TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on May 1, 2012

Journal Issue Date: May 2012

Journal Name: May 2012 - Vol. 48, No. 5

Elected Vice-President

Jackson attorney Jonathan O. Steen will be Tennessee Bar Association president in 2014-2015,Jackson attorney Jonathan O. Steen will be Tennessee Bar Association president in 2014-2015, according to election-qualifying results. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After serving a year as vice president, Steen will ascend to president-elect in 2013-2014 before taking over the organization’s leadership in June 2014.

Steen, 46, is a shareholder with Redding, Steen & Staton PC, and a 1992 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. His primary practice area is civil litigation, with a focus on medical malpractice, legal malpractice and products liability defense; commercial and business disputes; and appellate advocacy. He has a strong interest in technology, particularly as it relates to electronic discovery issues, and has served as an ESI discovery special master in federal court.

Steen has served the TBA in many capacities, including as president of the Young Lawyers Division, and as a member of the Board of Governors, the House of Delegates and the Tennessee Bar Journal Editorial Board. He is a former president of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association and a member of the American Bar Association, the Lawyers’ Association for Women and the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Officers Elected

Others who will be elected without opposition are: Grand Division Governor, West Tennessee (one-year term), Michelle Sellers, Jackson; Grand Division Governor, Middle Tennessee (one-year term), James Crumlin, Nashville; Grand Division Governor, East Tennessee (one-year term), Jason Long, Knoxville; Governor, Third District (three-year term), Chris Varner, Chattanooga; Governor, Ninth District (three-year term), Carl Carter, Memphis; TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 2, Buck Lewis, Memphis; TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 4, John Tarpley, Nashville; TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 5, Paul Campbell III, Chattanooga.

Nashville lawyer Jackie Dixon will be installed as TBA?president June 8 in Memphis during the association’s annual convention, at which time Sevierville lawyer Cynthia Wyrick will move up to president-elect.


New System for Disciplining Judges Passes Legislature
With both House (88-5) and Senate (unanimous) approval, legislation that puts into place a new system for disciplining judges is headed for the governor’s desk at press time. The bill abolishes the Court of the Judiciary and replaces it with a new 16-member Board of Judicial Conduct.

Winkler Elected New YLD VP
Memphis lawyer Stacie Winkler will serve as president of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD) in 2014-2015. She will take office in June as vice president, and then assume the office of president-elect in 2013 and president in 2014. Winkler, an attorney with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, was deemed elected after the filing deadline passed April 2 and she was unopposed. Winkler has served for a number of years as YLD Board secretary. She previously was president of the Memphis Bar Association YLD.

Other officers elected without opposition were Secretary Marisa Combs (Nashville) and Treasurer Steven King (Memphis). Members of the YLD will decide the outcome of three contested races at the division’s annual meeting June 8 in Memphis, including East Tennessee Governor, Middle Tennessee Governor and District 10 Representative. See a list of district representatives elected without opposition at www.tba.org/division/young-lawyers-division

McCallie Bests Chattanooga Rival for Mock Trial Title
McCallie School of Chattanooga claimed the state high school mock trial championship title March 17, defeating rival Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association, in the 32nd annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition, sponsored by the TBA Young Lawyers Division. The McCallie team now will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Albuquerque, N.M., May 3-6. McCallie’s attorney-coach is Alicia Oliver; STHEA’s attorney-coaches are Hamilton County Chancellor Jeff Atherton and Scott Maucere.

The state competition, chaired by Knoxville lawyer Troy Weston, involved 13 teams and 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds, while Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade presided over the championship match.

Number of LSAT Takers at 11-Year Low
About 22,000 people took the Law School Admission Test in February, the lowest number for a February exam since 2001, according to data from the Law School Admission Council. The number of people taking the test in June, October, December and February — 129,925 — dropped by 16 percent from the prior cycle and is also at an 11-year low point. An analysis of tuition increases for the 2011-2012 academic year published by the Am Law Daily suggests that the declining numbers are having an effect on law schools and their tuition.

Shelby County Courts Go Paperless
The Shelby County Circuit and Chancery Court clerks’ offices will go to electronic filing of all court records in June, the Memphis Daily News reports. Attorneys will still be able to file a paper version of proceedings, but clerks will scan the documents, and the court will go completely to e-filing at some point. Until then, the court will phase in use of the technology with the goal of a two-hour turnaround in approving filings during business hours. Attorneys will be able to file after business hours and will receive an email confirmation later after the office has reviewed the filing. Provided there are no errors in the e-filing, the court record will show the document was filed when it was sent in, instead of when it was reviewed.

Lewis Is Chair of ATJ Commission, New Members Named
Memphis lawyer George T. “Buck” Lewis was appointed chair of the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission in April. Board member Douglas Blaze was reappointed, with his term expiring in 2015. New members Anthony Alan Seaton of Johnson City, David R. Esquivel of Nashville, and Marcia Eason of Chattanooga were appointed for three-year terms. The terms of Margaret L. Behm, Kathryn Reed Edge and Gregory Ramos expired March 31. All but Blaze did not wish to be reappointed. Commissioner Maura Abeln Smith, whose term expires in 2014, and Commissioner Frank Anthony Thomas, whose term expires next year, resigned. Sharon Rose Beth Ryan of Memphis will serve the remainder of Smith’s term, and J. Houston Gordon of Covington will serve out Thomas’s term

Fewer Law Jobs in March
The legal sector lost 1,300 jobs in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The legal sector had gained jobs in January and February. The total number of legal sector jobs in March stood at 1,116,400, compared to highs of 1,180,000 before the recession, the Am Law Daily says.

Lawyers Honored for Pro Bono

Community Health Systems and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC were recognized for their commitment to providing free legal services to the poor at the 6th Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Gala March 24 in Nashville. CHS received the Corporate Legal Department Award for its dedicated staffing of a monthly legal advice clinic in Franklin. Baker Donelson received the Law Firm Award for its work in helping create OnlineTNJustice.org, a website that allows lawyers to provide brief advice and counsel via the internet.

The event, co-chaired by Jim Barry and Andy Branham, featured remarks by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark and Legal Counsel to the Governor Herbert Slatery. The Pro Bono Initiative is a partnership between the Tennessee Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel, which encourages and supports pro bono activities by lawyers serving as in-house and corporate counsel in the state.

The 2012 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala was held at the Hermitage Hotel March 24. Photo by Jenny Jones.
The 2012 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala was held at the Hermitage Hotel March 24. Photo by Jenny Jones.