Corporate Counsel Gala Honors Outstanding Pro Bono Work

Ethical Responsibility

Corporate counsel and private bar lawyers, along with a diverse group of sponsors, were honored at the Seventh Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala in Nashville in March. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade gave the keynote address, praising the initiative’s emphasis on pro bono service and encouraging all lawyers to fulfill the ethical responsibility of providing legal assistance to those in need.

TBA Access to Justice Committee Member Dave Yoder (left), Chief Justice Gary Wade (center) and Access to Justice Commission Chair Buck Lewis (right) gather after the program. Photos by Jenny Jones/TBA.
TBA Access to Justice Committee Member Dave Yoder (left), Chief Justice Gary Wade (center) and Access to Justice Commission Chair Buck Lewis (right) gather after the program. Photos by Jenny Jones/TBA.
 
From left: TBA Access to Justice Committee Member Linda Warren Seely, Meg Jones from Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative grantee Community Legal Center and Pam Branham.
From left: TBA Access to Justice Committee Member Linda Warren Seely, Meg Jones from Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative grantee Community Legal Center and Pam Branham.

Tennessee Bar Association President Jackie Dixon presented this year’s awards to Memphis-based Burch, Porter & Johnson for its partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to the corporate legal department of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in Chattanooga for its Street Law program and new Hamilton County Legal Clinic.

See more pictures from the event and more details about the recipients at http://www.tba.org/news/tennessee-lawyers-honored-for-commitment-to-pro-...

Briefs

Judicial Selection Plan to Go Before Voters
With both House and Senate passage in mid-March, the proposed constitutional amendment that would change how appellate court judges are selected will now go before voters in 2014. The proposal (SJR 2) would replace Tennessee’s current plan of merit selection and retention elections with a system allowing for the governor to appoint appellate judges, subject to legislative confirmation, followed by retention elections. The House passed the proposal 78-14, while the Senate had earlier given its OK on a 29-2 vote. [Read more about it in this month's President's Perspective.]

New System Will Automate UCC Filings
The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office will soon allow Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings to be handled online as part of an effort to make it more convenient and efficient for business to send required documents to the state. Secretary Tre Hargett said a new filing system, which will launch July 1, will make it possible for UCC filings to be handled through an automated process. “In these technology-oriented times in which we are living, it makes sense to automate as much of our department’s filing management systems as we can,” Hargett said.

Legal Aid Kicks Off 2013 Campaign for Equal Justice
More than 150 lawyers gathered March 5 for a Kickoff Luncheon to the 2013 Campaign for Equal Justice benefitting the Legal Aid Society and the Nashville Pro Bono Program. Campaign Chair Thor Urness of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP announced that the campaign has already raised $440,000 toward its goal of $760,000. Featured speaker Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. emphasized the responsibility of every lawyer to provide pro bono assistance, especially given the significant cuts in legal aid funding in recent years. More than 30 law firms in Davidson and Williamson counties were recognized for their role in the Leadership Cabinet, contributing at least $400 per attorney to the campaign. Every year, the Legal Aid Society and its pro bono partners serve thousands of low-income individuals in 48 Tennessee counties. Pinnacle Financial Partners sponsored the event at the City Club.

Order New Alimony Bench Book
The Tennessee Bar Association Family Law Section has published the 11th edition Alimony Bench Book, produced by the members of the section’s Alimony Committee. Members of the Family Law Section can download the new edition at no charge by logging in to TBA.org and going to the Resources link on the Family Law Section's webpage. The goal of the publication is to assist judges in the consistent awarding of alimony across the state and help lawyers present their cases in court. Visit the TBA Bookstore to order.

Entries for Law Day Contests Now Accepted Through April 12
Entries for the 2013 Law Day Art & Essay Contest, sponsored by the TBA Young Lawyers Division, are due April 12. The competition this year will center on the theme “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” This provides an opportunity for students to explore civil and human rights movements in America and the impact they have had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law. Students also are asked to consider what remains to be done to rectify injustice in society, including eliminating all forms of discrimination, putting an end to human trafficking and ending other violations of human rights.

New Law School Rankings Account for Job Data
U.S. News and World Report now factors in new job information for law graduates when assigning law school rankings. Graduate placement rates account for 20 percent of a school’s overall score. Greater weight is now given for permanent, full-time jobs that require bar passage or for which a J.D. is an advantage. Vanderbilt Law School ranks at number 15 in the report, while the University of Tennessee College of Law is ranked number 61 and the University of Memphis’ Cecil C.Humphreys School of Law is at 144.

Governors: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Former Tennessee governors Don Sundquist (left) and Phil Bredesen and moderator Bill Haltom listen as Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (right) discusses the significance of maintaining civility, even in situations marked by political conflict. Photo Liz Slagle Todaro/TBA
Former Tennessee governors Don Sundquist (left) and Phil Bredesen and moderator Bill Haltom listen as Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (right) discusses the significance of maintaining civility, even in situations marked by political conflict. Photo Liz Slagle Todaro/TBA

More than 300 people heard Gov. Bill Haslam and former governors Phil Bredesen and Don Sundquist take on the topic of civility and effective governance during a lively panel discussion sponsored by the TBA's Public Education Committee Feb. 22 in Knoxville.

The panel was moderated by former TBA President Bill Haltom, who has just completed a book about civility and politics using former U.S. Senator and ambassador to China Howard Baker as the exemplar. All three governors acknowledged the powerful example of respect and cooperation set by Baker, who was in the audience accompanied by his wife Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker.

“We cannot preserve our democracy without finding the right balance between civility and free speech,” TBA President Jackie Dixon said of the event, which was the final of three held across the state and made possible by a grant from the American Bar Association Division for Public Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The TBA partnered with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee College of Law and the First Amendment Center for the event.