Rutherford County Lawyers Form Women's Association

Lawyers in Rutherford County have formed a new professional organization to address issues of concern to women within the legal profession. The Middle Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (MTLAW) was organized on March 16. Magistrate Diana Benson Burns was elected the group's first president. Any practicing attorney or law student who supports the goals of the association, which include improving the administration of justice, increasing the diversity of the bench and bar, and facilitating personal and professional networking between members, is eligible for membership. Persons interested in membership may contact the group via email.
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Stites Attorney Honored for Service to TLAP

Stites & Harbison PLLC attorney Julian Bibb was awarded the 2017 Elizabeth Collins Award for Distinguished Service by the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP). Supported by the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, the award is named for the late Memphis attorney Elizabeth Collins, who served as a TLAP commissioner and volunteer.

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Justice Clark Receives Martha Craig Daughtrey Award

Justice Cornelia Clark has been selected for the 2017 Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey Award. Judge Clark was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2005 and was elected to a full eight-year term in August 2006. She has served longer than any other member of the current court. In 2010 she was sworn in as Chief Justice, becoming the second woman in Tennessee history to serve in that role. She also was one of the first women partners in a large law firm in Nashville, Farris, Warfield & Kanaday.

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Conference Keynote Speaker Incorrectly Stated

An item in Tuesday's TBAToday incorrectly stated the names of the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women's Empowerment Conference. The speakers were Judge Julia Gibbons of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and Col. USAF Linda Strite Murnane, chair of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association.

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Legal Group Opposes Nonpartisan Judicial Elections

Monday's edition of TBAToday contained a wording error involving proposed legislation. A statement from the Lawyers’ Association for Women’s Marion Griffin Chapter should have noted the group’s opposition to a bill in the state legislature that would make judicial elections in Shelby and Davidson counties nonpartisan. 
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LAW Chapter Opposes Judicial Elections Bill

Following previous announcements by the Tennessee Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Association, the Lawyers’ Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter in Nashville has come out in opposition to a bill requiring non-partisan judicial elections in Shelby and Davidson counties. “LAW strongly opposes SB135/HB98 due to its selective application to only two counties in Tennessee and its effect of diminishing the authority of local jurisdictions in state and county judicial elections,” the group’s statement reads.
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Services Today for Memphis Lawyer

James W. Hodges Sr. died Thursday (Jan. 12) at 87. Originally from Arkansas, Hodges attended the Southern School of Law in Memphis and began his legal career with the U.S. Department of Defense in the Washington, D.C., area. Following his retirement, Hodges returned to Memphis, where he started his own law firm and became one of the founding members of the Memphis Federal Bar Association. A memorial service was held today at the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in Germantown. The Commercial Appeal has more on his life.

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Meeting Set to Plan ACS Chapter in Knoxville

Lawyers in Knoxville are making plans to form a local chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS) and invite any interested attorney to attend a planning meeting on Jan. 27. The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. at Cafe 4 in Market Square. Interested individuals are asked to bring the names of other lawyers and organizations that should be invited to join the chapter. RSVP online.

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Federal Funding Approved for Wildfire Legal Hotline

A toll-free legal assistance hotline, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is now available for those in Sevier County who need wildfire-related legal assistance but are unable to afford an attorney. The toll-free line is "piggy backing" on TALS’ existing legal help line 1-844-HELP4TN (1-844-435-7486). Callers may leave a message between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST and receive a return call from a volunteer attorney. A press release from the TBA and a number of legal partners highlights the type of assistance available, as well as limitations on assistance; details for an upcoming legal clinic on Jan. 23; and instructions for registering with FEMA and applying for federal and state disaster aid.

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Nashville Lawyer Named to National Latina Commission

Nashville attorney Alé Dalton has been chosen to serve on the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Latina Commission, which studies and recommends remedies for barriers to advancement faced by Latina lawyers. Dalton is one of nine delegates chosen nationwide. Her term will run through September 2017. Dalton serves on the healthcare team at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, assisting clients with a wide range of transactional, operational and regulatory matters with a focus on healthcare mergers and acquisitions. Read more from the firm.

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Knoxville Event to Explore ‘Gavel Gap’ Issues

The Knoxville Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society is hosting an event next Tuesday to discuss the so-called “Gavel Gap” – the differences between the race and gender composition of the courts and the communities they serve. Federal District Court Judge Pamela L. Reeves will lead the discussion. Heavy appetizers and drinks will be provided. The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Knoxville Collective, 923 North Central St., Knoxville 37917. RSVP online.

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Save the Date: AWA 37th Annual Banquet

The Association for Women Attorneys (AWA) will hold its 37th Annual Banquet on Jan. 31 at the Tower Center at Clark Tower in Memphis. The event will posthumously honor Mary Wolff, formerly with Wolff Ardis, as the 2016 recipient of the Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award for outstanding achievement in the legal profession. New board members and chairs will be inducted and scholarships will be awarded to local law students. Tickets are $60 for AWA members, $70 for nonmembers and $30 for law students. Contact Laura Deakins, 901-577-6152, for more information or to purchase tickets.

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Paper Sheds Light on Kirby Censure

The Tennessean reports that the censure imposed this week on James “Wally” Kirby, the former head of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, was for giving a part-time job to Glenn Funk after he was elected Nashville district attorney but before he was sworn into office. The censure did not name Funk, but Sandy Garrett, chief disciplinary counsel for the Board of Professional Responsibility, confirmed to the paper that the discipline was related to the hiring of Funk. Kirby responded to the censure saying creating such temporary jobs has been a longstanding practice in the prosecutors group. After the arrangement came to light, the conference suspended Kirby. Funk was required to pay back any financial benefits he received while working at the conference.

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Women’s Law Group Hosts Supreme Court Justices

East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (ETLAW) will host its Annual Supreme Court Luncheon on Monday. The event will take place at noon at The Foundry, 747 Worlds Fair Park Dr. Tickets are $35 or $15 for new admittees. Tables of eight and 10 are also available. The luncheon follows the swearing-in ceremony for new lawyers in Knoxville. For more information, contact ETLAW President-Elect Alyssa Y. Minge, 865-342-4916.

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Board of Law Examiners Closed Through Tuesday for Move

The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners is relocating its offices this week and will be closed today through Tuesday. Staff access to telephones and email will be limited during the move, according to the board. The office is moving from its current location on Church Street to 511 Union Street, Suite 525, in downtown Nashville.

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TDLA Names 2016 Award Recipients

The Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association (TDLA) recognized 2016 award recipients at its recent 50th Anniversary Celebration & Annual Meeting. The group named Michael L. Haynie as its inaugural Defense Lawyer of the Year. Haynie is a principal with Manier & Herod practicing workers’ compensation law. He has drafted legislation for the association, including a bill this year to modify the Drug-Free Workplace Program. In addition, the group presented Nancy Steer with Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan with its “Rising Star Award.” She is an associate in the firm’s Nashville office focusing on general civil litigation.

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Register for AWA Chili Cook Off by Oct. 1

The deadline to register for the Association for Women Lawyers’ First Annual Chili Cook Off is Oct. 1. The cook off will be hosted during the University of Memphis School of Law Student Bar Association’s Fall Festival on Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. An individual entry is $10 while a team of two or three is $20. To enter the contest contact

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SETLAW Names Judge Williams ‘Lioness of the Bar’

During its third annual Lioness of the Bar event, the Southeast Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (SETLAW) named Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams its 2016 Lioness of the Bar. Judge Williams’ dedicated service on the bench and extensive philanthropy were cited as factors in her selection, the Hamilton County Herald reports. The group also recognized her early support for requiring parenting classes and parenting plans for divorcing couples and her work on jury reform. Williams has served on the bench since 1995.

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Warren Seely Named ABA Section Director

Tennessee lawyer Linda Warren Seely has been named the new director of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. She will take office Sept. 1. Seely served as director of pro bono projects for Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) for nine years and later became director of MALS’ Campaign for Equal Justice. She recently left MALS to join a Step Ahead Foundation, working to help women learn about and access birth control. Seely is a past president of the Memphis Bar Association and the Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women. She currently serves in the TBA House of Delegates, and on the governing boards of the Association of Women Attorneys Foundation, Madison County CASA and Tennessee Bar Foundation. 

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NBF Leadership Forum Names 2016-2017 Class

The Nashville Bar Foundation has named 24 attorneys to its 2016-2017 Leadership Forum. The nine-month professional development program begins in September and runs through May, offering an opportunity to learn, collaborate and network. It is open to lawyers with three to eight years of experience. See the full list of class members.

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Funeral Services This Week for LAW Founder

Nashville lawyer and TBA senior counselor Mary Frances Lyle died Saturday (Aug. 6). She was 80. A 1979 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Lyle began her career lobbying the state legislature on behalf of the Nashville Women’s Political Caucus. During the 25 years she worked with the caucus, she helped draft and pass some of the most important legislation affecting women in Tennessee, including changes in alimony, maternity leave, sexual harassment and domestic violence law. Lyle also was a co-founder of the Lawyers Association for Women (LAW), Peace to End Abuse through Counseling and Education (PEACE) and Women in Business Inc. For many years Lyle operated her own family law practice but later joined Corley Henard Lyle Levy & Langford. Visitation will take place Friday from 1-6 p.m. at Horner-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home in Brentwood and Saturday from 9-10 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville. A time of remembrance with friends and colleagues will follow at 10 a.m. with the funeral service set for 11 a.m. Interment will be at Harpeth Hills Cemetery in Nashville. The Tennessean has more on her life.

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TAJ Takes Back Trial Lawyers Name, Elects New Board

The Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ) changed its name back to the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association during its annual convention last week. The group also elected new officers and board members. Memphis attorney Thomas Greer was named president for the 2016-2017 year. He replaces Eric Buchanan of Chattanooga. Bruce Fox of Clinton moved into the position of president-elect. See a complete list of board members in this story.

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Bar Foundation Elects New Chair

William C. Argabrite of Kingsport took office as the 35th chair of the Tennessee Bar Foundation at the group’s annual meeting in Nashville last month. Argabrite, an attorney with Hunter, Smith & Davis, is the first chair to serve from Kingsport. In addition, Jackson lawyer Linda Warren Seely was elected as a trustee from West Tennessee. She spent many years with West Tennessee Legal Services and Memphis Area Legal Services and now heads the West Tennessee chapter of A Step Ahead Foundation. Read the foundation's press release.

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MBA Judicial Poll Supports Incumbents, Appellate Judges

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) today released the results of its Judicial Qualification Poll for candidates in Shelby County contested judicial races, General Sessions Court clerk’s race,  municipal judge race in Bartlett, and appellate court retention elections for judges in the western division and on the Supreme Court. The poll indicates strong support for retention of appellate judges. In individual races, the majority of Memphis lawyers supported incumbents Jim Newsome for Chancery Court (82 percent), Valerie L. Smith for Circuit Court (87 percent) and Ed Stanton Jr. for General Sessions Clerk (54 percent). See the breakdown of poll results.

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YLD Invited Guest News for April 2016

The TBA YLD Board invites specialty and minority bars in the state to name a representative to serve as an unfunded and non-voting member of the board. The goal of the invited guest program is to increase diversity among the board and provide an opportunity for young lawyers involved in other legal organizations to have a voice in the state bar association. See a list of all organizations invited to send representatives.
Association for Women Attorneys (AWA) –AWA recently held a successful Incarcerated Civil Law Legal Clinic in Memphis.  The group will be having the Mary Wolff Memorial Golf Tournament to carry on the philanthropic legacy of one of its strongest members, Mary Wolff, who passed away on Christmas Eve 2015 after a battle with cancer. The Mary Wolff Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, June 3, 2016, at The Links at Galloway (lunch served at noon, shotgun start at 1 p.m., four person scramble). The proceeds will benefit three charitable organizations: The First Tee of Memphis; The AWA Foundation Scholarship Fund; and the Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis.  To register or for more information about this great event please contact Mary-Morgan Whitfield at 901.277.8120 or visit the website.
For more information about the AWA, contact Megan Warden, (901) 848-8725.
East Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (ETLAW) – On Wednesday, April 20, ETLAW held its regular monthly meeting at the LMU Duncan School of Law.  Chancellor Elizabeth Asbury spoke on how female attorneys should present themselves in court to ensure maximum success for themselves and their clients.  Her presentation included specific advice about how to handle going to a new court that is out of one’s comfort zone and how to figure out who to talk to and what to do in each new court or county.
The next regular monthly meeting of ETLAW will be May 18, 2016 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at the downtown Knoxville YWCA. Lunch will be available at a cost of $10. Register at the website.
For more information about the group, contact Alicia Teubert.
Lawyers Association for Women, Anne Schneider Chapter – For information about the group and its activities, contact Ijeoma Ike, (731) 426-1337.
Lawyers Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter – For information about the group and its activities, contact Mary Head, (615) 242-3700.
National Bar Association, Ballard Taylor Chapter – For information about the group and its activities, contact Terica Smith Anderson, (731) 423-5805.
National Bar Association, Ben F. Jones Chapter – ANNUAL BASKETBALL GAME FUNDRAISER - The Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association will be competing against the Bluff City Medical Society in the annual Lawyers vs. Doctors Basketball Game on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at the Porter Goodwill Club Gymnasium (620 South Lauderdale, Memphis, TN 38126). Doors will open at 10 a.m. for pre-game and community activities as well as team warm-ups.  The game will begin at 12 p.m.  This event is being sponsored by the Ben F. Jones Chapter and proceeds from the game will support the Boys and Girls Club's summer educational programs.  For more information please contact: Freeman Foster or Andre Mathis
For more information about the National Bar Association, Ben F. Jones Chapter, please contact Amber Floyd.
National Bar Association, Napier Looby Chapter - For information about the group and its activities, contact Angela Williams, (901) 568-9584.
National Bar Association, S.L. Hutchins Chapter – For information about the group and its activities, contact Ariel Anthony, (432) 755-2661.
Southeast Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (SETLAW) – SETLAW recently held a yoga event and a successful monthly happy hour event. For more information about SETLAW contact Amanda Jelks, (423) 602-2230, or Amber Seay.
Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association – For information about TAPABA and its activities, contact Lanta Wang, (615) 850-8194.
Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (TLAW) – TLAW is seeking to fill positions on its 2016-2017 Board.  For information about TLAW and its activities, contact Heather Ferguson, (865) 546-0500.
Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association – For information about the group and its activities, contact Judd Taback, (615) 507-6810.
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