News

Reports Show Firms Posting Decade-High Revenue Growth for 2018

Two new reports show law firms posted gains during the first three quarters this year that are the best in about a decade, The ABA Journal reports. The nation’s top 50 law firms outperformed other law firms, according to both reports, which were compiled by Wells Fargo Private Bank’s Legal Specialty Group and Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group. According to Wells Fargo, revenue increased 8.2 percent at the 50 top firms. Revenue growth was 5.7 percent at law firms ranked 51 to 100 and 2.3 percent for firms ranked 101 to 200. Niche firms outside the top 200 firms also performed well, with demand growing an average of 2.5 percent. The reports did also note a few negatives — the collection cycle has lengthened and law firm costs have risen.
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Legal Jobs Down Slightly from 2017

According to a report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal services sector saw a slight decline in jobs for November, down 2,400 from the October total of 1,138,100 and down 100 from November 2017. In addition to lawyers, jobs in the legal services sector include secretaries, paralegals and other law-related workers. Read more about the report on The American Lawyer.

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N.C. Becomes 2nd State to Require Tech CLE

North Carolina has become the second state to mandate continuing education for lawyers in technology, Law SItes reports. Beginning in 2019, all lawyers will be required to complete one hour per year of CLE devoted to technology training. In 2016, Florida became the first state to mandate technology training for lawyers, when it adopted a rule requiring lawyers to complete three hours of CLE every three years “in approved technology programs.”
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Marriott Customers Exposed in Data Breach; Tennessee AG Voices Concern

Marriott confirmed today that customers who stayed at a Starwood hotel in the past four years may have had personal information exposed in a data breach, USA Today reports. The breach potentially involves the information of as many as 500 million guests. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued a statement expressing concern, saying that his office is currently looking into the incident.
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Vandy Law Launches New Programs, Certificate in Law and Innovation

Vanderbilt Law School and its Program on Law and Innovation (PoLI) officially launched the PoLI Institute and a new Certificate in Law and Innovation program yesterday. The Certificate in Law and Innovation Program provides a series of in-depth, live and in-person Immersion courses that will be held at the Wond'ry innovation center on Vanderbilt’s Nashville campus. The initial curriculum includes seven courses in 2019 and more in 2020. Each PoLI Immersion course consists of two eight-hour days. Lawyers receive their Certificate once they have completed six "immersions" within 36 months. The Institute's first course, Legal Project Management 2.0 Immersion, will begin in February 2019.
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Faughnan Ethics Blog Named to ABA ‘Best-Of’ List

As a part of the American Bar Association’s “Web 100” best-of lists for 2018, Tennessee lawyer Brian Faughnan’s “Faughnan on Ethics” blog made the cut for “Best Law Blogs” of the year. Faughnan, who will again be presenting at the TBA's annual Ethics Roadshow CLE programming in six Tennessee cities, came in at number 15 of 35 recognized blogs.
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Ohio Now Accepts Bitcoin as Tax Payment

Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel said this week that businesses operating in the state will be able to pay for 23 different types of taxes using bitcoin, Huffington Post reports. Businesses will need to register for the program through a website that utilizes a third-party processor, BitPay. The digital currency is converted into dollars and deposited in the state’s account. Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency currently accepted, but Mandel is looking to add others in the future. This Forbes article analyzes the tax implications for business that choose to use this type of payment, including triggering tax gains and losses.

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LexisNexis Launches Legal Analytics Tool

LexisNexis has launched a new legal analytics tool, Context, that provides sortable data on federal judicial decisions, Legaltech News reports. Available as an added purchase in the Lexis Advance suite, Context can provide data specific to judges, including favored citations and motion outcomes. Additionally, the tool has sortable data on 380,000 expert witnesses who appeared in federal court. 

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Survey: Many New Partners Not Satisfied With Pay

A new survey found that more than 70 percent of new partners were dissatisfied with some aspect of their partnership so far, with many disappointed in their compensation, The ABA Journal reports. Only 57.2 percent of new partners reported they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with compensation, with several actually earning less than senior associates. Other respondents identified other areas of dissatisfaction, including work-life balance, training, gender bias and cronyism. 
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Best Twitter Accounts for Legal Issues

Looking for some great social media follows? The American Bar Association is out with its list of best legal Twitter accounts of 2018. Included for the first time this year is @inspiredcat, the account of Vanderbilt Law School professor Cat Moon. Members can also always keep up locally with the TBA at our Twitter accounts, @TennesseeBar, @TennBarJournal or @TBAYLD.

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December CLE in 6 Cities

TBA offers CLE in six locations during December. See offerings in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City and Jackson. Find last-minute by the hour through Dec. 31 or take any of the TBA's online CLE packages.
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Voice Command Phone App Facilitates New Interactions with Law Enforcement

More people are using phone apps to quickly record their interactions with law enforcement, which could be utilized as evidence in cases, WSMV reports. Using shortcuts, individuals can program their phone to begin recording by activating a virtual assistant, such as Siri, and informing it that an interaction with police is commencing. 
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Mark Your Calendars!

Legal Tech Company Founder Says Chatbots Have a Place at Your Firm

In a new item in the American Bar Association's Legal Rebels podcast, a legal technology company founder makes the case for chatbots. Tom Martin, founder of LawDroid and former practicing lawyer, says that chatbots can take control of mundane interactions and free up time for for meaningful time with clients. Chatbots can answer questions about the lawyers who work there and the services they provide, as well as schedule clients for consultations, Martin says. Hear more at Legal Rebels.

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Counsel On Call Changes Name to Legility

One year following Counsel On Call’s acquisition of DSicovery, the combined company has changed its name to Legility. The company provides consulting, technology, managed solutions, and flexible legal talent engagement services to corporations and law firms. Legility works with corporate legal departments and law firms to improve operational efficiency.

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Legal Industry Shows Growth in September, October

The legal services sector continues to add jobs, gaining 600 in October, and following a gain of 1,000 jobs in September, The ABA Journal reports. The numbers come from seasonally adjusted and revised numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of legal industry jobs for last month is 1,100 more jobs than in October 2017. The legal services sector includes not only lawyers, but also secretaries, paralegals and other law-related workers.
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Calling All Legal Tech Startups

The American Bar Association is calling for all legal technology startups to enter the third annual Startup Alley. Fifteen companies will be selected to be featured during a special portion of the ABA TECHSHOW. Startups wanting to compete need to fill out this application by Nov. 23. Find out more details about this competition from Above the Law

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4 Ways to Make Remote Work Successful

As technology advances, so too does the legal profession. In-person negotiations can now be completed from afar using technology. Remote work is becoming more available to attorneys and also demanded by them. Lexology presents four ways to make remote work successful for companies and attorneys.  

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Vandy Law Creates Online Program for Non-lawyers to Gain Legal Fluency

Vanderbilt Law School has created a new online program for non-lawyers, called V-Legal. The program is a series of three online courses designed to help executives and managers gain fluency in the legal principles, language and processes business leaders need to understand. Professionals who earn the V-Legal certificate will learn to "think like a lawyer" when making decisions for their businesses or organizations, gaining skills that may have an immediate impact on their job performance and career advancement. V-Legal was created in partnership with iLaw, which partners with law schools to develop online law programs designed for lawyers and non-lawyers.
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Tackle All Your CLE for the Year at Fall Fast Track on Friday

Emerging technology is revolutionizing the way we practice law — from document automation to using artificial intelligence research tools to assist with briefs, memos and complaints. We want to ensure that you stay on the cutting edge of today’s legal landscape. At the Fall FastTrack in Nashville, you will have the opportunity to tackle all of your CLE requirements for the year while learning from seasoned professionals on how to leverage technology, allowing solos and small firm practitioners to compete with the big boys.
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Frost Brown Todd Names New Leader

Frost Brown Todd’s Nashville office has named Tom Lee member in charge after Mekesha Montgomery moved to assume leadership of the firm’s manufacturing team, The Nashville Post reports. Lee joined FBT in 2011 after two years at the helm of his own firm and a lengthier career at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. Montgomery took over as member in charge the same year.
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Basic Tech Checklist for Firms

Law firms attempting to stay competitive and state-of-the-art need to consistently evaluate their use of technology. In addition to staying competitive, technological competency is required. In 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court amended Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility to include this obligation. Above the Law presents a simple and straightforward tech checklist for law firms or lawyers seeking guidance in this area.   

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Don't Miss Out: The Administrative Law Annual Forum is Tomorrow!

It's not too late to register; the Administrative Law Annual Forum is tomorrow! This year’s program will tackle hot button issues, such as recent changes regarding appeals of UAPA cases. We will also hold a session focused on the often-byzantine process of dealing with state regulatory boards. For a dual credit opportunity, we will be joined by an attorney from the Board of Professional Responsibility discussing the ethics surrounding zealous advocacy. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in the Tennessee Bar Center. A networking lunch will follow the program. You can find additional details and register for the program here!

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ABA Issues Formal Opinion on Lawyers' Duty in Case of Cyber Attack

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released a formal opinion this week that reaffirms the duty of lawyers to notify clients of a data breach and details reasonable steps to be taken to meet obligations set forth in model rules. “When a breach of protected client information is either suspected or detected, Rule 1.1 requires that the lawyer act reasonably and promptly to stop the breach and mitigate damage resulting from the breach,” Formal Opinion 483 says. “Lawyers should consider proactively developing an incident response plan with specific plans and procedures for responding to a data breach. The decision whether to adopt a plan, the content of any plan and actions taken to train and prepare for implementation of the plan should be made before a lawyer is swept up in an actual breach.” Read more here.
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Global Study Finds Businesses Unknowingly Breaching Copyright Law with Background Music

Nielsen Music has released a global study of the background music business and found that composers, artists and musicians could be missing out on an estimated $2.65 billion a year, Forbes reports. Many small businesses are streaming personal music without obtaining a commercial license, violating copyright laws. The study found that 71 percent of small business owners in the U.S. incorrectly believed they could use their personal (B2C) music service for background music. In reality, they need a licensed business-to-business (B2B) music service. Although there are some organizations that do store visits, the story points out, there are too many small businesses for these organizations to effectively regulate their background music use.   

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