News

Mobile Law Firm Webcast, 1 Hour of CLE

Learn technology tips and tricks for practicing law while out of the office in the Sept. 22 webcast scheduled to begin at noon CDT. The one-hour presentation will include information on securing mobile devices and connecting to an unsecured WI-FI connection. The program offers one hour of CLE.

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Crowdfunding Could Help Young Lawyers with Startup Costs

The American Bar Association says lawyers may be able to use some type of crowdfunding to help with firm start-up expenses. The lending model may help recent grads with substantial loans to avoid further borrowing. A June 29 opinion by the New York Bar Association included five approaches to crowdfunding, moting that lawyers cannot use any funding that gives an investor an interest in the firm or a share of its revenue.

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Comments Sought on Appellate E-Filing Rule

The Tennessee Supreme Court today released proposed changes to Rule 46, which governs e-filing. The court is considering the establishment of a new voluntary e-filing system in the appellate courts. Comments on the proposal are due by Sept. 28.

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Law Firms Reserving New .Law Domains

Some prominent law firms are among the early adopters of the new .law domain name extension. DLA Piper; Russell and Goldstein; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom have each already reserved their new names. Firms that have registered trademarks with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – the nonprofit responsible for coordinating the monitoring and creation of naming conventions on the Internet – are eligible to reserve a new address through Oct. 12. According to the ABA Journal, additional domains such as .attorney, .esq and .lawyer also will be available soon. Learn more at http://nic.law.

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Bass Hikes Associate Pay

Nashville's largest law firm is boosting first-year associate pay in Tennessee to $120,000. Starting Sept. 1, Bass Berry & Sims will boost pay from the $110,000 mark that had stood since before the 2007 recession, the Nashville Post reports. The nine percent increase puts the firm -- along with an increase in new parent leave -- will help Bass compete against firms in larger cities and in-house opportunities.

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The Power of Video in Legal Branding

Learn about the new ways lawyers are using video to reach clients during this two-hour ethics CLE webcast available now on the TBA website.

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UT Law Prof’s Book Examines Changes to the Legal Profession

University of Tennessee College of Law Professor Benjamin Barton argues that the struggles today’s legal professional faces may transform the practice of law and benefit American consumers. In a new book, “Glass Half Full: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession,” published this month by Oxford University Press, Barton explains his prediction: “It is true that the legal profession and law schools are in for tough sledding for the next few years, but there is a significant upside to these changes,” Barton said. For example, he argues that soon lawyers may earn lower incomes but devote their time to more fulfilling work and become more efficient in how they use their time.

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‘Soaring Rhetoric’ Doesn’t Save Jacoby’s Suit Challenging Ban on Outside Ownership in Law Firms

A federal judge in Manhattan has dismissed a suit challenging New York’s ban on outside equity ownership in law firms, deeming arguments by Jacoby & Meyers to be “frivolous” and lacking “logical coherence.” Jacoby’s arguments — that the ban violated the First and 14th amendments and the dormant commerce clause — are “entirely without merit,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said in a decision on Wednesday. The ABA Journal has the story.

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Shuttleworth Williams Moves Nashville Office

The Nashville office of Shuttleworth Williams has moved to the L&C Tower at 401 Church St., Suite 2700, Nashville, TN 37219. The firm previously was in the Wells Fargo Bank building on Fourth Ave. North. The phone number remains the same at (615) 833-3390.

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Law Firm Mergers Continue at Blazing Pace

Law firm mergers are taking place at a record rate, according to a survey by Altman Weil Inc. A total of 19 were announced in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2015. Add that to those announced in the first quarter of the year, and the total rises to 48, the highest in the nine years that the Pennsylvania-based legal consultant has been compiling the law firm M&A list. The ABA Journal has the story.

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National Firm Opens Ooltewah Office

The national law firm Hudson Cook has opened an office in Ooltewah, Nooga.com reports. The firm’s senior partner, Ron Gorsline, said the new office is a prime location because it is close to both Chattanooga and Cleveland. “[It’s a] perfect fit for the firm’s growing legal team in Tennessee,” he said in a statement. The practice initially will have six attorneys and an administrative staff, but the space, which overlooks the public square, has room for expansion. Hudson Cook is a 65-lawyer consumer financial services law firm with offices across the nation.

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ABA Releases Ethics Opinion on Client File Materials

The American Bar Association today issued a new Formal Ethics Opinion addressing what file materials belong to client under the ABA Model Rules. The scenario examined for context details a client teminating sevices of a long-time lawyer. The opinion addresses the ethical duties of a lawyer when responding to a former client’s request for papers and property in the lawyer’s possession that are related to the representation. Read the opinion here.

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ABA President Reflects on Year in Office

In an interview with the Memphis Business Journal, ABA President William Hubbard says he has used his year in office to try to modernize the profession, lower costs, break down barriers and encourage attorneys to rethink the way legal services are delivered. “There’s this latent market for legal service … people who are less fortunate … people in the middle class and the moderate income class ... If you have that gap you have to ask yourself, maybe our model needs reform. Maybe we need a new delivery mechanism." One solution he points to is Online TN Justice, a virtual legal clinic that was developed by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the TBA. The ABA plans to roll out a nationwide version of the program soon.

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ABA President Pushes Online Models for Civil Disputes

The president of the American Bar Association told Tennessee lawyers that the traditional method of providing pro bono legal services in civil matters isn’t working, the Memphis Daily News reports. “People are migrating en masse to these online services,” William C. Hubbard told a group of 200 attorneys and judges Thursday at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual meeting in Memphis. “We need to make sure we don’t have perhaps two justice systems that operate independently – one totally online and totally unregulated and one highly regulated but not innovative enough. We need to synthesize those two systems.”

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TBA Website Now Responsive to Mobile Users

The TBA today launched a new responsive design for the TBA.org website that allows for easier use on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. The site now automatically determines which type of device you are using and reformats information to offer the best display for that device. About 30 percent of all visits to the TBA.org website now come through mobile devices. 

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What Will Lawyers Be Doing in 5 to 10 Years?

While pop stars can look forward to Law Vegas residencies when their careers cool off, it is much tougher to predict how things will be for lawyers in five to 10 year. Speakers at the Avvo’s sixth annual Lawyernomics conference tried to look into the crystal ball and talk about where the legal profession is heading and how it might look in the not-so-distant future. F. Daniel Siciliano, a professor at Stanford Law School, argued that as law becomes more open-sourced and readily available to the general public, people will no longer need attorneys to tell them what the law is. “In 15 years, two-thirds of lawyers won’t practice law, at least not the way they practice now,” Siciliano said. “Many won’t be lawyers at all.” The ABA Journal has more.

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Report: Baker Donelson Among Best Work Places for New Dads

The law firm of Baker Donelson has been named among the 50 best places for new dads to work in a report by Fatherly, a digital lifestyle guide for men entering parenthood. Baker Donelson was highlighted for its father-friendly paternity leave policy, Chattanoogan.com reports.

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Profile: A Law Firm that Lets Partners be Parents

The Washington, D.C., area law firm, the Geller Law Group, is making news. The six-woman firm has a credo based on family-friendliness and flexibility. It does not even have a permanent office. A profile in the New York Times finds that the partners have a “near-evangelical determination" to prove that professionals can advance their careers while they remain fully present in their children’s lives.”

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National Law Firm Opens Nashville Office

Polsinelli PC, a Kansas City-based law firm that is among the 100 largest in the country, has opened a Nashville office, the Nashville Business Journal reported today. The firm has hired two Nashville healthcare attorneys -- Bobby Guy and Robert Dempsey, both previously with Frost Brown Todd – to run the office. It hopes to grow in other industry areas over time. Polsinelli operates 21 offices throughout the country with more than 740 attorneys. It already has a regional office in Chattanooga.

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Law Students Pitch Legal Apps to Venture Capitalist

The Vanderbilt Law School class on Technology in Legal Practice has been designing new technologies to enhance access to justice in Tennessee. The students will present their application designs on Tuesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Hyatt Room on the first floor of the law school building. Ideas will be pitched to a panel of judges consisting of a faculty member, general counsel, law firm managing partner, a legal technology software founder and a venture capitalist.

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ABA Supports Law Firms’ Use of Cash Accounting

American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard is urging legislative leaders to reject any proposals that would require many law firms and other personal service businesses to switch from the simple cash method of accounting to the more complex and costly accrual method. Hubbard sent letters to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee as they explore ways to simplify the tax code. During a meeting with invited stakeholders, the ABA said the change could cause substantial financial hardship to many lawyers, law firms, and other personal service businesses by forcing them to pay tax on “phantom” income they have not yet received and may never receive.

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Apps Help Provide Easier Access to Legal Help

Smartphone apps for immigrants, the indigent, those who face arrest and the lawyers who help them have been popping up with increasing frequency, the ABA Journal reports. “People talk a lot about digital technologies revolutionizing legal practice,” says Tanina Rostain, a law professor at Georgetown Law Center who teaches a course on the potential of Internet-based technologies for legal practice and pedagogy. “This is the area where the revolution is happening.” The Journal reviews 20 apps that are aiming to help close the access to justice gap.

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Report: Legal Services Sector Stagnant in March

The U.S. legal services sector shed 1,200 jobs in March, dipping slightly below employment levels at the start of the year, the Labor Department said today. The total number of legal jobs now stands at 1,119,400, a preliminary and seasonally adjusted figure. That is around where it’s hovered over the past year and still tens of thousands short of where the sector stood from 2003 to 2007, before the last recession, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

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Baker Donelson Repeats, Improves Rank on Best Companies List

For the sixth consecutive year, Baker Donelson has been named to Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, and for the second year it is the highest-ranking law firm on the list. The firm, only one of two Tennessee companies to make the list, also improved its standing, jumping to 30th place. Other law firms on the list are Atlanta-based Alston & Bird (41), Cooley in Palo Alto, California (42), Seattle-based Perkins Coie (46) and Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. (75). Read more from the firm or see the full list.

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Hall Booth Smith Expands to Charlotte

Atlanta-based Hall Booth Smith reports that it will open an office in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will be led by Richard Sheinis, currently a partner in the Atlanta office. The new location will be the firm’s 10th office, with others located in Nashville; Charleston, South Carolina; North Palm Beach, Florida; and several Georgia cities.

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