Harbison to Lead TBA in 2015

Elected Vice President

Nashville attorney William L. “Bill” Harbison has been elected the Tennessee Bar Association’s vice president, a position that will lead to president-elect next year, followed by the presidency in 2015.

William HarbisonA partner with Sherrard & Roe PLC, Harbison works primarily in the areas of corporate law, trusts and estates, and handles litigation in those areas. He previously served as general counsel and as secretary on the TBA Board of Governors and has been president of the Nashville Bar Association.

“I have been active in the TBA from the beginning of my career in 1980,” Harbison points out. “I have missed very few TBA conventions over the years and have always enjoyed participating. Having served as secretary and general counsel, I am familiar with the board and frankly I have missed it since I stepped down as general counsel a couple of years ago.”

So, he says, it was natural to seek the office of president.

He says one of his biggest priorities will be to continue the access to justice initiatives that were started by George T. “Buck” Lewis, who was TBA president in 2008-09. Lewis launched an access to justice campaign called “Justice 4ALL,” an innovative effort designed to educate the legal profession about the urgent need for greater pro bono legal services, expand the number and types of opportunities available for volunteers and inform the public about accessing available assistance. The initiative also promoted collaborations with local and county bar organizations and the Tennessee Supreme Court to explore access to justice issues, including legislative and programmatic initiatives to increase meaningful access to justice for the poor. 

“I have some time before I become president to be involved with the Board and the TBA officers,” Harbison says, “and will be developing other priorities during that period.”

He is the son of the late Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William J. Harbison, who served from 1974 to 1990 and later joined his son as a partner at Sherrard & Roe.

He is the recipient of the TBA’s 2012  Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Award, is a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners, serves on the Board of Professional Responsibility Advisory Committee, and is a member of the hearing panel of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

Harbison graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. He received his bachelor's degree with highest honors in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Briefs

Moses to Be YLD President, McArdle on Board
Cookeville lawyer Rachel M. Moses has been elected vice president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and will serve as its president in 2015-2016. She will take office in June. Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, has served for many years as YLD District 6 Representative. She also is a member of the TBA Public Education Committee and chair of its YouTube Video Contest Subcommittee. Moses was deemed elected after the filing deadline passed and she was unopposed for the post.

The YLD will decide one contested election — that of District 9 Representative — at its annual meeting June 14 in Nashville. Candidates for that position are  Nashville lawyers Jonathan S. Carlton and Charles L. “Chip” Howorth.

In addition to Bill Harbison’s election (see story above), Jonesborough attorney Erin McArdle was chosen to serve as First District Governor for the TBA.

The TBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates will fill seats where no one filed. Member voting began Feb. 22 and ended April 1. You can see a complete list of TBA leaders elected in 2013 to serve in the 2013-2014 membership, online.

TBA Diversity Job Fair Set
The 3rd Annual TBA Diversity Job Fair is set for Aug. 23-24 in Nashville. Building on the success of past events, this year’s job fair will provide legal employers the opportunity to interview diverse 2L and 3L law students from law schools in Tennessee and surrounding states. All legal employers in Tennessee are invited to take part, regardless of size or sector. Participants are asked to consider candidates for summer associate positions, clerkships and associate attorney positions.

Learn more or sign up online or contact TBA Programs Director Lynn Pointer for more information. The TBA Diversity Job Fair is an initiative of the TBA Committee on Racial & Ethnic Diversity (CRED). All activities for this event will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. North, in Nashville.

Lawyers, Judges Volunteer to Support Mock Trial Championship
Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association (KACHEA) claimed the state high school mock trial championship title in March, defeating Montgomery Bell Academy of Nashville. The 33rd annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition was sponsored by the TBA Young Lawyers Division and involved 14 teams and 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds, with Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch presiding over the championship match. The Kingsport team will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Indianapolis, Ind., May 9-11. See team rankings, award winners and photos from the championship round on the 2013 competition webpage.

Veterans Courts Receive Commission Funding
The Shelby County and Montgomery County Veterans Courts each will receive a $20,000 donation from the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. The Veterans Courts are devoted solely to helping former service members deal with legal problems.

Law Firm Mergers Hit 4-Year High
Law firm mergers and acquisitions in the South are the highest number in four years, according to the most recent data from legal industry consulting firm Altman Weil. The Nashville Business Journal reports the organization’s MergerLine indicates the highest number of mergers and acquisitions occurred since first quarter 2009, primarily concentrated among small firms. Of the 21 acquisitions announced through the first quarter, 19 involved firms with 25 or fewer attorneys.

Free Pro Bono Line Helps Nearly 800 in First Months
The new toll-free number for pro bono legal assistance, 1-888-aLEGALz, has received nearly 800 calls during the first three months of its opening, reports the Memphis Daily News. Memphis attorney Tim Hughes, formerly of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., was hired to man the line on weekdays and make the arrangements for legal representation. In addition, the Access to Justice Commission also operates an online pro bono website — OnlineTNJustice.org — making Tennessee the first state to offer both options.

Take a Class to Give a Class: Free CLE Speaker Training
If you have considered speaking at a continuing legal education seminar but don’t know where to start, you will want to attend the upcoming faculty development training. On June 28 and 29 the Tennessee Bar Association will host a free class for speakers who have never before presented a TBA CLE. Sponsored by the TBA CLE Committee, instruction will focus on presentation skills, on-camera tips, distance learning audience, materials, panel presentations and technology. To recommend an attorney for this training contact CLE Director Mindy Thomas-Fulks at mfulks@tnbar.org.

Apply by June 1: Board of Governors to Fill Open Positions

Three open positions will be filled by the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors at its meeting Saturday, June 15.

The positions — West Grand Division Governors (Positions 1 and 2) and the 4th District Governor — are open seats created when no one sought to be considered for the seats by the deadline.

The West Grand Division includes the counties of Henry, Decatur, Hardeman, McNairy, Carroll, Chester, Hardin, Madison, Henderson, Fayette, Benton, Gibson, Weakley, Obion, Haywood, Crockett, Lake, Dyer, Tipton, Lauderdale and Shelby.

The 4th District includes the counties of White, Warren, Franklin, Lincoln, Van Buren, Fentress, Moore, Marshall, Pickett, Bedford, Cannon, Putnam, Smith, Rutherford, DeKalb, Overton, Jackson, Wilson, Macon, Clay, Coffee, Trousdale, Grundy and Sequatchie.

In accordance with Article 47 of the TBA Bylaws, the board may fill the vacancies, with terms through Spring 2014, by election at its June 2013 meeting.

If you would like to be considered for one of the positions, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur in writing indicating your interest including a résumé at aramsaur@tnbar.org by June 10.