Civility and Conservatorship Hearings Scheduled - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 21, 2012

The TBA has announced a series of public hearings across the state on two important issues facing the legal profession -- civility and conservatorship. Young lawyers are invited and encouraged to participate in both initiatives.

Civility Initiative
The first effort will explore the tensions between civility and free speech and the challenges of maintaining civil discourse in a democracy. Sponsored by the TBA’s Public Education Committee, the Balancing Civility and Free Expression Initiative is designed to encourage a public conversation about why civility matters and what to do when the values of civility and free speech clash. Hearings are scheduled in the following cities:

Oct. 16
This event will focus on civility in interacting with the courts, including how the courts should deal with claims of bias; whether courts should respond to attacks on their legitimacy; and what role the media plays or should play with regard to civility toward the courts.

Feb. 21, 2013
This event will focus on civility and effective governance, using the model emulated by former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to Japan, Howard H. Baker Jr.

Both hearings will be moderated by Memphis lawyer and former TBA President Bill Haltom. A lawyer with Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC, Haltom currently is writing a book on civility and politics using Baker as the exemplar.

The first civility hearing was held in Memphis on Sept. 18. The focus of that event was civility in the public square, where policy debates -- especially those with cross-cultural implications -- can quickly become contentious. The panelists used the current effort to consolidate city and county schools in Memphis as a case study in how to bring civility into a divisive debate. See photos from that event

Conservatorship Hearings
The second initiative focuses on the practice and procedure of conservatorships, which are used to protect adults with diminished capacity, including frail elders, persons with developmental disabilities, individuals with physical disabilities, and persons with mental health or addiction issues. Hearings will provide an opportunity for lawyers, community leaders and citizens to discuss what works with the present conservatorship law and how it could be improved. The schedule is as follows. All hearings will run from 1 - 5 p.m. local time.

Oct. 23
University of Memphis School of Law
Historic Courtroom, 3rd Floor
1 North Front St.
Memphis, TN 38103

Nov. 13
Hamblen County Courthouse
511 W Second North St.
3rd Floor
Morristown, TN 37814 
Nov. 14
Hamilton County Courthouse
Room 311
625 Georgia Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Contact Jenny Jones at (800) 899-6993, (615) 383-7421 or to submit written comments or request an opportunity to speak at any of the hearings.