TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Nov 1, 2013

Journal Issue Date: Nov 2013

Journal Name: November 2013 - Vol. 49, No. 11

Court Increases Attorney Compensation

In September, the Tennessee Supreme Court increased the maximum attorney compensation for some non-capital felony cases. Where the defendant is charged with first degree murder or a Class A or B felony, the Court raised the maximum from $1,500 to $2,500. The court also raised the maximum in complex or extended cases for the same offenses to $5,000. The increased limits apply to cases where counsel is appointed after Jan. 1, 2014. These changes, which amend Rule 13 Section 2 (d) and (e), were among those advocated by petitions filed two years ago by the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers with TBA support.

Read more details on this in Wade Davies’ column.

CASA Honors York, Joslin

Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) recently presented 13th Judicial District Attorney General Randy York with its 2013 Champion for Children Award. York, who serves Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White counties, was recognized for his use of a state law allowing the seizure of assets following conviction for a sex crime against minors. Funding from the seizures goes to child abuse prevention organizations, including CASA.

The group also presented its CASA Advocate of the Year Award to the Tennessee Bar Association’s Stacey Shrader Joslin for her work as director of the Young Lawyers Division and a contributing writer to the association’s daily newsletter TBA Today. The TBA YLD has long supported the work of CASA through a variety of initiatives, and each year recognizes an outstanding volunteer in the state.


Young to Succeed Sykes, Escobar Named Deputy at AOC
The Tennessee Supreme Court named William “Bill” Young the next administrative director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. Young will succeed Libby Sykes, who plans to retire at the end of the year. Ana Escobar leaves her post as Metro Nashville clerk to become deputy director of the AOC.

For the last two years, Young has served as solicitor general in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office. He also has worked as an assistant attorney general and senior counsel in the office. A native of Clarksville, Young earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1981. He worked in private practice and as a law clerk to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Paine, and later served as counsel for Vanderbilt University, general counsel for the Tennessee Hospital Association, president of Hospital Alliance of Tennessee, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, and senior vice president, chief compliance officer and general counsel of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Young is a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission. He sat on the Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission from 2009 to 2011, serving as chair during the last year of his appointment.

Mentors Needed for Law Student Diversity Program
The TBA Young Lawyers Division Diversity Committee is seeking attorneys across the state to volunteer as mentors for law student participants in the Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI). Each member of the 2014 DLI class will be assigned to an attorney mentor and will be required to interact with his or her member at least twice during the six-month program beginning January 2014 and running through June 2014. If you are willing to serve in this capacity, please contact Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist at (901) 537-1123 or abaptist@wyattfirm.com.

Sweeping Changes Recommended for Law Schools
The American Bar Association’s Task Force on Legal Education has recommended sweeping changes to how law students prepare to become lawyers, MLive reports. The task force calls for serious re-engineering of how law schools are priced and financed. The concept of decreasing law school from three years to two in order to reduce student loan debt is currently a hot-button topic of discussion among the legal education sector, but the report does not engage the idea or suggest specific changes to the law school funding model. A final report will be issued after additional discussion about the draft recommendations.

New App Puts Constitution at Your Fingertips
The 2,860-page annotated Constitution is now available free in an app released on Constitution Day. The app was released by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Library of Congress, and the Government Printing Office and is available from iTunes.

Tennessee Revises Execution Protocol
The Tennessee Department of Correction will switch from a three-drug method to a single-drug method to execute death row inmates, the Associated Press reports. The new protocol now calls for using the sedative pentobarbital only to put an inmate to death. Tennessee's supply of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs previously used in lethal injections, was turned over to the federal government in 2011 over questions about how it was imported. The short supply of sodium thiopental in the United States has led many death penalty states to seek out other drugs.

Law Firm Mergers Up This Year
Law firm mergers are up 41 percent from the same period last year, according to legal consulting firm Altman Weil. Forty-eight law firm combinations were announced in the first three quarters of the year, with 19 mergers and acquisitions announced in just the third quarter. The ABA Journal reported the story.

Report: Lawyer Assistance Programs Expand Scope  
Despite budget reductions in some jurisdictions, lawyer assistance programs in 48 states have reported a continued commitment to maintaining the number of clients served and offering a diversity of services, the ABA reports. According to a 2012 report from the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, while all programs continued to offer services related to alcoholism and drug addiction, more programs in 2012 than in 2010 provided services for other problems, such as cognitive impairment and mental health issues.

Phase 2 of Judiciary Museum Opens Dec. 4
The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society will unveil Phase II of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum on Dec. 4. This is a rescheduled time from the first announcement. It will feature a short program honoring Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder for her service on the court, as well as cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres.To purchase tickets for the museum event, contact Linda Knight at lknight@gsrm.com or (615) 244-4994.

Health Law Forum’s 25th a Big Success
Tennessee Bar Association Health Law Chair Christie Burbank, right, and Vice-chair Jesse Neil celebrate the section’s success at the 25th Annual Health Law Forum in October.
The Forum hosted a record 311 lawyers and the 13th Annual Health Law Primer counted 62. The seminar is produced by the TBA’s Health Law Section with support from TBA CLE Coordinator Kaisha Bond and other staff. The seminars draw experts in the field from across the state and country.