News

Traffic Ticket App Startup Sues Florida Bar for Antitrust Violations

A Florida startup that matches lawyers to drivers who’ve received traffic tickets is suing the Florida Bar and a law firm for allegedly launching a “coordinated attack” to kill its business, the ABA Journal reports. Mobile app developer TIKD Services filed suit in federal court against the Florida Bar and a competitor called The Ticket Clinic. The Florida Bar began investigating TIKD 10 months ago, probing into whether the company was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and issued an informal opinion about it. Additionally The Ticket Clinic filed ethics complaints against attorneys who worked with TIKD customers, according to the lawsuit.
read more »

Reminder: TBA Fall Annual Review Set for Nashville

The TBA Fall Annual Review is just around the corner on Nov. 3. This annual program remains the preeminent opportunity for Tennessee general, solo and small firm practitioners to network with other lawyers sharing their legal focus while obtaining necessary CLE requirements. As with other CLE programs, section members receive a discounted rate to attend.
 
This year’s review will feature 30 tips in 60 minutes from TBA General-Solo Section Chair Jim Romer, who holds degrees from St. Bernard's College, Catholic University of America and the University of Tennessee. Some of the topics that will be addressed in this presentation include:
 
When the TBI Comes Calling, Proving an Act Of God
They Held Title to The House as Married, But They Weren’t. Then He Died. Fix It
How Mother Gave Away the Family Farm. Sometimes Where There’s a Will There’s Not a Way
Small Town Access to Justice - Pro Bono Heavy #1 - A Child’s Transplant Trust Story
Small Town Access to Justice - Pro Bono Heavy #2 - They Bought the Trailer. Now Clean Up the Title”
So You Want to Own Your Own Law Business and Be Your Own Boss - A Guide for Filing, Reporting, Paying and Other Dreaded Things
Real Estate - The Best Idea I Ever Had and Resources for Deed Writing and Title Work
 
When: Nov. 3, registration begins at 8, CDT
 
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 2nd Floor, 221 4th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219
read more »

Court Square Series Kicks Off in Chattanooga

On Sept. 21, this year’s Court Square series kicks off in Chattanooga at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. Kevin Christopher will address common intellectual property issues for general practitioners. Jay Elliott will cover issues attorneys may encounter when handling matters with in-house counsel and Chris Varner will provide a summary of litigation updates. The last session will be a roundtable discussion offering point and counterpoint scenarios in connection with various contract provisions. For more information or to register.   

read more »

Elder Law Basics

Make plans to join us for this exciting program. This program is for attorneys who want to understand what elder law practice is all about or are looking for a quick refresher course on the basics. Two sessions will focus on government benefits, this will include Medicaid and a review of VA benefits. Speakers will address best practices for Power of Attorneys and help you identify the client's needs and determining capacity. Click here to sign up today.

read more »

License Suspension Policy Survey

A number of sections in the Tennessee Code authorize licensing agencies to suspend a professional license or certification for failure to pay student loans. Most of these sections are derived from 1999 Pub. Acts ch. 476 and 2012 Pub. Acts ch. 519. In addition, Section 37 of Tenn. Sup. Ct. Rule 9 provides for suspension of an attorney’s license when the attorney has been determined to be in default on a repayment or service obligation under any federal family education loan program, a student loan guaranteed or administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (“TSAC”), or any other state or federal educational loan or service-conditional scholarship program.
 
The General Practice Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Section wishes to propose the following policy change: A repeal of all Tennessee Codes, and Supreme Court rules, that address the suspension of an attorney's license for failure to pay student loans. For more details, please see attached memorandum. The Executive Council is asking for feedback on this policy change, and requesting that members of the section complete the following survey by August 21. 
 
Please see comments below from James Romer, chair of the General Practice Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Section, on this policy change. 
 
Frank, and fellow members of the Executive Committee of the General – Solo – Small Practice Section, all members of our Section, and TBA staff. I have witnessed Frank’s efforts to address this issue for years. Taking licenses for failure to timely repay a debt to get a license is very hurtful to members of our section. In my judgment we need to take a firm position to do away with it. 
 
The very heart of the problem of taking a license simply for failing pay a debt is that a person with a license has made an incredible sacrifice to get it. It represents an investment of years of his or her lifetime just to get the education. Then they have successfully passed through the gauntlet of the licensing exam. On top of that they were successful in providing references to the quality of their character for it to be issued to them. Their whole purpose for putting out such an effort is to be able to have a tool to help raise their ability to support themselves and a family and to use it to help others.
 
Sometimes despite all that sacrifice, all of us need to face the fact that for some period of time there may not be sufficient income using that tool to serve their basic needs, begin a family life, start up a business because there are no “salaried jobs with benefits” available -- and pay the debt too. When the tool is taken away by the debt collector aided and abetted by the legal scheme set out in the Memorandum, a chunk of their lifetime has been stolen from them along with the very means ever to repay the debt the debt collector wants to collect. It’s as senseless as shooting a trained marathon runner in the foot to see if it will improve his ability to compete in a marathon!
 
I applaud Frank’s efforts.  Please add your comments and submit them.  Even if you don’t have any additional comments, please complete the SURVEY and submit it.  We just need to know your individual position as best you can on the issue. 
 
Thank you, 
 
Jim Romer, Section Chair
 
James P. Romer 
 
To complete the survey, please click here. Please complete the survey no later than August 21. 
 
 

read more »

Ten Tips for Better Trial Practice

Here are ten tips for better trial practice from Judge Dale Tipps.

Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

read more »

Message from the Chair

I want to personally invite all members of the General-Solo-Small Firm Practitioners Section to attend our meeting if you will be at the Tennessee Bar Association's Annual Convention. If you must attend by phone, that would be greatly appreciated as well. The convention is in Kingsport, June 14-17.

I am concerned about the onslaught of challenges being waged against the general, solo and small practitioners in the law business, particularly in the rural areas. Come be part of the discussion. Let’s see if we can develop some strategy.

Our section also needs more participants on its Executive Council. This is a great group of people who meet monthly (usually by phone) to advance the cause of section members’ concerns. If you can volunteer for this, it would be a huge help.

Look forward to seeing you in Kingsport!

Jim Romer
Section Chair

read more »

General Practice Forum Lineup Set; Ethics Speakers Needed

The annual TBA General Practice Section CLEs are set and will feature programs in each grand division. The programs this year will all be "fast track" programs — seven hours of live programming paired with eight hours of online course credits that you can use at your convenience to meet your full 15-hour CLE requirement for the year. Here's the lineup for this year's programs:

General Practice Forum Memphis, August 11
Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Avenue (15 hours)

Topics will focus on:
- Lawyer ethics and texting
- Motions in Limine
- Criminal and civil contempt
- Real estate closings
- Cyber security
- Child custody
- Rights and obligations of juveniles


• General Practice Forum Nashville, August 18
Tennessee Bar Center, 15 hours

Topics will focus on:
- Elder law
- Ethics issues in advertising
- Criminal and civil contempt
- Trial advocacy
- Cyber security
- Family law
- Criminal law


• General Practice Forum Knoxville, August 25
UT Conference Center, 15 hours

Topics will focus on:
- Cyber security
- Estate planning
- Real estate
- Client management
- Unemployment compensation law
- Residential construction law


• General Practice Forum Nashville, November 3
Tennessee Bar Center, 15 hours

Watch for details on speakers and topics.


Opportunity to Join the TBA CLE Faculty

We are looking at one last piece for our General Practice CLE offerings. We produce a Saturday Ethics CLE every year. This year it will be held on Saturday, August 19. This will be a morning program. We are looking at topics that factor in ethical considerations, dilemmas and law practice management issues that apply to general and solo practitioners. Please consider recommending a speaker or volunteering. To make a suggestion or submit a proposal please contact CLE Director Mindy Thomas Fulks.

read more »

General Practice Section to Meet at TBA Convention

Please make plans to join the TBA General, Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Section for a business meeting that will be held in conjunction with 2017 TBA Convention. The TBA General, Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Section meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date/Time:

Friday, June 16, 2017
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Eastern

Location:

MeadowView Marriott
1901 Meadowview Parkway
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 578-6600

Room Location – Bays Mountain Boardroom

A conference call will be available for those unable to join us in person. The following are the instructions for joining the call:

You will dial in on the following number: 1-855-795-9620

You will then be prompted to enter the following conference ID number, followed by the pound (#) sign: 5722409#

Items for discussion include:

  1. Share your best tip for success as a general, solo or small firm practitioner
  2. Memo and Proposed Legislation on License Suspension for Failure to Pay Student Loans (Frank Johnstone)
  3. Increasing Executive Council Membership and Participation
  4. Ideas for CLE programming and webcasts
  5. What items would you like to see in your inbox? Getting the most out of your Section Connects
  6. Pro Bono Opportunities
  7. Networking and Mentoring within the Section
  8. Collaboration with other Sections

There is still time if you would like to register for TBA Convention. You may register by calling the TBA at (615) 383-7421 or register online at:

2017 TBA Convention

You do not have to be registered for Convention to attend this Section meeting. We hope to see you there!

read more »

Start Your Own Practice With 'Go Solo' CLE Series

Interested in going solo? Try our online "Go Solo Novice" CLE series, which offers a variety of courses for attorneys who are interested in starting their own practice. Topics cover ways to refine legal services, business tips and best practices.
read more »

Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at http://www.tba.org/submit-an-article, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.

If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at http://www.cletn.com/.

read more »

TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

read more »

Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

read more »

Davidson County Chancery Court Launches E-Filing

Electronic case filing is now available in Davidson County Chancery Court. The court has implemented a program called Odyssey eFileTN, which allows users to open cases and file documents with the Davidson County Chancery Court from anywhere via a secure website. Davidson County is only the second county in Tennessee to implement e-filing in a state trial court. Learn more about the program, access rules or register for e-filing at the Odyssey eFileTN website.
read more »

Go Solo CLE Series for Beginners and the Experienced

The Go Solo and I am Solo series offers tips and best practices; a perfect combo CLE for lawyers who want to start their own practice. For those who are in their first few years of solo practice – advanced topics will help you kick it up a notch. 

read more »

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.

read more »

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

read more »

New 1-Click Packages Make CLE Easy

Three new CLE packages are now available through the TBA's 1-Click Program. We have gathered together the most popular CLE programs on key practice areas and are making them available for a special price. Visit the 1-Click page to find packages on Creditors Practice, General Practice, Tax Law, Transactional Law and more. New packages are always being added, so check back if you don't find the one you want.

read more »

Online CLE for General Practitioners Now Available

Sessions from the TBA’s annual General Practice CLE are now available online. Topics include child welfare laws, domestic assault cases, law office dynamics, wrongful termination, writing skills and more. See the full listing here.

read more »

Get Multiple Courses with TBA’s New '1Click CLE'

This month the TBA is launching a new way to purchase CLE courses. The 1Click series allows lawyers to sign up for multiple course with one click. Look for sets of programs in a variety of categories, including ethics programs and courses by practice area. Current offerings include two three-hour ethics series, an eight-hour general practice series and a five-hour tax law series.

read more »

Debunking the ‘Solo, No Bono’ Myth

Big Law lawyer David Lash takes on the myths that solo practioners do not have the time, resources or experience to do pro bono work, arguing they are, and historically have been, critical to the delivery of legal services to the poor. In an article for Above the Law, he debunks each of these myths and concludes that solo practioners and small firm lawyers likely engage in pro bono service in the same numbers and percentages as other attorneys.

read more »

Knox Court Adopts New Rule on Court Appointments

The Knox County General Sessions Court has adopted a new Rule 27 to govern the appointment of attorneys to represent indigent defendants. Beginning Nov. 30, the court will maintain a list of attorneys approved to accept criminal defense appointments. The list will be maintained by the judicial court administrator and will be revised annually. Each year by Dec. 31, attorneys desiring to remain on the list should provide written or email notice to the administrator. For more information, contact the court at 865-215-2370.

read more »

Indigent Representation Task Force to Meet Friday

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force will meet at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Room LP12 of Legislative Plaza in Nashville. The panel will hear presentations from Vince Dean, Hamilton County criminal court clerk and president of the Tennessee Clerks of Court Conference; Jerry N. Estes, executive director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference; Charme Allen, Knox County district attorney general; Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn; and Justyna Garbaczewska Scalpone with the Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender. Get details about the meeting.

read more »

Nashville Chancery Court Seek Comments on E-filing

The Davidson County Chancery Court is implementing electronic case filing and is soliciting input from members of the public and attorneys concerning local rules. The proposed e-filing rules are posted on the Davidson County Clerk and Master website. Comments may be submitted electronically (note “e-filing rules” in the subject line) or mailed to the Davidson County Clerk and Master, 1 Public Square, Ste. 308, Nashville, TN 37201. The deadline for comments is Oct. 31.

read more »