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Bar Asks That Displaced Lawyers be Licensed
Effort designed to help lawyers displaced by Hurricane Katrina
NASHVILLE, Sept. 14, 2005 — The Tennessee Bar Association today filed a petition with the Tennessee Supreme Court to permit lawyers displaced by Hurricane Katrina temporarily to practice law in Tennessee to aid their clients. “Among the thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina are many lawyers. Legal problems that their clients face continue and the storm itself may bring a whole host of new legal problems,” said TBA President Bill Haltom of Memphis.
The petition is addressed to the Tennessee Supreme Court because it has exclusive authority to license lawyers. The proposal is to permit lawyers from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to practice from offices in Tennessee for a 60-day period.
The move is among several other steps taken to mobilize the resources of the legal community to aid victims of the hurricane. On the Tennessee Bar Association website http://www.tba.org, more than 105 lawyers have been recruited to work with the local pro bono and legal aid programs to provide legal assistance to evacuees. The site also has available several resources on the legal issues presented by the disaster. Displaced lawyers may use the TBA on-line job matching service, JobLink. The TBA member services center has been made available for displaced lawyers to use as temporary office space.
Haltom said, “Our hearts go out to our brother and sister lawyers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and all the victims of this terrible disaster. The TBA is mobilizing the time, money, and talents of Tennessee lawyers to the relief effort.”
The petition itself can be found at http://www.tba.org/Katrina/scpetition.html. During the 60-day temporary period, the TBA will work with the state licensing authorities to address the longer-term issues presented by displaced lawyers and the state of emergency. At least three other state supreme courts — Texas, Arkansas, and Arizona — have taken similar steps.
The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 11,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA’s dedication to serving the state’s legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.