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Posted by: Journal News on Nov 24, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Dec 2009

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

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 at

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 " and available free to TBA members at

National and Tennessee Pro Bono Celebration 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 Pro Bono Celebration week, 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. The fund-raising campaign comes at a time when the organization is reporting an 83-percent increase in requests for assistance over last year.