News

Next Week: Corporate Counsel Forum

Join your colleagues March 3 for the 2017 Corporate Counsel Forum, with topics ranging from technology's influence on the modern law practice to recent developments in employment law. Speakers will address cyber security and privacy, as well as productivity tools for the present-day corporate counsel. Another session covers the EEOC's new rules on what incentives employers may provide to employees who provide medical information as part of a wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
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Corporate Counsel Forum, Pro Bono Event and Gala Set for March 3-4

The TBA's Corporate Counsel Section members are invited to participate in three coordinated upcoming events to be held March 3 and 4 in Nashville. 

Corporate Counsel 2017 Fourm - Friday, March 3

Featuring topics ranging from technology's influence on the modern law practice to recent developments in employment law, the forum will highlight speakers who address cyber security and privacy, as well as productivity tools for the present-day corporate counsel. Another session covers the EEOC's new rules on what incentive employers may provide to employees who provide medical information as part of a wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A roundtable discussion will also be included. Lunch will be provided.

Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Service Event Saturday, March 4

Learn more about pro bono projects at a brief training and opportunity for direct volunteer service, including the innovative online TN Free Legal Answers and the upcoming HELP4TN Day of Service. Co-sponsored by the TBA’s Access to Justice Committee and Corporate Counsel Section, and the Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). More information is available on the TBA website. Lunch will be provided.

Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala - Saturday, March 4

The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative was launched as a joint effort by the TBA Access to Justice Committee, the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) to help foster a coordinated approach to pro bono work and support for the access to justice community by corporate counsel in Tennessee. Over the last 10 years, the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative has raised over $500,000. This money has funded corporate counsel pro bono project grants across the state.

The funded projects offer in-house and corporate lawyers specific pro bono opportunities tailored to their situations, skills and interests and facilitate partnerships among corporate legal departments, law firms, access to justice and other community service organizations to help meet local legal service gaps. This year’s CLE is held in conjunction with the TBA’s Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala. Participants who attend the gala will learn about special pro bono opportunities for corporate counsel and help raise money to facilitate the development of new and exciting pro bono projects for in-house corporate counsel and their outside counsel around the state.

Tennessee law firms and corporations are invited to support the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative by becoming recognized sponsors. Participants may also purchase tickets and attend the gala as individuals. Learn about sponsorship opportunities and ticket options on the TBA website.

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Pilot Flying J Informant Claims Company Cheated Feds

The Pilot Flying J diesel rebate fraud scheme cheated not just trucking companies across the U.S. but also the federal government, according to a former Morgan Stanley broker who claims he helped the FBI in the original case. Knownews reports that John Verble, who is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a request for federal whistleblower protection, alleges that Pilot Flying J swindled the U.S. Postal Service out of large sums in promised fuel rebates. Pilot’s attorney said the accusation is not true.
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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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Settlement Requires Western Union to Develop Anti-Fraud Program

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced today a multistate settlement with the Western Union Company, following an investigation which focused on complaints from consumers who used Western Union’s services to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers. The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action an anti-fraud program. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia participated in this settlement. Read more here.
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Register for the 2017 Corporate Counsel Forum

Obtain the most up-to-date information at this year's Corporate Counsel Forum on March 3 in Nashville. Speakers will address cyber security and privacy, as well as productivity tools for the present-day corporate counsel. Another session covers the EEOC's new rules on what incentive employers may provide to employees who provide medical information as part of a wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act. More details and registration information can be found on the TBA's website.

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Tennessee Supreme Court Amends Pro Hac Vice Rule

The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued an order amending TN. Sup. Ct. R. 19 on pro hoc vice appearances permitting lawyers who have been granted permission to practice pending admission to seek pro hac vice permission to appear in court. The TBA commented supporting the change.

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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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‘Presnell on Privileges’ Also Named Top Blog

It turns out two Tennessee lawyers were named to the ABA Journal’s Top 100 Blawg listing for 2016. In addition to “Herston on Tennessee Family Law” by Knoxville lawyer K.O. Herston, Nashville litigator Todd Presnell’s blog “Presnell on Privileges” made this year’s list. Presnell's blog offers facts and analyses about rulings from federal and state courts around the country on attorney-client privilege issues. It also covers privilege-related lawsuits, legislation and op-eds. The ABA Journal has been identifying the best blogs for lawyers for the past 10 years through its ABA Blawg 100. Other law blogs from Tennessee attorneys can be found on the TBA.org website

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Brentwood Lawyer Named YWCA President

Sharon K. Roberson has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, the organization announced today. Roberson will begin her new role on Nov. 14. She is currently serving as senior vice president and general counsel at Direct General Corporation in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood. She also is a member of TBA’s Corporate Counsel Section. In a press release, the YWCA said Roberson is a “well-established leader within the Nashville business community” with a “proven track record and strength in operating complex organizations.” She will replace Pat Shea, who will continue to stay involved with the YWCA’s MEND initiative, which focuses on engaging and educating men and boys to help end violence against women and girls.

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High Court to Review Business Court Docket

The Tennessee Supreme Court is celebrating the success of its pilot Business Court, which has been operating as part of the Davidson County Chancery Court since last year. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, more than 100 cases have been considered for transfer to the Business Court, with 87 of those being granted. The Supreme Court now says it will stop accepting new cases after Oct. 31 so it can conduct a review of the program and make any refinements necessary to move toward statewide implementation. Comments about the business docket can be submitted to the court via email.

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KBA Sections Holding Pro Bono Night

The Knoxville Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Section and Family Law Section are joining forces for a Pro Bono Night next Tuesday. Members of the sections will gather to answer civil legal questions posted to TN Free Legal Answers. Representatives from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services will be available during the event to answer questions and assist with technology issues. Other volunteers are invited to join the group from 5 to 7 p.m. EST at the Adams Law Firm, 8517 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919. Register online to participate.

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Suit Challenges New Overtime Rules

More than 50 business groups and 21 states have filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas to stop new overtime rules imposed by the Department of Labor. The suit alleges that the department unconstitutionally overstepped its authority when it established a federal minimum salary level for white collar workers. The rule, set to go into effect Dec. 1, doubles the salary threshold under which workers qualify for overtime pay, from $455 per week to $913 per week. The Labor Department estimates the rule will impact an additional 4.2 million workers. KIII-TV 3 of South Texas has the story.

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UT Law Graduate Receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship

Kirsten Jacobson, a 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, recently was awarded a competitive, two-year postgraduate fellowship by the nonprofit Equal Justice Works. Jacobson will work with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) in Nashville to expand access to justice in the state. Her work – which will focus on increasing use of TALS’ existing services, creating a legal wellness evaluation, establishing a forum for legal aid IT staff to share best practices and identifying new technology projects statewide – will be funded by Memphis-based International Paper Company.

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TALS Names 2016 Access to Justice Award Recipients

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) today named its 2016 Access to Justice Award honorees. The Janice M. Holder Award will go to Jim Barry and Sharon Ryan of International Paper in Memphis. The B. Riney Green Award will go to Craig Barnes of Memphis Area Legal Services and Russell Fowler of Legal Aid of East Tennessee in Chattanooga. And the New Advocate of the Year Award will go to Zachary Oswald with the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Learn more about the award recipients and make plans to join colleagues at the Equal Justice Conference on Aug. 31 for the award ceremony.

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Corporate Counsel Courses Now Online

Did you miss the 2016 Corporate Counsel forum? Good news, you can now stream high-quality online videos from the program on our website. Sessions cover ERISA and ACA litigation updates, new federal overtime rules, OSHA investigations and recent developments in employment law.

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Court Adopts New Standard for Shareholder Lawsuits

In a case involving claims between siblings who were shareholders in a closely held family corporation, the Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted a new standard for when a shareholder can file a direct lawsuit on claims that concern the corporation. The decision overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeals and set aside Tennessee’s prior standard. In its place, the court adopted a standard used in Delaware that “is clear and easily understood” and “should facilitate consistent and predictable outcomes in disputes involving shareholder claims.” Chattannoogan.com has the story.

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July 1 Deadline Looms for In-house Counsel

In-house counsel working in Tennessee without a Tennessee law license now have just days to register with the Board of Law Examiners before a July 1 deadline. If they do not file by that date, they face discipline and a bar examination in order to continue practicing in Tennessee, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts. The July 1 deadline marks the end of an amnesty period granted by the Tennessee Supreme Court in January, when changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct and attorney licensing policies went into effect.

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Learn About New Overtime Rule in 1-Hour Webcast

Nashville attorneys Stanley Graham and Andrew Naylor, both of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP, will explain the new federal overtime rule in a one-hour webcast CLE on June 28 at noon CST. The changes include increasing the minimum salary required for exempt employees from $23,660 to over $47,000 per year. The course, approved for one CLE credit, will replay on July 21. 

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Out-of-state In-house Counsel Must Register by July 1

In-house counsel working in Tennessee without a Tennessee law license have until July 1 to register with the Board of Law Examiners or face discipline and a bar examination in order to continue practicing in the state. Changes to Supreme Court Rule 7 adopted by the court in December set up the amnesty provision and the July 1 deadline. 

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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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Court Upholds Tax Variance on Verizon Parent Company

The Tennessee Supreme Court today upheld a decision by the Tennessee Department of Revenue to impose a tax variance on the parent company of Verizon Wireless and ruled the Commissioner of Revenue was within his authority to impose the variance. The lawsuit, filed in 2007 by Vodafone Americas Holdings Inc. and its subsidiaries, asked Tennessee to refund nearly all state franchise and excise taxes it had paid from 2002-2006. The company claimed the apportionment formula in Tennessee’s franchise and excise tax has been incorrectly applied. The Commissioner of Revenue then decided to impose on Vodafone a tax variance that required the company to pay franchise and excise taxes by a formula that varied from the standard apportionment formula in Tennessee’s tax statutes. The trial court and the Court of Appeals both upheld the Commissioner’s decision to issue the tax variance. Read the majority opinion in Vodafone Americas Holdings, Inc. v. Reagan Farr, authored by Justice Holly Kirby, and the dissent by Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins.

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Pro Bono Event Pushes Fundraising Past Half Million Mark

Tennessee lawyers helped raise more than $45,000 to help legal aid programs in the state at the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala Saturday in Nashville. Now in its 10th year, the event has raised more than half a million dollars to support pro bono efforts that engage in-house and corporate counsel. This year’s event was hosted by Bass, Berry & Sims, and featured honors for an outstanding law firm and legal department, recognized for ongoing commitment to promoting access to justice programs for low-income and vulnerable Tennesseans. This year, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and International Paper Company were honored for their successful efforts. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee provided the keynote address.

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Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala Celebrates a Decade of Service

Event Honors Attorneys, Raises Money for Legal Aid Groups

(NASHVILLE, March 5, 2016) — Tennessee lawyers helped raise more than $45,000 to help legal aid programs in the state at the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala. Now in its 10th year, the event has raised more than half a million dollars to support pro bono efforts that engage in-house and corporate counsel. This year’s event was hosted by Bass, Berry & Sims, and featured honors for outstanding law firm and legal department, recognized for ongoing commitment to promoting access to justice programs for low-income and vulnerable Tennesseans.

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Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala is March 5

The TBA Access to Justice Committee, in partnership with the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Association of Corporate Counsel, is hosting the 10th annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala on March 5 in Nashville. The gala, which will be held at the Pinnacle at Symphony Place, will feature remarks from Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee. The CCPBI awards will be presented for outstanding law firm and legal department. The deadline to become an event sponsor or purchase tickets is Friday. Contact Liz Todaro, TBA programs director / access to justice coordinator, for more information.

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