Jackie Dixon to Lead TBA in 2012

Association Elections

Nashville lawyer Jacqueline (Jackie) Dixon was elected vice president of the Tennessee Bar Association and will become its president in 2012-2013.

Dixon is a partner in the newly created firm of Weatherly McNally & Dixon, which focuses on criminal defense, complex personal injury and domestic relations cases. She says she is honored to be selected to lead the TBA and "hopes to continue the association's tradition of service to the bar, the judicial system and the public."

Others who will be elected without opposition are:

  • Grand Division Governor, West Tennessee (one-year term): Brian Faughnan, Memphis
  • Grand Division Governor, Middle Tennessee (one-year term): James Crumlin, Nashville
  • Grand Division Governor, East Tennessee (one-year term): Cindy Wyrick, Sevierville
  • Governor, First District (three-year term): Frank Johnstone, Kingsport
  • Governor, Fourth District (three-year term): Bobby Hibbett, Lebanon
  • Governor, Seventh District (three-year term): Jonathan Steen, Jackson
  • TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 2: Buck Lewis, Memphis
  • TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 4: John Tarpley, Nashville
  • TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 5: Paul Campbell III, Chattanooga.

  '4ALL' Wins Nationwide Award

The Tennessee Bar Association's year-long Justice 4ALL initiative has received an "Associations Advance America Award" from the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership " just one of 24 programs selected nationwide for the honor. Now in its 20th year, the award is designed to recognize contributions made by associations and showcase the impact associations can have on the quality of American life.

The 4ALL program was launched in 2009 to expand access to justice for Tennesseans who could not afford legal representation. Through a four-point platform, the program educated professionals and the public on the need for pro bono legal services, recommended law and rules changes to encourage pro bono work, mobilized local bar associations and law firms to undertake pro bono activities, and provided free legal services to 1,300 needy individuals.  

 

Briefs

Court seeks comments on emeritus pro bono rule

The Tennessee Access to Justice Commission proposed in February that the state Supreme Court adopt a new rule establishing an "Emeritus Attorneys Pro Bono Participation Program." The proposal would create new rule 50A, allowing attorneys who no longer actively practice law to provide free legal services through approved legal assistance organizations. The proposed rule lays out qualifications for participation, a certification process for both lawyers and organizations seeking to participate, and responsibilities of attorneys who are certified. Comments, which are due by April 12, should be submitted to the Supreme Court clerk. Download the proposed rule from the Administrative Office of the Courts at http://www.tncourts.gov/

Memphis legal groups to launch clinic for homeless people

Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., the Community Legal Center and the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC will launch the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP) program in Memphis this month. The program, first organized by a New Orleans judge, gives legal providers and law firms a platform to offer pro bono clinics specifically for homeless people. It will differ from other pro bono efforts as it will offer assistance with minor criminal issues in additional to civil issues. The clinics will be held monthly at the homeless service center Hospitality Hub on Jefferson Ave.

 

With bleak job market, law schools continue to fill up

About 151,400 people sat for law school entrance exams last year, and more than 51,000 entered law school " even with the economy sending negative signals to new lawyers. They're all banking on the job market to improve by the time they graduate. But currently, job placement for new lawyers is still bleak. "What we are seeing is the employers of lawyers are shying away from hiring entry-level attorneys," says Pam Koerner, whose firm recruits for top law firms in the South. "They are gravitating more toward lateral attorneys with two-plus years of legal experience." With this in mind, schools are coming up with innovative ways to place their graduates, including Vanderbilt's new Public Service Initiative, which offers unemployed graduates a six-month stipend and teams them up with nonprofits. The Tennessean has the story. Connect to it at www.tba.org/journal_links

Summer associate changes not as drastic as predicted, as offers hit 17-year low

The board of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) decided recently to back off a plan that would delay the summer associate offer process by as many as four months. Instead, it adopted two smaller changes to the recruiting guidelines: The deadline for students to accept offers will drop from 45 days to 28 days, and the deadline for students who have completed a summer program to accept job offers will move from Nov. 15 to Nov. 1.

But students are still struggling to find the jobs that used to be plentiful. According to statistics released in March by the NALP, the median number of offers for summer 2010 associate positions hit a 17-year low. Not surprisingly, acceptance rates hit a historic high of 43 percent. A spokesperson for the association said the numbers represent "an enormous interruption" in "usual recruiting and employment patterns." The National Law Journal reported both stories. Find them at www.tba.org/journal_links

UT and Lipscomb team up for joint J.D./M.A.

The University of Tennessee College of Law and David Lipscomb University's Institute for Conflict Management are partnering together to offer UT law students the opportunity to earn a masters degree in conflict management from Lipscomb while pursuing their law degree. Students who enroll in the program will receive a 50 percent discount on tuition rates at Lipscomb.

 

Materials available for Law Day

The theme for the 2010 Law Day, "Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges," explores how society can balance long-held legal traditions with changing global realities. To help guide discussion on the topic, the ABA has released a resource guide that covers three topics: reforming American government in the 21st Century, music distribution and copyright, and pirates and the law.

Learn more about Law Day 2010 at www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/home.shtml

You might need a 'virtual escape'

The same technology that has freed attorneys from their physical office space has also tethered them to clients around the clock, perhaps thwarting work-life balance as much as it helps. In fact, more than four-fifths of lawyers use a BlackBerry or other smartphone while away from the office, according to the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, up from 67 percent in 2008 and 53 percent in 2007. Read in the ABA Journal about some lawyers who were able to disconnect, at least while on vacation, and find out if that might be for you. Link to the story at www.tba.org/journal_links

Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys

The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.

Access the TBA Bill Tracking Service at www.tba.org/tba_legismain.html

Justice Department to begin indigent defense program

The Justice Department is on the verge of launching a new program to help low-income people receive legal help, to be called the Access to Justice Initiative. Professor Laurence Tribe, reportedly one of the top constitutional lawyers in the country, will take a leave of absence from Harvard to spearhead the project. Tribe will coordinate with judges and lawyers across the country with the goal of finding ways to help people who cannot afford a lawyer. The project will use a reallocation of money already in the Justice Department's budget, according to a Justice official.

Saying the system is in "crisis" recently at an indigent defense symposium in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Eric Holder added that, "Although they may stand on different sides of an argument, different sides of a courtroom, the prosecution and defense can and must share the same objective: Not victory, but justice."

National Public Radio reports. Listen to the story through www.tba.org/journal_links