Links for May 2011

YLD elects new vice president, officers

Chattanooga lawyer David McDowell will serve as president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division in 2013-2014. He will take office this June as vice president, and then assume the office of president-elect in 2012 and president in 2013. McDowell, who practices with Gearhiser, Peters, Cavett, Elliott & Cannon PLLC, was deemed elected after the filing deadline passed because he was unopposed.

Other YLD officers elected without opposition for the 2011-2012 bar year are Secretary Stacie Winkler, Memphis; Treasurer Marisa Combs, Nashville; and West Tennessee Governor Steven King, Memphis. District Representatives elected without opposition are District 5 Rep. Jason Demastus, Chattanooga; District 9 Rep. Jenney Keaty, Nashville; and District 11 Rep. Shauna Billingsley, Franklin. Members of the YLD will decide the outcome of six contested races at the division's annual meeting June 17 in Chattanooga.

Corporate counsel honored at Pro Bono Gala
In March, Bass, Berry & Sims PLC and AutoZone were recognized for their commitment to providing free legal services to the poor at the 5th Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Gala Saturday evening in Nashville. Two individuals were recognized for their leadership in the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative. For the last five years, Memphis lawyers Jim Barry with International Paper and Andy Branham with Counsel on Call have coordinated the program and helped raise more than $200,000 for pro bono activities.

The event featured remarks by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. The Pro Bono Initiative is a partnership between the Tennessee Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel that encourages and supports pro bono activities by lawyers serving as in-house and corporate counsel in the state.

See pictures from the event on TBAConnect

Learn more about the winners

Tenn. law schools make best graduate schools lists
The 2012 U.S. News & World Report's annual guide to U.S. graduate schools is now available and two of Tennessee's law schools make the top 20. In the best law school category, Vanderbilt University ties with the University of California at Los Angeles for 16th best. Then, in comparing clinical training programs at law schools across the country, the guide ranks the University of Tennessee College of Law in 12th place, according to the school.
See the complete rankings online

In related news, University of Memphis School of Law Dean Kevin Smith took issue with his school's ranking, saying the magazine's methodology is flawed. Read his comments in the Commercial Appeal

Disaster plan in place for Memphis courts
Tom Gould, clerk of court at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, learned a lesson after Hurricane Katrina. "The absence of a court system down there was really significant," he said. So he is working to make sure thatthe federal courts in Memphis would be up and running within 72 hours of any disaster that makes the courthouse inoperable. Part of the emergency plan is to place computer servers and portable equipment such as laptops at various places around Shelby County, including court workers' homes. Learn more in the Commercial Appeal

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

TBA flood video named finalist in national competition
The Tennessee Bar Association has been selected as a finalist for Sonic Foundry's seventh annual Rich Media Impact Awards. The four-minute video documents the efforts of Tennessee lawyers and the TBA in the wake of devastating flooding that hit Middle Tennessee in May 2010. Use of various resources enabled the TBA to get information out quickly to lawyers who wanted to help, or already were helping but needed questions answered about FEMA, the Home Buyout Program, and more.

Winners in the competition will be announced May 17 at the Mediasite User Conference in Madison, Wis. The video was produced by TBA AV/Webcasting Coordinator Angie Bianchi, with voice-over by TBA Publications Coordinator Landry Butler. Webcasts about the flood resources were produced by TBA Assistant Director of CLE Mindy Thomas-Fulks.

Watch the video

April 5

LSC starts pro bono task force in face of funding cuts
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Board of Directors is launching a Pro Bono Task Force to develop additional resources to help low-income Americans facing foreclosure, domestic violence and other serious civil legal problems. The task force was announced today during a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on LSC's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request. It will be chaired by LSC Board members Martha Minow, dean of the Harvard Law School, and Harry J.F. Korrell III, a partner in the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

The move is in response to U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a longtime supporter of funding for civil legal aid who raised the subject of new funding ideas in January. Wolf said today during the budget hearing that private-sector lawyers aren't doing enough to help the nation's poor with legal problems, and warned that they might need to make up for expected cuts in federal funding. Wolf is chair of the appropriations subcommittee.

In April

Ethics opinion addresses drug court recusal
The Judicial Ethics Committee has released an advisory opinion on whether a judge who is part of a drug court team can preside over a revocation hearing for a defendant who is in the drug court program. The opinion concludes that serving as a member of a drug court team does not in and of itself require recusal, but that recusal is required if the judge determines his involvement would raise the appearance of impartiality.

On April 7,

Bill Young named state's new solicitor general
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper today named Bill Young as the state's new solicitor general. Young, a former senior counsel in the attorney general's office, will assume his duties in early July. Young worked in the AG's office for over eight years, leaving in 1995 to serve as deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance -- a position he held for four years. For the past eight years, he has served as senior vice president and general counsel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. Young earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1981. The position of solicitor general was open due to the death of Mike Moore in November of last year.

Chattanooga lawyer develops mediation app
Chattanooga lawyer and mediator Joe Manuel has developed and released the "Tennessee ADR Finder" for the iPhone, iPad or iTouch. The application, which allows users to search key Tennessee mediation rules by topic with one click, is available through iTunes or Apple's App Store. For more information contact Manuel at jem@joemanuel.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Download a flyer about the product