Links for April 2016

Pro Bono Event Pushes Fundraising Past Half Million Mark

March 7, 2016

Tennessee lawyers helped raise more than $45,000 to help legal aid programs in the state at the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala Saturday in Nashville. Now in its 10th year, the event has raised more than half a million dollars to support pro bono efforts that engage in-house and corporate counsel. This year’s event was hosted by Bass, Berry & Sims, and featured honors for an outstanding law firm and legal department, recognized for ongoing commitment to promoting access to justice programs for low-income and vulnerable Tennesseans. This year, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and International Paper Company were honored for their successful efforts. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee provided the keynote address.

14th Alimony Bench Book Available

March 14, 2016

The 14th Edition of the Alimony Bench Book is now available from the TBA Family Law Section. Produced by the members of the section’s Alimony Committee, the book is available for purchase in a loose-leaf format for $40 or a three-ring binder for $50. To order the book, visit the TBA’s online bookstore or contact the TBA at (615) 383-7421. Members of the Family Law Section can download the new edition at no charge by logging in to and going to the Resources link on the Family Law Section's webpage.  

Women Leaving Criminal Practice, Canadian Study Finds

March 11, 2016

A new report commissioned in Canada by the Criminal Lawyers' Association revealed that women are leaving criminal practice at a higher rate than men, CBCNews reports. The study attributes low pay, lack of financial support for maternity leave and being treated differently than male peers by judges as reasons. "We need diverse perspectives to make sure the law develops in step with social values,” said Breese Davies, vice-president of the CLA.

Book of Ginsburg's Writings Coming in 2017

March 11, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will release a collection of speeches and writings in January 2017, the Associated Press reports. The book, “My Own Words,” will also include introductions and interview excerpts from Ginsburg’s authorized biographers.

Britton to Leave UT Law's Admissions Department

March 9, 2016

The University of Tennessee College of Law reports Karen Britton will leave her position as director of Admissions and Financial Aid and the Bettye B. Lewis Career Center after more than 20 years of service to the law school. Britton has also served as president of The National Association for Law Placement and on the TBA’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Read a statement from Dean Melanie D. Wilson.

Photo credit: The TennesseanPayout in Andrews' Case 'Unusually High,' Analyst Says

March 9, 2016

A legal analyst told WSMV that the $55 million in damages awarded earlier this week to TV personality Erin Andrews is “unusually high.” From 2014 to 2015, the average monetary award for cases in Tennessee was $404,323. A juror described the trial's nine-days as an “emotional rollercoaster,” and said to The Tennessean that the seven-hour deliberation was “intense” and “heated.” Andrews sought $75 million after secretly being filmed nude in a Nashville hotel.

Photo credit: The Tennessean

Legislature Named 'Most Conservative' in the Country

March 7, 2016

The Tennessee General Assembly has been named the most conservative legislature in the country by the American Conservative Union. Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, and Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, accepted the award Saturday at the group’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Read more from Humphrey on the Hill.

Check out Photos from Supreme Court Historical Society Reception

March 4, 2016

The Nashville Post shares photos from the annual Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society reception held last month at the Nashville Supreme Court building. The event also celebrated the opening of two new Tennessee Judiciary Museum alcoves dedicated to the roles of women and African-Americans in Tennessee’s legal history.

Photo credit: The TennesseanHaslam Appoints Valerie Smith to 30th Judicial District

March 8, 2016

Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Valerie Smith to serve as a circuit judge in the 30th Judicial District, which serves Shelby County, following the death last year of D’Army Bailey. Smith was previously an attorney with Nahon, Saharovich and Trotz, and an assistant district attorney in Shelby County. Read more from WREG.

Photo credit: AOC

Funding for Nashville Courthouse Clears Final Hurdle

March 2, 2016

The new Nashville federal courthouse, a $182 million project, cleared its final hurdle today after passing through the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The announcement comes from the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, who said the city has needed a new courthouse for more than 20 years for safety reasons. WKRN reports it is unclear when work will begin on the project. 

Crayons Needed: Ginsburg Coloring Book Available

Minimal artistic skill is needed to enjoy a printable Ruth Bader Ginsburg coloring book. SheKnows says the coloring book is a good representation of the trailblazing U.S. Supreme Court justice: “(Ginsburg) encourages us to color outside the lines.”

Law School Debt, Anxiety Rising

March 1, 2016

Almost 70 percent of law students borrowing a hefty amount expect to graduate owing more than $120,000 in student loans, an amount that is up from 2011. A survey of 80 campuses in the annual Law School Survey of Student Engagement found that the increasing debt levels are contributing to increased stress and anxiety for law students. The survey also suggests, according to The National Law Journal (sub. req.), that minority students and those with lower LSAT scores are paying more than their white and Asian classmates and those with higher LSAT scores.

Scalia's Death Could Impact Judicial Confirmations

February 22, 2016

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could complicate the confirmation of two Tennessee attorneys nominated to federal judgeships, according to Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. Nashville attorney Waverly Crenshaw Jr.and U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III have both won the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but have yet to be scheduled for a full Senate vote. “…I think (his death) wi ll be another excuse that could be used by the Republicans," Tobias said, according to the The Knoxville News Sentinel. The Senate confirmed just 11 nominees in 2015; the pace is the slowest in 60 years.

TBA Launches New Law Blog

February 22, 2016

The TBA’s Law Blog has been redesigned to help you stay up-to-date with Tennessee news that impacts your practice. New features include a search by content option that allows you to quickly access archived stories in news categories, including legal news, the General Assembly and the Tennessee Supreme Court. Opinions are also accessible and sortable from the page. The blog is updated throughout the day and is compatible with your smartphone and tablet, so make the TBA Law Blog your online source for Tennessee legal news. Take a quick video tour of the new blog.

OTJ Reaches 500 Attorney Volunteers

February 19, 2016

Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services announced 500 Tennessee attorneys have registered to volunteer with, a virtual legal advice clinic. Since its launch in April 2011, more than 10,800 questions have been posted to the site. Other states have requested to use the site’s software to create their own statewide virtual legal advice clinics and development of a national platform is underway. “It really is a great system for lawyers to give back to the community in a way that is convenient and accessible to all parties,” said Jill Thrash, an OTJ volunteer attorney.


          | TBA Law Blog