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Links for September 2010
TBA recognized for service to profession and community
Two Tennessee Bar Association programs were named the best in the state today by the Tennessee Society of Association Executives. The TBA's Court Square CLE series was named the best coordinated series of seminars for its unique approach to delivering continuing legal education to lawyers in rural and small town settings. The series specifically was designed to reach underserved areas of the state and to offer lawyers an affordable and quality service. In addition, the TBA Young Lawyers Division's Wills for Heroes program was named the state's best volunteer recruitment effort. The award recognized the YLD's efforts in recruiting more than 350 volunteers to prepare wills and other end-of-life documents for first responders in the state. Throughout 2009, the YLD held 13 events across the state and served 471 first responders and their families.
Tennessee lawyers honored for access to justice efforts
Tennessee attorneys were recognized for their work in increasing access to legal services for the poor during the ABA Annual Meeting today in San Francisco. The award was presented to TBA President Sam Elliott and former presidents Gail Vaughn Ashworth and Buck Lewis in recognition of the TBA's 4ALL Campaign that focused on education, collaboration, participation and legislation to increase access to legal services for poor Tennesseans. See photos from the awards luncheon on TBAConnect.
TBA YLD recognized for public and member services
The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division was awarded the American Bar Association YLD's top awards for a public service project and member publication on Saturday in San Francisco. YLD President Tasha Blakney was in town for the ABA YLD's Annual Meeting and accepted the awards. In the public service category, the YLD was recognized for its efforts recruiting volunteer lawyers, providing training and organizing the delivery of legal services after flooding devastated Middle and West Tennessee in May. In the publication category, the YLD's quarterly newsletter, the Tennessee Young Lawyer, was recognized as the best bar publication among the group. See a photo of Blakney accepting the award on tbaconnect.org
Clark to be sworn in as chief justice Sept. 1
Justice Cornelia A. Clark will become the second woman in the state's history to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court when she is sworn into office at 10 a.m. on Sept. 1 at the historic courthouse in Franklin. Chief Justice Janice Holder will administer the oath of office to Clark, who was elected by the court to serve a two-year term as chief justice.
Kagan will change more things about court than you think
Conventional wisdom says if a third woman, Elena Kagan, joins the Supreme Court, that it won't change anything because Kagan's moderate liberal philosophy is unlikely to deviate often from that of the justice she will replace, John Paul Stevens. But columnist David Broder suspects, based on what he witnessed when more women joined his newsroom, that "Kagan's joining Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor on the bench will change the high court in ways that no one foresees." The women who came onto the political beat, Broder writes, asked candidates questions that would not have occurred to male reporters, and they saw the candidates' lives whole, while the men were much more likely to deal only with the official part of it. "They changed the culture of the newspaper business and altered the way everyone, male or female, did the work." Read his column in The Washington Post
Roberts' Court: Conservative and likely to stay that way
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., having presided over five terms on the U.S. Supreme Court, has overseen the court reach a conservative result 65 percent of the time. If the Roberts court continues on the course suggested by its first five years, "it is likely to allow a greater role for religion in public life, to permit more participation by unions and corporations in elections and to elaborate further on the scope of the Second Amendment's right to bear arms," an analytical report from The New York Times says. "Abortion rights are likely to be curtailed, as are affirmative action and protections for people accused of crimes."
Read The New York Times' analysis
Lexis Nexis will correct error
The recent publication of the Tennessee Court Rules Annotated, published by Lexis Nexis, contains an error in the Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 26.02. This section, as published, contains a significant editorial error suggesting that insurance agreements are now discoverable. The Administrative Office of the Courts reports that Lexis Nexis has agreed to correct the error in the online version of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, send out an errata page for the published version of the Court Rules, and also call all customers who have ordered copies of the printed publication. The AOC has more
Who is your favorite fictional lawyer of all time? (besides Atticus)
Who are the Top 25 fictional lawyers of film, television and literature? Read this list from the ABA Journal, then vote for your favorite. Be forewarned that in this survey of literary lawyers, they dated the group by the great Atticus Finch divide: ante-Atticus and post-Atticus. Read the list and vote
20 years of the ADA: How is it working?
It's been 20 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. Is it working? Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh says it's not enough. CNN reports
Nonprofits get more time, IRS announces
Organizations at risk of losing their tax-exempt status because they failed to file required returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009 can preserve that status by filing returns by Oct. 15, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. The IRS has posted the names and last-known addresses of these at-risk organizations, which includes more than 9,300 Tennessee firms. Learn more, and find the list, from the Nashville Business Journal
Video conferencing coming soon to Davidson Criminal courts
Attorneys with criminal cases pending before Davidson County courts will be able to communicate with their clients through video conferencing at any Tennessee Department of Corrections site beginning Aug. 2, the Nashville Bar Association reports. Contact Ted Wallace with Davidson County Trial Courts at 880-2558 or 880-1433 to set up a conference.
Congress approves foreclosure legal assistance program
The U.S. Congress has authorized, and the president has signed, a $35 million grant program aimed at providing legal help to low- and moderate-income Americans facing the loss of their home due to foreclosure. The program, which still must be funded, would award funds on a competitive basis to state and local legal organizations. Language creating the program was included in the newly enacted financial reform bill. The news was announced by the Legal Services Corporation.
ABA group calls law school rankings 'not entirely benign'
A special committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar issued a report in July on the controversial U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. The committee -- which included 6th Circuit Judge Martha Craig "Cissy" Daughtrey and former Vanderbilt Law School Dean Kent Syverud -- calls the rankings "not entirely benign" and points to three negative effects: punishing schools that provide quality education at a low cost, encouraging schools to give financial aid based on test scores rather than need, and downplaying the importance of diversity. However, the council concludes that "for better or worse" the "rankings will continue for the foreseeable future to dominate public perceptions of how law schools compare, and...there is relatively little that leaders in legal education can do to change that..."
Read more from the ABA Journal
A life ... and death ... appointment
Eight U.S. Supreme Court justices rest together " one justice short of a full court -- in one section of Arlington National Cemetery. In all, 12 justices are buried at Arlington, and another 18 lie at nearby cemeteries. "The court always had a sense of collegial togetherness," said David N. Atkinson, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who has studied and written about the justices' last days. Read more about this from the Associated Press
LSC issues annual report
The Legal Services Corporation has released its 2009 annual report, which provides statistical data on services provided to the nation's legal aid programs and local clients. According to the report, LSC provided $365.8 million in grants to 136 legal aid programs, which in turn closed 920,447 cases. The analysis also focuses on the unique needs that surfaced in 2009 as a result of high unemployment and a weak economy. The report finds that unemployment compensation cases grew by 63 percent, food stamp cases increased by 37 percent and LSC programs closed more than twice as many foreclosure cases as they did in 2008. Download the report