News

TBA Attorney’s App Makes Semi-Final in ABA Law Tech Competition

The American Bar Association is hosting its second-annual Startup Alley program, offering startups a shot at being one of 15 companies to face off in a pitch competition at the ABA TECHSHOW conference, and TBA lawyer Sean Martin’s app is the running as a top 25 semifinalist. Martin’s app, Time Miner, is designed to capture and recover billable time on an attorney’s phone. To read more about Time Miner, see the full list of semifinalists (and to cast a vote), visit Above the Law.

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Miller & Martin Appoints New Leadership

The Miller & Martin PLLC law firm has announced changes to its leadership team, which will continue to be led by Jim Haley as chairman, the Hamilton County Herald reports. Mike Marshall from the firm’s Atlanta office and Zac Greene from the Chattanooga office have been elected to serve on the firm’s policy committee, along with Haley, Hugh Sharber, Chris Parker and Scott Parrish. The policy committee serves as the firm’s managing board of directors.
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AI: Beyond the Hype, Lots of Applications

Is the hype of artificial intelligence in law practice justified? Above the Law’s Nicole Black reports from the College of Law Practice Management’s 2017 Futures Conference and says the answer is yes. “The bottom line,” she says, “AI is coming of age, and quickly, and the legal profession may not be prepared for the rapid pace of change instigated by AI in the years to come.” One speaker at the conference was Fastcase co-founder Ed Walters, who said his company is already using AI to improve search results using the history of tens of millions of searches. “[W]e’ve had these ideas for more than a decade, but AI is finally good enough to build some mind-blowing tools. The time is now.”

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3 Hours of Dual CLE in Memphis, Knoxville and Nashville

Established and efficient practice management processes and procedures can pay big dividends in protecting against malpractice claims and ethics complaints. Topics at this program presented by the Bar Plan's Chris Stiegemeyer include: fee agreements, resolving conflicts and client relationships. Program will be offered in Knoxville on Oct. 24, Nashville on Oct. 25 and Memphis on Oct. 26.
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BPR Issues Ethics Opinion on Interstate Law Firm Using Trade Name

The Board of Professional Responsibility has issued a formal ethics opinion regarding the opening and operation of a proposed interstate law firm between Tennessee and Florida, using a trade name, SETCO law. The opinion deals with the growth, development and diversity of the legal profession, which has spawned a proliferation of new ways of conducting the practice, taking lawyers far beyond the sole practitioner and single office law firm models of an earlier era.
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Rutherford County Chancery Court Celebrates E-Filing System Launch

To celebrate the launch of Rutherford County Chancery Court’s e-filing program, a ribbon cutting was held last week at the Rutherford County Judicial Building. Hosted by Chancellor Howard Wilson and Clerk and Master John Bratcher, the event celebrated four years of hard work to put the system into place. “We look forward to the time when our Circuit Court and all of the other state trial courts come online with e-filing,” Wilson said.

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CLE Court Square 2017 Comes to Cookeville Oct. 13

On Oct. 13, this year’s Court Square CLE in Cookeville will be held at the Higher Education Campus. Tim Takacs will focus on the importance of succession planning for your law firm or law practice. Other topics covered will be law practice management, best practices, client communication and life planning.

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CLE Webcast: Making the Right Call on Telemedicine

On Sept. 19, a TBA CLE webcast presentation by Yarnell Beatty will touch on the capabilities of telemedicine, licensure requirements for providers, state and federal regulation as to how it is delivered, billing and payment, barriers to delivery, and future trends. Emphasis will be placed on helping lawyers develop a checklist for advising health care professionals, with some guidance for counseling facilities. Learn more and register.

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Privacy Concerns Raised Over iPhone's New Facial Recognition Technology

Users of the new iPhone X from Apple will be able to unlock their phones using facial recognition technology, prompting questions from civil liberties groups about whether or not police can use the new feature to access users' information. The ABA Journal reports that, while the Riley v. California decision established that police would need a warrant to search the contents of a phone, whether they can force you to unlock it is unclear. Read the full story here

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Chatbot Allows Users to Sue Equifax Without Lawyer

Legal chatbot DoNotPay is now allowing users to file suits against credit-reporting agency Equifax, in light of last week’s news of a massive data breach, the ABA Journal reports. The online platform can help file negligence claims by walking users through a set of questions that generates a PDF they can file in small claims court. The service is free and available to the public in all 50 states. "It is particularly exciting that a lawyer is never needed in the process," Joshua Browder of DoNotPay said. "The class action lawsuit against the company will only give successful consumers around $500 (with the rest going to greedy lawyers in commissions). I hope that my product will replace those lawyers, and, with enough success, bankrupt Equifax.”

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Counsel on Call Acquires Nashville E-Discovery Firm

Brentwood-based Counsel On Call, an on-demand legal services company, has bought Nashville based DSicovery LLC (DSi), which offers digital forensics and e-discovery services, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Counsel On Call will operate DSi out of its current Nashville officers. Both companies will continue to conduct business under their current names.
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Frost Brown Todd to Accept Bitcoin for Legal Fees

Regional firm Frost Brown Todd announced today that it will accept bitcoin as payment for legal fees. The firm already boasts a blockchain and digital currency group. That group’s co-chair, Nashville attorney Joshua S. Rosenblatt, said Frost Brown Todd would “be one of the earliest movers among law firms in Middle America” on the issue of bitcoin.
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Federal Courts Fix ‘Major’ PACER Security Flaw

After the California nonprofit Free Law Project sounded the alarm on the subject, federal courts have fixed a “major security vulnerability” in PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), the ABA Journal reports. Free Law Project found a cross site request forgery vulnerability, which put anyone signed into PACER at risk. Administrators of the site could have theoretically made purchases or file documents through an unwitting user’s PACER account, via the noted security flaw. The groups agree that there is no evidence this vulnerability was ever exploited. The Free Law Project has also made recommendations to the court to prevent future vulnerabilities in the system.
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August Columns Laser in On Technologies

Don't miss the columns this month in the August Journal, offering various takes on new technologies. Knoxville lawyer Eddy Smith explains how to plan for and administer digital assets in the estate planning process. Nashville lawyer Kathryn Reed Edge explains "fintech" companies -- firms "that use new technology and innovation with available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions and intermediaries in the delivery of financial services." If your head is not spinning after that, read Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom's take on a lawsuit where at issue is laser sensor technology used in driverless cars. The suit is between Google and Uber and it's "shaping up to be a huge legal battle. And there is no one in the driver’s seat."

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New Cyber Alert Lists Domains, IP Addresses to Watch

The ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force is sharing a new alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division. The alert deals with "IP Addresses and Domains Used by Likely Iran-Based Cyber Actors to Attack Victims Worldwide." It lists 87 IP addresses and 136 domain names associated with this cyber activity.

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7 Tips for Being Your Own Secretary

All lawyers eventually must perform some basic administrative tasks. On July 19, an online CLE will teach you the basics that will help you with administration and productivity. Find more information and register here.

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Learn All About Protecting Data in New Online CLE

As technology advances we encounter more and more challenges in protecting data. Tune in at noon Tuesday for a CLE on this topic from Ben Vincent of The Vertical Group. Vincent will address challenges and ways to protect your practice and advise clients. Learn more and register here.

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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.  

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Murfreesboro Emergency Services Hit By Ransomware Attack

Murfreesboro Police confirmed that the MPD and Murfreesboro Fire have been hit by a “different, morphed version” of the WannaCry ransomware attack, The Tennessean reports. Most of the affected data is not retrievable, and it is not clear at this time whether any significant files have been lost. WannaCry is part of a worldwide malware attacked that began in May. 
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July TBJ: Mentors, Annuities and the Challenges of Change

Covington lawyer Amber Griffin Shaw writes about how having a mentor in Houston Gordon made all the difference in her law practice. Read her story — and his advice — in the July Tennessee Bar Journal. Knoxville lawyer Glen A. Kyle writes about planning options for spousal annuities. President Lucian T. Pera writes about the challenges of change – whether it be in the changing of leadership at the helm of the TBA, the need for improvements in indigent defense for Tennessee’s least-privileged citizens, or how lawyers respond to the dramatic changes “facing not just the profession or the business of lawyers, but the whole market for the delivery of legal services.”

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Data Breaches and Avoiding Ransomware Virus Infiltration

Ben Vincent will present a special CLE webcast on data breaches and virus infiltration at noon CET on July 18. Attendees will explore the issues that arise in data breaches for both law practices and clients. Learn what constitutes a data breach and what steps to take to protect your law firm and advise your clients. Find out more and register here.

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Knoxville Firm Named Top Place to Work

Kramer Rayson LLP, a firm with offices in Knoxville and Oak Ridge, was named the Top Workplace among small companies by the Knoxville News Sentinel. Employees surveyed by the publication say that a tight-knit workplace where colleagues are treated like family contributes to the happy office environment. Kramer Rayson was founded in 1948 and currently has 55 employees.
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ABA Journal Profiles Nashville Legal Entrepreneur, Others Who Work in Managed Services

The ABA Journal this month reported on the growth of managed services business, which design, build and staff process systems that efficiently complete legal work. A leader in the industry profiled in the piece is Counsel on Call, founded by Jane Allen in Nashville back in 2000. The company started after Allen saw room in the market for attorneys who would work for a reduced hourly rate in order to accommodate more flexible schedules, and those attorneys could help firms with peaks in workflow or a need to fill temporary positions. Counsel on Call is now a $50-million-per-year business that employs more than 1,000 lawyers.
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Defending Trade Secrets, Jason Long's Last President's Column and More in June Bar Journal

Read about the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act from Nashville lawyer Andrew B. Campbell in the June issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, out today. Jason R. Smith explains the dangers of plea agreements that provide for concurrent Tennessee and federal sentences. In his last column of his term, Tennessee Bar Association President Jason Long tells the secret of his presidential success as he thanks the TBA staff members who have been instrumental to his year.

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Professional Privilege Tax Due Date Extended

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has extended the professional privilege tax due date to June 30, citing high call volumes and an increased number of help desk tickets. For more information on how to file and pay the professional privilege tax, please visit the department's website.
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