Streamlining the Election Process - Articles

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Posted by: Journal News on Nov 23, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Dec 2009

Journal Name: December 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 12

TBA Bylaws Amendment
The TBA Board has recently examined the bar election process with an eye toward streamlining. As a result, the TBA Board will consider the following Bylaws amendment at its Jan. 16, 2010, meeting. The amendments shorten the process by a month by compressing the time in which ballots are mailed and returned. The times for electronic voting will also be adjusted. Electronic voting has grown to 45 percent of the votes cast. The amendment will be considered under TBA Bylaws, Section 59 (1), which reads:
  By an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire Board of Governors occurring at least twenty-one (21) days after notice has been given to the membership as to the facts and contents of the proposed amendments.
A red-line of the amended sections is below:
Elections of Officers, Governors  and American Bar Association  Delegates
40. Notice of Election. A notice indicating the officers, governors and delegates to be elected under these Bylaws shall be contained in general membership publication to be disseminated to the membership at least sixty (60) days prior to February 15 of each year. The Board of Governors may also direct that a separate notice of election be disseminated to the membership, said notice to be received not less than 30 days prior to February 15.
41. Nominations. Nominations for Officers (other than the Secretary and Treasurer and those who automatically succeed to an office) TBA delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and Governors shall be by petition signed by 25 or more members of the Association. Nominating petitions shall be filed with the Executive Director by February 15 preceding the election. Nominations for Delegates to the TBA House of Delegates shall be by a declaration of candidacy filed with the Executive Director by February 15 preceding the election.   In addition to the signed petition or declaration of candidacy, each candidate shall on or before the February 15 deadline submit a photograph and brief biographical sketch in a form specified by the Board of Governors.
42. Ballots. Whenever a contest for a position of Officer, Governor or Delegate exists, the Executive Director shall cause ballots to be printed substantially in the form required by the ballot law of the State. Each ballot shall list the candidates alphabetically under each office. Whenever there is no contest for an office for which a candidate qualifies, the Board of Governors (in the case of officers, governors, or TBA delegate to the ABA House of Delegates) and the House of Delegates (in the case of delegate to the TBA House of Delegates) shall have the authority to declare that any duly qualified candidate who is unopposed shall be automatically elected and a report of the election disseminated to the membership.
(b) The Board of Governors may by resolution establish an optional method for members to cast their vote by a secure electronic method.
43. Distribution of Ballots for Voting.   By March 15, the Executive Director shall mail to every member of the Association eligible to vote in an Officer, Governor or Delegate election an appropriate ballot or ballots.   A signature card, a ballot envelope and a return envelope shall be included with the ballot.   The return mail envelopes with the ballots shall bear thereon the address of the accountant or accounting firm tabulating the results of the election.  
44. Return and Counting of Ballots. Not later than the mailing of the ballot, the Board of Governors or its Executive Committee shall select a certified public accountant or a certified public accounting firm to tally the ballots. Ballots must be returned to the designated accountant or accounting firm. The accounting firm shall be provided by the Executive Director a list of the active members eligible to vote in the Association. The accounting firm shall, at the close of business on the 1st of April, or, if that day be on a Saturday or Sunday, on the following Monday, count the ballots.
Court adopts MJP rules package
A comprehensive set of rules dealing with multijurisdictional practice (MJP) was adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court in October. The rules set up a new regulatory framework for in-house counsel and other lawyers who may work in Tennessee without being admitted.
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, in-house corporate counsel are required to register, submit to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the court and pay all of the same fees as regularly licensed lawyers. Lawyers who have registered under the new rules can only practice for their corporate client and may not appear in court or hold themselves out as licensed attorneys. In addition, the package sets up a framework for lawyers who might have some temporary presence in a state making them subject to discipline and setting out parameters for their practice.
The court also adopted new Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 47, the so-called "Katrina Rule," which establishes a framework for lawyers from other jurisdictions to temporally practice and do pro bono in Tennessee if the court declares a major disaster.
In adopting these rules, the court said that the TBA had "taken a leadership role" and has rendered "invaluable service" to the court, Tennessee's judicial system and to the public. Learn more in an online video CLE; connect to it

Mandatory IOLTA to begin Jan. 1

In October, Tennessee lawyers began receiving letters from the Tennessee Bar Foundation explaining changes to the Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, which require all idle client and third-party funds to be deposited in interest-bearing accounts by Jan. 1, 2010. For more information, download frequently asked questions and the form you will need to take to your financial institution to enroll your account in the IOLTA program, at Connect to a web cast explaining the changes " available free to TBA members " through

National and Tennessee Pro Bono Celebrations Exceed Expectations

The first American Bar Association National Pro Bono Celebration week received recognition from the White House. The ABA reports that there were nearly 600 events across the country during Oct. 25-31, with activities in nearly every state. In Tennessee, volunteers from the TBA and its Young Lawyers Division, local bar groups, and legal aid organizations hosted almost 20 legal clinics, with more than 200 lawyers assisting more than 400 clients on topics ranging from domestic violence protection to estate planning. Another 200 lawyers participated in live and web cast CLE programs, learning about new IOLTA rules as well as practical skills of assisting clients in need of pro bono legal help.  
See photos from Tennessee's Celebrate Pro Bono Month activities at

Voluntary Pro Bono Reporting  Rule Adopted

On Nov. 2, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted a new rule requesting lawyers to report their time spent on various categories of pro bono service during the year. The report will be made part of the annual registration process administered by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Eight states require pro bono reporting. Those states say that such efforts have been successful in enhancing the reputation of lawyers by developing data on the contribution lawyers make to their communities. Download the amendment to Rule 9, Section 20.11 at

Legal Aid Receives Grant

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will receive $149,500 from the Community Enhancement Fund, which is administered by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. The funds will be used to provide free legal services to low-income victims of domestic violence.  
Available for State Enactment
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approved five new acts dealing with issues ranging from alternative dispute resolution to modernizing existing laws. Tennessee Commissioners Charles A. Trost and Jess O. Hale Jr., both of Nashville, and Effie V. Bean Cozart of Memphis were joined at ULC's 118th annual meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, by more than 200 lawyers, judges, law professors, legislators and government attorneys appointed in their respective jurisdictions to serve as uniform law commissioners. During the meeting, Trost was re-elected to serve as ULC treasurer. George H. Buxton III of Oak Ridge is also a Tennessee commissioner.
As they've done each summer since 1892, uniform law commissioners gathered for a full week to discuss " and debate line by line, word by word " legislative proposals drafted by their colleagues during the year. The five acts just approved are now available for state enactment.
The Uniform Collaborative Law Act regulates the use of collaborative law, a form of alternative dispute resolution. This Act standardizes the most important features of collaborative law participation.
The Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act addresses the penalties and disqualifications that individuals face incidental to criminal sentencing. The provisions in the act are largely procedural and designed to rationalize and clarify widely accepted policies and provisions.
The Uniform Law Enforcement Access to Entity Information Act preserves the traditional confidentiality of entity ownership and requires the filing of the name of an individual who would be responsible for obtaining, maintaining and verifying record ownership information.
The Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act allows an owner of real property to pass the property simply and directly to a beneficiary on the owner's death without probate. The property passes by means of a recorded transfer on a death (TOD) deed.
The Uniform Statutory Trust Entity Act governs the use of statutory trusts as a mode of business organization. The Uniform Act modernizes the existing, but outdated, laws governing these types of entities.
A portion of the Uniform Business Organizations Act (UBOA), containing language to harmonize common provisions found throughout existing business organization acts, such as the Uniform Partnership Act and the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, was also approved.  
Information on all of these acts, including the approved text of each act, can be found at the ULC Web site at     
" Effie V. Bean Cozart  
Deadline to Qualify Is Feb. 15
During 2010, the following officers, governors and delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) will be elected as set forth in the association's bylaws:

TBA Officers and Board of Governors Officers

A vice president (from the Middle Tennessee Grand Division " elected by the association's membership-at-large). The vice president automatically assumes the office of president-elect in 2012 and president in 2013.
District Governors
District governors in the 1st, 4th and 7th districts will be elected to three-year terms. They are elected by the members in their respective districts.
Those who currently hold those positions are: Frank Johnstone (1st), Bobby Hibbett (4th) and Jonathan Steen (7th). They are each eligible  
for re-election.

Grand Division Governors

TBA Grand Division Governors are elected for one-year terms by the membership in each grand division.
  • An East Tennessee governor from the 1st, 2nd or 3rd district.
  • A Middle Tennessee governor from the 4th, 5th or 6th district.
  • A West Tennessee governor from the 7th, 8th or 9th district.
Those who currently hold those positions are: Cindy Wyrick (E), Barbara Holmes (M) and Brian Faughnan (W). Cindy Wyrick and Brian Faughnan are eligible for re-election. Barbara Holmes is ineligible for re-election due to term limits.

TBA delegates to the  ABA House of Delegates

Three members to represent the TBA in the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates will be elected for two-year terms by the TBA membership in 2010. The positions are designated positions 2, 4 and 5.  
Those who currently hold those positions are Lucian Pera (2), John Tarpley (4) and Paul Campbell III (5). Each is eligible for re-election.

Qualifying, Balloting and Elections

The officers, governors and delegates to the ABA are elected by the membership as provided by election procedures with petitions due Feb. 15, 2010.  
To qualify for any of these offices, a candidate must file a nominating petition with the executive director of the TBA. The petition must contain the names of 25 members of the association in good standing. The petition must be received at the TBA office on or before Feb. 15, 2010.
A ballot containing the names of all duly qualified candidates will be distributed to members. To be counted, all ballots must be received at the office of the TBA auditors. Votes will be tallied by the accounting firm selected by the Board of Governors in accordance with Section 44 of the bylaws. If there is only one duly-qualified candidate for an office by Feb. 15, 2010, that candidate will automatically be declared elected.  


This notice is in accordance with bylaws of the TBA  §15 and 40 through 46.  For more information on running for any of these offices, visit the TBA's Web site at or call (615)  383-7421 for an election  handbook.