News

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis Tells It Like It Was

More than 300 people came face-to-face with history when Nashville law firm Waller, Lansden Dortch & Davis hosted civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis at a luncheon celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lewis, a friend of Dr. King, was a leader of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, participating in Freedom Rides and lunch counter sit-ins, and speaking at the historic March on Washington in 1963. Waller Lansden welcomed schoolchildren, business and civic leaders, and civil rights movement participants to the event, where Lewis talked about Dr. King.

Students from Meigs Middle Magnet School were selected to meet the Congressman based on essays they submitted after studying the Civil Rights Movement.
Students from Meigs Middle Magnet School were selected to meet the Congressman based on essays they submitted after studying the Civil Rights Movement.
See more pictures and a video of Congressman Lewis’s speech at www.wallerlaw.com/MLK-2012.

Dignitaries address TBA Leadership Law participants

Bar Leaders, Legislators Come Together at Reception

Legislators from across Tennessee joined Tennessee Bar Association leaders and members for the annual TBA Big Shrimp legislative reception Feb. 7.

Also in attendance were members of the 2012 TBA Leadership Law class, which had spent the day in Nashville for the “Issues in Policy and Politics” session of their six-month program. Lt. Gov. and Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey addressed the TBALL group at lunch. Other program segments featured panelists discussing what it is like to be a lawyer in the General Assembly, the role of the lawyer lobbyist, working for the state and the future of tort revision legislation. Other speakers included Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper; state senators Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, and Doug Overby, R-Maryville; and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

TBA President Danny Van Horn talks with Rep. Jimmy Eldridge at the Big Shrimp reception. Photo by Jenny Jones.
TBA President Danny Van Horn talks with Rep. Jimmy Eldridge at the Big Shrimp reception.
Photo by Jenny Jones.
 

Briefs

$800k given in IOLTA grants
In January, the Tennessee Bar Foundation announced $800,000 in IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) grants to a range of groups across the state. Recipients included CASA programs, legal aid offices and social service agencies.

Celebration planned for Supreme Court building
Plans are underway for a Judicial Family Reunion of all those who have worked in the Nashville Supreme Court Building since its dedication in December 1937. In honor of the building’s 75th Anniversary, the court is asking those who have worked there to provide their name, address, e-mail, years worked in the building and position/title. Those with photographs of staff are encouraged to send them to mike.catalano@tncourts.gov.

New York lawyer nominated ABA president-elect
New York City lawyer James R. Silkenat, a partner in the national law firm of Sullivan & Worcester, was nominated Feb. 6 to become president-elect of the American Bar Association. The ABA House of Delegates will vote on the nomination in August. If elected, Silkenat will serve a one-year term as ABA president-elect before taking office as president of the association in August 2013 at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Corporate Counsel event March 24
The 6th Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala will be in Nashville on March 24 at The Hermitage Hotel. The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative was launched as a joint effort by the TBA Access to Justice Committee, the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Association of Corporate Counsel, to help foster a coordinated approach to pro bono work and support for the access to justice community by corporate counsel in Tennessee. The event recognizes outstanding pro bono contributions by law firms and corporate legal departments and raises money that is given back to the community via a grant process designed to engage corporate counsel in pro bono service. For more information or to register, go to tba.org/6th-annual-corporate-counsel-pro-bono-initiative-gala

Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The 107th Tennessee General Assembly is now in session and the TBA has a number of tools to help you track the status of legislation. Watch TBA Today for regular news updates and follow the TBA Action List to track bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in — those it has initiated, taken a position on, or has a policy on. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community. Find complete TBA legislative resources at www.tba.org/info/legislative-updates

Court: Attaching GPS to car amounts to a search
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled for a drug defendant who argued that police should have obtained a warrant before attaching a GPS device to his car to monitor his movements. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion for a court that was unanimous in its finding that the police conduct was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

In Tennessee, attorney Carrie Gasaway knew she had been right when she represented Robert Jason Burdick, the Nashville-area’s notorious “Wooded Rapist,” in a series of jury trials several years ago. “It confirmed what we thought all the way along, that they violated his constitutional rights,” she said. Burdick was convicted of raping women in several counties and won’t be eligible for parole for another 100 years. The high court’s decision affirms her argument, Gasaway said, but it probably won’t free her former client since evidence used in the case was obtained before the GPS device was put into use.

ABA committee OKs new data on law school grads
The American Bar Association’s Standards Review Committee has approved a new law school accreditation standard that will greatly expand the amount of graduate placement data that schools must publicly disclose. Committee members reportedly got into a protracted and testy debate about whether to require the posting of salary information. In the end, though, the package was approved as presented. The governing council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will take up the proposal next at a meeting set for March.

Legal aid groups plan more layoffs; LSC budget increase request made
With the U.S. House and Senate cutting funding for civil legal assistance to the poor by about 14 percent for this budget year, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) reports that an ongoing wave of layoffs and staff reductions already engulfing local programs will likely worsen. The group released a survey in January indicating that legal aid agencies plan to lay off 393 employees in 2012, including 163 attorneys. That makes for an expected loss of 1,226 full-time personnel compared with 2010 staffing levels. On Feb. 13, the White House announced it has asked for $402 million in funding for the LSC in Fiscal Year 2013, an increase of $54 million from current funding. LSC funding was approximately $404 million in Fiscal Year 2011 before falling to $348 million in Fiscal Year 2012. As an independent nonprofit corporation, LSC also sent its own budget request to the Congress, seeking $470 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2013.

Shelby juvenile court cited as model for nation
Shelby County Juvenile Court is the only juvenile court in the Southeast, and one of only a handful nationwide, to win three top designations, including recent final approval for accreditation by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

In an editorial, the Commercial Appeal praised “the efforts by the leadership team at Shelby County Juvenile Court to change the face of juvenile justice in Memphis and Shelby County continues to garner national recognition.”

Find the links and more details for these stories at tba.org/journal_links