and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; Preparing for a Deposition; Hypothetical Deposition Situations; and Using Exhibits, Dealing with Witnesses, Making Objections, Defending a Client and Dealing with Difficult Counsel during a deposition.

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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 2/27/14)

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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New Judicial Election Resources Available

With primary filing deadlines closing last week, ballots are set across the state for the first round of judicial elections. To educate voters about the importance of fair and impartial judicial elections and how to evaluate judicial candidates, the TBA is partnering with the National Association of Women Judges and League of Women Voters to bring new resources to Tennesseans. The effort, "Informed Voters — Fair Judges," provides information for voters as well as resources for lawyers to make the case for a fair and impartial legal system. The campaign's website includes nonpartisan information about the judicial system, qualities to look for in a good judge, a list of judges who will be on the ballot this year and a link to request a speaker on the issue. The TBA also is renewing its Judicial Campaign Code of Conduct effort this year with more than 150 judges and judicial candidates agreeing not to comment during the campaign on legal issues that might come before them as a judge. Finally, the TBA has created an online information center to serve as a central location for information about this year's judicial elections.

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TBA Releases New Legal Handbook for Seniors

The TBA Public Education Committee this week released the 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors to help Tennesseans better understand federal and state benefits, new health care laws and a wide range of other issues of importance to older citizens. The project is an initiative of TBA President Cindy Wyrick, who made it part of her platform to do something meaningful for older citizens in the state and those who care for them. The handbook was developed by the TBA Public Education Committee under the leadership of Knoxville lawyer and committee co-chair Angelia Nystrom. A number of sections and committees and individual volunteers contributed to the project, which is based on a 2001 version that was developed by the Young Lawyers Division, Elder Law Section and Senior Lawyers Division. The new handbook is available for download or on a flash drive. Lawyers may use the resource in counseling their clients and may add their firm's logo and contact information to the cover page for distribution to their clients. Watch for information about events scheduled around release of the handbook and for continuing education programs to help members use the handbook in their practices.

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Video Contest Deadline Approaches

The deadline for the TBA's Fourth Annual YouTube Video Contest for middle and high school students is just around the corner! This year's theme -- "There Ought to be a Law" -- challenges students to create a three-minute video that discusses an issue they would like to see addressed through the legislative process. The contest is open to individuals or groups from any Tennessee high school, middle school, home school or non-school based organization. Middle school entries are due by March 17. High school entries are due by March 24. The contest is a program of the Public Education Committee. This year, the YLD is assisting with marketing. Get details or download a flyer and share it with a teacher or a teenager! Cash prizes are available.

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YLD Promotes Civics at Teachers' Conference

The TBA YLD will host a table at the Tennessee Conference for Social Studies being held March 7 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg. YLD District 2 Representative Bryce McKenzie will be on hand to encourage elementary, high school and college instructors to include civics education in their lesson plans. The annual conference is sponsored by the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies. To join the effort, email McKenzie or call (865) 428-8780.

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Teams Getting Ready for State Mock Trial Competition

With district mock trial competitions wrapping up this coming weekend, the stage is close to being set for the Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. The 2014 contest will take place March 14-15 at the Historic Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville. Volunteers are still needed to assist with the event. Sitting judges in Tennessee may volunteer to serve as presiding judges of trial rounds, lawyers may serve as scorers and law students or legal staff may serve as bailiffs. Judges and bailiffs are especially needed! Those who want to volunteer should download the appropriate form and submit it to Mock Trial Chair Josh Dougan. To date, the following schools have advanced to the state competition:

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If You Did It, Flaunt It With a TBJ Announcement

The Tennessee Bar Journal has a new opportunity for lawyers and firms to promote outstanding achievements, new associates, new partners, mergers, awards and any changes within the firm. Now, Professional Announcements are available at special, lower-rate pricing. You can tell more than 12,000 of your peers about your accomplishments by placing an announcement in the Journal. For information or to place an announcement, contact Debbie Taylor at 503-445-2231 or To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her before Feb. 18.

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Mock Trial Coach, Volunteers Needed for District Competitions

A high school in Coffee County is fielding its first mock trial team and is looking for an attorney to help them prepare for the district competition, which is set for Feb. 22 in Columbia. Please contact District 3 Mock Trial Coordinator Cara Lynn at (931) 388-8868 for more information or to volunteer. Attorneys also are needed to serve as scorers and presiding judges in the District 4 competition, which covers Cannon, Hickman, Lewis, Marshall, Perry, Rutherford and Williamson counties. That competition will take place on Feb. 22 in Franklin. Contact Shauna Billingsley at (615) 550-6603 to help get involved.

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TBA’s First Mentoring Class Kicks Off Today

The first class of the TBA Mentoring Program kicked off today. Those participating in the program will engage in a formal mentoring relationship for one year. Mentors and mentees will meet face-to-face at least once a month during the year and will cover a variety of curriculum topics. The program, which was launched in January, is open to TBA members in their first three years of practice. Mentors must have at least eight years of legal practice experience. TBA members interested in participating in the next class should visit the TBA’s mentoring website for more information and application materials. The site also includes links to other mentoring programs across the state for lawyers. Questions about the program should be directed to Mentoring Coordinator Christy Gibson, (615) 383-7421.

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YLD Affiliate News for January 2014

American Bar Association YLD -- The ABA YLD invites Tennessee young lawyers to apply for leadership appointments for the 2014-2015 bar year. According to the group, the skills, passion and perspective of young lawyers from across the country are essential to building a vibrant, inclusive and multicultural corps of volunteer leaders. Positions are available on committees, boards and teams. The application deadline is Feb. 15. Contact Andrew Schpak with any questions. Affiliate young lawyer groups in the state also are encouraged to apply for a grant to assist with member and public service projects. The deadline for that program is March 1. Finally, the ABA YLD has announced its Law Day Art Contest for students in grades 9-12. The 2014 contest theme is "American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters." The entry deadline is March 7. 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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Save the Date for April Deposition CLE

Save the date for the YLD’s annual litigation CLE. This year’s program will focus on deposition techniques in general personal injury cases. Attendees will hear from experienced litigators -- both from the plaintiff and defense perspective -- who will discuss key components of the deposition process. Session topics include an Overview of State and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Preparing for a Deposition, Hypothetical Deposition Situations, and Using Exhibits, Dealing with Witnesses, Making Objections, Defending a Client and Dealing with Difficult Counsel during a deposition. Watch for more details coming soon.

April 10
Producer: Tommy Santel; Parkerson Santel; Murfreesboro

April 25
Producer: Brittany Thomas; Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison; Chattanooga

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State Mock Trial Volunteers Needed

The 2014 State High School Mock Trial Competition will take place March 14-15 at the Metro Courthouse in Nashville. This annual competition brings students together from across the state to test their advocacy skills. The competition requires a lot of volunteers to run smoothly! Sitting judges in Tennessee may volunteer to serve as presiding judges of trial rounds, lawyers may serve as scorers, and law students and legal staff may serve as bailiffs. Those who want to volunteer should download the appropriate form and submit it by email to Mock Trial Chair Josh Dougan or by fax to TBA staff member Stacey Shrader Joslin at (615) 297-8058. For more information about the competition contact Dougan at (731) 437-0469.

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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 1/30/14)

Through the Wills for Heroes effort, attorneys and volunteers have served 404 first responders this bar year. With the YLD quickly closing in on its goal of serving 500 first responders this year -- which ends June 30 -- a new goal of reaching 600 first responders has been set. The greatest number of first responders ever reached was 455 during the 2009-2010 bar year. Everyone’s help is needed in reaching this new goal!

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Local Mock Trial Contests on Tap for February

Local mock trial competitions will take place throughout the month of February with the first one scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 1. To get involved in a local competition contact the appropriate coordinator listed below. Get additional contact information online.

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Summer 2014 Judicial Internship Deadline Extended

Applications for the 2014 Summer Judicial Internship Program -- which matches first- and second-year Tennessee law students with appellate and trial judges for six or 12-week internships -- are now due Monday, Feb. 10. The YLD Membership & Law School Outreach Committee decided to extend the deadline by one week to give interested students more time to apply. The extension will not affect other key deadlines of the program. Learn more and get application instructions online or contact TBA Young Lawyers Division Director Stacey Shrader Joslin, (615) 383-7421.

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DLI Class Holds First Session at Leadership Conference

The law student members of the 2014 Diversity Leadership Institute met for their first session this month as part of the TBA's Leadership Conference. The group joined legal leaders from across the state to learn about TBA President Cindy Wyrick’s key public service initiative for the year -- the Senior Law Handbook; youth courts in the state; legislation of interest to lawyers; and a new grassroots advocacy tool for communicating with lawmakers. Class members also held separate sessions that featured a keynote address by Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dinkins and remarks by Mattielyn Williams, co-chair of the TBA's Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

The group also learned about learning styles and engaged in a "speed networking" activity with lawyers representing a range of practice areas and settings. Participants included Terica Smith Anderson with the 26th Judicial District Attorney’s Office; Matt Cottingham with Petree Law; Ashonti Davis with Butler Snow; Brian Frye with Legal Aid of East Tennessee; Rachel Kingsbury Speller with Western Express; and Charles Traughber with Waller. The panel was moderated by Louise Biedenharn with the HF Law Group.

President Wyrick also spoke to the group while former TBA President Gail Vaughn Ashworth moderated the class caucus. The opening program was produced YLD Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist and committee members Amber Floyd and Tiffany Johnson, all of Memphis.

Members of the 2014 Diversity Leadership Institute are (from left to right) Back Row: Brittany Williams, Ernie Gilkes, Elizabeth Goetz, Jessica Nwokocha, James Edwards and Jessie Oakes. Middle Row: Sara Garner, Alandis Brassel, Noah Mason, Rod Watson, Emily Harvey, Mary Gadd, Beverly Conner and Michael Kapellas. Front Row: Tamika Parker, I'Ashea Dihigo, LaTanyia Walker, Aurelia Patterson, Candace Carter and Katori Brown. Photo by Landry Butler

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YLD Recognizes CASA, Other Volunteers

YLD President David McDowell presented Star of the Quarter awards to five young lawyers during the TBA’s 2014 Leadership Conference this past weekend. Honored were Katrina Atchley Arbogast, Justin Faith, Steven King, Chaz Molder and Tommy Santel. Arbogast was recognized for her service as chair of the Children's Issues Committee and for overseeing the 10th Anniversary celebration of the YLD’s CASA Volunteer of the Year Award; Faith and Molder were recognized for their work on the YLD’s most recent issue of Tennessee Young Lawyer; and King and Santel were honored for planning the group’s Transactional CLE in Nashville and Memphis. See photos from the event.

In addition, Arbogast (below) presented the 2014 CASA Volunteer of the Year Award to Jack McNew of Harriman. McNew volunteers with CASA of the Ninth Judicial District, which serves children in Loudon, Morgan and Roane counties.

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