Links for January 2017

TBA Activates Disaster Legal Assistance for Wildfires

November 30, 2016

In response to the wildfire disasters in Gatlinburg and Sevier County, the TBA is partnering with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) and the Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission to help those affected with their legal needs. Attorneys who want to help can access training resources and other materials on the TBA's Disaster Legal Assistance page. Legal clinics and outreach related to losses from the fires are anticipated and volunteers will be needed. For more information or to volunteer in the area, contact Kathryn Ellis at Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Those who are not in the area but still want to help can volunteer to answer online questions at TN Free Legal Answers or respond to calls on the HELP4TN helpline. The TBA's Young Lawyers Division Disaster Relief Committee has also been activated and will be assisting with volunteer recruitment and coordination efforts. To volunteer, complete the Disaster Legal Assistance Volunteer Form. If you know someone in need of legal assistance, please have them call the legal helpline at 844-HELP4TN, or visit help4tn.org.

Legal Clinic Friday for Wildfire Survivors

December 7, 2016

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) and the Sevier County Bar Association will offer a free legal advice clinic for wildfire survivors this Friday. The clinic will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. at 124 Court Ave. in Sevierville. Please help spread the word about this opportunity. Volunteers are already committed to covering this clinic, but attorneys will be needed to staff other clinics in the weeks to come.

Lawyers Respond, More Needed to Help Wildfire Victims

December 2, 2016

Attorneys from across the state are stepping up to volunteer to assist victims of the wildfire disasters in Gatlinburg and Sevier County. Many are responding to the call for pro bono legal assistance, both for local clinics and remote support. However, it is anticipated that more volunteers will be needed over the coming weeks and months to assist with legal needs resulting from the fires. Attorneys who want to help can access training resources and other materials on the TBA's Disaster Legal Assistance page. Legal clinics and outreach related to losses from the fires are being scheduled and volunteers will be needed. For more information or to volunteer in the area, contact Kathryn Ellis at Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Those who are not in the area but still want to help can volunteer to answer online questions at TN Free Legal Answers or respond to calls on the HELP4TN helpline. To volunteer, complete the Disaster Legal Assistance Volunteer Form.

Workers’ Comp Court Adopts New Rules

December 7, 2016

The Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation recently issued new rules governing deadlines for filing wage statements, medical records and interrogatories as well as responding to requests for expedited hearings; filing of documents previously filed with a mediator; obligations on the party opposing a request for expedited hearing; use of e-signatures; and use of causation letters.

ABA Issues Opinion on Fee Sharing Between Lawyers

December 7, 2016

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued Formal Opinion 475, which details how a lawyer who receives a payment that should be shared with another lawyer should handle and distribute the money. Model Rule 1.5(e) allows lawyers who are not in the same firm to divide a fee under certain circumstances. The new opinion directs the receiving lawyer to deposit funds in a separate account and safeguard the funds. The opinion also calls for prompt delivery of the agreed-upon portion of the fee to the other lawyer, and, if requested, a full accounting of the funds. Read more from the ABA.

TBA Names 2017 Leadership Law Class

December 6, 2016

The TBA announced today that 36 attorneys from across the state have been selected for its 2017 Leadership Law program. Now in its 14th year, Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. The class will meet for its first session in January, and then spend the next six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service. Learn more about the program.

Opinion: Technology Can Narrow the Justice Gap

December 6, 2016

Lawyer and journalist Robert Ambrogi writes in Above the Law that technology has become a powerful tool for enhancing access to justice. While he cites a number of government studies that show this to be the case, he primarily writes about real-world applications that are being created by legal aid groups across the country. Through special grants from the Legal Services Corporation, local agencies have created a number of online and mobile services to connect lawyers with remote clients, provide free legal resources to at-risk population groups and promote pro bono work. LSC recently announced the latest round of technology grants with $4.2 million going to 27 legal services organizations. Ambrogi looks at several of the projects that received funding.

Lawyers Targeted with Fake Email Complaint

December 5, 2016

Officials in multiple states are warning lawyers against opening and clicking on links in emails that may contain fake complaints, the ABA Journal reports. The emails contain a hyperlink to view the complaint but when clicked on installs malicious software or ransomware on the computer. Ransomware typically blocks computer access until the computer user pays money to get it unlocked. Officials in New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida are among those warning about the scam. Lawyers who receive such an email should delete it immediately and should not click on the link, they advise. The emails have been from “The Office of the State Attorney” with a subject line of “The Office of the State Attorney Complaint” or “see you in court.”

Tennessee Attorneys Admitted to Practice Before Supreme Court at TBA Academy

November 29, 2016

A group of attorneys from across Tennessee were sworn in to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court today as part of the 33rd Annual TBA Academy. Along with the admissions ceremony, the attorneys took part in other networking and educational activities at the Supreme Court and on Capitol Hill. One highlight of this year's event was when TBA President Jason Long made the motion for admission of his wife, Carol Anne Long.

Court Amends Judicial Recusal Rule

November 28, 2016

The Tennessee Supreme Court last week issued an order amending Rule 10B of its rules, which governs the procedures for seeking disqualification, recusal or a determination of constitutional or statutory incompetence of a judge, justice or other judicial officer. The adopted amendments were revised after a comment period to address concerns raised by the TBA about appellate courts' handling of motions for court review.

TBA YLD Releases 2017 Mock Trial Case

November 23, 2016

The case for the 2017 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition was released today by the TBA Young Lawyers Division’s Mock Trial Committee. This year’s problem is a criminal case, involving the death of a patient at a nursing home facility and a standout high school student employed there. This year’s state competition will take place March 17-18 at the Metro Courthouse in Downtown Nashville. The winning team will get a chance to take part in the National High School Mock Trial competition in Hartford, Connecticut, in May.

CLE Series Kicks Off with Look at Online Dispute Resolution

November 18, 2016

The first CLE in a four-part series hosted by the TBA’s Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market (ELM) premiered Thursday to overwhelmingly positive reviews. The program, part one of the “Modern Law Practice” series, covered online dispute resolution (ODR) and its influence on the practice of law. It is now available on demand from TBA CLE. Learn more about this program and others in the series.

Court: School Zone Law Does Not Apply to Facilitating Sale of Drugs

November 16, 2016

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today that the Drug-Free School Zone Act does not apply when a defendant is convicted of “facilitation of possession” in a school zone, overturning both the trial court and appellate court decisions in the case of Stanley Bernard Gibson, who had received a sentencing enhancement based on the proximity of his crime to a school. In a unanimous opinion, the court found that the state drug-free school zone law specifically lists the offenses to which it applies, and facilitation is not among them. They affirmed the underlying conviction but remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing.

TBA YLD Releases 2017 Mock Trial Case

The problem for the 2017 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition is a criminal case, involving the death of a patient at a nursing home facility and a standout high school student employed there. The details were released in November by the TBA Young Lawyers Division’s Mock Trial Committee.

This year’s state competition will take place March 17-18 at the Metro Courthouse in Downtown Nashville. The winning team will get a chance to take part in the National High School Mock Trial competition in Hartford, Connecticut, in May.  Learn more at www.tba.org/info/tennessee-high-school-mock-trial-0.

 

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