Bar Foundation Announces IOLTA Grant Process

Deadline Sept. 5

The Tennessee Bar Foundation, through the Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, provides grant awards to organizations that provide direct civil legal services to the indigent or that seek to improve the administration of justice. Applications for the 2009 grants are available on the foundation's Web site. Completed applications must be postmarked no later than midnight, Sept. 5. For more information, contact the foundation at info@tnbarfoundation.org, call (615) 242-1531 or (800) 634-2516, or visit the foundation's Web site: http://www.tnbarfoundation.org

The Tennessee Rules Commission unanimously passed a proposed Rule 23.08 amendment prepared by the Tennessee Bar Association that would allow trial courts to direct residual class action funds to the Tennessee Voluntary Fund for Indigent Civil Representation (Cy Pres Trust). TBA President Buck Lewis praised the efforts of Memphis attorney Danny Van Horn in researching and preparing the proposed rule, which now goes to the Tennessee Supreme Court for possible action this fall. Read the proposed rule at www.tba.org/journal_links

Knoxville Bar dinner to honor Supreme Court justices: The Knoxville Bar Association will pay tribute to the Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court at its annual Supreme Court Dinner on Sept. 3 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The event provides an opportunity for the entire legal community to gather and recognize the service of the justices and show appreciation for their fairness, graciousness, eloquence and dedication. This year's program will also honor Supreme Court Justice William R. "Mickey" Barker, who is retiring on Sept. 15 after 10 years of service on the court. Find out more or make your reservation now at www.tba.org/journal_links

Meanwhile, there is a campaign underway to thank Justice Barker for his service. Attorneys from across Tennessee are working together to honor him with a portrait that would be hung in the Supreme Court's courtroom in Nashville. Chattanooga attorney Charles Gearhiser is leading the fund-raising campaign to honor Barker for his many years of dedicated service as a trial judge, intermediate appellate judge and finally as a Supreme Court Justice. Download a letter from the campaign committee at www.tba.org/journal_links or make your donation to: Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation, c/o Suzanne Keith, 1903 Division Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37203.

Watch for your October issue of the Journal for a feature story on Justice Barker.

Reeves appointed to Judicial Selection Commission: Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has appointed Knoxville attorney Pamela L. Reeves " with Reeves, Herbert & Murrian PA " to the Judicial Selection Commission. Reeves begins serving Sept. 1, filling the seat being vacated by Jef Feibelman of Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC in Memphis. Reeves was one of three nominees submitted to the speaker in June by the Tennessee Bar Association's Board of Governors.

Criminal justice study sought for Memphis: Legislation to examine racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system and boost public confidence in the system has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. If the bill becomes law, 10 congressional districts will serve as pilot sites for the study and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen says Memphis should be among them. See the story by the Tri-State Defender by going to www.tba.org/journal_links

Survey shows partnership has lost luster; strategies encourage women to make partner: For many associates today, making partner is not something they're sure they want. According to an American Lawyer survey, partnership has lost some value as a retention tool, leaving firms scrambling to find new reasons for midlevels to stick around. Read more at www.tba.org/journal_links

In a related report, a new study says simple strategies can help law firms close the gap between the number of women and men who are advancing into partnership. Among them: make it worthwhile financially for senior partners to promote diversity; encourage men to mentor women; and keep a close eye on how attorneys are credited for their business development efforts. The report, conducted by the National Association of Women Lawyers, aims to increase the percentage of women in top legal positions beyond the 15 percent mark. Download the study at www.tba.org/journal_links

Study of law graduate salaries shows great divide: Research on salaries of recent law school graduates illustrates a striking finding: The bulk of new lawyers are almost evenly divided into higher and lower salary categories. A professor at the Indiana Law School sees a connection between this distribution and the possible demise of the "Cravath system" of hiring by big law firms, as a new business model for the legal profession may emerge. Read more at www.tba.org/journal_links

Need an interpreter? Bench card spells out how court program works: Attorneys helping people get equal access to the judicial system have a new resource. The court interpreter program has created an attorney bench card that aids in answering questions concerning payment for indigent cases or nonindigent matters. You can find the bench card at www.tba.org/journal_links

Third Judicial District officials wary of new boundaries: An ongoing study involving the possibility of redrawing the boundaries of Tennessee's judicial districts has officials in the Third Judicial District concerned they could fare worse under a new system. Those familiar with the district's structure say the state's formula for determining caseloads leaves the wrong impression about the amount of work being handled and could jeopardize the number of judges authorized for the area. The Administrative Office of the Courts held a public forum in Morristown to discuss the issue and judges, prosecutors, public defenders and court clerks denounced any modification of the boundaries. Representatives of the Fourth Judicial District also argued that perceived caseload discrepancies " which motivated the state's inquiry into district boundaries " don't exist in East Tennessee. Read about the issues at www.tba.org/journal_links

Vanderbilt selected for pilot program with Patent Office: Vanderbilt Law School is one of six law schools chosen by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to participate in a new pilot program that will allow law students to practice intellectual property law directly before the USPTO under the supervision of law school clinical faculty. Find more about the program at www.tba.org/journal_links

Tennessee Plan supporters speak out on retention vote: While in Memphis for the ceremonial swearing in of new Criminal Appeals Court Judge Camille McMullen, Gov. Phil Bredesen used the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to the Tennessee Plan. He stated that preservation of the plan is a "must-do" for the state. In remarks made to the Mountain Press, Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade said the plan is a far superior and more productive method for choosing appellate judges. Speaking about how the plan protects the independence of the judiciary Wade said, "You do feel more able to apply the rule of law without the influence of politics." Find the links to stories from several Tennessee newspapers at www.tba.org/journal_links

Election outcome will have effect on aging court: With five justices 70 or older on the U.S. Supreme Court, the outcome of the presidential election is bound to have an influence on the court soon. Despite John Paul Stevens still playing tennis at 88 and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, working out regularly in the Supreme Court gym, change on the Supreme Court is more likely than not in the next four years. Find the link to the News Sentinel's AP report at www.tba.org/journal_links