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Posted by: Journal News on Feb 1, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Feb 2018

Journal Name: February 2018 - Vol. 54, No. 2


The Tennessee Supreme Court in early January issued five orders amending rules that will become effective July 1, subject to approval by resolutions of the General Assembly. The court amended the Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 3, appeal as of right: availability; method of initiation; and Rule 4, appeal as of right: time for filing notice of appeal. The court amended the Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 5, initial appearance before magistrate; Rule 16, discovery and inspection; Rule 41, search and seizure; and Rule 49.2, electronic filing, signing or verification. The court amended the Rules of Juvenile Procedure, Rule 107, subpoenas; Rule 117, entry of order; Rule 301, initiation of cases; Rule 309, agreed orders; and Rule 310, modification or relief from judgments or orders. The court amended the Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 24, intervention; Rule 47, jurors; Rule 54, judgment and costs. The court amended the Rules of Evidence, Rule 502, limitations on waiver of privileged information or work product.


New Group of Uniform Laws to Get Consideration
Tennessee’s Uniform Law Commissioners have asked the TBA to undertake, review and consider five new uniform laws for possible enactment during the 2018 legislative session. The five commissioners are appointed by the governor to join with commissioners from other states recommending uniform laws for enactment.

Commissioner Tim Amos has indicated that the Uniform Protected Series Act is of most importance. Also under consideration are the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act, the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, the Uniform Unsworn Domestic Declarations Act and the Uniform Directed Trusts Act.

Members of several TBA sections will undertake formal reviews and possibly recommend them for consideration. TBA members who would like to comment can direct their comments to the relevant TBA sections.

Court Extends Business Court Pilot Project
The Tennessee Supreme Court released an order in late December to continue the business court docket pilot project, following recommendations from its Business Court Docket Advisory Commission. Since its founding in 2015, 129 cases have been transferred to the specialized docket with litigants ranging from large, national companies to small businesses.

This specialized court model provides the judicial branch with the opportunity to focus on what is often very complex and time-consuming litigation and provides efficient and effective outcomes for business owners when there is an issue,” Gov. Bill Haslam said of the project. Effective Jan. 1, the court began assigning cases transferred to the business court docket to Judge Joseph P. Binkley of the 20th Judicial District. Cases transferred prior to Jan. 1, shall remain assigned to Davidson County Chancery Court Part III.


TBALL Class Kicks Off 15th Year with Opening Retreat
The TBA Leadership Law class of 2018 began in January. In its 15th year, the six-month program is designed to equip participants with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in the profession and in the community as a whole. The select group of 28 lawyers come from across the state, representing diverse practice areas and backgrounds.


Ashworth Named Chair of Access to Justice Commission; 3 Appointed to Group
Three lawyers have been named the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, and Gail Vaughn Ashworth has been appointed the new chair. Michael L. Forrester of Kingsport, John L. Farringer of Nashville, and Alexander McVeagh of Chattanooga were appointed to three-year terms to replace the outgoing Marcia M. Eason, David R. Esquivel and Anthony Alan Seaton. Ashworth’s term as chair will last two years, beginning on April 1. Farringer also currently serves as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice committee.

LAS, Nashville Bar Launch New Program for Veterans
The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) has launched a new program with the Nashville Bar Association (NBA) to support veterans with legal issues. Called The Veterans Project, it is a partnership among the NBA, Veterans Court, Office of the Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville, Metro Homelessness Commission, Operation Stand Down TN (OSDTN) and LAS’s Volunteer Lawyers Program.

While the program is primarily focused on helping veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness, help with civil legal problems is available to all veterans. The scope of civil legal issues for which veterans can seek help includes child support, debt, bankruptcy, car purchase/repair, family law, expungement and reinstatement of driver’s licenses.

UT Law Celebrates 70 Years of Its Legal Clinic
The University of Tennessee College of Law celebrated the 70th anniversary of its Legal Clinic throughout 2017. The year-long recognition wrapped up with the “Party with a Purpose,” at The Emporium in downtown Knoxville.

The event drew more than 400 people and brought the total of funds raised to $450,000, Interim Legal Clinic Director Penny White said.

The school reports that the Legal Clinic is the oldest of its kind in continual existence in the United States. It was founded in 1947 by Charles H. Miller, who was hailed as a pioneer in legal education, and is highly ranked nationally among clinical programs at public universities.


1L Enrollment Slightly Higher at Law Schools
While there was a 0.7 percent overall decrease in law students at ABA-accredited law schools between 2016 and 2017, there was a slight increase in the number of new enrollees, the ABA Journal reports.

The number of 1L students went up from 37,107 in 2016 to 37,398 in 2017, according to an overview from the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. For the first time, bar passage rates for the year by school will be included in a separate report.

Report: Less Than Half of Recent Law Grads Had Good Jobs Waiting for Them 
According to an AccessLex Institute report released in January, only 44 percent of recent law school graduates said that they had a good job waiting for them when they graduated, the ABA Journal reports. Twenty-six percent of the graduates who matriculated between 2009 and 2017 said that it took them more than one year to find a job. The survey also noted that among that cohort, 60 percent borrowed more than $100,000 to pursue their law degrees.