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Posted by: Journal News on Apr 30, 2009

Journal Issue Date: May 2009

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

April 3

Supreme Court announces Access to Justice Commission

The Tennessee Supreme Court today announced the creation of the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission and named 10 legal and community leaders to serve on it. Speaking in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the State Capitol, Chief Justice Janice Holder challenged the group to chart its own course, while building upon the information and collaboration among legal professionals already in place. "The forty-plus events planned for today and tomorrow by the Tennessee Bar Association for Statewide Public Service Day illustrates the success that is possible when we in the legal profession -- judges and lawyers alike -- combine our efforts in pursuit of a noble goal, to address the unmet civil legal needs in Tennessee."

Read more about the commission and its members

Memphis team wins state mock trial competition

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.

See competition details and a list of all award winners

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 over 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

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.

Learn more in this press release from the Judicial Conference

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.

Learn more about the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution

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 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 has more

Memphis courthouse gets stimulus money

Memphis' 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

March was hard month for lawyer layoffs

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.

The ABA Journal reports