Check Out New 1-Click CLE Offerings

Gain fast and easy access to annual updates with TBA's 1-Click CLE options. New packages offer recent programming in real estate, administrative law, and appellate practice.  
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Beavers Calls for Attorney General Elections

A Tennessee lawmaker wants the state attorney general to be elected by voters by 2024, the Lebanon Democrat reports. Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, has sponsored a joint resolution to amend the state’s Constitution to make the change, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it. In Tennessee the attorney general is appointed by the state Supreme Court for an eight-year term.
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Deadline to Apply for Claims Commissioner is March 31

The Tennessee Claims Commission is accepting applications to fill the office of Commissioner for the Eastern Grand Division, because of the expiration of William Shults’ term. The position will be for eight years beginning June 30. A qualified applicant will have resided in the Eastern Grand Division for at least one year prior to appointment, resided in Tennessee for at least five years prior and has been licensed to practice law in Tennessee for five years. The deadline to apply is March 31. Read more here.
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From Fees to Dogs in Court, March TBJ Has It

In the March Tennessee Bar Journal, Tim Warnock explains last year's Supreme Court decision about assessing fee applications. Commissioner Robert Hibbett and Justin Hickerson give you the scoop on a "court" you may not even know the state has: the Tennessee Claims Commission. On its 190th anniversary, Russell Fowler looks back at how Chancery Court got started in Tennessee, and Wade Davies explains using the summary rule to advance your trial theory. Humor columnist Bill Haltom recalls a dog who presided over a courtroom, and considers taking his own dogs with him to try his next case.

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TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

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Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

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All 3 Constitutional Officers Seeking New Terms

The state’s three constitutional officers – Comptroller Justin Wilson, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Treasurer David Lillard – are all planning to seek new terms in office when the Tennessee General Assembly votes to fill the positions in January, Knoxnews reports. All three were elected to office in 2009 when Republicans first gained a majority of seats in the state legislature and are unlikely to face opposition according to the paper. Under the state constitution, the comptroller and treasurer serve two-year terms while the secretary of state serves a four-year term.

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Services Set for Retired Col. Les Barham

Retired Colonel Leslie Webb Barham of Jackson died Sept. 30 at the age of 79. A graduate of the Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, he practiced law for many years in Jackson before taking the position of judge advocate general for the Tennessee Army National Guard headquarters in Nashville. He retired after 38 years of honorable service, after which he served as an administrative law judge for the state of Tennessee. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be directed to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Jackson-Madison County Humane Society. Visitation will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lawrence-Sorensen Funeral Home, with military graveside services Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Hollywood Cemetery. Read his obituary.

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Court Square Series: Sept. 15 in Dyersburg

The TBA’s 2016 Court Square series continues with a session in Dyersburg on Sept. 15. The course will be held at the Farms Golf Club. Sarah Day, Jennifer Vallor Ivy and Judge Steven Stafford will address changes in summary judgment law; Judge Jim Hamilton will provide a basic overview of the Tennessee Claims Commission; and Laura Chastain with the Board of Professional Responsibility will present an ethics session.

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Government Attorneys’ Forum Set for August

On Aug. 17, a new TBA CLE will provide key updates for state government lawyers. Sessions will cover procurement contracts, rules of procedure and evidence in administrative proceedings, legislative updates, negotiation skills, ethics and issues with public private partnerships. Learn more or register here.

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Ginsburg: 8 is 'Not a Good Number' for Court

“Eight, as you know, is not a good number for a multi-member court,” according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who remarked on the court’s unfilled vacancy at the conference for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ginsburg added that when the court is evenly divided “that means no opinions and no precedential value.” Read more from the ABA Journal

Register Today for the 135th Annual TBA Convention

Join us on June 15-18 in Nashville for the 135th Annual Convention! Registration for the 2016 TBA Convention includes:

  • free access to all TBA CLE programming;
  • the Opening Reception;
  • the Bench Bar Programming and Luncheon;
  • Law School and general breakfasts;
  • the Lawyers Luncheon;
  • the Thursday evening Joint (TBA/TLAW/TABL) Reception;
  • the Thursday night dinner and entertainment at the George Jones Museum;
  • and the Friday night Dance Party.

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Register Now! Administrative Law Forum 2015

This program will address recent developments in Tennessee's "Sunshine Law" to include recent cases, public access, violations, and the laws requirements regarding meeting electronically.  The ethics portion of the program will cover best practices when communicating with clients, counsel, and boards. Other topics include public records and summary suspensions. Take advantage of special section member pricing and register today!

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Nashville Partners to Chair Practice Groups

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP appointed Nashville partners Emily Hatch Bowman and Ty E. Howard as new practice group chairs within the firm. Bowman represents financial institutions and corporate clients in a variety of commercial and real estate lending matters. Howard represents organizations and individuals in government and internal investigations, compliance matters and related civil or criminal litigation. “Bradley Arant’s practice leaders hold a crucial and respected role, as they work to guide their colleagues in a trajectory that benefits our clients and the firm as a whole,” firm chairman Beau Grenier said.

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Court: No Antitrust Immunity for Licensing Boards

State licensing boards composed of market participants do not enjoy automatic immunity from antitrust laws, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week. The decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission affirms the Fourth Circuit and deals a setback to an increasingly common form of regulation, SCOTUSblog reports. In their dissent, Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas argued that the board should get antitrust immunity because North Carolina had designated it a state agency.

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Attorneys Form Green Hills Law Firm

Three Nashville attorneys, including the former legal counsel to then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, have opened a law firm in the Green Hills area of the city. Trajan Carney, Steve Elkins and Leslie Curry have created Carney|Elkins|Curry PLC at 3817 Bedford Ave. in Bedford Commons. The firm will handle general civil litigation and appellate practice, with a focus on construction law, general business litigation, administrative and regulatory law, and labor and employment law. It also will offer estate planning and probate services. The Nashville Post has more on the story.

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Judge Upholds Requirement for Memphis-Shelby County Consolidation

The 2010 federal court lawsuit over the failed attempt at consolidating the city of Memphis and Shelby County governments has failed as well with an order Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Thomas Anderson granting a motion for summary judgment by defendants in the case. The proposal for consolidation lost by a large margin in the county outside Memphis, although it was approved by a narrow margin within Memphis. The lawsuit filed in 2010 challenged on constitutional grounds the state law requiring that such a charter must be approved by dual majorities in separate referendums for consolidation to take place. The Memphis Daily News has more.

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If You Did It, Flaunt It With a TBJ Announcement

The Tennessee Bar Journal has a new opportunity for lawyers and firms to promote outstanding achievements, new associates, new partners, mergers, awards and any changes within the firm. Now, Professional Announcements are available at special, lower-rate pricing. You can tell more than 12,000 of your peers about your accomplishments by placing an announcement in the Journal. For information or to place an announcement, contact Debbie Taylor at 503-445-2231 or To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her before Feb. 18.

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Magazine Predicts 12 ‘Hottest’ Practice Areas

The September issue of The National Jurist predicts the 12 "hottest" practice areas for the next decade. Those deemed to be “super hot” were health care, administrative, intellectual property and family law. Food and drug law, tax litigation, privacy law and compliance law were ranked as “hot.” And employment, energy, manufacturing and immigration law were judged “somewhat hot.”

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Bone McAllester Launches New Practice, Adds Former U.S. Attorney

The Nashville law firm of Bone McAllester Norton has launched a criminal defense and government investigations practice, and has hired former U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough and current Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Little in the Middle District of Tennessee for the group. They both will start Aug. 1. Current Bone McAllester employee James Mackler, a former senior trial counsel in the Judge Advocate General Corps., also will join the practice group. Yarborough left the Middle Tennessee prosecutor’s office in 2010 and has been working at the Nashville law firm of Walker Tipps & Malone. Read more on the firm’s website and on Nashville

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Social Security Judges File Suit Over Caseload

Social Security administrative law judges have filed suit against the agency claiming they are so overwhelmed by disability claims that they sometimes award benefits they might otherwise deny just to keep up with the workload. The Social Security Administration says it has set a “productivity goal” for each judge to handle 500 to 700 cases a year. The judges, however, claim that is an illegal quota that violates their independence and denies due process rights to applicants. The Associated Press suggests that the suit “raises serious questions about the integrity of the disability hearing process” and comes as the disability program faces serious financial problems. WRCB-TV in Chattanooga has the AP story.

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Court Strikes Down Presidential Recess Appointments

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he used recess appointments to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Obama, stymied by Republican inaction on his nominees, appointed three to the board while Congress was on recess. In the near-term, the ruling casts doubt on the ability of the NLRB to conduct its business and could make recent rulings vulnerable to challenge. In the long-term, the decision could diminish the president's ability to make appointments in the absence of congressional action. Reuters News Service reports.

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Knox Law Department Seeks Outside Counsel

The Knox County Law Department is seeking to establish a non-exclusive panel of attorneys and firms it may call on to provide legal expertise when it requires the assistance of outside counsel. The county reports it will only seek assistance from outside counsel when it encounters a matter that creates an actual or perceived conflict of interest within the law department; that requires highly specialized expertise; or that requires additional assistance due to its complexity and/or time demands. Any attorney or firm interested in being considered as outside counsel should submit qualifications to the department by Feb. 13. Learn more in this announcement.

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Social Security Judge Joins Chattanooga Firm

Richard Gordon, former chief judge of the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review Hearing Office in Chattanooga, has joined the law firm of Dale Buchanan and Associates as general counsel. According to, Gordon served as an administrative law judge for 25 years, deciding over 10,000 Social Security disability cases. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, as a judge with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army Reserve.

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Tennessee Turns to Feds for Health Exchange

Gov. Bill Haslam said today he will let the federal government set up a health insurance exchange in the state, rather than establish a separate state-run system. Haslam made his remarks during a meeting of the Nashville Rotary Club. In explaining his decision, Haslam said there is still a lot of uncertainty about how a state exchange would work and that draft regulations he has seen led him to conclude there would be little flexibility or autonomy for the state-run systems. The Nashville Business Journal has details.

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