Links for April 2014

Long to Lead TBA in 2016-2017

Knoxville attorney Jason Long of Lowe, Yeager & Brown will be president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 2016-2017, according to election-qualifying results released today. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After serving a year as vice president, Long will become president-elect in 2015-2016 before taking over the organization’s leadership in June 2016.

There will be a contested election for two TBA leadership posts this spring. For Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 2, Nashville attorney Jim Cartiglia of Waddey & Patterson PC will face Franklin attorney David Veile of Schell & Davies LLC. In the East, Knoxville attorney Sarah Sheppeard of Sheppeard & Mynatt PLC will face Chattanooga attorney David McDowell of Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon PLLC for the East Grand Division Governor, Position 1 slot.

Candidates who filed for the following positions will take office at the June annual meeting as they did not draw opponents: Tasha Blakney, 2nd District Governor; Donna Pierce, 4th District Governor; Dan Berexa, 5th District Governor; Michelle Sellers, 7th District Governor; Lucian Pera, West Grand Division Governor, Position 1; Brian Faughnan, West Grand Division Governor, Position 2; Gary Shockley, Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 1; and Andy Roskind, East Grand Division Governor, Position 2. Also winning without opposition are three TBA delegates to the ABA House of Delegates: Buck Lewis, Position 2; John Tarpley, Position 4; and Paul Campbell III, Position 5.

TBA Recognizes 2014 CCPBI Award Winners

Attorneys from Caterpillar Financial Services Corp. in Nashville and the Knoxville office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz were honored Saturday during the Eighth Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala in Nashville. Baker Donelson was recognized for two projects undertaken in partnership with Legal Aid of East Tennessee: serving as a Pillar Law Firm, representing people seeking to obtain a conservatorship over a disabled adult and working to bring “Project H.E.L.P.” – a program that provides legal assistance to homeless men, women and children – to the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission. CAT Financial was recognized for an ongoing partnership with Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), which offers immigration legal services, education and advocacy. In addition, the gala raised nearly $60,000 to support pro bono activities across the state. See photos from the event or learn more about the initiative.

Supreme Court Clarifies Rule on Amending Complaints

In a unanimous opinion, Michael S. Becker et al v. Ford Motor Company, the Tennessee Supreme Court has held that state law allows a plaintiff to add a defendant whose involvement was raised by the original defendant, even when the plaintiff was aware of the new defendant before the statute of limitations expired. Learn more from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Defamation Law Changed 50 Years Ago with Sullivan

It has been 50 years since the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in The New York Times v. Sullivan. This decision marked a profound change in the law of defamation, Jackson lawyer Dale Conder writes in an editorial for the Jackson Sun. Before Sullivan, defamation actions were strictly matters of state law, but this case changed that by declaring that the First Amendment’s protections of speech and the press limit a state’s power to award damages to a public official claiming a citizen or the press defamed him. For more on the history of libel law from 1964 through 1989, read this Tennessee Bar Journal article by Nashville lawyer John P. Williams, published when Sullivan was just 25 years old.

Youth Courts Train Teens in Hamilton Co.

About 40 students gathered in Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw's courtroom on Saturday to train to be on the county's new Youth Court, one of 16 diversionary programs in the state that allows non-violent, first-time offenders the opportunity to have their cases heard by a jury of kids their own age. In Chattanooga, the program is supported by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Miller & Martin PLLC and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and administered by the Tennessee Bar Association. Miller & Martin partner Randy Wilson tells the Times Free Press that 25 lawyers are volunteering time. Philyaw says he hopes to increase the court members 120 and to have the first actual court session with two cases in April and have a monthly session thereafter. Denise Bentley, the TBA's Youth Court coordinator, says fewer than 7 percent of respondents who participate in Tennessee youth courts re-offend within a year.

Numbers

Drug Court Finds Those Lost to Meth

The Davidson County Drug Court program serves some 200 current and recovering drug addicts, one in 10 of whom are there because of methamphetamine. Led by Criminal Court Judge Seth Norman, the program is widely hailed, boasting a success rate of more than 60 percent, the Tennessean reports. While alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and even heroin users typically take a little more than a year to complete the program, meth addicts take about 24 months, Norman tells the newspaper.

Clarksville DA Office Debuts Facility Dog

The 19th Judicial District debuted its first facility dog Wednesday in Judge Mike R. Jones’ courtroom. Orson, the two-year-old black lab/golden retriever mix, was specifically bred and trained from birth to serve those with special needs. In his first assignment, Orson accompanied and comforted a nine-year-old victim testifying in a child rape trial. He has become the third facility dog in Tennessee, although Clarksville is the first to receive a dog that works primarily from the District Attorney's Office. The Leaf Chronicle has more.

Percentage of Part-time Lawyers Drops in Major Firms

Just over 6 percent of lawyers working in major law firms were working part-time last year, and 70 percent of those part-timers were women, a National Association for Law Placement survey shows. The percentage of part-time women lawyers dropped from 13.5 percent in 2012 to 12.9 percent in 2013. Only 2.8 percent of all male lawyers worked part-time, the study notes. The percentage of lawyers working part-time lags behind that of the U.S. workforce as well as for those employed in other professions — about 13.7 percent of people employed in 2012 usually worked part-time. The ABA Journal has more.

Harvard Poll: Law Students Need Number-Crunching Skills

Accounting, statistics and financial analysis skills are among the most important for equipping students to practice at a big law firm, a study from Harvard Law School reports. Harvard polled 124 lawyers at the 11 major firms that employ the most Harvard law grads and found that in addition to accounting, the attorneys advised students to take courses in corporate finance, negotiation, business strategy, corporations and securities regulation. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has the story.