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Lawyers Overwhelmingly Support Tennessee Plan
Survey shows TBA members support current judicial selection system by 83 percent
NASHVILLE, March 26, 2013 — Eighty-three percent of Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) members support maintaining the present plan for merit selection, performance evaluation and retention election of appellate judges, known as The Tennessee Plan, according to the TBA 2013 Member Survey. Non-member lawyers also surveyed by the group favor the present plan, but by a slightly smaller margin of 72.3 percent.
The study, conducted by Yacoubian Research of Memphis, had a very high response rate of 1,532 members and 458 non-members. According to Berje Yacoubian, chief statistician at the survey research firm, the “statistically significant” response rate reflects the full demographics of the Tennessee legal community and is highly reliable.
The TBA has favored the present plan since its inception in 1971. A new plan to amend the Tennessee Constitution eliminates merit-based review of potential judges by an independent panel, and instead provides for nomination by the governor, confirmation by both houses of the General Assembly, and yes/no retention votes in subsequent years. According to the study, 73.9 percent of association members oppose that plan, while 50.2 percent “strongly oppose” it.
The TBA conducts member surveys about every two years principally to measure performance of its programs and services, but also to gather information on significant issues facing the justice system and the legal profession.
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.