News

Survey: Discontent Among Court-Appointed Attorneys

A recent TBA survey of private attorneys who handle court appointed work shows they feel undervalued, overworked and unfairly compensated. More than half of those who took the survey reported that they frequently hit the fee cap on appointed cases, while 77 percent reported that they do not bother submiting a fee claim given the issues associated with getting paid. Survey responses also indicated an overwhelming number of cases are not adult criminal cases, but dependency, neglect and abuse work, generally as a guardian ad litem or a parent's attorney. More than half of respondents left lengthy comments on their experience with court appointed work, with many reporting that they love doing the work but cannot continue doing so at the current compensation rates, likening the work to doing pro bono. Respondents also reported that the filing requirements frequently add stress to an already difficult-to-handle clientele. With a compensation rate that has not changed since 1994, Tennessee court-appointed attorneys are among the lowest paid in the nation. Read more from the survey results.

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TBA CLE Leads Bar World in Gamification

The Tennessee Bar Association is "the most vivid example in the bar world" of effective use of the game format for online CLE programs, Dan Kittay writes in the latest issue of the ABA’s Bar Leader magazine. The TBA has spent five years researching different approaches to gamification, and also which software is best for creating interactive games, TBA CLE director Mindy Thomas Fulks told the magazine. Advocates of gamification say that it offers an alternate approach that is proving successful. Fulks credits TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur with striving to keep the bar “trendsetting.”

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Photos Available from TBA Open House

The Tennessee Supreme Court welcomed several hundred new attorneys to the practice of law during ceremonies across the state this week. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Bar Association hosted an open house for new attorneys and their families. Photos from the event are now available.

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Ceremonies in Nashville Welcome New Attorneys

The Tennessee Supreme Court welcomed several hundred new attorneys to the practice of law during two ceremonies today at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. Similar ceremonies have been or will be held in Knoxville, Memphis and Jackson. During the break between the two Nashville ceremonies, many new attorneys and their families attended an open house at the Tennessee Bar Center. Watch TBA.org for photos from that event.

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Affiliate News for October 2014

American Bar Association YLD – This year’s ABA YLD Chair Andrew Schpak unveiled the group’s service project for the year at the fall meeting this month in Portland. “Project Street Youth: Young Lawyers Advocating for Homeless Youth” will focus on educating the public about the issue of homeless youth, promoting model state laws that address the needs of homeless youth, and holding legal clinics to help homeless youth with credit and consumer issues, public benefits and minor criminal matters.

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Solo in a Box Spotlight: Understanding Insurance Needs

With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new lawyers – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit. Each issue of E-DICT this year will spotlight one of the toolkit’s 12 sections. This month we look at the kinds of insurance lawyers should consider.

In the “Understanding Insurance Needs” section, the Solo in a Box Toolkit looks at the kinds of insurance products lawyers should consider. First, it addresses the importance of malpractice insurance. When starting a solo practice, lawyers want to minimize overhead expenses, but professional liability insurance should be considered a necessary expense. Lawyers should consider two types of malpractice coverage: “claims-made and reported” and extended reporting (“tail”).

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Express Yourself: Take 5 Minutes to Complete Diversity Survey

The YLD is conducting its bi-annual diversity survey this November to better understand the composition of the division membership and provide guidance on how to strengthen diversity in the group. We value your time and promise that the survey will take less than five minutes to complete. Participation is voluntary and responses are anonymous. The 2014 survey will be available until Nov. 21 at midnight. If you have technical questions about the survey please contact TBA staff member Stacey Shrader Joslin, (615) 383-7421. If you have questions about the purpose or use of the survey, please contact Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist, (901) 537-1123.

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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 10/29/14)

The YLD will again this year provide free wills and other end of life documents for first responders in Tennessee. The following clinics have been scheduled for the fall. Please contact the event organizer for more details or to volunteer. To get involved in the Wills for Heroes Committee or to request a clinic in your area, contact committee chair Joann Coston-Holloway. Learn more about the Wills for Heroes program.

Cookeville, Nov. 1
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: Jason Hicks, jasonfhicks@gmail.com, (931) 526-3311
Location: First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center, 165 East Broad St., Cookeville, TN 38501

Gallatin, Nov. 8
Contact: Cherrelle Hooper, chooper@las.org, (615) 451-1880 ext. 4
Location: Gallatin Civic Center, 210 Albert Gallatin Ave., Gallatin, TN 37066

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Young Lawyers Honored for Work This Fall

The YLD Board met for its Fall Meeting in September and recognized the efforts of two volunteers. YLD President-Elect Rachel Ralston Mancl was honored for her willingness to go the extra mile this year by serving as vice president and president-elect, chairing the Long Range Planning Committee and spearheading an effort to update the division’s bylaws with regard to succession planning. Mancl is an attorney with Hunter Smith & Davis in Kingsport.

Memphis lawyer Nicole M. Grida also was honored for providing exceptional leadership as chair of the CLE Committee.

She is an attorney for Zurich North America working at the Law Offices of Lauren Holloway.

Grida is pictured here (left) with YLD President Rachel Moses.

Mancl was not in attendance due to the birth of her first child.

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Updated Disaster Manual Now Available

The YLD Disaster Relief Committee recently updated the group’s award-winning Disaster Assistance Manual, which provides information for lawyers who volunteer to help disaster victims.

The manual guides attorneys through common issues that arise following a disaster, including replacing lost documents, dealing with landlord tenant issues, working with insurance companies and regaining access to federal and state benefits after being displaced.

The manual also includes a directory of all court clerk, county clerk, register of deed, health department, human service, Social Security, immigration and legal aid offices in the state. Learn more here.

Special thanks goes to this year's Disaster Committee Chair Caitlyn Elam with Lewis Thomason in Knoxville and committee members Matt Potempa with Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard and Mary Beth Haltom with Lewis Thomason, both in Nashville.

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Library Education Project Takes 2nd Award

The 2013-2014 YLD public service initiative, undertaken last year under the leadership of then president David McDowell, has won another award. The Library Education Project, which was designed to train librarians across the state about the free legal resources available to the public, was named the top public relations effort by a bar association by the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE). The organization’s Communications Section presented the award to TBA staff at its annual conference in Indianapolis this month.

By the end of the program, at least one librarian had been trained in each of Tennessee's 95 counties!

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TBA Looking for a Few Good Mentors

The TBA Mentoring Program is still accepting applications for mentors to join the program for upcoming classes. Volunteers are particularly needed in the Gatlinburg and Sevierville areas.

Mentors must be TBA members, should have at least eight years of legal practice experience, must carry professional liability insurance, may not have had a formal BPR investigation pending or disciplinary action imposed in the last 10 years, and may not have ever been disbarred. In addition, mentors and their mentees may not work for the same employer.

Contact TBA staff member Christy Gibson, (615) 383-7421 at the TBA for more information.

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Mock Trial Committee Gets Ready to Release 2015 Case

The YLD Mock Trial Committee is working hard to get this year’s case ready for release in mid November. The 2015 mock trial problem will be criminal in nature and feature all of the twists and turns expected from the mock trial experience. District coordinators also will be announced when the case is released. Teams seeking to get a head start on preparing should consider watching footage of past championship rounds. The TBA has DVDs of previous championship rounds for sale. Order from our online store or download an order form here. Check the YLD's mock trial webpage for updated information next month.

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Law School Programs, Liaisons Announced

The TBA YLD this week announced the application process and deadlines for two programs offered to Tennessee law students. Watch for information about both programs to be distributed on law school campuses next week.

Diversity Leadership Institute – The 2015 Diversity Leadership Institute is a six-month leadership program for Tennessee law students in their second, third or fourth years of study. The goal of the program is to have a diverse class, so selection is based in part on race, ethnicity, gender, age, background, geographical factors and law schools attended. Student participants must be TBA members and commit to attend three in-person meetings. Applications are due by Dec. 1. For more information contact YLD Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist, (901) 537-1123.

Judicial Internship Program – The YLD also this week rolled out application materials for the 2015 Summer Judicial Internship Program, which matches first and second year law students with Tennessee appellate and trial judges for six or 12-week internships. Applications must be received by Feb. 2, 2015. The program is administered by the Membership & Law School Outreach Committee. For more information contact committee chair Nathan Shelby, (731) 425-7949.

Law Student LiaisonsLaw student liaisons have now been named for the 2014-2015 academic year at each of the state’s six law schools:

  • Belmont University College of Law – Andrew Wood
  • Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law – Sarah Booher & Molly Hardin
  • Nashville School of Law Cooper Term – Carlos Lara & Bridgit Barnes
  • Nashville School of Law Henry Term – J.T. “Trey” Hannah & Daniel Newbern
  • University of Memphis School of Law – Jentri Nelson
  • University of Tennessee College of Law – Brady Cody
  • Vanderbilt University Law School – Laura Feezor

Thanks to these students for volunteering to serve!

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537 New Lawyers to Join the Profession

Results from the July Tennessee bar exam were released earlier this month with 537 applicants successfully passing the exam. Congratulations to all! The legal profession will welcome these colleagues to the practice of law next week at admission ceremonies across the state.

On Monday, new lawyers in Knoxville will appear before the state Supreme Court during a ceremony at the City County Building at 10 a.m. The court will then travel to Nashville for two sessions – one at 10 a.m. and one at 1:30 p.m. – Tuesday at the War Memorial Auditorium. Between the sessions, new lawyers and their families are invited to attend an open house and luncheon at the Tennessee Bar Association from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. On Wednesday, the court will be in Jackson to swear in new lawyers at the Supreme Court Building beginning at 9:30 a.m. Finally, on Thursday, the court will travel to Memphis to swear in new lawyers at a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Memphis City Council Chambers. TBA YLD representatives will be at each ceremony to welcome these new lawyers to the profession and offer information about association membership.

For details about the open house in Nashville contact TBA Membership Director Kelly Stosik. Watch the video TBA created to announce the bar passage list.

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Volunteers Needed at Gallatin Wills for Heroes

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is seeking attorneys to volunteer at a Wills for Heroes legal clinic in Gallatin on Nov. 8. Over 60 emergency first responders have signed up to receive estate planning documents that day. The clinic will start at 9 a.m. at the Gallatin Civic Center. Those available to volunteer should contact YLD District 8 Representative Cherrelle Hooper, (615) 451-1880. The YLD has been conducting Wills for Heroes clinics since 2008 and has served more than 2,500 first responders and their families. Learn more about Wills for Heroes.

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Legal Aid, Nashville YLD Host Clinic

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands and the Nashville Bar Association YLD are co-sponsoring a legal clinic at Casa Azafran Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The clinic is hosted the third Friday of every month and walk-in clients are welcome. Volunteers should contact Lucinda Smith for more information. See a list of all events taking place around the state this month as part of Celebrate Pro Bono.

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Congratulations! Welcome to the Practice of Law

Dear Colleague:

Congratulations on joining the practice of law in Tennessee! This is an important milestone and an achievement of which you should be proud. I look forward to joining you at the Tennessee Supreme Court admission ceremony in Nashville. If you like, I can introduce you to the Court on behalf of your colleagues.

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YLD to Hold Clinics Statewide During 'Access to Justice Week'

YLD President Rachel Moses has announced her public service initiative for the year. During the first annual Access to Justice Week, young lawyers will be asked to plan and participate in legal clinics across the state. This “Statewide Legal Clinic Initiative” will take place in the week leading up to and following Law Day 2015, which is observed on May 1. Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands, has made pro bono service a key component of her platform for the year. Those interested in helping organize a clinic in their area should contact their local district representative, who will be taking the lead in producing these events. A directory of representatives is available online.

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TBA Seeks Input from Court-Appointed Attorneys

The Tennessee Bar Association is seeking to learn more about court-appointed work and the filing of related fee claims with the Administrative Office of the Courts. Your feedback is crucial. Please take two to three minutes to fill out the questionnaire about your experience with court-appointed work. All responses will be kept anonymous. If you would like to be a part of the TBA's effort to change the rate of compensation for court-appointed attorneys by speaking to your legislator, email TBA Public Policy Coordinator Josie Beets.

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2014 Celebrate Pro Bono Around the Corner

Every year, Tennessee lawyers help thousands of clients by providing free legal advice. This assistance is especially celebrated and emphasized throughout the month of October as part of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Celebrate Pro Bono Initiative. Now in its sixth year, the initiative brings together bar associations, law schools, law firms, legal services providers and individual lawyers to offer free services to those unable to afford a lawyer.

This year's celebration is expected to involve more than 300 volunteers – including lawyers, law students, paralegals and language interpreters – in dozens of events and activities across the state. A summary of events planned for the month will be posted soon and updated regularly. Young lawyers are encouraged to get involved in a local event.

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Invited Guest News for September 2014

The TBA YLD Board invites specialty and minority bars in the state to name a representative to serve as an unfunded and non-voting member of the board. The goal of the invited guest program is to increase diversity among the board and provide an opportunity for young lawyers involved in other legal organizations to have a voice in the state bar association. See a list of all organizations invited to send representatives.

East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women – The East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women, represented on the TBA YLD Board by Knoxville lawyer Alyssa Minge, has a number of activities planned for the fall. On Oct. 18, the group will field a team for the 2014 Race for the Cure, which will be held at the World’s Fair Park. To join the group, visit the ETLAW team page or contact team captain Wynne Caffey.

Then on Oct. 28, the group will host a reception to honor Knox County female judges elected or appointed to the bench within the last year. For more information about ETLAW contact Minge by email, (865) 342-4916.

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Affiliate News for September 2014

American Bar Association YLD – The ABA YLD will hold its Fall Meeting Oct. 9-11 in Portland and its Spring 2015 Meeting May 14-16 in Tampa, Florida. For more information about the ABA YLD visit the group online or contact Nashville lawyer Matt Potempa, (615) 810-8438.

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Solo in a Box Spotlight: Technology & Your Law Practice

With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new lawyers – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit. Each issue of E-DICT this year will spotlight one of the toolkit’s 12 sections. This month we look at a range of technology choices lawyers face.

Long gone are the days where new lawyers could rely on note pads and typewriters to run an efficient law office. In a modern law practice, email is king, word processing is crucial, and online legal research is second to none. In the “Technology & Your Law Practice” section, the Solo in a Box Toolkit addresses four major issues: choosing the right hardware, choosing the right software, effective use of email and ethical issues in technology. A brief summary of each topic is provided below.

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CLE for New Lawyers Set for Nov. 13

The TBA is again offering its transitional legal education program “Best Practices For New Lawyers” in Nashville in conjunction with the fall swearing in ceremony for new lawyers. The program will feature presentations from well-respected attorneys, talking about the things they wish they had known on their first day as a practicing attorney.

Topics will include keeping clients happy, staying out of trouble, beginning and ending client relationships, the importance of civility in the practice and developing professionalism.

Speakers include:

  • Mark Beveridge, Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, Nashville

  • James Crumlin Jr., Bone McAllester Norton, Nashville

  • Matt Potempa, Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, Nashville

  • William Young, Administrative Office of the Courts, Nashville

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