News

Law Firm App Wins Marketing Award

National labor and employment law firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith – with offices in Nashville – has won first place in the Legal Marketing Association’s national awards program for a mobile app designed for HR professionals, in-house counsel and members of the media. The firm reports that the app goes beyond lawyer bios and newsletters to provide quick guides and checklists on workplace topics, wage and hour calculators, a glossary of employment law terms and links to workers’ comp calculators. The app’s Work Snips section also provides short, entertaining takes on the latest workplace headlines from outside news sources. The app is available for Apple products. An Android version is set to be released soon.

read more »

Court Reporting Firms Merge, Open New Offices

Charlotte-based Huseby Inc. has expanded its presence in Tennessee through its merger with Vowell & Jennings Court Reporters of Tennessee. The new firm -- Vowell, Jennings and Huseby -- will have offices in Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis. Gene Jennings and Jim Vowell will direct the work of the Tennessee offices from a base in Nashville. “Our roots have run deep in Tennessee for over 30 years,” said company CEO Scott Huseby. “This merger represents a major step in our ability to provide comprehensive one-stop litigation-support services to the legal community throughout the South as well as nationwide, and it continues our legacy of associating with the best in the industry.”

read more »

Law.com to Abandon Blog Network

Law.com has announced it will soon launch a redesigned and reorganized website and a new contributor network of 100 to 500 writers, but will abandon its Blog Network later this year. The network, which serves as a central site for promoting law-related blogs, includes such popular features as The Blog of Legal Times, LawSites, How Appealing and the Careerist. One of the original network members, the Volokh Conspiracy, now has affiliated with the Washington Post. Others may decide to go it alone or find homes elsewhere, the ABA Journal reports.

read more »

Free Food, Materials and Prizes at Law Tech Un-Conference

Don’t miss this year’s Law Tech Un-conference Thursday in Nashville. The “un-conference” approach allows you to come for one hour or all day. You can attend for free or pay for CLE credit if needed. In either case, materials are free. If you can't make the unConference in person, you can watch the first session via webcast —  free for those not seeking CLE credit. No need to register in advance, just come for the sessions you want.

read more »

FordHarrison Expands Mid-Atlantic Presence

Labor and employment law firm FordHarrison LLP has merged with the Washington, D.C., area firm of Kruchko & Fries. The move adds offices in Virginia and Maryland for FordHarrison, which has Tennessee offices in Nashville and Memphis.

read more »

Gray Elected to Baker Donelson's Board of Directors

Russell Gray, managing shareholder of Baker Donelson’s Chattanooga office, has been elected to a three-year term on the firm’s board of directors, the Hamilton County Herald reports. Gray is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department and concentrates his practice in litigation and labor and employment issues. A graduate of the American University Washington College of Law, Gray is also an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

read more »

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 Debbie@llm.com. To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her before Feb. 18.

read more »

Get Ready for the 2014 Law Tech unConference

This year’s Law Tech unConference, set for Feb. 20, offers seminars, free food, prizes and exhibitors to help Tennessee lawyers use technological advancements to improve their law practices. The "unconference" approach is similar to an open house format providing a unique opportunity for lawyers to interact with speakers, attendees and sponsors. Attendees may stay as long as they wish and can choose to attend for free or pay for CLE credit. Two hot topics will be "How to Build a Website in 50 Minutes" and "Creating a Mobile App for Your Firm." Advance registration is not required.

read more »

Non-attorneys Bring Business Skills to Law Firms

The Nashville Post reports that the local legal sector is seeing an increase in the number of non-lawyers being added to key management positions at law firms. Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin, for example, has hired its first chief operating officer. At Waddey & Patterson, a non-lawyer firm administrator oversees all accounting, billing, human resources, advertising, technology and health insurance efforts and initiatives. And the firm administrator at Stites & Harbison has an educational background that involves political science and information systems. Interviewed for the story, these management professions predict the trend will increase and that opportunities will expand as the current crop of administrators tends to be age 45 and older and likely to retire in coming years. (Subscription required.)

read more »

Luring National Law Firms to Nashville

The Nashville Business Journal recently asked area law firms to predict when a national Top 25 law firm might set up office in Nashville, and what might be the catalyst for such an entrance into the market. Most agreed that it would happen within five to 10 years due to the millions of dollars of investment money that has flooded the city and created new opportunities for businesses. “Law firms expand into areas where there is opportunity,” said Scott Carey, managing shareholder for Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz. “Nashville is certainly a city on the rise…” he said. Larry Papel, managing partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough had less than optimistic views, however. “The ‘Top 25’ U.S. law firms...are not likely to open offices in Nashville in the near future,” he said. “Those firms play on the global stage...work on a 24-hour basis and are involved in transactions that most local, statewide or regional firms do not have the resources to lead or manage.” Read more here (subscription required).

read more »

Federal Court Websites Hacked or Not?

Federal court websites and the document service Pacer shut down for about four hours on Friday but the cause remains unclear, the ABA Journal reports. While a group called European Cyber Army claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet, government agencies gave differing reasons for the shutdown: the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said the problem was due to a denial of service attack; a court clerk’s email said the problem appeared to be a “national cyber attack on the judiciary”; and the FBI said the problem appeared to be caused by technical issues. On Saturday, however, the FBI said it was reassessing that analysis.

read more »

New Firm Offers Project-Specific Work for Set Cost

Former Bass Berry & Sims partner Ross Booher and Ken Clarke, a former health care executive, have launched Latitude to provide legal services for interim projects at a fixed fee. In announcing the move, Booher said he saw an opportunity to help firms and corporations get project-specific legal work done without adding the costs of a permanent hire or overburdening the current staff, the Nashville Business Journal reports. "The idea with this company is to provide access to high-level talent individuals who are senior associate level counsel for project specific needs," Booher says. Latitude raised equity in late 2013 and opened its doors in Franklin this month.

read more »

LegalZoom Withdraws IPO

Online legal help company LegalZoom withdrew plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after a private investor stepped forward with a $200 million offer, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. A company backed by European private equity firm Permira will now become the largest stakeholder in the company. LegalZoom chief executive John Suh said the cash infusion will allow the company “to continue to focus on the innovation of products and services.”

read more »

Bradley Arant Forms Privacy and Information Security Team

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings announced today that it has formed a new Privacy and Information Security Team that will focus on representing clients with privacy and data security issues. Firm partners Paige M. Boshell and Amy S. Leopard will serve as co-chairs of the new group. Boshell practices in the firm’s Banking and Financial Services and Intellectual Property Practice groups. Leopard practices in the Health Care Practice Group. They report that the team will bring together a cross-disciplinary group of lawyers with experience helping clients minimize the risk of data breaches, deal with any breaches or attacks and comply with privacy laws and regulations.

read more »

Memphis Litigation Support Firm Announces Merger

Memphis-based Alpha Legal Solutions announced this week that it has merged with Litigation Resource Group, a legal technology company founded by Robb Helt in Fort Smith, Ark. According to Kathy May, founder of Alpha Reporting Corporation and CEO of Alpha Legal Solutions, the merger will widen the company’s trial technology client base and heighten the level of capability demanded by attorneys to better service their clients in trials, mediations and arbitrations. Helt has relocated to Memphis and will serve as president of Alpha Legal Solutions. He brings significant experience to the table having supported 500 jury trials, mediations and arbitrations including the massive BP oil spill litigation and serving as lead trial technology consultant for Halliburton.

read more »

Experts Predict Top Law Firm Trends for 2014

On the eve of the New Year, legal trend watchers predict that alternative billing arrangements, new research and development programs, and lateral hiring will be among the top trends affecting law firms in 2014, reports the Nashville Business Journal. The paper cites a LexisNexis blog, which features 21 law firm managers, legal marketers and consultants offering their best predictions for practice management, technology and business development trends for the legal profession.

read more »

Celebrate Cyber Monday at the TBA

Spend Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) at the TBA for a CLE program on “Old Law New Technology.” Sessions include discussions on Internet technology, intellectual property and related issues, the Global Online Freedom Act, recent ethical issues pertaining to computers and the Internet, and how attorneys can avoid becoming victims of cybercrime and protect their law practice. Lunch will be provided in addition to free Starbucks coffee and free Wifi. Can’t make it in person? Learn more or sign up now for the live webcast. Contact CLE Director Mindy Fulks for more information.

read more »

Lawyer Offers Scholarship Not to Go to Law School

Chicago attorney Matt Willens is offering a $1,000 “Anything But Law School” scholarship for a college graduate who goes on to graduate school, but avoids law school. Willins told the National Law Journal the scholarship is not a stunt, but an attempt to raise awareness about the rough job market for law graduates and to encourage students to pursue less risky careers. He also warns about the dangers of new graduates heading out on their own unprepared. “Becoming a good lawyer takes years of training," he said. "You have people out there who are practicing without training. They’re doing the best thing they can. Sometimes they do the right thing, and a lot of times they don’t. It’s a black mark on the profession of the law.”

read more »

Stites & Harbison Opens Memphis Office

Regional law firm Stites & Harbison has opened a new office in Memphis that will specialize in patents and intellectual property. The move adds a third office in Tennessee for the Louisville, Ky.-based law firm. Intellectual property law and health care attorney Cong ‘Connie’ Ding, who joined the Nashville office earlier this year, will be based in Memphis. Additional attorneys will follow soon. The new office is in the UT-Baptist Research Park at 20 South Dudley St., Suite 802, Memphis, TN 38103.

read more »

Email Scam Targets IOLTA Accounts

The Tennessee Bar Foundation reports that an email scam is popping up across the country warning lawyers that their IOLTA account has “insufficient funds” to pay an outstanding check. Barri Bernstein, executive director of the foundation – which administers the IOLTA program in Tennessee – said today that the sender claims to be National Bankruptcy Services LLC of Dallas. And that while several different names are used to sign the email, all versions refer to a check of approximately $19,000. Anyone who receives such an email should not open it or click on the attachment, which is presumed to contain malware.

read more »

Angry Clients May Cause Toxic Work Environment

Angry and entitled clients can set the tone for a toxic work environment within law firms, business psychiatrist and consultant Mark Goulston writes in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. Goulston says he sees an increasing amount of toxicity in law firms and offers advice on how to handle rude clients. The Careerist, however, takes issue with many of Goulston's suggestions. The blog notes some of the suggested comebacks to client outbursts could "inflame the guy further," and it is often better to say nothing. The ABA Journal has more.

read more »

Professor Guides Law Firm Incubator Movement

Fred Rooney is director of the Touro College law schools’ International Center for Post-Graduate Development and Justice, a New York-based national clearinghouse for the law firm incubator and legal residency movement. Rooney works to support recent graduates developing small and solo firms. Much like the incubator recently established in Memphis, lawyers pay rent for shared office space and training in business skills and professional development. The ABA Journal has more.

read more »

Adams and Reese Moving to East Memphis

Adams and Reese is moving its offices from the downtown Brinkley Plaza to the Crescent Center in East Memphis. It will occupy 13,500 square feet on the building’s seventh floor according to the Memphis Business Journal. “We look forward to our move to one of the city’s most prestigious and recognizable buildings,” Memphis partner in charge Jeffrey C. Smith said. “The Crescent Center’s sleek appearance and unique features were important factors in attracting us.” The firm says it does plan to maintain a small downtown Memphis office for those lawyers who physically need to go to court. Read more in a release from the firm.

read more »

Incubator Will Assist Young Lawyers in Memphis

The University of Memphis School of Law, in partnership with the Memphis Bar Association and the Service Corps of Retired Executives, has launched a new solo practioner incubator program for young lawyers. ESQ.BUILD, as it is known, is designed for attorneys in their first three years of practice. The idea of the program is not only to teach lawyers how to practice law, but also how to manage a law office. Program organizers say participants will have access to reduced price office space, mentoring and a range of logistical services. Participation will be limited to no more than 10 lawyers, who will be required to handle pro bono cases and donate a certain number of hours of service to the bar association in exchange for the opportunity. The Memphis Daily News reported the story.

read more »

Reports: 'Lawyer' Not Such a Dream Job, Though Contentment Surges

According to U.S. News, being a lawyer is ranked fourth among dream jobs that are not so dreamy: lawyers have to make it through three years of law school and a “daunting” bar exam and then face a market that "is not expected to boom over the next decade.” Ironically, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that survey results from the American Lawyer magazine show a surge in contentment among junior lawyers. The magazine polled third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates at major firms on issues such as job satisfaction. The study found that junior lawyers gave their firms “the highest composite scores...in almost 10 years,” the magazine said. The ABA Journal links to other stories on the issue.

read more »