Links for May 2013

3rd Annual TBA Diversity Job Fair Set

The 3rd Annual TBA Diversity Job Fair is set for August 23-24 in Nashville. Building on the success of past events, this year’s job fair will provide legal employers the opportunity to interview diverse 2L and 3L law students from law schools in Tennessee and surrounding states. All legal employers in Tennessee are invited to take part, regardless of size or sector. Participants are asked to consider candidates for summer associate positions, clerkships and associate attorney positions. Learn more or sign up online or contact TBA Programs Director Lynn Pointer for more information. The TBA Diversity Job Fair is an initiative of the TBA Committee on Racial & Ethnic Diversity (CRED). All activities for this event will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. North, in Nashville.

Veterans Courts Receive Commission Funding

The Shelby County and Montgomery County Veterans Courts each will receive a $20,000 donation from the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. The Veterans Courts are devoted solely to helping former service members deal with legal problems.

Legal Sector Still Adding Jobs

The legal services sector added 2,000 jobs in March the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. According to the Department of Labor, data shows the sector has grown by about 9,000 jobs since March of last year. The economy overall generated just 88,000 jobs in March, the smallest gain in 10 months.

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ABA: Law Grad Employment Ticks Up

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2012 nine months after graduation. According to ABA Now, law schools reported that 56.2 percent of graduates were employed in long-term, full-time positions where bar-passage was required and 9.5 percent were employed in long-term, full-time JD Advantage positions. The numbers boast a 1.3 and 1.4 percentage increase from 2011 data, respectively.

Law Firm Mergers Hit 4-Year High

Law firm mergers and acquisitions in the South have been as high as it’s been in four years, according to the most recent data from legal industry consulting firm Altman Weil. The Nashville Business Journal reports the organization’s MergerLine indicates the highest number of mergers and acquisitions occurred since first quarter 2009, primarily concentrated among small firms. Of the 21 acquisitions announced through the first quarter, 19 involved firms with 25 or fewer attorneys.

Pro Bono Hotline Helps Hundreds of Tennesseans

The new toll free hotline for pro bono legal assistance 1-888 aLEGALz has received nearly 800 calls during the first three months of its opening, reports the Memphis Daily News. Funded by the International Paper Co. and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, the hotline helps improve citizens' access to free legal assistance. Memphis attorney Tim Hughes, formerly of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., was hired to man the line on weekdays and make the arrangements for legal representation. In addition to the hotline, the Access to Justice Commission also operates an online pro bono website, making Tennessee the first state to offer both options.

TBA Members Select Leadership for 2013-2014

The chart below shows the members who have been elected this year to lead the Tennessee Bar Association during the 2013-2014 membership year (July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014). The TBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates will fill seats where no one filed. Member voting began Feb. 22, 2013 and ended April 1, 2013.

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Moses Elected YLD VP, 1 Contested Race Set for June

Cookeville lawyer Rachel M. Moses has been elected vice president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and will serve as its president in 2015-2016. She will take office in June. Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, has served for many years as YLD District 6 Representative. She also is a member of the TBA Public Education Committee and chair of its YouTube Video Contest Subcommittee. She previously was president of the Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association, a group she was instrumental in forming. Moses was deemed elected after the filing deadline passed and she was unopposed for the post. The YLD will decide one contested election – that of District 9 Representative – at its Annual Meeting June 14 in Nashville. Candidates for that position are Jonathan S. Carlton with Harrington Law Office and Charles L. “Chip” Howorth with Smith Cashion & Orr. Both are in Nashville. See a report of all election results.

Study: Tennessee Indigent Defense Fees Among Lowest

A study released by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers found that Tennessee pays court-appointed attorneys one of the lowest rates in the country. The study suggests that states with low compensation and pay caps discourage experienced attorneys from taking court-appointed cases and create an incentive for quick plea deals. Tennessee pays court-appointed attorneys $50 an hour for in-court work and $40 for office work compared to a national average of $65 an hour. Also in Tennessee, rates are capped at $1,500 for felony cases and $1,000 for misdemeanor cases. Defense attorneys say these rates allow for about a week’s worth of work when such cases can easily take several weeks or even months. The Administrative Office of the Courts told The Tennessean that it has increased payments but is limited by budget constraints and that criminal defense expenditures now represent nearly half of the entire court system's budget.

Kingsport Home School Wins 1st Mock Trial Championship

Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association (KACHEA) claimed the state high school mock trial championship title this month, defeating Montgomery Bell Academy of Nashville. The 33rd annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition was sponsored by the TBA Young Lawyers Division and involved 14 teams and 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds, with Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch presiding over the championship match. The Kingsport team will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Indianapolis, Ind., May 9-11. See team rankings and award winners on the 2013 competition webpage and see photos from the championship round