News

Court Changes Mandatory CLE Exemption Age to 70

Lawyers turning 65 in 2015 will continue to have to meet CLE requirements under a set of more than 20 CLE rule changes adopted today by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The changes, driven by the CLE Commission chaired by Columbia lawyer Ed Lancaster, came after more than a year of consideration and hundreds of comments.

Among other changes the new rules:

  • Require five “live classroom hours” among the 15 hours annually required
  • Remove the requirement for high-quality, thorough and readable written materials to accompany CLE activities
  • Exempt full time law professors from CLE requirements
  • Permit credit for teaching law-related courses in community colleges
  • Limit CLE credit for writing published articles
  • Gradually raise, beginning in 2015, the CLE age exemption to age 70
  • Shorten the compliance periods for late compliance with the CLE rule beginning in 2016

In addition, in a move widely criticized by every provider who commented on the proposal, the court requires the commission to begin publishing proprietary data regarding the number of people attending each individual CLE program.

In a related development, the rule puts an end to a Tennessee program for certification of specialization administration by the commission – leaving accreditation of certifying organizations and lawyers claiming specialization to the American Bar Association.

Among other issues, the TBA comments on the proposal opposed the change in the exemption age, argued against the live classroom hours provision and urged the court to retain the quality written materials requirement.

Download the court's order

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Free CLE Previews

See previews of recent webcasts on our new YouTube channel. Previews are free and include links to the full programs for more information. Watch for weekly postings.

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TBA CLE Leads Bar World in Gamification

The Tennessee Bar Association is "the most vivid example in the bar world" of effective use of the game format for online CLE programs, Dan Kittay writes in the latest issue of the ABA’s Bar Leader magazine. The TBA has spent five years researching different approaches to gamification, and also which software is best for creating interactive games, TBA CLE director Mindy Thomas Fulks told the magazine. Advocates of gamification say that it offers an alternate approach that is proving successful. Fulks credits TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur with striving to keep the bar “trendsetting.”

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Don't Miss TBA 7-City Ethics Tour

The annual TBA Ethics Roadshow will make stops in seven cities this year. Join hundreds of your colleagues from across the state at the annual event in Jackson on Dec. 3, Memphis on Dec. 3, Nashville on Dec. 4, Cookeville on Dec. 10, Johnson City on Dec. 11, Knoxville on Dec. 11 and Chattanooga on Dec. 12. Visit TBA CLE for more information.

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New CLE Website Offers New Tools, Powers, Formats

The TBA has launched a refreshed website for CLE programming that gives members new tools, new powers and new formats for learning. The new platform provides a seamless interface with the TBA.org website so you can more easily manage your courses and CLE compliance. In addition, a more sophisticated search engine will help you find the courses you want in less time and with less hassle, and new formats for interactive and online game CLE programs will offer more learning options. Explore it now.

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CLE Website to Get Update; New Features Coming

The TBA is improving its website for CLE programming to give you new powers, new tools and new formats for learning. Transition to the refreshed website will take place Sunday evening, so there may be some time when the site is unavailable over the weekend. It is expected to be fully operational by Monday morning.

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Get CLE Fast with Summer Blast

Need a few CLE hours fast? The TBA is offering programs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 24. The Summer CLE Blast will offer 7 hours of dual CLE credit. Take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration desk will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout depending on the number of hours you attend. Learn more at TennBarU.

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TBA Convention Kicks Off Today

The 133rd Annual Convention of the Tennessee Bar Association begins today in Gatlinburg, with meetings of the House of Delegates, a Section Chairs Roundtable and a Welcome Reception. Tomorrow kicks off with Law School Alumni Breakfasts and many hours of CLE, including a panel with Keel Hunt, Hal Hardin and John Seigenthaler discussing Hunt's book, COUP: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Repubican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal. The annual Bench Bar Luncheon will feature Iowa Chief Justice Mark S. Cady. Follow and comment on happenings at the convention on Twitter using the hashtag #TBAannual.

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'Bacon King' Added to Line-up for Restaurant CLE

If you are hungry for news about the business and law of restaurants, be at the TBA June 27 for this continuing legal education seminar covering business development for restaurants, charitable food donations, tax law and auditing procedures. A new addition to the line-up is "The Bacon King" Allan Benton of Benton’s Country Hams. He will discuss how he started his business, what he does and how he sources his pork supply. The program, "Restaurant CLE: Serving up Success at the Corner of Law and Food," will also feature real estate professionals discussing leasing versus buying space, and others will cover licensing, liquor laws and labor and employment issues. An expert panel of former practicing lawyers who have traded in their law books for the life of restaurant owners will share their experience with you and answer questions. Sessions are packed with farm fresh ideas and food for attendees throughout the day.

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New CLE Added to TBA Annual Convention

A new CLE program on why we need fair courts has been added to the lineup of the TBA Annual Convnetion next week in Gatlinburg. Alistair Newbern, assistant professor at Vanderbilt Law School, will share why retention elections are important to a fair and impartial judiciary in Tennessee. The program will take place Thursday, June 12, at 3 p.m. You can learn more or register for the convention online.

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Court Seeks Comments on Changes to CLE Rule

The Tennessee Supreme Court filed an order yesterday soliciting comments on amendments to Supreme Court Rule 21, which have been proposed by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Education. Comments should be filed by March 20, 2014. Download the order, petition and appendix.

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Meet CLE Deadline with Summer Blast Friday

Need a few CLE hours before the July 31 CLE requirement deadline? The TBA is offering programs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, July 26. The Summer CLE Blast will offer 7 hours of dual CLE credit. Take as many or as few hours as you need. Register online at TennBarU.

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Hopper Lee Joins TBA CLE Staff

Lauren Hopper Lee is the TBA's new CLE coordinator. She holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work from Tennessee State University. Most recently she worked with volunteers in a staff role at St. Luke’s Community House, working with families in West Nashville. She has also interned at the Tennessee General Assembly. Hopper Lee replaces Lisa McNamara on the continuing legal education staff, joining Mindy Thomas-Fulks, Kaisha Bond and Steve King.

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Register Now for Growing Your Practice and Career CLE

Don't miss the TBA's “Growing Your Practice and Your Career: Law Practice Management and Business Development” CLE set for next Friday, Oct. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Register by the end of the day tomorrow to avoid late penalties. Learn more about the program here

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Rutgers CLE Website Hacked

The ABA Journal reports that more than 1,500 lawyers who took continuing legal education (CLE) courses from Rutgers University's two law schools had their personal information compromised by hackers who accessed names, address, encrypted passwords and other data from about 100 university websites. A group called Team GhostShell claims responsibility, stating they were protesting rising education costs and student loan debt. Personal information that was posted online has been removed, and Rutgers said they have increased website security.

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Boot Camp Gives Front-Row Seat to Supreme Court Action

The Tennessee Bar Associaiton's Supreme Court Boot Camp allows lawyers to learn by watching two oral arguments before the Tennessee Supreme Court, followed by a debriefing with the attorneys who argued them. The course offers 6.5 hours of CLE in Nashville this Thursday.

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Court Square CLE Series Returns to 10 Cities

The Tennessee Bar Association's award-winning Court Square CLE Series is returning to 10 Tennessee communities, starting this week and continuing through October. Programs will be held in Dyersburg on Wednesday, Cleveland on Thursday, Manchester and Murfreesboro on Sept. 19, Dickson on Sept. 20, Jackson on Sept. 27, Kingsport on Oct. 11, Johnson City on Oct. 12, and Cookeville on Oct. 25. Information on the Columbia program will be available soon.

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Survey: Would You Like the TBA to Offer CME Credits?

Providing continuing legal education (CLE) for lawyers by lawyers is a Tennessee Bar Association priority, and lately many of you have asked if continuing mediation credit (CME) could also be offered. What do you think? Please email TBA CLE Director Mindy Thomas-Fulks to  participate in a survey, which closes on May 7 at noon.

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Court Exempts Pro Bono Credit from Filing Fee

The Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday issued an order amending Supreme Court Rule 21, Section 4.07(c) to exempt all credit hours awarded for pro bono legal representation from the per-hour fee imposed by Section 8 and collected by the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Under court rules, the commission may award one hour of ethics and professionalism credit for every five billable hours of pro bono legal representation. The court said that the per-hour fee that was being charged to cover administrative costs no longer would be collected. It noted in the order that lawyers who perform pro bono work provide an invaluable service not only to their clients but also to the state’s system of justice, and should be exempt from the fees. Download the order

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TBA National Finalist for Webcasting Award

The Tennessee Bar Association’s webcasting program has again been selected as a finalist in the national Rich Media Impact Awards competition. The TBA earned the top award for associations last year for providing timely educational programming following the 2010 flood that devastated much of Tennessee. This year, the TBA is being recognized for its new All Access Video Network, which provides free online mentoring for lawyers. The network now offers three channels of programming: Practice Points, Going Solo and Professional Development. The winner of this year’s competition will be announced in May at the Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Users Conference.

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Onsite CLE Available 7 to 7 on Wednesday

Need a few CLE hours fast? The Tennessee Bar Association is offering programs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Mid-Winter CLE Blast will offer 11 hours of dual CLE credit. Take as many or as few hours as you need. The registration desk will be open all day. Learn more from TennBarU.