Links for October 2012

Hearings Set to Discuss Conservatorship Law

A series of hearings across the state will give lawyers, community leaders and citizens an opportunity to discuss what works with the present conservatorship law, and how practice and procedure in conservatorships could be improved. The series begins on Sept. 20 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville, with a 1 to 5 p.m. hearing. Other events are scheduled in Memphis Oct. 23,  and East Tennessee locations Nov. 13-14. Hearings are being conducted by the TBA Special Committee on Conservatorship Practice and Procedure under the leadership of chair and Jackson lawyer Pam Wright. The committee welcomes written comments and brief testimony on the merits of the present conservatorship law found at TCA Title 34, Chapters 1 and 3, as well as suggestions for modifications that could improve its fairness, respect for rights, administration and procedure. Learn more about the hearings

http://www.tba.org/press-release/tba-announces-conservatorship-hearings

Lee Swears-In Wade

Before receiving the oath of office on Saturday, new Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade was praised for his service as an attorney, mayor of Sevierville, judge and since 2006, a justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Sharon G. Lee gave the oath of office to him at the Sevier County Courthouse. In an interview, Wade said that becoming chief justice was not a primary aspiration in his early career. "My first objective," he said, "was to complete law school. Then pass the bar. Then to make sure there was nothing in my past to disqualify me from becoming a notary public. What came after that was the cherry on top." The News Sentinel has the story and pictures

Pro Se Litigants More Likely to Lose, Survey Says

The need for lawyers to provide pro bono services continues. Judges say self-represented people are slowing down court dockets because they typically don’t know what legal points to argue or what motions to file.  And an American Bar Association survey last year said 75 percent of lawyers believe that people who represent themselves are more likely to lose their cases. “Courthouses are being filled with people just showing up, trying to figure out what their rights are," said Legal Services Corp. Chair John Levi. "If you're a low-income person and you have a legal need, it is not easy to get it addressed.” Legal Services funds 135 legal aid groups across the country and serves about 900,000 clients a year, but it has to turn away about the same number of people because of too few staff. The Leaf Chronicle has this AP story

Law School Demand Down, Price Keeps Going Up

The number of applicants to U.S. law schools declined drastically during the past two years, yet the average tuition this fall will climb by more than double the rate of inflation, the National Law Journal reports. Average tuition and fees at private law schools will increase approximately 4 percent over last year to $40,585, according to an examination of published rates by the publication. That's the first time private-school rates have crossed the $40,000 threshold. In-state resident students at public law schools will see a 6 percent increase on average, to approximately $23,590, the report says. In-state tuition at public law schools will remain lower than at private institutions but on average has been increasing at a faster clip for decades. It grew by 10 percent in both 2009 and 2010 and by another 9 percent last year. This year's increase will be the lowest since 2000.

LMU Law Classes Begin Amid Accreditation Worries

Eight months after its accreditation denial and subsequent federal lawsuit, students and administrators at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law have returned to the Knoxville campus for the new school year. And while accreditation remains a constant concern, new students are focusing on their studies and returning students are more determined than ever to prove critics wrong, according to the News Sentinel.

Belmont Law Moves Home

Belmont University opened its new Randall and Sadie Baskin Center in a ribbon-cutting celebration this morning attended by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and many of the donors who helped finance the 75,000-square-foot building that houses Belmont University’s College of Law. The center contains more than a dozen classrooms, a trial courtroom, an appellate courtroom, a two-story law library and more than 20 faculty offices. Belmont is seeking LEED certification for the building, which also uses a geothermal system to provide heating and cooling. The new law school welcomed its second class this fall, and is in the process of seeking American Bar Association accreditation.

Event to Celebrate Court Building Will Preview Judiciary Museum, Constitutions

The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society will host a cocktail reception Dec. 4 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Supreme Court building in Nashville. At the celebration, attendees will be given an exclusive preview of the new Tennessee Judiciary Museum, and will see the original 1796, 1835 and 1870 constitutions of Tennessee. Tickets are $100 per person — limited to 250 people — and can be purchased by contacting Joy Day at 615-771-5008 or at jday@sutter-law.com.

Public Policy Added to UT Master's Degree

The University of Tennessee this fall began offering a new master of public policy and administration through a partnership between the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the College of Arts and Science’s political science department. The new degree replaces the existing master of public administration degree that has been offered for more than 40 years. The degree will "equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective managers, responsible executives and ethical public servants,” program director Professor David Folz said.

LAWPAC Makes Initial Contributions For Fall Campaign

LAWPAC — the state legislative, independent, multi-candidate, political campaign committee for Tennessee lawyers — today made known its contributions in 15 fall legislative races. In 10 of the 15 races , the candidates receiving contributions are lawyers. The group also made donations where candidates are law students, serve as key legislative committee officers, have relatives who are lawyers or take into account the views of lawyers on critical issues. See the full list of candidates supported by LAWPAC this fall.