Links for November 2015


Beginning with the upcoming 2016 elections, the Tennessee Bar Association elections will be primarily carried out electronically — using online balloting. This change was approved by the TBA Board of Governors at its annual meeting in June under bylaw changes adopted by the TBA. Young Lawyers Division elections will also be conducted using the same procedure.

The TBA has used a combination of electronic voting and paper ballots since 2005 and has seen growing acceptance and usage of the online option. Most members are familiar with this method, but those who still prefer to cast paper ballots will be able to choose that method. Members will be able to opt out of electronic voting either through the website ( or by providing written notice to TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur at 221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219. This notice must be provided by Jan. 31.

As in the past, TBA members voting electronically will receive an email with a link to the election site along with a password to use to cast their ballots. Tabulation of election results will continue to be carried out by an accounting firm selected by the board.

The TBA Young Lawyers Division previously conducted election of officers using in-person voting at its annual meeting during the TBA Annual Convention. This voting will now take place electronically on the same ballot as the main TBA election. Individual members will receive a ballot specific to their district or grand division.

“These changes will make voting more efficient and cost-effective for the

TBA,” Ramsaur said. “It will also allow for broader participation by the full membership.”

Candidates have until Feb. 15, 2016, to qualify to run in the 2016 elections. Watch for more information on open positions in the December Tennessee Bar Journal and upcoming TBAToday editions. Voting will take place between March 1 and April 1, 2016

Tennessee Attorneys' Pro Bono Efforts on the Rise

By Amelia Ferrell on Mon, 09/21/2015 - 4:11pm

The number of pro bono hours volunteered by Tennessee attorneys went up by nearly 3,000 in the last reporting year, according to the annual report by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission featured in The Chattanoogan. "Tennessee attorneys continue to respond to the need for free legal assistance,” said Doug Blaze, chairman of the Commission. About 40 percent of all lawyers completed the voluntary filing -- fewer than the year before -- but those who did report gave an average of more than 78 hours in one year, an increase of nearly 6 percent. Read the full report.

Belmont Posts Top Bar Pass Rate in Tennessee

By Amelia Ferrell on Mon, 10/12/2015 - 5:29pm

On the heels of releasing the July Tennessee bar exam pass list, the Board of Law Examiners released the percentage of passages for Tennessee law schools. Of 701 test takers, 64 percent passed the exam. Belmont University College of Law posted the top pass rate for first-time test takers with 94 percent. Of 114 repeat test-takers, 96 failed the exam. View more statistics on the July exam.

452 Pass July Tennessee Bar Exam

By Barry Kolar on Fri, 10/09/2015 - 10:44am

Results from the July Tennessee bar exam are now available. Of the 707 candidates who took the exam, the Board of Law Examiners reports that 452 passed. You can see the full list of successful candidates on the website.

Bar Exam Scores Drop

By Amelia Ferrell on Mon, 09/21/2015 - 4:03pm

The average score on the multiple-choice portion of the July bar exam fell 1.6 points from the previous years, reaching its lowest level since 1988, Bloomberg Business reports. The mean score on this summer's exam was 139.9, down from 141.5 in July 2014. "It was not unexpected," says Erica Moeser, the president of the NCBE, which creates the multiple choice part of the test. "We are in a period where we can expect to see some decline, until the market for going to law school improves."

Human Rights Popularity Growing Among Law Students

By Amelia Ferrell on Wed, 10/07/2015 - 3:38pm

The Lawyer and Statesman reports that human rights is growing in popularity among law students despite the job market remaining flat. “There are so many ways to practice, not all of which are well-charted, and really takes some innovation on the part of the lawyer,” Jessica Peake, Director of UCLA School of Law’s International & Comparitive Law Program, said. “And some of the most interesting jobs are in countries you never thought you’d live in.” 

Court Opens New Session, Rejects Baumgartner's Appeal

By Amelia Ferrell on Mon, 10/05/2015 - 4:07pm

The U.S. Supreme Court began its new term today and NPR released its list of cases to watch that includes abortion regulations and affirmative action disputes. The Court rejected hundreds of appeals today, including an appeal by Richard Baumgartner, the former Knox County Criminal Court judge convicted in 2013 of lying to cover up his mistress’s drug crimes. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that attorneys Ann Short and Donald A. Bosch filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review misprision of a felony – the law under which Baumgartner was convicted – and to determine if the law properly applied in Baumgartner’s case.

Apply Now for Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Recognition Program

By Stacey Shrader Joslin on Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:53pm

The Tennessee Supreme Court has extended the deadline for its annual Pro Bono Recognition Program through Nov. 30. Lawyers and law students who completed at least 50 hours of pro bono in calendar year 2014 may apply to be recognized for their service. Those who meet the goal will be named “Attorney for Justice” and “Law Student for Justice” by the court and will be honored at regional events across the state. Law offices are also eligible to be recognized for pro bono work done by their attorneys. Learn more about the process for firm recognition.

Tennessee Ranks 6th in Lawyer Population Growth

By Amelia Ferrell on Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:56pm

Tennessee is ranked sixth in greatest growth for lawyer population during a 10-year trend according to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 2015 National Lawyer Population Survey. Overall, lawyer population grew 17.7 percent in the last decade. Read more in the ABA Journal.

University of Memphis School of Law Receives Diversity Award

By Amelia Ferrell on Thu, 09/24/2015 - 4:02pm

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law was one of five U.S. law schools to receive the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from “INSIGHT Into Diversity” magazine. “This recognition affirms our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our collaborative effort to achieve excellence amongst our student body and academic environment,” Peter V. Letsou, University of Memphis Law School Dean, said. 

Chattanooga Program Keeps Women from Returning to Jail

By Amelia Ferrell on Mon, 09/21/2015 - 4:25pm

The Next Door, a Chattanooga nonprofit correctional release facility, offers former female inmates a second chance through its one-on-one therapy and training. The Times Free Press reports that 329 women have completed the program since it started in 2011, with only seven percent sent back to jail within three years. 

TBA Ranked Among Top Lobbyists in Tennessee

By Barry Kolar on Thu, 09/17/2015 - 4:21pm

Southern Political Report has ranked the Tennessee Bar Association as one of the top five Lobbyist/Government Affairs Firms in Tennessee. The magazine surveyed lobbyist and government affair specialists across 13 Southern states to compile its listings for each state. The TBA’s ranking was in the associations category. Also recognized was Adams & Reese LLP, which represents the TBA at the General Assembly. It was at the top of the listings for law firms. 

Study Shows Tennessee Leads Nation for Women Murdered By Men

By Amelia Ferrell on Wed, 09/16/2015 - 2:40pm

WRKN reports a recent study revealed Tennessee was ranked sixth in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men. The study, conducted by the Violence Policy Center, said this is the sixth consecutive year that Tennessee has ranked in the top 10.

Koch Praises NSL's Diverse Faculty

By Amelia Ferrell on Mon, 09/28/2015 - 3:46pm

William Koch said that the Nashville School of Law’s (NSL) greatest achievement in his first year as dean is awarding 137 law degrees during two commencement ceremonies. NSL celebrated Koch’s investiture on Saturday. Speaking with the Nashville Post, the former Tennessee Supreme Court justice went on to say that lawyers and judges praise NSL for its faculty, which includes judges and TBA President Bill Harbison. “These faculty members are not just academically sound; they bring to their students their wealth of practical experience,’ Koch said.

Dean Koch Investitiure Photos

Nashville School of Law to Celebrate Investiture of Justice William C. Koch, Jr. as School’s Fifth Dean on Sept. 26
(Nashville, Tenn.)
The Nashville School of Law (NSL) will celebrate the investiture of former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch, Jr. as its fifth dean on September 26 in conjunction with the school’s 104-year anniversary. Justice Koch’s investiture marks the beginning of a new era in the school’s history, which has been characterized by the lengthy tenures of strong deans who have consistently increased its ability to provide a high quality legal education to working men and women intent upon using their degrees to serve their communities.

Dean Koch, one of Tennessee’s most respected jurists and legal scholars, as well as a longtime instructor at the school, will be ceremonially installed before an audience of students, faculty, graduates, and invited guests, among them many of the most prominent of Tennessee’s legal, business, and civic leaders. The ceremony will include remarks by Chairman of the Board Thomas F. Cone Sr., the president of Cone Oil Company and other members of the school’s Board of Trustees, as well as Mayor Karl Dean and Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

“Dean Koch is renowned for his commitment to rigorous legal education and service to the state’s judicial institutions, and we are extremely gratified that he will be leading NSL into the future,” said Thomas F. Cone, chairman of the board. “Bill’s exacting standards and leadership qualities are such that he brings out the best in everyone he encounters; there is no doubt that countless communities throughout Tennessee and beyond will benefit for decades to come from the contributions of lawyers trained under his watch.”

Among Dean Koch’s many accomplishments, he has taught Constitutional Law at the school since 1997 and was named Fourth-Year Instructor of the Year three times. He also has served on the adjunct faculty at Vanderbilt Law School and the Belmont University College of Law, and frequently presents well-received continuing legal education presentations and seminars.

A Hawaii native, Dean Koch received his J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1972. He earned an LL.M. in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia in 1996. During his 30-year judicial career, Dean Koch served as co-chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Advisory Commission on Technology. For sixteen years, the Tennessee Judicial Conference chose him as the Chair of its Committee on Compensation and Retirement. He also served on the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Judges Conference and on the Ethics Committee and Institutional Review Committee at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.

Dean Koch is a member of the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the Nashville Bar Association, the Lawyers Association for Women, the Napier-Looby Bar Association, the Tennessee Association for Justice, and the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Bar Association. He has also been named to the Tennessee Bar Foundation and the Nashville Bar Foundation, and is a member of the United States Supreme Court Historical Society and the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society.

In 2002, the American Board of Trial Advocates recognized Dean Koch as its Appellate Judge of the Year. In 2006, Dean Koch was recognized by a national publication as one of the 500 Leading Judges in America.

Past deans of the school include: Owen W. Hughes (1926-1945), Ferriss C. Bailey, Sr.(1946-1955), James Gilbert Lackey, Jr. (1956-1986) and Judge Joe C. Loser, Jr. (1986-2014), who died shortly after working with NSL’s board of trustees to choose Justice Koch as his successor.

The investiture took place Saturday, September 26, at 10 a.m. at NSL’s campus at 4013 Armory Oaks Drive in Nashville. Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee will be the keynote speaker. For more information, visit or contact: 615.256.3684.