News

Association elections

Wyrick to lead TBA in 2013-2014

Sevierville attorney Cynthia Richardson Wyrick will be Tennessee Bar Association president in 2013-2014, according to election-qualifying results released Feb. 16. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After serving a year as vice president, Wyrick will ascend to president-elect in 2012-2013 before taking over the organization's leadership in June 2013.

Others who will be elected without opposition are:

  • Grand Division Governor, West Tennessee (one-year term): Brian Faughnan, Memphis.
  • Grand Division Governor, Middle Tennessee (one-year term): James Crumlin, Nashville.
  • Grand Division Governor, East Tennessee (one-year term): Jason Long, Knoxville.
  • Governor, Second District (three-year term): Tasha Blakney, Knoxville.
  • Governor, Fifth District (three-year term): Dan Berexa, Nashville.
  • TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 1: Jonathan Cole, Nashville.
  • TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 3 (Young Lawyer Delegate): Lee Bowles, Lewisburg.

No candidate filed to fill the Eighth District governor position.

Find out more about the elections at http://www.tba.org/BOG/tbaelex_2011

Diversity Job Fair Set for October

The first annual Tennessee Bar Association Diversity Job Fair will be Oct. 21-22  in Nashville. The event will provide participating 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 participate — employers of all sizes, from both the public and private sectors. Participating employers are asked to consider candidates for summer associate positions, clerkships during the academic year, and associate attorney positions. 

For online registration or for more information contact Lynn Pointer at lpointer@tnbar.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Diversity Job Fair is an initiative of the TBA Committee on Racial & Ethnic Diversity (CRED). All activities for the fair will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. North, in Nashville.

Briefs

Legal market starting to improve, report suggests
The U.S. legal market may be turning the corner toward better times, Thomson Reuters’ blog LegalCurrent reports. The latest Peer Monitor Index (PMI) report from Hildebrandt Baker Robbins shows that demand for legal services rose for the first time in more than two years. The PMI rose three points in the fourth quarter of 2010 to a reading of 55. It has now resumed the gradual upward trend that began in early 2009.

Judicial conduct rules changes proposed
New stricter standards and procedures for determining disqualification and recusal of judges, changes in restrictions on campaign activities by judges, and a new prohibition on judges presiding over cases in which they participate in judicial settlement conferences are among the changes to the Code of Judicial Conduct being recommended in a petition filed with the Tennessee Supreme Court Feb. 25 by the Tennessee Bar Association. The proposed rule changes come as a result of an 18-month-long study of the Code of Judicial Conduct undertaken by a task force of judges and lawyers, chaired by Chattanooga lawyer Max Bahner with Knoxville lawyer Sarah Sheppeard serving as the reporter.

Process changes for paying certain CLE fees
The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization is in the process of implementing Supreme Court Rule 21, Section 8.03, which requires that attorneys attending approved out-of-state CLE programs, or other programs for which the sponsor does not report and pay the per-hour fee, remit their fees to the commission at the time the course is taken. Attorneys who have received an annual statement showing a fee due should take care of the matter as unpaid fees may result in suspension from the practice of law. Learn more about the change on the AOC website, http://www.tncourts.gov

No mandatory mediation for workers' comp appeals
The Tennessee Supreme Court in March issued an order revoking TN. Sup. Ct. R. 37, a provisional rule that required mediation of workers compensation appeals. The TBA submitted a comment in February supporting the repeal because the process was seen as having little value.

New federal unit to focus on civil rights cases
The U.S. Justice Department has created a Civil Rights Unit in Memphis to deal with a growing number of civil rights cases, including cold cases, hate crimes, human trafficking and public corruption. The unit, which will be housed in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, also will handle some civil matters such as mortgage and housing discrimination. The effort will be a collaboration of local, state and federal officials.

Date set to liquidate Reciprocal of America claims
Justice Russell Perkins of Tennessee's 20th Judicial District court has imposed a final deadline of May 16 to liquidate all outstanding claims against three insolvent risk retention groups that were closed in 2003 after the failure of their Virginia reinsurer, Reciprocal of America. Three Tennessee companies — the American National Lawyers Reciprocal, the Doctors Insurance Reciprocal and the Reciprocal Alliance — were risk-retention groups that reinsured virtually all their business with Reciprocal of America (ROA), a company that was placed in receivership in January 2003 after regulators discovered its liabilities exceed its assets by more than $200 million. The Insurance Journal reported.

Web site offers legal help for veterans
Legal assistance for veterans is now available through a new website funded by the Legal Services Corp. and operated by Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine. The site — StatesideLegal.org — so far has drawn visitors from all 50 states and 77 countries worldwide.

Judge says confirmation delay 'injuring' judiciary
The chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in February added his voice to those calling for the Senate and the White House to find a long-term solution to the delays in the judicial confirmation process. “I say to both Republicans and Democrats: You’re injuring the federal judiciary,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said. “Our country needs a fair and impartial federal judiciary.”

Women held to different standard, Sotomayor says
If you are a woman who wants to be a judge, you'll need thick skin, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told students at at Northwestern University School of Law. “There are expectations about how women and men should behave,” she said, noting that during the nomination process she was asked for the names of everyone she ever dated. “There were (questions) I was offended by, because I was convinced they were not asking those questions of male applicants.” She told the group that although some of her male colleagues are also single and bring dates to public affairs, she does not. “I knew if I did the same thing, my morals would be questioned.”

White Station Wins State Mock Trial Championship
For the third year in a row, White Station High School of Memphis won the Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition, which was March 11-12 in Nashville. McCallie High School of Chattanooga placed second of the 16 teams that qualified for the state championship by winning their local mock trial competitions. White Station’s Green Team (the school fielded two teams) will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Phoenix on May 5-8. Eugene “Buddy” Bernstein is the lawyer/coach of White Station. Alicia Oliver is McCallie's lawyer/coach. More than 100 lawyers and judges — including Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark (third from left, above) who presided over the final round — volunteered their time to assist with this project of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Chair of the competition was Nashville lawyer Marisa Combs; vice chair was  Knoxville lawyer Troy Weston; coordinator was the TBA’s Stacey Shrader.

To see more pictures and detailed results, go to http://www.tba.org/mocktrial