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Posted by: Journal News on Mar 24, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Apr 2009

Journal Name: April 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 4

TBA launches statewide 4ALL media campaign

Working with broadcasters across Tennessee, the TBA has launched a campaign to build awareness of the access to justice crisis facing the state and highlight efforts being made by Tennessee attorneys to help those unable to afford legal help. The campaign video has been distributed to 35 television stations across Tennessee and at radio stations in every market. The campaign continues through the end of April.

Watch the spot or learn more about the 4ALL campaign now at

Juvenile court loses child support contract

In February, the Shelby County Juvenile Court lost a long-standing contract to collect and enforce child-support payments when the state Department of Human Services awarded the job to a Virginia-based company. The move will save the state money but will endanger more than 200 local jobs at the court, which has handled the duties for the last 45 years.

The Commercial Appeal has more

ABA launches mediation opinion database

The American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section's Ethics Committee has created a national clearinghouse for mediator ethics opinions and decisions. The service provides a searchable database with hundreds of opinions, including public domain opinions from 43 states. Opinions are catalogued by keyword, category, state, year and opinion type. Tennessee lawyer Marnie Huff, co-chair of the committee, praised the new resource saying it will provide invaluable guidance on standards of conduct and confidentiality for mediators around the country.

Learn more about the database at

The American Inns of Court announces writing competition

The American Inns of Court invites judges, lawyers, students, scholars and other authors to participate in the 2009 Warren E. Burger Writing Competition. Submissions must be original, unpublished essays of 10,000 to 25,000 words on the author's topic of choice, but should address issues of excellence, civility, ethics and professionalism. The winning essay will be published in the South Carolina Law Review and the author will receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Learn more or download competition rules here
Submission deadline is June 15, 2009

Corporate counsel pro bono gala, award process announced

The TBA's Access to Justice Committee and Corporate Counsel Section have joined with the Association of Corporate Counsel to take on pro bono work and build support for access to justice among corporate counsel in Tennessee. The groups' signature event is the the third annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala, which will be held June 16 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

The gala will celebrate a growing pro bono partnership among Tennessee's corporate legal departments, law firms and access to justice organizations. During dinner, the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Awards will be presented to the corporate legal department and law firm "best exemplifying extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals, pro bono service and the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service." Nominations for the awards are being accepted now through April 3. For more information, contact TBA's Access to Justice Coordinator Anjanette Eash at

Learn more or submit a Pro Bono Initiative Award nomination

Legislative News

Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.

TBA Bill Tracking Service

Supreme Court adopts provisional rule for guardians ad litem in parenting cases (feb 17)
In February, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order establishing guidelines for attorneys and others acting as guardians ad litem for children in divorce and custody cases. This rule, with appendix, will take effect on May 1, and will remain in effect until April 30, 2010, at which time the court will evaluate its continuation in its current form or with modifications. The press release from the court explains the history of this rule-making effort.

Feb 17

Nashville won't get new courthouse in stimulus package after all

Although bills passed the House and Senate that included an item allocating funds for the General Services Administration to build new federal courthouses in Nashville and a number of other cities, over the weekend Nashville's money slipped out of its grip. The money "was bumped from the bill to make way for the Homeland Security headquarters," Congressman Jim Cooper told today

MALS partnership will help transitional youth

Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. announced in February that it is partnering with the Memphis-based nonprofit Youth Villages to teach children who have been in foster care or state custody how to transition to the "real" world once they turn 18. Youth Villages recently contracted with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services to provide a range of services to young people transitioning out of state custody. MALS will provide basic legal information on rights and responsibilities, information on the juvenile justice system, and counsel when needed. For more information about the program or to get involved contact Linda Warren Seely at (901) 255-3417 or

Study shows greater pro bono activity

A new study by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service has found that more lawyers are donating more time to represent the poor at no charge. The research showed that 73 percent of attorneys provided some kind of pro bono representation -- up from 66 percent in 2005 -- and that the average number of hours donated increased from 39 to 41 over the same time frame.

Read more about the study at

Feb 24

Smith named dean of Memphis law school

Dr. Kevin Smith has been appointed dean at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, the Memphis Daily News reports. Smith had been serving as the interim dean since October 2007 and was one of four candidates being considered for the position. "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to work with faculty, staff, students, University officials, alumni and friends of the law school at this transformational time in the law school's history," Smith told The Daily News.

Read more about Smith's background and experience

March 11, 2009

Rubin to step down as Vanderbilt Law School dean

Edward L. Rubin announced that he is stepping down from his position as dean of Vanderbilt University Law School effective June 30. He said he will continue to teach and write as a member of the faculty. Rubin became the law school's 14th dean and the first John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law in July 2005. Accomplishments during Rubin's tenure as dean include the addition of 16 new faculty members; a 40 percent increase in student applications; a rise in median LSAT scores; the creation of a new admissions program through which applicants for admission are interviewed by alumni; a jump in the U.S. News and World Report ranking from 17 to 15; and a substantial increase in the school's annual fund.

Find out more about Rubin's tenure at Vanderbilt

Feb 24

Two Palestinians are first women judges

Two women in their 30s became judges today -- not headline news in the United States anymore, but when it happens in Palestine, it is. Khuloud Faqih, 34, and Asmahan Wuheidi, 31, made history when they became the first female Islamic judges in the Palestinian territories. Across the Arab world, only Sudan has had women judges in Islamic courts, West Bank-based academic experts on Islamic affairs said. Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, all relatively progressive states in the region on women's rights, do not.

The Associated Press has the story

Candidates qualify for 2009 TBA elections

In accordance with Section 41 and 42 of the TBA Bylaws, the following are duly qualified for the office of Vice President. A contested election will be conducted for the office in accordance with Sections 42, 43 and 44 of the Bylaws.

  • Danny Van Horn, Memphis
  • Linda Warren Seely, Jackson

Voting is open to all TBA members, with online voting beginning on February 27. Each member with an email address on file will receive an email with login information from ElectionsOnline. For those who are unable to vote online or who choose to vote by paper ballot, those ballots will be mailed out on or before March 30.

New guardian ad litem rules explained

Starting in May, courts across the state will have new guidelines for appointing guardians ad litem to represent children and adults of diminished mental capacity. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder says the provisional rules adopted by the court will better define the role of the GALs and result in fewer appointments. TBA President Buck Lewis says the rules will bring a more uniform approach to the appointment of GALs and more guidance to the bench and bar on how they are to be used.

Memphis Daily News reports

Groups launch disaster legal aid site

The Legal Services Corporation, the American Bar Association, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and Pro Bono Net have launched a national disaster legal aid web site. The resource will serve as a centralized source of information on legal issues related to disasters, help recruit and mobilize pro bono attorneys in the aftermath of a disaster, and provide accurate and timely information to victims.

Check it out at

March 5

Memphis law school reaches out to high schools

March is month, and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is hosting an event tomorrow to increase diversity among its students. The Diversity Outreach Program is a day long event that allows minority high school students to learn more about the law school admission process and summer internships. The more than 200 students signed up to participate will attend a mock law class and enjoy a presentation by the Black Law Student Association's mock trial team.

Read more in the Daily Helmsman

Don't forget tax benefits of pro bono

With April 15 looming, it's timely to point out there are several potential tax deductions lawyers often miss. Lawyers who provide pro bono services to charitable organizations cannot deduct the value of their services, but can deduct certain unreimbursed expenses. So long as the expenditure is incident to performing the service and primarily for the benefit of the charity, lawyers may claim travel, meals, lodging, property maintenance, advertising, broadcasting, office supplies, phone bills, filing fees and postage costs associated with their volunteer activities.

Learn more from

Rule change would benefit access to justice

The Tennessee Supreme Court is seeking comment on proposed amendments to Rule 5 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. The amendments would allow research assistants and law clerks employed in the court system to perform certain pro bono tasks. The proposal is part of the court's efforts to advance access to justice in the state. Comments are due to the court by April 6.

Read the order and proposed amendments


Knoxville lawyer WARREN BUTLER, a founding member of the Butler, Vines, and Babb law firm, died Feb. 28. He was 78. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Mr. Butler practiced at the firm for 40 years. The family will receive friends Tuesday, March 3, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Church of the Ascension (800 S. Northshore Dr.) in Knoxville, with a memorial service to follow at the church and graveside services following that at Highland Memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to FISH Hospitality Pantries, 800 Northshore Dr., Knoxville TN 37919.

Read more in the News Sentinel

Knoxville attorney Cecil Meek dies, Thursday services set

Knoxville lawyer CECIL D. MEEK JR. died Feb. 28. He was 74. Mr. Meek graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1959. In his nearly 50 years of practice, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney, practiced with the law firm of Stone and Bozeman, and was in private practice. In 1974, he became one of the founding members of the law firm of Haynes, Meek, Jones and Summers (now Haynes, Meek, Summers and Stanuszek). The memorial service will be March 5 at 7 p.m. at Fountain City United Methodist Church (212 Hotel Road). The family will receive friends following the service. On March 6 there will be a graveside service at Greenwood Cemetery on Tazewell Pike at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Read more about Mr. Meek in the News Sentinel

Visitation Wednesday for Jackson lawyer Tim Latimer

Jackson lawyer TIMOTHY BRYAN LATIMER died of a sudden unexpected illness March 3. He was 50. Mr. Latimer was a partner with Utley & Latimer and a 1984 graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 4, from 5 to 9 p.m. at George A. Smith's Funeral Home North on North Highland. The funeral service will be Thursday at 10 a.m. at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church on the 45 bypass. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. in Waverly. Donations may be made in his honor to the church.

Services Friday for Johnson City attorney Jason Blackburn

Johnson City attorney JASON WAYNE BLACKBURN died March 3 at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis while awaiting a liver transplant. He was 34. A former resident of Maryville, Blackburn was a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, with services to follow at 8 p.m. at McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home in Maryville. Family and friends will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at Grandview Mausoleum for the entombment service.

More information is available from McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home

Former Assistant DA, judge dies in Bristol

Johnson City attorney WILLIAM "BILL" MOONEY died Feb. 24 at Wellmont Hospice House in Bristol. He was 68. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Mooney served the state of Tennessee as an assistant district attorney for 25 years, for the counties of Washington, Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Sullivan, and also served as the city judge of Johnson City for 14 years.

Read more about Mr. Mooney in the Johnson City Press