TBA recognized for public and member services, access to justice

Association Accolades

It's been a good summer for the Tennessee Bar Association, as recognition for good work keeps piling up. Statewide and nationally, the TBA and its Young Lawyers Division have been honored for continuing legal education and several public service programs.

TSAE

Two Tennessee Bar Association programs were named the best in the state by the Tennessee Society of Association Executives (TSAE). 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.

This year's programs will reach 10 cities: Cleveland, Columbia, Manchester, Dyersburg, Cookeville, Jackson, Johnson City, Dickson, Kingsport and Murfreesboro. Registration information is available at www.tennbaru.com.

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.

ABA

Tennessee attorneys were recognized for their work in increasing access to legal services for the poor during the ABA Annual Meeting in August. 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. The award was given by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants.

ABA YLD

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 during the national association's annual meeting in San Francisco. TBA YLD President Tasha Blakney 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.

Briefs

Clark to be chief justice

Justice Cornelia A. Clark becomes the second woman in the state's history to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court when she is sworn into office Sept. 1 at the historic courthouse in Franklin. Chief Justice Janice Holder was to administer the oath of office to Clark, who was elected by the court to serve a two-year term as chief justice.

Lexis Nexis will correct error

The recent publication of the Tennessee Court Rules Annotated, published by Lexis Nexis, that contains an error in the Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 26.02, will be corrected, the company announced. 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.

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. Access the list through tba.org/journal_links.

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 at tba.org/journal_links.

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 at tba.org/journal_links.

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.