News

Waller Elects Two New Partners

Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis elected two new partners to its board of directors, the Nashville Post reports. Katie Stenberg, who previously led the firm’s finance and restructuring practice, and Ken Marlow, who led the firm’s health care department, will join the firm’s six-member board. Waller also announced the promotion of Morgan Ribeiro to the position of chief business development officer.
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Vanderbilt Law Hosts Blockchain Conference

Vanderbilt Law will host the Blockchain and the Law Conference, where participants will explore what impact blockchain is having on the law and legal professionals. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology most often associated with bitcoin and other digital currency. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins will serve as the conference’s welcoming speaker. To register for the April 7 event or find out more, visit the conference’s website.

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ABA-Microsoft Launch Fellowship to Improve Legal Services

A new fellowship opportunity for recent law school graduates is now available. The American Bar Association Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen fellow will live for a year in residence at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, helping improve legal services in the United States, focusing primarily on partnership projects between the ABA, Microsoft and the Legal Services Corporation. The fellow will receive a $45,000 salary and benefits. Bar admission is not necessary. The deadline to apply is April 15. Learn more from the ABA Center for Innovation.

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Global Firm to Begin Allowing Work-from-Home Options

Associates with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius will soon be allowed to telecommute as much as two days a week, Bloomberg Law reports. The program was tested out in the global firm’s Los Angeles office. Proponents of firms offering alternative schedules say that the option is good for women, especially mothers, in the workplace.
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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.
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Baker Donelson Named Among Best Places to Work

For the eighth consecutive year, Baker Donelson was named one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” The list is created based on employee ratings of workplace culture. A national firm, Baker Donelson was founded in Tennessee and has offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City, Memphis and Nashville.
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Email Scam Targets Employee W-2 Information

Nonprofits in Minnesota have reported being targeted by a scam requesting employees’ W-2 information, and the scam is likely spreading, Nonprofit Quarterly reports. The scam begins with an email requesting lists of employees or staff earnings summaries, and it’s working – many have fallen victim to the scam. A computer forensic expert recalls that last year he was retained by four of the top 10 law firms in Minneapolis after they all fell victim. Those who have seen evidence of the W-2 scam can report it to the IRS.
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Neal and Harwell Hosts Open House for New Office

Nashville firm Neal and Harwell recently welcomed more than 400 guests to its new offices at 1201 Demonbreun for an open house. The 15-story, 285,000-square-foot mixed-use building overlooks downtown Nashville with floor-to-ceiling glass. Read more and see photos at the Nashville Post.

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Task Force Moves Toward Recommending Fee Hike

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force reviewed and discussed its draft recommendation report Friday at the Nashville School of Law, coming to a consensus on recommending an increase in the compensation rate. The recommendation to be included in its final report calls for increasing the compensation rate in the range of $75-100 per hour, removing caps and removing the difference between in court and out of court billable hour rates. This would apply to criminal defense and juvenile indigent representation. Read the working draft report here.

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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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Item Contained Dated Material

An item in yesterday's TBAToday contained dated information about 10 attorneys joining Bass Berry and Sims. The Business Journal story announcing the move was actually originally published last year when the activity occurred.
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In-House Legal Departments Switch to Encrypted Email Communications

The fear of law firm data breaches has led some in-house lawyers to use encrypted emails to communicate with their firms on important matters like mergers and high-stakes litigation, the ABA Journal reports. Encryption allows for sensitive documents to be locked with passwords. Current users of the technology say that once an information technology specialist sets the system up, it becomes “invisible” to the user.
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Productivity Down, Associate Pay Up in 2016

Two new reports show there were more lawyers but lower demand for legal services in 2016, leading to a slump in productivity, the ABA Journal reports. The reports come from the Citi Private Bank and the Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Economic Index, and also show widespread associate salary hikes. Law firm revenue, however, grew 3.8 percent, despite the decrease in overall productivity. 
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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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Learn How Artificial Intelligence Connects With Law

On Monday, the Artificial Intelligence in the Practice of Law CLE will analyze how AI is being utilized for tasks like legal research, contract review, e-discovery and practice management. Can't attend in person? Watch a webcast of the program from your office or at home.

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'Journal' Features President Coolidge and His Legacy

In the Roaring Twenties, a man of few words sat in the White House, who was respected by friends and enemies alike, his tenure marked by a commitment to the rule of law. The February Tennessee Bar Journal examines the legacy of this man, President Calvin Coolidge. Read the cover story, Humble Advocate for the Law: His Presidency Advanced the Rule of Law, Judicial Independence, Civil Rights. Another respected president, TBA's Jason Long, looks at the “old school values,” relationships and trust on which the practice of law is built. "As lawyers embrace technology to better serve clients," he writes in his column this month, "the need to maintain personal interaction with the greater legal community is very real. Now, more than ever, when communications are centered in cyberspace … and the ability to withdraw from the world is increasing, lawyers should strive to make true and lasting connections with one another."

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Firm Names New Memphis Managing Partner

Bass Berry and Sims announced that John Golwen, who has been with the firm since 2004, has been appointed managing partner at the firm's Memphis office, according to the Nashville Post. Golwen has had a more than 25 year legal career, during which he worked on business litigation and related disputes. He also chairs the firm’s business disputes practices group.
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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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Memphis Business Journal Announces Best of Bar Finalists

The Memphis Business Journal announced its 2017 Best of the Bar finalists today. The categories include best of the bar for a large private firm, a medium private firm, a small private firm and for public service and in-house counsel. There is also a category for ace associate. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on March 7 at Opera Memphis.

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ABA Center for Innovation Accepting Fellowship Applications

The American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation is accepting applications for a full-time fellowship in Chicago, which focuses on developing and launching “new projects to address critical needs in the legal sector." The program aims to attract those interested in technology and access to justice. Recent law school graduates (within five years) can apply for a NextGen Fellowship, and all attorneys are invited to apply for an Innovation Fellowship. Applications are due Jan. 31.
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Memphis Law Firm Opens Gulfport Office

Memphis law firm Hagwood Adelman Tipton has opened a new office in Gulfport, Mississippi, and has hired three long-time Gulf Coast attorneys to staff the office. It will be located at 2304 19th St, Suite 300, Gulfport, MS 39501 and can be reached at 228-533-8220. Hagwood Adelman Tipton, which was founded in 2013 in Memphis, now has offices in eight cities. Read more about the new office in this release from the firm.

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Memphis Firm Selects First Female President

The Memphis law firm of Evans Petree has named Caren Nichol as its first female president, the Memphis Business Journal reports. Nichol focuses her practice on family law, litigation/dispute resolution, and private client services. She earned her law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1993 and was a member of the TBA’s inaugural Leadership Law class in 2004. She replaces E. Woods Weathersby, who has led the firm for 15 years and returns to full-time practice. The firm has more on Nichol and other new leaders.

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Beware: Scams Target Law Firms, Clients

Here is a compilition of recent news items carried in TBA publications regarding scams or other cyber threats to attorneys and their clients.


Is Your Client Information Safe?

Data Security Is Your Responsibility Even if You Don’t Understand How it Works

(December 2016 Tennessee Bar Journal Cover Story)

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Opinion: Lawyers Need to Protect Against Ransomware

Ransomware attacks against law firms and other businesses are “the fastest growing threat that we see across industries,” Trey Forgety tells the American Bar Association Bar Leader magazine in its new issue. Ransomware is software that can encrypt the data on a computer and force the computer owner to pay a “ransom” to have the data unencrypted. “In the past we’ve worried a lot about data theft, ... Now, the biggest concern is the threat to the attorney’s business,” he says. Forgety, director of government affairs and regulatory counsel to NENA: The 9-1-1 Association, wrote the December 2016 Tennessee Bar Journal cover story, "Is Your Client Information Safe: Data Security Is Your Responsibility Even If You Don't Understand How it Works."

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Vanderbilt to Offer 2-day Business Course for Lawyers

Two of Vanderbilt University’s graduate schools – the Owen Graduate School of Management and Vanderbilt Law School – are joining forces to offer a two-day program on Feb. 7 and 8 to help lawyers run more efficient businesses and achieve more ambitious goals. The university reports that faculty from both schools are working to create innovative new curriculum for the Legal Project Management course, which seeks to meet a need in the legal industry for “efficient, effective project management based on successful methods long established in other industries.”

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