Memphis Team Wins State Mock Trial Competition - Articles

All Content

Posted by: Journal News on Apr 28, 2009

Journal Issue Date: May 2009

Journal Name: May 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 5

TBA Young Lawyers Division

White Station High School's Green Team claimed the state mock trial title in March, defeating Battle Ground Academy of Franklin in the 29th annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. The team, which is coached by Memphis attorneys Eugene "Buddy" and Michelle Bernstein, will represent Tennessee at the national competition in Atlanta May 6-10.

This year the Mock Trial Committee presented a new sportsmanship award to recognize a team that conducted itself with honor. That award went to Clarksville High School, which was coached by local attorneys Christopher Barber and Stephen Darnell.

The two-day state competition took place in the Metro Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville. Teams from across the state put their legal skills to the test by playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a fictitious case developed by the TBA's Young Lawyers Division. The criminal case, State of Tennessee v. Jessie Chandler, involved the armed robbery of a health food store.

About 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals, gave their expertise and time to the competition, while sitting judges in the state presided over four preliminary trial rounds. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee, the court's newest justice, presided over the championship match Saturday evening. See competition details and a list of all award winners at


ABA to resume evaluation of federal judicial nominees: The American Bar Association announced March 17 that the Obama Administration has requested its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary resume its historical role in evaluating the professional qualifications of potential federal judicial nominees. The committee has more than 50 years of experience performing this task, which involves an extensive review of each potential nominee's integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.

Read the ABA's announcement at

Impropriety standard raised for federal judges: In the first revision of the conduct code for federal judges since 1992, the U.S. Judicial Conference in March enacted a streamlined set of rules that for the first time defines "appearance of impropriety" and expands the test for appearance of impropriety to concerns beyond judges' adjudicative responsibilities. The new rules will take effect July 1. The ABA Journal reported the development.
Read the Judicial Conference press release at

Endowment provides funds for UT law students pursuing trial attorney career: Thanks to an endowment established by the Chattanooga law firm Summers and Wyatt, University of Tennessee College of Law students pursuing a career as trial attorneys have the opportunity to receive financial assistance. Second-year students at the school are eligible to apply and those who are descendants of members of the Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Association for Justice or Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are given special consideration.

To learn more about the scholarship or how to contribute to the Summers and Wyatt Trial Advocacy Endowment, contact Penny White, director of the college's Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at

'Monkey trial' play to end: A long-running play based on the 1925 Tennessee trial of school teacher John Scopes will end after this summer's performances. The famous "monkey trial" in Dayton convicted Scopes of violating a state statute by teaching evolution in biology class and fined him $100. Bryan College spokesman Tom Davis said officials decided to retire the play and Scopes Festival after several actors announced they would retire and support waned. The Maryville Daily Times reported.

New law school named for Duncan: Lincoln Memorial University has officially named its proposed law school in Knoxville for Tennessee Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. Upon accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges, LMU will admit about 75 part-time students and begin classes in August 2009. The full-time program, consisting of an additional 125 students, will begin Fall 2010.

Memphis courthouse gets stimulus money: Memphis's Clifford Davis-Odell Horton federal building will receive $3.2 million in upgrades thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is the only federal building in Tennessee to receive a portion of the funds set aside for federal facilities. The money will be used to transform the building into a high-performance green facility. The Memphis Business Journal reported the news.

Layoffs continue for lawyers: In the last 15 months, more than 10,000 lawyers and legal staffers have lost their jobs at major law firms, reported in April. Some 3,500 attorneys and staff " and perhaps significantly more " lost their jobs in March. That's up from 2,000 in February and 1,500 in January. March also saw announcements of canceled summer programs, postponed first-year associate start dates and pay cuts at all levels " from associates to partners.

Read the ABA Journal story at

And the winner is ...
The next president of the Tennessee Bar Association was unknown at the time of publication " results are to be in after May 1 for the race for vice president between Memphis lawyer Danny Van Horn and Jackson lawyer Linda Warren Seely. The winner will be president-elect in 2010 and president in 2011.

Find out from TBA Today or check for up-to-the-minute news.

Delegate vacancies

Notice of Bylaw Amendment

In accordance with Section 59(1) of the TBA Bylaws, the TBA Board of Governors will consider adoption of the following amendment, shown as a redline, to Section 49 of the TBA Bylaws at its regular meeting set for Saturday, June 20, 2009. The amendment specifies that vacancies in the position of TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates will be filled by the TBA Board until a regular election by the membership is held to fill an unexpired term.

49. Election of TBA Delegate, ABA House of Delegates. The TBA Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates shall be elected by a vote of the membership of the TBA. The notice of election, deadline for filing nominating petitions, ballot preparation, mailing and counting of ballots, deadline for receipt of ballots and provisions for contest of elections shall be the same as provided for in sections 40 through 46 for the election of vice president of the TBA. There shall be no requirement as to the grand division from which the candidate shall be nominated or elected. A vacancy in the position of delegate shall be filled in the same manner and under the same terms as a vacancy in member of the Board of Governors under section 47.
The delegate positions shall be designated by numbers. The delegate positions with terms expiring in 2005 and each subsequent two-year period, shall be designated seats one and three. The positions with terms expiring in 2006 and each subsequent two-year period, shall be designated as positions two, four, and five. The position to be held by a young lawyer delegate shall be designated position three.