Springfield Repeats as State Mock Trial Champion

The Springfield High School mock trial team repeated its championship win for the second year in a row at the 2015 Tennessee State High School Mock Competition this past weekend in Nashville. Springfield defeated St. Mary’s Episcopal School of Memphis in the championship round. The team now will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition May 14-16 in Raleigh, North Carolina. See complete competition results and a list of all volunteers.

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April Journal Has Insider's View to High Court

This month the Journal takes an inside look at the Tennessee Supreme Court, by former staff attorney Marshall L. Davidson III. Davidson, now presiding judge at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, writes about "unexpected discoveries about the justices, lawyers who appear before them, and pitfalls to avoid in navigating our state’s appellate judiciary." Also, read about the good work through restorative justice that Tennessee Youth Courts are doing, as well as who the TBA Young Lawyers' Division CASA Volunteer of the Year is. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; learn more about related CASA events and resources. It's no April Fool -- you can read the April issue here.

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Springfield High Repeats as State Mock Trial Champ

Springfield High School won the Tennessee State High School Mock Competition this weekend in Nashville, taking the title for the second year in a row. Springfield defeated St. Mary’s Episcopal School of Memphis in the championship round, which was presided over by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Bivins. The team now will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition May 14-16 in Raleigh, North Carolina. See photos and complete results.

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Students to Compete for State Mock Trial Title

High school teams from across Tennessee will put their legal skills to the test during the Tennessee Bar Association's 35th Annual State High School Mock Trial Championship in Nashville this weekend. The event will be held at the historic Davidson County Courthouse. To reach the state championship, 16 teams had to win district competitions by playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a fictitious case developed by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Bivins will preside over the championship round, and dozens of Tennessee lawyers, law students and judges are volunteering to help throughout the weekend.

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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.

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Pay Raise for Court Appointed Work Set for Committee

The TBA bill calling for an increase in pay for court appointed attorney will go before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee next week. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, HB1025 would raise compensation to a minimum of $100 per hour. The companion bill in the Senate, SB1009, is sponsored by Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis. It has been referred to the Judiciary Committee and is expected to be considered in the coming weeks. Court appointed attorneys have been working at the same rate since 1994 and have the lowest compensation rate in the nation. Use TBAImpact or contact subcommittee members directly to express your views.

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Young Lawyer Group Plans Disaster Legal Clinic

The Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association (UCYLA) will hold a legal clinic in Monterey on March 26 to assist anyone dealing with legal issues resulting from recent ice storms. The event will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Monterey City Hall (municipal building), located at 302 E. Commercial Ave. 38574. To volunteer for the clinic contact UCYLA President Tessa Lawson, (931) 372-1972. Download a flyer to share or post.

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16 Teams Advance to State Mock Trial Competition

The stage is now set for the 2015 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. Sixteen teams that won just-completed regional competitions will convene at the Historic Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville on March 27-28. District winners are: Bearden High School, Chattanooga Sooutheast Tennessee Home Education Association (CSTHEA), Clinton High School, Columbia Academy, Dyersburg High School, Jefferson County High School, Memphis University School, Montgomery Bell Academy, Ravenwood High School, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Signal Mountain High School, Springfield High School, Unicoi County High School, University School of Nashville, White County High School and White Station High School. Learn more about this year's competition.

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16 Teams to Compete at State Mock Trial

With high school mock trial district competitions wrapping up this week, the stage is now set for the 2015 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. The event, which will take place March 27-28 at the Historic Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville, will feature the 16 teams listed below.

Special thanks is also due to lawyers who coordinated the district competitions across the state.

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Help Shape the Future of Legal Education

Tennessee lawyers can help shape the future of legal education by taking part in a research effort being conducted by the Tennessee Bar Association in collaboration with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver. The Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers study focuses on the skills, characteristics and competencies the profession requires of new lawyers. It is part of the national Foundations for Practice project. Watch for an email from TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur that will provide a link to access the survey.

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Submit YLD Election Petitions By April 1

Young lawyers interested in running for a leadership post within the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) for the next bar year should file a nominating petition by April 1. Elected positions include Vice President (must be from the Western Grand Division), East Tennessee Governor, Middle Tennessee Governor, West Tennessee Governor, Secretary, Treasurer and District Representatives from odd-numbered districts. Petitions should be sent to YLD Secretary Troy Weston by email or fax to (865) 544-2015. Questions should be directed to Weston at (865) 544-2010. Read the election notice or download a petition. In addition, the division needs to fill a seat reserved for a young lawyer from East Tennessee in the TBA House of Delegates. Those interested in being considered for that position should contact YLD President Rachel Moses, (931) 528-7436.

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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 2/27/15)

The YLD again this year is providing free wills and other end of life documents for first responders in Tennessee. Clinics have been scheduled across the state through this coming May. Please contact the event organizer for more details or to volunteer. The following clinics are scheduled in the next few months. See the list of all scheduled clinics.

Franklin, March 7
Contact: Shauna Billingsley,, (615) 550-6652
Location: Franklin Police Department, Community Room, 900 Columbia Ave., 37064

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Solo in a Box Spotlight: Practicing 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 practice of law.

You have chosen your business entity, rented an office, set up your computer, obtained insurance and set a budget. You are now ready to begin the practice of law. Hurray! In the Practice of Law section, the Solo in a Box Toolkit looks at day-to-day operating issues. It also includes information for lawyers facing an ethical complaint or in need of services from the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. Here is a brief overview of the section:

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YLD Affiliate News for February 2015

American Bar Association YLD – The ABA YLD gathered with other sections of the association in Houston on Feb. 4-6 for its Mid Winter Meeting. At the YLD Assembly, delegates debated a number of issues eventually adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, including court appointments for unaccompanied minor immigrants and the shackling of juveniles in court. The group’s Spring Conference will take place May 14-16 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The meeting will include a session specifically to help affiliate leaders plan for their leadership year. Topics to be covered include organizing and structuring an affiliate, encouraging board accountability and meaningful participation, delegating and using talent, motivating volunteers, budgeting, improving diversity and leveraging connections with the ABA and other ABA affiliates.

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YLD Invited Guest News for February 2015

The TBA YLD Board invites specialty and minority bars in the state to name a representative to serve as an unfunded and non-voting 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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Use TBAImpact to Reach Elected Leaders

The legislature is in full swing and your elected leaders need to hear from you! TBAImpact is an easy and effective way to make your voice heard in the halls of Congress and the General Assembly.
Through TBAImpact, lawyers can discover key issues facing the profession, voice support or dissent, and find out how to connect with representatives. Check it out online or contact TBA Public Policy Coordinator Josie Beets, (615) 383-7421 for more information.
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YLD Produces New GAL Webcast

Thanks to the efforts of the YLD’s Children’s Issues and CLE committees, lawyers interested in learning more about serving as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) can tune in to a TBA webcast on March 4 at noon Central.
The one-hour session “Guardian ad Litem: Managing Your Child-Client, Third Parties and Opposing Counsel” will look at the responsibilities of a GAL, offer best practices for developing a relationship with the child-client and cover tips for managing parents’ counsel and third parties such as the Department of Child Services (DCS), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and psychologists. Finally, the course will review the differences in rules governing GALs in juvenile and circuit cases. Register online to watch the webcast live.
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Mentor Needed for Law Student Program

The YLD Diversity Committee is seeking one additional mentor for a Nashville-based law student participating in the Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI). Mentors are asked to interact in person with students at least twice before the six-month program ends in June. If you are willing to serve as a mentor please contact Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist, (901) 537-1123.

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Mock Trial Teams Advance, Volunteers Needed

Two district competitions have wrapped up with several more to occur this weekend. District 1, which encompasses Shelby County, will send three teams to the state competition: St. Mary’s Episcopal School, White Station High School and Memphis University School. District 6, which covers Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Robertson, Stewart and Sumner counties, qualified one team for state. Defending state champion Springfield High School will again represent the district.

The 2015 State High School Mock Trial Competition will take place March 27-28 at the Metro Courthouse in Nashville. 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 fill out the online response form. For more information about the competition contact Mock Trial Chair Josh Dougan, (731) 437-0469. Follow news @tnmocktrial.

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Young Lawyers Elected to TBA Posts, Vacancies to be Filled

Several young lawyers were elected to posts within the Tennessee Bar Association earlier this month. Knoxville lawyer Troy Weston with Eldridge & Blakney will represent Tennessee young lawyers in the American Bar Association House of Delegates during the 2015-2016 bar year. He was elected without opposition and succeeds Marshall County General Sessions Judge Lee Bussart, whose term had expired.

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YLD 2015 Election Petitions Due April 1

Young lawyers interested in running for leadership positions within the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) for the 2015-2016 bar year have until April 1 to file a nominating petition. Elected positions include Vice President (must be from the Western Grand Division), East Tennessee Governor, Middle Tennessee Governor, West Tennessee Governor, Secretary, Treasurer and district representatives from odd-numbered districts:

  • District 1: Carter, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington counties
  • District 3: Knox County
  • District 5: Hamilton County
  • District 7: Cannon, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Rutherford, Sequatchie counties
  • District 9: Davidson County
  • District 11: Bedford, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, Wayne, Williamson counties
  • District 13: Chester, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Tipton counties
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ABA to Fund Programs that Employ New, Underutilized Lawyers

Organizations with initiatives to employ new and underutilized lawyers in innovative ways while meeting the legal needs of poor and moderate-income individuals can apply for start-up funding from the American Bar Association. Now in the second year, the Catalyst Grants are designed for programs proposed by bar associations, courts, law schools and other groups. View the press release

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Pera to Lead TBA in 2017-2018

Memphis attorney Lucian Pera of Adams and Reese will be president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 2017-2018, according to election-qualifying results released today. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After taking office as vice president this summer, Pera will become president-elect in 2016-2017 and take over the organization’s leadership in June 2017.

There will be one contested election this spring. John Holt with the Law Offices of Holt & Kroeger and Roger Nell, the public defender in Clarksville, are both vying for the District 19 seat in the House of Delegates. Several vacancies in the House will be filled through appointment, as will the West Grand Division Governor, Position 1, post that Pera now holds on the Board of Governors.

Candidates who filed for the following positions will take office at the June annual meeting as they did not draw opponents: David McDowell, 3rd District Governor; Mary Dohner Smith, 5th District Governor; Kim Helper, 6th District Governor; Brian Faughnan, 8th District Governor; Sarah Sheppeard, East Grand Division Governor, Position 1; Andy Roskind, East Grand Division Governor, Position 2; Gary Shockley, Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 1; David Veile, Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 2; and Carl Carter, West Grand Division Governor, Position 2. Also winning without opposition are two TBA delegates to the ABA House of Delegates: Jonathan Cole, Position 1, and young lawyer delegate Troy Weston, Position 3.

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DLI Class Holds 1st Session, Mentors Still Needed

The law student members of the 2015 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 Jonathan Steen’s key initiatives for the year as well as legislation of interest to lawyers. Class members also held separate sessions that featured a keynote address by Judge Pamela Reeves with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and an interactive activity about learning styles. Special thanks to YLD Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist and committee member Amber Floyd, who planned the weekend’s activities, and to former TBA President Gail Vaughn Ashworth, who moderated the class caucus.

The Diversity Committee reports that additional mentors are needed for law students participating in the DLI. Mentors are assigned to one member of the class and are required to interact with the student at least twice during the six-month program. If you are willing to serve as a mentor please contact Baptist, (901) 537-1123.

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YLD Recognizes CASA, Other Volunteers

YLD President Rachel Moses presented the 2015 CASA Volunteer of the Year Award to Jane Hickman of Greenbrier during the TBA’s 2015 Leadership Conference this month. Hickman volunteers with CASA of Robertson County. Moses also recognized three attorney volunteers with Star of the Quarter awards. Honored were Chris McCarty, chair of the YLD Membership Committee, for undertaking a major membership campaign; Cherrelle Hooper, District 8 Representative; for producing the first Wills for Heroes clinic in Gallatin in more than five years and serving the most first responders of any clinic this year; and Adam Moore, editor of E-DICT, for dedication to the division and outreach to members through the division’s monthly newsletter.

See photos from the group’s Winter Meeting

Hickman (left) receives her award from YLD President Rachel Moses

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