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Links for December 2010
Professional liability insurance added to TBA benefits
The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company was made an endorsed provider of professional liability insurance by the Tennessee Bar Association board following a recommendation by the TBA's LPL Subcommittee on Saturday. As a TBA member, you will have access to this benefit. Based in St. Louis, The Bar Plan currently is far and away the lawyers professional liability market leader in Missouri and is among the market leaders in Kansas, Indiana and New Mexico. Since its founding in 1986, The Bar Plan has shown a continuous commitment to the legal community. It provides a risk management hotline, offers continuing legal education seminars and supports practice management services. All of this helps it to be a strong participant in the legal community with a valuable knowledge of the industry and how to price this line of business.
Watch for more information on this plan or contact TBA Membership Director Colleen O'Connell to learn more.
Retirement planning added as TBA benefit
At its fall meeting, the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors voted to make the American Bar Association Retirement Funds an endorsed benefits provider for association members. Established more than 40 years ago by the American Bar Association, the ABA Retirement Funds Program was created to help law firms of all sizes develop retirement plans that incorporate the specialized features they need " easily and cost effectively " while providing high quality products and services. The program's full service solutions include plan design, plan administration, investment flexibility, independent on-line investment advice and services for participants. Watch for more information on this program.
Student 'access to justice' essay contest announced
After 40 years, the Roscoe Hogan Environmental Law Essay Contest has changed to the Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Contest. The new competition will focus on whether and how the courts can be used to obtain justice. The contest awards a $5,000 cash prize. The 2011 topic is "The Gulf Oil Spill: Who Are The Victims & How Do They Get Compensated?" Any student currently enrolled in an accredited American law school may submit an entry. A declaration of intent to enter the contest is due by Jan. 31, while the contest deadline is March 31, 2011. Get more information at http://www.publicjustice.net/What-We-Do/Awards/Law-School-Essay-Contest.aspx
1,159 people helped during 'Celebrate Pro Bono' month
A record number of people received free legal assistance during recent Celebrate Pro Bono Month events across Tennessee. More than 450 volunteers " including 291 lawyers and 161 non-lawyers (such as paralegals, law students, social workers and interpreters) " gave their time to help meet the legal needs of 1,159 Tennesseans during October. Last year, 217 lawyers and 66 non-lawyers provided assistance to 416 people in the statewide campaign coordinated by the Tennessee Bar Association. In addition, three free CLE programs provided training to 115 lawyers who have agreed to provide pro bono service either through a clinic or by taking on pro bono cases. See photos from the events on TBAConnect.
Learn more about Celebrate Pro Bono and the groups that participated
Though the National Association for Law Placement reports that employment for the class of 2009 was 88.3 percent, according to an article on Slate.com, "about a quarter of those jobs were temporary gigs, without the salaries needed by most new lawyers to pay off crushing debts. Another 10 percent were part-time. And thousands of jobs were actually fellowships or grants provided by the new lawyers' law schools." Some law students and recent grads blame the number of new law schools for over-filling the market. And of those who chose law school as a strategy to wait out the recession, some are now arguing that they should get their money back. In fact, one recent grad named his law school in his bankruptcy filing. He asks the school to "[a]dmit that your business knew or should have known that plaintiff would be in no position to repay those loans."
Slate.com explores the issue
Firm sets up loan repayment help for public service work
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has committed $208,000 to a new program aimed at helping legal graduates pursuing public service careers. The firm has established a loan repayment assistance program at the University of Tennessee College of Law for law students or alumni pursuing legal careers in the public service sector. The fund for the program was established through individual contributions from Baker Donelson attorneys that were then matched by the firm. Loans will be paid for one or two such students or alumni who are "about to be employed or are already employed in an area of public interest law, such as public defender, district attorney, legal aid organizations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations." The Memphis Business Journal has more http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2010/11/01/baker-donelson-commits-208000.html
New lawyers admitted Nov. 2 in Nashville
The Tennessee Supreme Court today welcomed about 200 new attorneys to the practice of law during admission ceremonies in Nashville. Most of those new admittees and their families also were guests of the Tennessee Bar Association at an open house and luncheon. Admissions ceremonies continue tomorrow in Jackson and Thursday in Memphis. The court welcomed new attorneys in Knoxville on Monday.
Look at photos from the ceremony and luncheon on TBA Connect
Nov 3 New Leadership Law class announced
The Tennessee Bar Association today announced the members of the 2011 Leadership Law class. The class of 34, selected from attorneys across the state, will meet for its first session in early January. Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities.
See the list of class members
Tennessee joins coalition supporting immigration law
A coalition of 13 states, including Tennessee, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold an Arizona law penalizing employers of illegal immigrants. The court is scheduled to hear arguments in December on the 2007 law that allows business licenses to be suspended or revoked when employers knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. The Missouri attorney general's office is leading the coalition, which argues that states long have had the authority to license and regulate businesses. The Tennessean reports
New resource for pro bono immigration cases
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) announced that it has expanded its Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) to allow individual pro bono attorneys representing low-income immigrants to access resources, information and forums previously available only to IAN members. The newly created Pro Bono Resource Center also provides a new venue for AILA experts to share their insights and advice with less experienced practitioners who want to get involved in pro bono immigration work. Download the association's news release or visit the online pro bono center to learn more.
Historic' decline in law firm diversity points to recession The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) released its latest diversity statistics on Thursday, concluding that the percentage of both minority and women attorneys declined slightly at firms during 2010. The NALP data didn't say why the overall representation of women and minorities went down, but NALP Executive Director James Leipold said "it is likely that the recession, and the many lawyer layoffs that accompanied it, can be identified as at least one significant reason for this historic decrease." Law.com has more
Ceremony welcomes Judge Stranch to court
The Hon. Jane Branstetter Stranch formally joined the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals during investiture ceremonies Nov. 8 in Nashville. The Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey administered the oath to Judge Stranch, who had her husband, Nashville attorney James G. Stranch III, at her side. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper offered remarks and Nashville Bar Association President Jonathan Cole made a presentation on behalf of the bar as part of the event.
Photos are available to TBA members on TBAConnect
Clerkship study shows changing demographics NALP, the association for legal career professionals, recently released data on judicial clerkships, finding that over the past 10 years the number of positions has decreased significantly and there has been a shift in the demographics of those securing slots. Most notably, female law graduates now hold more clerkships overall (51 percent), while men continue to dominate at the federal level (54.3 percent). The other major finding is the disproportionality of minorities holding clerkships. While minorities made up 22 percent of the 2009 graduating class, they obtained only 16 percent of clerkships overall and only 13 percent at the federal level.