TBA Criminal Justice Section

Service Award Given to Yarbrough

Nashville attorney Ed Yarbrough accepted the TBA Criminal Justice Section Service Award from 2010-2011 section chair and Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson during a reception June 29 at the Tennessee Bar Center. The award pays tribute to Yarbrough’s distinguished career, which spans almost four decades and includes service as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, as assistant district attorney general for Davidson County and as an attorney in private practice. See more photos from the event on TBAConnect.

House of Delegates Praises ‘TBA Today’ Staff

TBA Today staff members were recognized in June by the Tennessee Bar Association House of Delegates, which presented a resolution honoring the work done on the daily electronic newsletter. The resolution, presented by Speaker Claudia Jack during the TBA Annual Convention in Chattanooga, recognized TBA staffers Barry Kolar, Suzanne Robertson, Stacey Shrader and others, including Tanja Trezise, for their work in producing an “invaluable resource” for Tennessee lawyers.

The publication aids in “fostering education and encouraging social interchange,” which are among the TBA’s objectives for members, the resolution says, “bringing every business day the most recent Tennessee appellate decisions, new Tennessee Supreme Court rules and orders, attorney general opinions and news for and about the Tennessee legal community.”

TBAToday is free with TBA membership. Read the full resolution at tba.org/journal_links

Briefs

Tennessee no exception in nation’s ‘lawyer surplus’
Tennessee is producing about twice as many lawyers as it has legal jobs each year, putting it at number 19 in annual lawyer surplus, according to a new study by EMSI, a consulting company that focuses on employment data and economic analysis. The job climate for new lawyers is rough partly because of the weak economy, but also partly because the nation’s law schools are churning out many more lawyers than the economy needs even in the long run. In 2009, Tennessee had 735 pass the bar exam, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau estimated there were 389 jobs available, for a surplus of 346. Across the country, there were also twice as many people who passed the bar in 2009 (53,508) as there were openings (26,239). There are, however, three places with lawyer shortages: Nebraska, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

Do your pro bono online
OnlineTNJustice — the new web site that allows Tennesseans to seek free legal advice from volunteer lawyers using a computer — helped more than 221 people in its first three months of operation. Lawyers may volunteer online and answer questions electronically for those who qualify. So far, more than 256 attorneys have signed up, with 58 answering questions. Although not all the participating attorneys choose to log their earned CLE hours, 78.3 hours were recorded for this time period. Most questions have been related to family law (78), followed by questions in housing (28) and “other” categories (30). Learn more at www.onlinetnjustice.org

Lawyers gave 567,000 pro bono hours in 2010
Tennessee lawyers volunteered 567,374 hours of service in 2010 according to data collected by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. In the second year of voluntary reporting of pro bono hours, 7,745 Tennessee lawyers indicated they had performed some type of voluntary service — more than double the number who reported in 2009 and 39 percent of the state’s total attorney population. The data also indicates that the majority of hours donated were spent performing free services for individuals with limited means.

New lawyers see salary decline
A study released this summer by the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) indicates that the median salary for 2010 law school graduates fell by $9,000 from $72,000 to $63,000 over the previous year. The average salary for the graduates also dropped from $93,454 to $84,111. NALP’s executive director explained the numbers saying, “It’s not that employers were paying less,” but that “fewer recent grads were finding work at the large firms that pay the highest salaries.”

Malpractice claims up
Law firms and corporations are being hit with significantly more malpractice claims in 2011 than they were in 2010, according to a new survey of insurers that specialize in legal malpractice coverage. The survey found that real estate practices were the most likely to be sued. The Am Law Daily reported the story.

Van Horn Installed President In Chattanooga

Memphis lawyer Danny Van Horn was installed June 17 as the 129th president of the Tennessee Bar Association during the Lawyers Luncheon at the group’s annual convention in Chattanooga. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark administered the oath of office to Van Horn, the youngest lawyer to lead the 11,000-member association. Van Horn promised a year with “All Access,” focusing on access to justice, civics education and professional development. The work, he said, will build on Immediate Past President Sam Elliott’s and other presidents’ work.

Van Horn practices law at the Memphis firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC, where he focuses on commercial litigation, including business torts, unfair competition, insurance disputes and product liability. A former TBA Young Lawyers Division president, Van Horn earned his law degree in 1997 from Vanderbilt University Law School and returned to Memphis to work for Armstrong Allen PLLC. He joined Butler Snow in 2005.

Nashville lawyer Jacqueline B. Dixon took office as the association’s president-elect, which puts her in line to be president in 2012. She is a shareholder in the firm of Weatherly McNally & Dixon PLC, where she focuses on family law, personal injury, wrongful death, and probate cases.

Sevierville lawyer Cynthia Richardson Wyrick took office as vice president. She will become president in 2013. Memphis lawyer Mason Wilson took the reins of the association’s Young Lawyers Division from Tasha Blakney. YLD President-elect is David Veile of Lebanon, and vice president is David McDowell of Chattanooga.

The TBA YLD Fellows’ William M. Leech Public Service Award was given to Howard H. Vogel of Knoxville, a former TBA president. The Justice Joseph Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing was presented to Memphis lawyer Taylor C. Berger for his article, “Unpublished Opinions in Tennessee,” which was in the July 2010 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal; the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award went to the Hon. John J. Maddux of Cookeville. Elliott presented President’s Awards to Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur and Harold L. North. Winners of the TBA’s YouTube Video contest, an initiative of Elliott to encourage students to learn more about history and civics, were also honored.

TBA Board of Governors’ members whose terms have ended were thanked: Gail Vaughn Ashworth, David Changas, Mike Dunavant, Chancellor Skip Frierson, Gerald Melton and Nick McCall; and Bill Harbison, who is retiring from the board.

Fifty-one attorneys from around the state were honored as “senior counselors” for their service to the legal profession. Senior counselors are those Tennessee Bar Association members who, during the coming membership year, will reach 75 years of age or complete 50 years of practice. See the list of this year’s senior counselors at www.tba.org/pressroom/releases_2011/convention_seniorcounselors.html Also during the convention, the House of Delegates, the Board of Governors, and a number of sections and committees convened. The TBA Leadership Law class also graduated from the six-month program.