Legal Aid Society collects stories on first 40 years

When the Legal Aid Society was organized in Nashville in 1968, there were three attorneys and two staff members. Since then, the organization has grown to become the largest nonprofit law firm in the state, providing services to 48 counties through its eight offices. To capture some of the stories about these past 40 years, the Legal Aid Society has set up a blog where former attorneys and staff can post items about their experiences. "We feel it is important to collect these stories and preserve them," said LAS Executive Director Gary Housepian. "The Legal Aid Society has had an incredible impact on the lives of thousands of individuals and families over the last 40 years."

Learn more or post a blog

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Court: TCA


William L. Harbison, Samuel P. Funk, and Lisa K. Helton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Burning Tree TN, L.P.

James W.J. Farrar and Francis H. Young, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Metropolitan Board of Fire & Building Code Appeals and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County.


An apartment complex owner filed a petition for writ of certiorari to challenge a decision of the Metro Board of Fire and Building Code Appeals denying the owner's appeal of the fire marshal's citation of the apartment complex for failure to install pull station alarms in certain areas. We agree with the chancellor's conclusion that the Board did not exceed its jurisdiction, did not act illegally or arbitrarily, and based its decision upon material evidence.


Court: TCA


Robert A. Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Linda Alexander Owens.

Roger A. Maness, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Emery Owens.


In this post-divorce dispute, Wife asserts that the trial court erred in denying her motion for a hearing to refer the matter to a special master in order to effectuate this court's previous opinion. We have concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Wife's motion.


Court: TCCA


Gerald Wayne Carter, Pro Se, Forrest City FCC-Med, Forrest City, Arkansas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred Lynn Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

In this consolidated appeal, the petitioner, Gerald Wayne Carter, challenges the circuit court's summary dismissal of his petitions for both post-conviction relief and writ of error coram nobis. The circuit court dismissed the petitions, finding that the petitioner had filed outside the statute of limitations period. After review, we affirm the judgments of the court.


Court: TCCA


Bobby Lee, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, and Mary W. Francois, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Bobby Lee, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus relief. The petitioner was convicted of attempted first degree murder and received a sixty-year Department of Correction sentence as a career offender. The State has filed a motion for the judgment of the trial court to be affirmed by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Finding merit in the motion, we grant the same and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Supreme Court Report
Legislative News
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Supreme Court Report
Court to rule when judges must recuse themselves
The Supreme Court has stepped into a sensitive dispute over a West Virginia judge's decision to participate in a case that involved a key campaign supporter. Though the justices normally avoid ethics cases, they agreed to hear this one, in which the judge in question overturned a $50 million verdict against a company that spent $3 million to help elect him. The losing party says the appearance of bias is strong enough to violate its constitutional rights.
Learn more from the Legal Times on
Legislative News
GOP to vet state officer candidates
Under a new vetting system implemented by state Republicans, the process for selecting a treasurer, comptroller and secretary of state will be more transparent. In a sharp departure from the long-standing practice of filling the positions through patronage, candidates now have to complete job applications, go through background checks and face a public hearing.
The Tennessean reports
Legal News
Obama taps White House counsel
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Washington lawyer Gregory B. Craig, who served as President Bill Clinton's lead attorney during the 1998 impeachment proceedings, to be his White House counsel, according to an individual involved with the transition.
Read about his Craig in this Washington Post story
Former Tenn. lawyer pleads guilty to charges
Lawrence H. Bidwell IV, a 1984 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and licensed Tennessee attorney until 1990, has pleaded guilty to stealing at least $2 million from his employer, the Virginia Farm Bureau. Bidwell pleaded guilty to five embezzlement charges and one forgery count. He will face up to 110 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 3.
Read more at Tri
Knox to hire outside counsel
A lawsuit challenging certification of a vote to amend the Knox County Charter will require the county to hire outside counsel according to local officials. County Law Director Bill Lockett said he has already contacted Robert Watson to represent the county. Election Commission Chairwoman Pam Reeves said she is recommending that the commission hire Jim Murphy, who previously represented the panel.
The News Sentinel has the story
NY prosecutor named as bailout watchdog
New York Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil M. Barofsky has been nominated to serve as the Treasury Department's special inspector general in charge of auditing and investigating how the federal government spends bailout money. Barofsky comes from an office known for its high-profile prosecution of crime on Wall Street. The appointment will require Senate confirmation.
The AP has this profile of Barofsky
Cocke County faces prisoner lawsuit
After the Cocke County Legislative Body failed to include funds for a proposed new jail in its 2008-2009 budget, the current jail was decertified. Now the county faces a federal lawsuit filed by a prisoner who alleges jail overcrowding. Some leaders fear that could lead to a new, court-ordered jail that would be more expensive than the one originally proposed.
The Greeneville Sun has the story
Bledsoe to sue over justice center
The Bledsoe County attorney says the county will file a lawsuit this week to recoup money paid to the architect of the county's new justice center. The architect withdrew from the project citing "a hostile environment," although the county says the action was a breach of contract.
Read more in the Times Free Press
UT Law holds discrimination dialogue
The University of Tennessee College of Law last week held a forum on the role of lawyers in designing and implementing strategies to combat discrimination and hate crimes and encourage diversity. The panelists included law school professor Fran Ansley; Michael Lieberman with the Washington Counsel for the Anti-Defamation League; and Tad Stahnke, Director of Human Rights First's Fighting Discrimination Program.
Learn more
Training offered for veterans pro bono work
The Detroit Mercy School of Law will hold a free training workshop in Chattanooga on Nov. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to present Project Salute -- a program the school has developed to train lawyers to provide pro bono legal assistance to veterans. The workshop will take place at the Hampton Inn Downtown. Participants will receive breakfast and lunch and are asked to take on at least one pro bono case. For more information contact Alesa Silver at (313) 596-0258 or
Learn more or register here
TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, EVault, offers secure online backup solutions. Evault minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get EVault and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
Learn why lawyers trust EVault for online data backup solutions

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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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