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Posted by: Journal News on Jan 1, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Jan 2018

Journal Name: January 2018 - Vol. 54, No. 1


The Tennessee Bar Association announced in December that 30 attorneys from across the state were selected for its 2018 Leadership Law program. Now in its 15th year, Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders.

The class meets for its first session in January and will spend the next six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.

Goals of the program include nurturing effective leadership with respect to ethical, professional and community service issues; building relationships among legal leaders from across the state and from across disciplines within the profession; raising the level of awareness among lawyers regarding the broad range of issues facing the legal profession; and enhancing the diversity of leaders within the legal profession and the community. See who is in the class at


Supreme Court Soliciting Comments on Proposed Changes to Rule 8
The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility and the Tennessee Bar Association filed in November a petition asking the Supreme Court to amend Rule 8, RPC 8.4 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court by adopting a new RPC 8.4(g). The court is now soliciting written comments from the bench, the bar and the public. The deadline for submissions is March 21. Send written comments to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 32 Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville 37219.

Rules 7 and 12 Amended
The Tennessee Supreme Court has adopted amendments to Rule 7 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners petitioned for changes in August. After review, the court amended Rule 7; changes went into effect immediately.

On Sept.13, 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court filed an order soliciting written comments concerning proposed amendments to Rule 12, section 1, and the First-Degree Murder Report, which is appended to Rule 12. The deadline for submitting written comments was Oct 13, and the court received no written comments during that period. The amendments were adopted and took effect immediately.

New Design Released for Nashville Courthouse; Work to Start Early This Year
The U.S. government released in November new designs for the Nashville courthouse to be built and named after late U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson. The project is expected to cost $194.5 million and will be located at 719 Church Street.


Juvenile Task Force Reports Findings, Recommendations
A special task force on juvenile justice presented state leaders with a set of data-driven policy recommendations in December. The Joint Ad-hoc Blue Ribbon task force — composed of leaders from the executive, legislative and judicial branches — made recommendations that centered on 1) how to focus resources on the highest-risk youth; 2) how to prevent deeper juvenile justice system involvement of lower-level youth through early response; and 3) how to sustain effective practices through continued oversight and reinvestment in a stronger continuum of evidence-based services.


New Edition of Ethics Rule Book Now Available from TBA
The 2018 edition of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct is now available from the Tennessee Bar Association. Thanks to the efforts of the TBA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, this new edition includes all amendments as of and through Oct. 31, 2017. Brian Faughnan is the chair of the committee. The book is available for purchase in a spiral-bound format for $30 or free in PDF format or in Word document format.

ABA Ethics Opinion: Judges Using Internet to Search for Facts Is Ethical Problem
A recent American Bar Association ethics opinion finds that while judges may conduct legal research online for cases not cited by the parties, using the internet to find facts concerning the parties or subject matter of a case poses ethical problems, the ABA Journal reports. Finding “adjudicative facts” about a case is already generally banned by the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but an exception allows judges to go online for facts that are subject to judicial notice because they are generally known and not subject to reasonable dispute. The opinion also offers guidelines for judges to conduct independent factual research.

Young Lawyers 2018 Mock Trial Problem Released
The problem and exhibits for the 2018 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial competition was released on Dec. 4, 2017. This year’s problem, a civil case, revolves around a sports fan’s protest held during the eclipse. This year’s competition will be held in Nashville on March 23-24. Chairing the YLD Mock Trial Committee this year is Rob Sands, with Vice Chair Kati Goodner.

LSAT Test Takers Way Up from 2016
The number of students taking the Law School Admissions Test has risen significantly since last year, the ABA Journal reports. The increase in test takers was 5.4 percent in February, 19.8 percent in June and 10.7 percent in September.

As of Oct. 30, 2017, the number of registrations for the December test was 21.4 percent above the total at the same time last year.


Low Number of Female, Minority U.S. Attorney Candidates a Concern
American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass told Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Decmeber she is concerned with the low percentage of women and minority candidates appointed to U.S. attorney positions, the ABA Journal reports. Of 57 U.S. attorney candidates proposed by the Trump administration so far, one was black and three were women.

“A justice system that is not representative of the diverse community it serves risks losing its legitimacy in the eyes of those who come before it,” Bass wrote in a letter to Sessions.


Gray Honored with Cody ATJ Award
Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) presented The W.J. Michael Cody Access to Justice Award to B. Taylor Gray at the Memphis Bar Association Annual Meeting in December. The award recognizes a private attorney who has furthered the vision of “Justice for Those in Need” and has supported MALS’s mission of providing excellence in legal advocacy for those in need. Gray represented several MALS clients in adoption proceedings and provided many hours of free legal support. He also was instrumental in establishing Bass, Berry & Sims as a Pillar Law Firm, which means the firm has agreed to be the first point of contact in MALS's efforts to place pro bono cases with private attorneys.