TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Journal News on Sep 1, 2015

Journal Issue Date: Sep 2015

Journal Name: September 2015 - Vol. 51, No. 9

Young Lawyers Earn 3 National Awards

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD) was honored at the American Bar Association YLD meeting in Chicago in August with three Awards of Achievement.
The group took second place in the diversity category for a program it held last March to help diverse law students refine their resumes and prepare for job interviews. It also received the second place award in the “comprehensive” category, which recognizes all projects and activities from the past bar year.

Finally, the YLD received a special recognition award for its Access to Justice Week Legal Clinic Initiative — a statewide service project that produced 14 free legal clinics and educational seminars for Tennesseans.

COURTS

TBA: Only Minor Changes Needed in Code of Judicial Conduct 
In a comment filed in August, the Tennessee Bar Association gave support to four proposed changes to Supreme Court Rule 10 involving judicial conduct, but recommended against a number of other proposals put forth in a report from the Joint Committee of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and the Tennessee Trial Judges Association. In its comment, the TBA said that the court “has adopted some of the most workable, fair and comprehensive standards for judicial candidates and judges in the country and should affirm that good work,” rather than adopting many of the proposed changes.

Tenn. Judicial Nominees Wait as Senate Goes on Vacation 
Two Tennessee judicial nominees are among the nine awaiting Senate confirmation as lawmakers began their four-and-a-half week break in mid-August. The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Waverly Crenshaw’s nomination to the Middle District and Travis McDonough’s nomination to Eastern District judgeships. According to the Washington Post, the Senate has confirmed just five judges so far this year. Edward Stanton of Memphis has also been nominated for a federal judgeship in Tennessee, but is still awaiting review by the Judiciary Committee.

Chattanooga, Hamilton County Launch Mental Health Court
The new Chattanooga-Hamilton County Mental Health Court launched in July, with the goal to provide services and break down barriers to recovery for defendants with serious mental illness. The program offers judicial supervision combined with treatment services to help defendants who would otherwise be released without additional support.

City to Buy Former State Supreme Court Site
Knoxville City Council members voted unanimously to purchase the former state Supreme Court site on Locust Street for $2.47 million. The building has been vacant for more than a decade, and in that time the city has twice attempted and failed to find a developer for the site. This time around, according to the News Sentinel, the city plans to use a market study to find out what kind of use the area can support — including possible retail, residential, office and hotel space — before tailoring a more specific request for proposals.

DIVERSITY

New ABA President to Work on Diversity, Inclusion 
Paulette Brown took office Aug. 4 as president of the American Bar Association at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. She is the first woman of color to become president of the 136-year-old organization. Brown, a labor and employment law partner at Locke Lord LLP in Morristown, N.J, plans to devote her presidency to serving ABA members and highlighting the value of the association by reaching out to lawyers and communities across the country. She also plans to build on the work the ABA has already done in the area of diversity and inclusion through a newly created Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360.

LEGISLATIVE

Comments Sought on Changes to Open Records Law  
The Tennessee General Assembly has asked the Office of Open Records Counsel (OORC) to review issues surrounding the inspection of public records, and asks Tennesseans for input. Legislation was introduced in the 2015 Session of the 109th General Assembly that would permit charges for inspecting public records. The OORC will report back to the General Assembly by Jan. 15, 2016. The OORC has developed brief surveys and will hold three public hearings, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Open Government, to gather additional feedback. Tennessee citizens, government entitie and advocacy group representatives are invited to participate by sending written comments to comments.
open.records@cot.tn.gov and by attending one of the public hearings in September.

THE FUTURE

Law Firms Reserving New .Law Domains 
Some prominent law firms are among the early adopters of the new .law domain name extension. DLA Piper; Russell and Goldstein; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom have each already reserved their new names. Firms that have registered trademarks with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the nonprofit responsible for coordinating the monitoring and creation of naming conventions on the Internet — are eligible to reserve a new address through Oct. 12. According to the ABA Journal, additional domains such as .attorney, .esq and .lawyer also will be available soon. Learn more at http://nic.law.

Law Grad Employment Rates Up, Class Size Down

The National Association for Law Placement released its annual employment figures in July for last year’s law school graduates. The big news, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog report, is that the overall employment rate rose for the first time since 2007 — from 84.5 percent in 2013 to 86.7 percent in 2014. But while the employment numbers were up, the number of students seeking jobs was down. The 2014 class was substantially smaller, by about 3,000 graduates, than the 2013 class.