TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

The Tennessee House approved a proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday that would clarify that the state Constitution’s ban on slavery does not prohibit prisoners from working. The Senate passed the measure in March. Both chambers passed it last year. The proposed amendment will now be on the statewide ballot in November 2022, Mainstreet Nashville reports. During House debate, Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, said the language came directly from the Tennessee Department of Correction and was intended to eliminate any confusion about whether work from prisoners could fall under the Constitution’s ban on slavery.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

Law schools would be required to train students in bias, racism and cross-cultural competency under a proposal being considered by the American Bar Association arm that oversees legal education, Law.com reports. The proposed change would require schools to provide training once at the beginning of the law school career and again before graduation. A memo from the Standards Committee released today contains a number of other recommendations, including that anti-discrimination policies be amended to include gender identity and military status; that clearer guidance be provided to schools on what constitutes a commitment to diversity and inclusion; a new requirement that schools provide students opportunities to develop a professional identity; and new requirements that schools provide students with information on well-being resources, financial aid and student loan debt.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

Tennessee lawmakers have passed legislation preventing juvenile detention centers from keeping children in solitary confinement for long stretches, NewsChannel 5 reports. Specifically, the legislation prohibits seclusion for "punishment" or "administrative convenience" for more than six hours in a 24-hour period. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, led the charge to change the law and credited NewsChannel 5's investigative report “Broken” for bringing the issue to light. The reporting in 2019 focused on the Maury County Juvenile Detention Center, where staff said children were confined in their cells for up to 24 hours at a time for no apparent reason.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

Tennessee lawmakers did not make medical marijuana legal in the state this year but did pass legislation that could pave the way for that in the future, Local Memphis reports. On the final day of the legislative session, members reached an agreement to form a special commission to study and prepare recommendations on how best to "establish an effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program.” The bill also would decriminalize the possession of cannabis oil containing 0.9% or less of THC for patients with nine debilitating medical conditions. Patients would have to secure a letter from their doctor every six months and purchase the oil out of state since it is not sold in Tennessee. The bill now goes to the governor.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

The American Bar Association continues its celebration of Law Day 2021 with a free virtual program Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. EDT. “Advancing the Rule of Law Now: Access and Accountability, A Call to Action” highlights this year’s Law Day theme. Panel members will discuss a number of topics including access to justice issues and the accountability of elected officials and law enforcement officers. Learn more about the program and register here.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

Longtime Memphis lawyer Arnold M. Weiss died April 30. He was 86. Weiss earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1958 and first practiced general and criminal defense law. He eventually found his calling in the field of bankruptcies and foreclosures. Weiss and his wife lived an exciting life. As a ballroom dancer, Joan met many celebrities, which led to the couple joining the world-famous Friars Club in New York City. They also were longtime members of the Mar-a-Lago Club and owned homes in Palm Beach and New York in addition to Memphis. Weiss was a patron of the local arts and an ardent supporter of St. Jude, often hosting fundraisers for the children’s hospital. His law office, on the National Historic Register, was scouted as a possible location for NBC-TV's "Bluff City Law" show. And although another location was selected, furnishing and furniture from his office were used in the show. A private service will be held at Temple Israel. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude or to the rabbi's discretionary fund at Temple Israel.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

Former “near-celebrity” legal blogger David Lat announced this week he is returning to writing as a full-time livelihood. Lat, who founded “Underneath Their Robes” in 2004 and “Above the Law” in 2006, left blogging two years ago to work as a legal recruiter. This go-round, he will be publishing a newsletter on Substack, an online platform designed to make it easy to publish and monetize newsletters. Lat launched “Original Jurisdiction” last December and has been offering it for free. Starting this week, subscribers will pay $5 a month to continue receiving the publication. One other lawyer using the service — Glenn Greenwald, the former litigator turned Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of four New York Times bestselling books — is one of the site’s top-paid publishers. There are about 20 lawyers on the site, according to Bob Ambrogi. Read more in his LawSites article.

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on May 7, 2021

Stephanie Celada, a rising 3L at Belmont University College of Law, is the winner of its second annual Legal Fiction Workshop for her story, “Diminished Capacity.” The piece tells the story of a young attorney struggling with the fallout of a complicated ethical decision. Celada’s story was chosen by an outside reader panel, through an anonymized review process. Belmont’s Legal Fiction Workshop is conducted over the Spring semester as an extracurricular activity for a limited number of 2Ls and 3Ls, and is taught by Professor Kristi Arth, who designed the workshop as an incubator and space for students to produce creative work capable of publication. Read the winning entry and more about the award from Belmont.

Posted by: Berkley Schwarz on May 7, 2021

Before the General Assembly adjourned for the year, the House passed the Senate-amended version of HB1072/SB915, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, and Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, by a vote of 71-21. As originally drafted, the bill would have banned local governments from filing lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of state laws, but it was amended by Sen. Kelsey during Senate consideration to allow the state to appeal as of right an interlocutory order issued by a circuit or chancery court that grants, continues or modifies an injunction, or if the order denies a motion to dissolve or modify an injunction. This provision only would apply to lawsuits brought against the state, department, agency or official that challenge the constitutionality of a state statute. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 7, 2021

Well-Being Week in Law wraps up today with a focus on emotional health, defined as the ability to value emotions, identify and manage emotions, achieve goals and seek help for mental health when needed. To explore this topic, the Institute for Well-Being in Law suggests reading “Feeling Overwhelmed? Here’s How To Get Through The Workday” from the Harvard Business Review; watching the TED Talk “Practicing Emotional First Aid” with Dr. Guy Winch; and downloading two activity guides: one that focuses on retraining unhelpful thoughts and one designed to help us savor positive experiences. Get these and all resources shared this week.


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