Links for March 2012

Big Shrimp brings together leaders, legislators
Legislators from across Tennessee joined Tennessee Bar Association leaders and members for the annual TBA Big Shrimp legislative reception Feb. 7. Also in attendance were members of the 2012 TBA Leadership Law class, which had spent the day in Nashville for the "Issues in Policy and Politics" session of their six-month program. Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey addressed the TBALL group at lunch. Other program segments featured panelists discussing what it is like to be a lawyer in the General Assembly, the role of the lawyer lobbyist, working for the state and the future of tort revision legislation. Other speakers included Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper; state senators Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, and Doug Overby, R-Maryville; and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

ABA committee OKs new data on law school grads
The American Bar Association's Standards Review Committee has approved a new law school accreditation standard that will greatly expand the amount of graduate placement data that schools must publicly disclose. Committee members reportedly got into a protracted and testy debate about whether to require the posting of salary information. In the end, though, the package was approved as presented. The governing council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will take up the proposal next at a meeting set for March. The National Law Journal looks at the issue, as does the ABA Journal

Celebration planned for Supreme Court building
Plans are underway for a Judicial Family Reunion of all those who have worked in the Nashville Supreme Court Building since its dedication in December 1937. In honor of the building's 75th Anniversary, the court is asking those who have worked there to provide their name, address, e-mail, years worked in the building and position/title. Those with photographs of staff also are encouraged to send them to the court at mike.catalano@tncourts.gov.

Learn more about the event

http://www.tncourts.gov/news/2012/01/18/judicial-family-reunion-be-held-75th-anniversary-nashville-supreme-court-building

Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The 107th Tennessee General Assembly is now in session and the TBA has a number of tools to help you track the status of legislation. Watch TBA Today for regular news updates and follow the TBA Action List to track bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in -- those it has initiated, taken a position on, or has a policy on. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community. Find complete TBA legislative resources

Court: Attaching GPS to car amounts to a search
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled for a drug defendant who argued that police should have obtained a warrant before attaching a GPS device to his car to monitor his movements. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion for a court that was unanimous in its finding that the police conduct was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The ABA Journal tells you more

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/supreme_court_rules_attaching_gps_device_to_car_is_a_search/

GPS used in Nashville case; new ruling probably won't affect sentence
When the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday released a ruling on the use of tracking devices and said that police need a warrant before they can attach a GPS unit to someone's car, attorney Carrie Gasaway knew she had been right. Gasaway represented Robert Jason Burdick, the notorious "Wooded Rapist," in a series of jury trials several years ago. "It confirmed what we thought all the way along, that they violated his constitutional rights," she said. Burdick was convicted of raping women in several counties and won't be eligible for parole for another 100 years. The high court's decision affirms her argument, Gasaway said, but it probably won't free her former client since evidence used in the case was obtained before the GPS device was put into use. The Tennessean has it

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120124/NEWS03/301240028/GPS-ruling-likely-won-t-free-Wooded-Rapist-

Legal aid groups plan additional layoffs in 2012
With the U.S. House and Senate cutting funding for civil legal assistance to the poor by about 14 percent for this budget year, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) reports that an ongoing wave of layoffs and staff reductions already engulfing local programs will likely worsen. The group released a survey in January indicating that legal aid agencies plan to lay off 393 employees in 2012, including 163 attorneys. That makes for an expected loss of 1,226 full-time personnel compared with 2010 staffing levels. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports

http://www.lsc.gov/media/press-releases/staff-reductions-hit-legal-aid-p...

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/01/26/legal-aid-groups-planning-major-layoffs-in-2012/

$800k given in IOLTA grants
In January, the Tennessee Bar Foundation announced $800,000 in IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts) grants to a range of groups across the state. Recipients included local CASA programs, legal aid offices and social service agencies.

Shelby juvenile court cited as model for nation
Shelby County Juvenile Court is the only juvenile court in the Southeast, and one of only a handful nationwide, to win three top designations, including recent final approval for accreditation by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The Commercial Appeal has the story

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/jan/26/detention-detour/

Editorial: Shelby Juvenile court changed face of justice
In an editorial, the Commercial Appeal praises "the efforts by the leadership team at Shelby County Juvenile Court to change the face of juvenile justice in Memphis and Shelby County continues to garner national recognition." Read the editorial

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/jan/30/well-deserved-honors/

New York lawyer nominated
ABA president-elect New York City lawyer James R. Silkenat, a partner in the national law firm of Sullivan & Worcester, was nominated Feb. 6 to become president-elect of the American Bar Association. The ABA House of Delegates will vote on the nomination in August. If elected, Silkenat will serve a one-year term as ABA president-elect before taking office as president of the association in August 2013 at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.