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Links from February 2009
Lawyers' annual fees to increase
The state Supreme Court has issued an order amending Rule 9, increasing the annual registration fee for each attorney to $140. The assessment is payable on Jan. 2, 2009, but no later than March 1, 2009.
"The Board has not received an annual registration fee increase since 2003, when the fee was increased by $5 to $105," Board of Professional Responsibility Chief Disciplinary Counsel Nancy S. Jones said. "We have not added additional disciplinary counsel since 2000. During the interim, the number of actively practicing attorneys in Tennessee has increased substantially, as has the number of disciplinary complaints the Board investigates each year. We are pleased that the court has recognized our crucial need for increased resources which we will use to make the disciplinary process both more timely and consistent."
Read the order at http://www.tba.org/tbatoday/news/2008/rule9order_121708.pdf
New study suggests firms remain financially sound
In an upbeat study of law firm health, the legal research firm Altman Weil Inc. yesterday said most firms remain financially sound and on good footing with their banks. The study, based on 700 of the largest firms in the country, found that most were paying lower interest rates compared to a year ago, and had not faced a shortage of adequate credit. The study's conclusion: market conditions have not yet fully hit law firm balance sheets, giving firms time to prepare for harder times. Read the Nashville Business Journal's report at http://nashville.bizjournals.com/nashville/stories/2008/12/15/daily20.html?ana=e_du_pub
or the study's findings at http://tinyurl.com/3julxm
Court requests comments on IOLTA petition
The Tennessee Supreme Court today released for comment a proposal to adopt changes to the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program filed in late November by the Tennessee Bar Foundation, Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Association for Justice and Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. The court has requested comments on the proposal through Feb. 20. The proposed plan would take effect Jan. 1, 2010, giving lawyers and banks time to make necessary changes to their accounts and programs.
"These changes offer a way for the bar to address the huge and growing need for lawyers for the poor," TBA President Buck Lewis said. "At a time when mortgage foreclosures and job losses are putting more pressure on Tennessee families, we may have an opportunity to step up their access to our justice system."
Programs requiring lawyers to participate in IOLTA have been adopted in 38 states while 23 have taken the step " like that in the proposal -" of enhancing interest comparability provisions of their programs. When adopted in other states, the amount of money raised for legal aid activities has increased a minimum of 50 to 65 percent. Last year in Tennessee the program generated $1.4 million.
Download the court's order at http://www.tba.org/tbatoday/news/2008/IOLTA_order_121808.pdf
or the group's petition
Find Blawgs and more at TBA's Information Central
TBA members can now turn to the new Information Central web page to find the top news of the day along with a directory of law-related blogs from Tennessee lawyers and other reliable sources. In addition, you'll find links to the Tennessee Bar Journal, TBA-produced webcasts, free online legal research through Fastcase and more.
Go there now: http://www.tba2.org/InfoCentral/index.php
ABAJournal.com wants to hear from you the best euphemism for "you're fired!" It wants to know if being "outplaced" is less painful.
Go to the story to leave your comments at
Billable hours take hit
In an opinion piece in the January issue of Forbes Magazine, Evan Chesler, the presiding partner at New York City's Cravath, Swaine & Moore, calls for the end of the billable hour. Meanwhile, Morgan Lewis & Bockius has announced that billable hours will no longer be used to determine year-end bonuses. What does all this mean? Read Chesler's column
Learn about Morgan Lewis' policy from the National Law Journal at http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202427259923