News

Northern Virginia Law Firm Opens Nashville Office

The northern Virginia Spiggle Law Firm has opened an office in Nashville, founder Tom Spiggle announced today. The employment law firm in the Washington, D.C., area focuses on wrongful termination and pregnancy and family-care discrimination in the workplace. The new office is being led by Phillis Rambsy, a Jackson native. An employment law attorney, Rambsy has worked at law firms in Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington and Maryland. The office is located in the UBS Tower at 315 Deaderick St., Suite 1550, Nashville 37238 and can be reached at 615-647-8952. Read more in this press release from the firm.

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UT Professor Defends Data Used in Lawyer Income Study

The debate over just how much money solo lawyers earn continues, with University of Tennessee College of Law professor Benjamin Barton responding to criticism of the methodology he has used to determine that solo lawyers earned an average of $49,000 in 2012. In a post to Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, Barton argues that his use of IRS data provides a more accurate picture of solo attorney income than methods argued by his critics that have put the average closer to $100,000.

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LSC: Technology, Public Education Needed to Close Justice Gap

Legal Services Corporation Chair John G. Levi told attendees at the recent ABA Annual Meeting that technology and public education will be critical to closing the justice gap, and that the agency has partnered with Microsoft Corp. to develop online portals to direct those with legal needs to services. Levi also said the public at large needs to be aware of the country’s justice gap. To that end, the LSC has formed a leadership council with high-profile ambassadors such as baseball player Hank Aaron and author John Grisham to increase awareness.

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Manier & Herod Moving to Nashville’s Gulch Area

Nashville law firm Manier & Herod will relocate from downtown’s One Nashville Place to a new office tower being built in the Gulch next year, the Tennessean reports. The firm, one of the state’s oldest, has leased 15,397 square feet of space on the ninth floor of the tower, located at 1201 Demonbreun. The firm has been in its downtown location for 30 years, but leaders said they were drawn to the vibrant Gulch area and were impressed with the building and contractor. Neal & Harwell previously announced it too would move to the new building.

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Circuit Court to Update Electronic Public Database

After extensive in-house testing, the Davidson County Circuit Court will be unveiling an updated version of its public database of civil cases. Beta testing on the CaseLink system will take place throughout August with the goal of making the new version live within a couple of months, the Nashville Post reports. Those interested in joining the beta test can email circuitsupport@jis.nashville.org to sign up.

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Burr & Forman to Relocate to New Nashville High-rise

The Nashville office of Burr & Forman will move from its current space at Nashville City Center, 511 Union St., to a new mixed-use high-rise under construction at the corner of First Ave. S. and Demonbreun St. in downtown Nashville. The Birmingham-based law firm has contracted 26,450 square feet of space for 13 years in the new 222 building, Nashville Post reports. The area, dubbed “SoBro” for its south of Broadway location, has been experiencing a growth spurt since construction of the new Music City Center convention facility. The firm anticipates moving in late 2017 when the building opens.

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Baker Donelson Could Leave Namesake Tower

The Baker Donelson law firm is considering whether to move from its namesake office tower in downtown Nashville, the Tennessean reports. The firm reportedly has engaged a real estate broker to find 100,000 square feet of space elsewhere in the city -- an expansion from the 80,000 square feet it has in its current location. The firm’s managing partner, Scott Carey, said the firm is looking at all options. Two other tenants – an architecture firm and FirstBank – also may be moving.

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Houston Firm Sues Ex-Client Over Negative Online Reviews

A law firm in Houston is suing a former client who posted negative reviews about the firm’s attorneys on Yelp and Facebook. The Law Offices of Tuan A. Khuu and Associates is alleging defamation in its suit against 20-year-old Lan Cai, who posted on Yelp that the attorneys “were very pushy” and unresponsive. Cai also wrote on Facebook that the firm was “super unprofessional.” Firm attorney Keith Nguyen said the suit was filed after Cai refused to comply with a cease-and-desist letter, asking her to remove the posts. The ABA Journal has more.
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4 Tennessee Firms Named Best for Women

Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers have named this year’s 50 best law firms for women, based on factors such as whether women are paid the same as men, receive substantial paid leave, serve as equity partners, and are on track to achieve leadership positions. Firms on the list with links to Tennessee include Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman -- both with offices in Nashville -- and Littler and Ogletree Deakins with offices in Nashville and Memphis.

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Kingsport Law Firm Celebrates 100 Years

The Kingsport law firm of Hunter, Smith & Davis is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In addition to the thousands of people the firm has helped, the numerous charitable causes it has supported and the contributions its workforce has made to improve the legal profession, Managing Partner Bill Argabrite says the firm is most proud that community involvement has been a driving principle throughout its history. “[This milestone] is special given the longevity of our firm in serving the communities in our region,” he told the Times News.

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Baker Donelson Named ‘Gold Standard’ Firm for 2nd Year

For the second consecutive year, Baker Donelson has been certified by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum as a Gold Standard Firm. The designation emphasizes the leadership roles achieved by equity women partners, rather than policies or practices of the firm or the overall number or percentage of women in the partnership. Chattanoogan.com reported the news.

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Tennessee Lawyers Advised of Email Scams

Tennessee lawyers are being advised by the Board of Professional Responsibility to be aware of an email scam that is specifically targeting attorneys, Knoxnews reports. The scam entails a “phishing email” that is disguised to look like a professional message but contains links that allow the scammer to install malicious software on the computer. Lawyers are also being advised to be wary of emails that appear to be from the board itself. Officials say that if anyone receives an email from the board that contains a link, hover over the link to see if it displays the domain “tbpr.org.” Those who receive a suspicious email containing a link or attachment are advised to contact the board at 800-486-5714 to verify its legitimacy.

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Hackathon Yields New Diversity Ideas for Law Firms

Stanford Law School’s inaugural “Women In Law Hackathon” yielded a range of innovative ideas to re-energize the diversity dialogue in law firms. The first place finisher won $10,000 for creating a new compensation model designed to promote the retention and advancement of women by aligning firm values and culture with pay and promotion.Second place went to a program designed to pair a female partner and female associate with a client. Third place went to a program that uses metrics to eliminate systemic and individual barriers to business development success for female lawyers. The ABA Journal has more.

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Group Honors Firms for Fair Pay for Women

The Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) has released its 2016 list of law firms that meet its criteria for fairly promoting and compensating women. Tennessee-based firms and national firms with a Tennessee office receiving certification on the list are Baker Donelson, Jackson Lewis, Littler and and Polsinelli.

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New TBA President Outlines Initiatives in Convention Speech

New TBA President Jason Long outlined his plans and objectives for the coming year after being sworn in to office during the TBA Annual Convention last week. Long brought special attention to the work of the recently created Evolving Legal Marketplace Committee, which is analyzing the landscape of legal services delivery in Tennessee and will lead educational efforts and other projects to help Tennessee lawyers thrive in this environment. View Long's speech now.

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Waller Adds Directors, Names New Practice Leaders

Two Nashville-based Waller partners have been elected to the firm’s board of directors and another trio has been named as practice leaders, the Nashville Post reports. Jay Nixon and Travis Parham were added as directors, along with Amanda Jester out of the firm's Austin office. In addition, Waller officials said Mark Peters has been named the new leader of the firm’s labor and employment practice while David Clay and MaryEllen Pickrell will direct Waller’s corporate practice.

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Bone McAllester Named Among Top Workplaces

The Tennessean has recognized 70 companies and organizations in Middle Tennessee as Top Workplaces for 2016. Bone McAllester Norton, the only law firm to make the list, came in at number 37 among small companies. Rankings were based on surveys from area employees. See the full list here.

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Firms Still Struggle to Promote Women, Research Finds

Women lawyers work longer hours but bill fewer hours than male lawyers and earn less money than men, according to a white paper by four Stanford Law School students. The paper also shows little improvement to women attaining leadership roles at firms, reporting that only 5 percent of managing partners at large law firms are women. The research will be discussed at the upcoming “Women in Law Hackathon,” the ABA Journal reports

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2 CLE Webcasts Set for Next Week

TBA CLE is offering a pair of webcasts next week. Coming up on Wednesday is a tech-related program presented by Ben Vincent of the Vertical Group on Windows 10 and what is different about it for law firms. Following that on Thursday is a webinar on work-life balance from Mary Griffin of the Tennessee Department of Treasury. Both hour-long programs get underway at noon CDT.

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June TBJ Features Technology-Assisted Review

Lawyers need to be familiar with technology-assisted review when dealing with documents in data-intensive cases. In the June issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, out today, Dr. Joel Henry and Michael Pasque explain what you need to know and how technology can be used to help your case. Also, Scott D. Weiss examines condominium smoking regulations -- are they legal? Bill Harbison pens his last column as Tennessee Bar Association president, looking at the "last lines" of many great works of literature. In one of his own great last lines he writes, "Our bar association is a wonderful bridge between past and future, bringing together lawyers from so many perspectives who help to shape our profession. … We should all have lots of optimism for the future of our profession." Read the June issue online.

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Wearable Tech May Aid in Personal Injury Claims

“In the world of personal injury law wearable tech may become a pivotal element in bringing justice to those who have become victims,” according to Law Technology Today. The article explores the use of items like Smartwatches when making a personal injury claim, along with the possible issues that could arise from misusing the technology.  

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LegalZoom CEO Talks Legal Access, Working with Lawyers

“The legal system was broken, and too many people were frozen out of it,” said John Suh, LegalZoom’s CEO, in a Legal Rebels Podcast. Suh said the company's main goal continues to be providing legal access to those who cannot afford representation, and added, “Over the last five years, we’ve embraced lawyers and become quite adept with working with them."

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Resources for Lawyers

Technology Tips for Lawyers and Other Business Professionals
A new book from the ABA GPSolo Section provides short tips on technology issues. The tips are designed to help both the seasoned tech person as well as the novice.

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Professional Privilege Tax Due June 1

The annual $400 professional privilege tax must be filed and paid by June 1. Professionals who are subject to the tax may file and pay it online. More information is available from the Tennessee Department of Revenue

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Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Announces New Name

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP will now be known as Bradley. The firm is the third largest in Nashville by local attorneys, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The firm operates with around 500 attorneys in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. “Our Nashville office was founded in 1910 as Boult Cummings Conners & Berry and is proud to continue growing as Bradley," Nashville Managing Partner Lela Hollabaugh said in a press release announcing the change.

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