News

Study: Alternative Fee Arrangements on the Decline

When the slowing economy forced companies to curb legal spending in recent years, alternative fee arrangements were touted as a solution, but the billing trend has been slow to take hold in Nashville, and a new survey of in-house counsel shows that alternative fees are trending downward nationwide. A study by the Houston-based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski, found a 10 percent drop in companies using alternative fee arrangements and a 13 percent drop in firms planning to use alternative structuring in the coming year. The Nashville Business Journal reports on the study.

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Review Gives Thumbs Up to E-Discovery Book

Knoxville lawyer Chris McCarty says one way to alleviate e-discovery anxiety is to read Electronic Discovery in Tennessee: Rules, Case Law and Distinctions, a new book by Nashville lawyer W. Russell Taber III. In his review in the March Tennessee Bar Journal, McCarty recommends you read this book, among other reasons, to keep from drowning in the high seas of data, cloud computing, claw-back agreements and non-waiver orders.

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March TBJ: Tablets Make Partner for Trial Work

Online tools and software geared toward lawyers aren’t new, but in the Tennessee Bar Journal's March issue Stephan Futeral says we are past the days of dragging the laptop into court. In the “Post-PC” era, tablet computing is a game-changer for the 21st-century practice of law -- and you need to be in the game. You can end your week with a laugh as Bill Haltom looks back fondly on the days when he wasn't carrying an iPad, but took the World Almanac to court in his briefcase. Read these and more in the new issue of the TBJ.

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Show Your Practice A Little Love This Valentines

Loving your law practice means accepting all its different sides. This CLE on Thursday will help you tackle a number of practice management challenges. Topics include how to protect yourself when moving from one firm to another, making the decision to retire, how to make a move to an in-house position, keeping up with current technology, and using social media for marketing and winning cases. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Central time on Valentines Day. Choose between the live program at the Tennessee Bar Center or a live webcast of the seminar.

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Bills Give AOC Power to Name Statewide E-Filing Vendor

Most states do not yet have court e-filing and the few that do usually do not mandate a single vendor or e-filing system, instead leaving it to local courts to decide, Gavel to Gavel reports. Tennessee legislators are taking a different approach however. Bills introduced recently in the House and Senate would give the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) power to identify a single provider that must be used in all courts in the state. The bills, HB 418 by Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, and SB 1050 by Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, give the AOC until January 2014 to identify an e-filing provider and ensure that all courts in the state are utilizing the same system.

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TBA Unveils New Benefit for Members

LawPay: Credit Card Processing has just joined the lineup of companies offering TBA members special programming and pricing. Members who sign up for the program before Feb. 28 will see the $150 virtual terminal fee and the program fee for the first three months waived. LawPay has experience working with lawyers in 34 states and can help you easily accept credit and debit card payments from clients while being confident that transactions between trust and operating accounts are handled correctly. Learn more about this new TBA member benefit.

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Butler Snow to Expand Memphis Office

The Memphis Business Journal reports that Mississippi-based law firm Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada will invest about $1 million into its East Memphis home at Crescent Center with the anticipation of hiring as many as 25 new attorneys within the next three years. The firm, according to the paper, is just a few employees shy of maxing out its capacity on the building’s fifth floor. The new space will accommodate 20 to 25 offices on the fourth floor. Construction is expected to begin around April 1.

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Report: Waller Again Nashville's Biggest Firm

The Nashville Business Journal ranked Nashville’s law firms by their number of local attorneys, including the number of partners, associates, and non-lawyer employees. Waller again this year edges out Bass, Berry & Sims for the top spot. Information about the number of attorneys of counsel, paralegals and each firm’s top three areas of practice can be found in this week’s print edition of the Journal.

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Dickinson Wright Expands in Phoenix

Detroit-based law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC is merging with the law practice of Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander PA in Arizona, and will operate under the name Dickinson Wright/Mariscal Weeks. In addition to Michigan and Arizona, the firm has offices in Tennessee, Nevada, Ohio, Washington, DC, Toronto, and Ontario.

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Law Salaries to Rise in 2013

A new Robert Half Legal Salary Guide anticipates that lawyers across the country will receive a salary increase in 2013, the Birmingham Business Journal reports. The average salary for attorneys with four to nine years of experience is expected to increase 4.55 percent, while attorneys with 10-12 years experience will see an average 3.68 percent raise. Lawyers with one to three years experience and first-year associates are projected to receive a 2.6 percent and 1.9 percent increase, respectively.

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Law Firm Associates Take Brunt of Recession

Researchers at the Memphis Business Journal reported today that Memphis-area law firm associates have taken the brunt of the recession, with the total number decreasing nearly 15 percent from 2008 to 2012. Partner numbers were stable during that same period, spiking above 400 in 2009 and 2011.

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Miller & Martin PLLC Announces New Leadership

Chattanooga-based law firm Miller & Martin PLLC recently selected John R. Bode to chair the firm’s Labor & Employment department and John Y. “Jay” Elliot III to assume the role of department vice chair. "We are delighted to have each of these talented individuals serve as leaders of our firm. Their depth of expertise and dedication to outstanding client service will greatly support the continued success of the firm," said Miller & Martin Chairman Jim Haley. Read more in the Cleveland Daily Banner.

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Ogletree Deakins Announces Plans for International Expansion

Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart will soon open two offices in Europe, the ABA Journal reports. The firm, which specializes in labor and employment law, has offices in Nashville and Memphis and plans to open the Berlin office Dec. 1 and the London office soon after. The move is a significant step toward greater global practice by the firm, which presently has no other international offices, according to its website.

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Legal Sector Jobs Steadily Increasing

According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector has added jobs for the second straight month. The American Law Daily reports that 600 people joined the industry’s work force in October and 1,300 in September. The industry now employs 6,600 more people than it did in October 2011.

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Littler Mendelson Moving to Downtown Nashville

The Littler Mendelson law firm is moving its Nashville office from West End to Downtown Nashville by mid-January, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The firm will take over 6,000 square feet of space on the 14th floor of the AT&T building. Jennifer Robinson, managing shareholder at the firm, said the move will put the company closer to clients and accommodate future growth. Since opening the Nashville office in 2011, the firm has grown from two to six attorneys. The new space will accommodate 11 attorney offices.

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Employment in Legal Sector Back Up

September data, released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that 5,900 more people are employed in the legal sector now than were at the same point last year, and that the industry has seen a net gain of 2,900 jobs since the start of 2012. Friday's report raises the total number of people employed in the legal sector above 1.12 million, a figure that -- with the exception of July 2012 -- the industry had not reached since July 2009. Prior to the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, the legal industry regularly employed roughly 1.17 million people. The AmLaw Daily has more

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Baker Donelson Recognized for Project Management System

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz has been recognized by the International Legal Technology Association with a Project of the Year Award for development of a patent pending legal project management system. The firm also was recognized for being one of the first in the United States to create and implement a Legal Project Management Office. A spokesperson said the system would help attorneys be more efficient and make the practice of law more transparent for clients. Read more

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First Year Salaries Down at Big Firms, NALP Reports

The median salary for first-year associates at large law firms has decreased steadily within the past three years, The ABA Journal reports. Major markets such as New York and Chicago are still offering the standard BigLaw salaries, but the prevalence of such offers is declining according to research by the Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP). The median first-year salary at firms of all sizes, however, has increased in the last year, based on a survey of 570 law firms.

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Butler Snow to Move to Nashville's Pinnacle

After making a big splash in Nashville by recruiting most of Miller & Martin's local attorneys this summer, Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens & Cannada has signed papers to lease the 15th and 16th floors at The Pinnacle at Symphony Place, the Nashville Post reports. The firm will take up 46,000 square feet in the city's newest office tower and expects to be able to move into its new space in the first quarter of 2013.

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Legal Industry Survey Reports Firms Struggling with Expenses

Many law firms are struggling to control expenses in the face of stagnant revenue growth, AmLaw Daily reports. A survey of 115 firms by Wells Fargo’s Legal Specialty Group found that financial troubles are affecting firms across the board, the publication says. Legal Specialty Group national managing director Jeff Grossman was cautious in forecasting 2012 results. "Profit is a question mark," he said. "All indicators suggest it'll be down, but it depends on how firms manage expenses."

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Adelman Law Merges with Mississippi Firm

Adelman Law Firm of Memphis has announced it will merge with Wilkins Tipton PA, based in Jackson, Miss., effective Jan. 1, 2013. The Adelman firm was founded by Rebecca Adelman in 2001. The merger will allow the firms to expand offices in Memphis and Nashville as well as Jackson and Greenville, Miss., Birmingham, Ala., and Charlotte, N.C. The firms have long-term plans also to expand to Arkansas. Learn more about the merger

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Survey: Not Many Love 'Alternative Fees'

Only 26 percent of legal departments and 11 percent of law firms reported they were "very satisfied" with alternative fees or flat-fee system, according to a recent survey. ABAJournal.com reports

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Lawyers Still Falling for Fake-Check Web Scams

Despite widespread publicity about law firms targeted in Internet and email scams that have siphoned five- and six-figure sums out of their bank accounts, some are still falling victim to the schemes. The problem is, legitimate clients do business in much the same way as the scammers, often contacting counsel via the Internet or by email. ABAJournal.com looks into it

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Husch Blackwell Increases Starting Associate Salaries

After a comprehensive review of salaries firm wide, Husch Blackwell LLP says it will raise starting associates’ salaries effective Sept. 1. The raise applies to associates in eight cities, including Chattanooga, where the new rate will be $95,000. In addition to starting salary increases, existing associate compensation is being evaluated. The firm rolled back starting salaries in 2009 in four markets and froze levels at other offices in response to recessionary pressures.  The Chattanoogan reports

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Attorneys Sought for Document Review

Counsel On Call seeks experienced litigation attorneys to assist with electronic discovery review and analysis for a number of Fortune 50 companies located across the country. The full-time positions would be located in the company's service center in Nashville. Requirements include at least two years of litigation experience (preferably in a law firm or corporate environment), solid academic credentials and an active Tennessee law license. Prior electronic document review experience is preferred but not required. To be considered, submit resumes to resumes@counseloncall.com. Learn more on JobLink

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