News

Creditors Practice Annual Forum 2017

Make plans to join us for this year's exciting forum. The TBA's Creditors Practice Section offers current developments in this area of the law. This year's program will provide new information on creditors practice in estate claims and an update on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Other topics include a crash course in bankruptcy and an ethics session about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Click here to sign up today.

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August Columns Laser in On Technologies

Don't miss the columns this month in the August Journal, offering various takes on new technologies. Knoxville lawyer Eddy Smith explains how to plan for and administer digital assets in the estate planning process. Nashville lawyer Kathryn Reed Edge explains "fintech" companies -- firms "that use new technology and innovation with available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions and intermediaries in the delivery of financial services." If your head is not spinning after that, read Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom's take on a lawsuit where at issue is laser sensor technology used in driverless cars. The suit is between Google and Uber and it's "shaping up to be a huge legal battle. And there is no one in the driver’s seat."

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A Welcome from the Chairman

Greetings,

I wanted to send a welcome to all Bankruptcy Section members as I transition into my role as chair of the executive council of the Bankruptcy Section for 2017-18.  The council is looking forward to an exciting year culminating in the Bankruptcy Forum to be presented by the TBA April 27 – 29 in beautiful Gatlinburg. Put it on your calendars now and plan to join us this year! 

In the meantime, I’d like to invite all section members to send the section any local bankruptcy law updates, news, etc. so that we can provide updates to the TBA Section Connects on the TBA website and for a monthly bankruptcy newsletter.  If you have any ideas for continuing legal education in your areas prior to the Forum, please send me those as well.  You can reach me at jgiddens@wilson-assoc.com or (901) 578-9914 or they can go to Wil Hammond, TBA Sections & Committee Coordinator.

As for upcoming news, as you probably aware, amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are coming December 1, 2017, with important changes for all districts. For consumer practitioners, the most important change involves the Chapter 13 form plan. Districts can either opt out of using Form 113 (the so-called National Model Plan) by proposing a conforming plan for use in the district, which may be adopted after publication and a comment period, or the district can take no action and Form 113 will become the district plan.

For districts in Tennessee, the Middle District already uses the National Model Plan and the Western District has adopted a conforming plan with use beginning July 1, 2017. The Eastern District appears to be headed for adoption of a conforming plan prior to the December 1 deadline so stay tuned.

Again, please contact me with any local developments in our practice and feel free to contact me about any matters of interest to the section.  

 

Sincerely,

Joel Giddens
Bankruptcy Section Chair

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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at http://www.tba.org/submit-an-article, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.

If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at http://www.cletn.com/.

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TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

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Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

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Banking, Estate Planning … and Someone Named Juris P. Prudence

Here's what you can expect from Tennessee Bar Journal columnists if you haven't gotten all the way through this month's issue yet. Kathryn Reed Edges looks at what the Trump Administration will mean for bankers. Eddy R. Smith explains why Tennessee is an attractive jurisdiction for establishing and maintaining trusts, and Bill Haltom writes about the introduction of a fictional character sure to steal the hearts of law-loving kids everywhere.

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CLE Outlines How to Change Your Practice to Meet Market Demands

The fourth and final CLE in the “Modern Law Practice Series” will explore emerging trends in the delivery of legal services and how focusing on consumer behavior could benefit your law firm. This session will examine the ways in which consumer-facing companies like Avvo and LegalZoom have capitalized on tailoring services to the needs of the modern legal client and how you can adjust your practice to meet those same demands. The program will be held April 13, and will be available in person and on-demand.

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Relax in the Mountains at the 14th Annual Bankruptcy Forum

Join bankruptcy practitioners from across the state at the TBA's 14th Annual Bankruptcy Forum on April 28-30 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Gatlinburg. Participate in small group discussions and hear presentations on recent bankruptcy case developments in the 6th Circuit and around the country.

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Nashville Law Partner Named Vice Chair for National Practice Group

Shane G. Ramsey, partner in Nelson Mullins' Nashville office, was named vice chair of the firm’s national bankruptcy and financial restructuring practice group, the Nashville Post reports. Ramsey will lead more than 30 bankruptcy lawyers in the firm’s 17 offices around the country. Ramsey joined the Nashville office last year.
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Reported Check Scam Appears in Tennessee

Tennessee attorneys should be on the lookout for an email check scam that at least one Nashville firm has reported encountering. The deception involves an overseas caller or emailer claiming to be a real person and asking about a breach of contract issue. A preliminary web search about the "client" would likely return real results, creating the appearance of validity. The North Carolina Bar Association has more information and examples of materials likely used by the scammer. The NCBA advises caution when dealing with any debt collection case initiated by an overseas “client.”
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Reported Check Scam Appears in Tennessee

Tennessee attorneys should be on the lookout for an email check scam that at least one Nashville firm has reported encountering. The deception involves an overseas caller or emailer claiming to be a real person and asking about a breach of contract issue. A preliminary web search about the "client" would likely return real results, creating the appearance of validity. The North Carolina Bar Association has more information and examples of materials likely used by the scammer. The NCBA advises caution when dealing with any debt collection case initiated by an overseas “client.”
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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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Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.
 
How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.
 
If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education or access an Affidavit of Sole Authorship or an Affidavit of Joint Authorship from the Commission's website.

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New 1-Click Packages Make CLE Easy

Three new CLE packages are now available through the TBA's 1-Click Program. We have gathered together the most popular CLE programs on key practice areas and are making them available for a special price. Visit the 1-Click page to find packages on Creditors Practice, General Practice, Tax Law, Transactional Law and more. New packages are always being added, so check back if you don't find the one you want.

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TBA Activates Disaster Legal Assistance for Wildfires

In response to the wildfire disasters in Gatlinburg and Sevier County, the TBA is partnering with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) and the Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission to help those affected with their legal needs. Attorneys who want to help can access training resources and other materials on the TBA's Disaster Legal Assistance page. Legal clinics and outreach related to losses from the fires are anticipated and volunteers will be needed. For more information or to volunteer in the area, contact Kathryn Ellis at Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Those who are not in the area but still want to help can volunteer to answer online questions at TN Free Legal Answers or respond to calls on the HELP4TN helpline. The TBA's Young Lawyers Division Disaster Relief Committee has also been activated and will be assisting with volunteer recruitment and coordination efforts. To volunteer, complete the Disaster Legal Assistance Volunteer Form. If you know someone in need of legal assistance, please have them call the legal helpline at 844-HELP4TN, or visit help4tn.org.

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ABA Young Lawyers Division Looking To Connect With Young Bankruptcy Attorneys

The ABA Young Lawyers Division Bankruptcy Law Committee is reaching out to state bar associations to connect young bankruptcy attorneys with their counterparts across the country and provide an opportunity for these young lawyers to gain a national presence and improve their resume. Check out the ABA YLD Bankruptcy Law Committee webpage and Letter from the Chair for more details.

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Walker Sworn In to U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Hon. Charles M. Walker was sworn in to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee today. Chief Bankruptcy Judge Marian F. Harrison administered the oath in a courtroom at the U.S. Customs House in Nashville, and Chief District Judge Kevin H. Sharp of the U.S. District Court gave remarks welcoming Walker to the court.

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Bankruptcy Court Adopts Changes to Local Rules

Local Rules for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee have been amended and will become effective Nov. 1. You can download a copy of the new rules from the court or see the redline version showing the changes.  

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Bankruptcy Court Seeks Comments on Rules Changes

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee today published proposed amendments to its local rules for public comment. The comment period will run from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. Comments may be made in writing to James E. Bailey III, Butler Snow LLP, 6075 Poplar Ave., Suite 500, Memphis, TN 38119 or to Michael Tabor via email at marissav@bellsouth.net.

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Services This Week for Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Stinnett

Judge Robert Thomas “Tom” Stinnett died yesterday (Aug. 23) in Chattanooga. He was 72. Stinnett graduated from the University of Tennessee and was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. After serving in Italy, he returned to attend the University of Tennessee College of Law, then clerked for his father-in-law James Parrott and the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He practiced law in Knoxville for 20 years at Stone & Hinds before being appointed a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He relocated to Chattanooga and served there for 16 years before retiring in 2010. The family will receive friends Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Chattanooga's Mountain City Club, 729 Chestnut St. Funeral services will be Monday at 4 p.m. in Knoxville at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 544 N. Broadway. Burial will follow at the church columbarium. A time of remembrance in the church's fellowship hall will wrap up the day.

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Tennessee Leads Nation in Personal Bankruptcies

By several metrics, Tennessee’s economy is one of the nation’s healthiest, but a recent study found that it also leads in personal bankruptcy filings. Between April 2015 and March 2016, the financial website NerdWallet found that the state had a rate of 553 filings per 100,000 residents. The national median during the same period was 224 filings per 100,000. The study also found that most filings were concentrated in the Memphis and Chattanooga areas. The Nashville Business Journal has more on the findings.

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Court: Bankruptcy No Shield for GM Ignition Switch Claims

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down bankruptcy decisions that shielded General Motors from liability related to ignition switch defects, Reuters reports. The court found that a 2009 sale of the automakers’ assets, which provided the company with legal cover, violated potential victims’ rights to due process. The ruling effectively rebuffs GM’s attempts to block hundreds of customer lawsuits over faulty ignition switches that led to criminal charges and prompted the recall of 2.6 million vehicles in 2014.

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