TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Journal News on Nov 1, 2015

Journal Issue Date: Nov 2015

Journal Name: November 2015 - Vol. 51, No. 11

TBA Elections To Be Electronic

Beginning with the upcoming 2016 elections, the Tennessee Bar Association elections will be primarily carried out electronically — using online balloting. This change was approved by the TBA Board of Governors at its annual meeting in June under bylaw changes adopted by the TBA. Young Lawyers Division elections will also be conducted using the same procedure.

The TBA has used a combination of electronic voting and paper ballots since 2005 and has seen growing acceptance and usage of the online option. Most members are familiar with this method, but those who still prefer to cast paper ballots will be able to choose that method. Members will be able to opt out of electronic voting either through the TBA.org website (https://www.tba.org/tba/members/election_prefs) or by providing written notice to TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur at 221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219. This notice must be provided by Feb. 1, 2016.

TBA members, regardless of their preferred method of voting, will receive a ballot specific to their district or grand division.

As in the past, TBA members voting electronically will receive an email with a link to the election site along with a password to use to cast their ballots. Tabulation of election results will continue to be carried out by an accounting firm selected by the board.

The TBA Young Lawyers Division previously conducted election of officers using in-person voting at its annual meeting during the TBA Annual Convention. This voting will now take place electronically on the same ballot as the main TBA election.

“These changes will make voting more efficient and cost-effective for the TBA,” Ramsaur said. “It will also allow for broader participation by the full membership.”

Candidates have until Feb. 15, 2016, to qualify to run in the 2016 elections. Watch for more information on open positions in the December Tennessee Bar Journal and upcoming TBA Today editions. Voting will take place between March 1 and April 1, 2016.

PRO BONO

Tennessee Attorneys' Pro Bono Efforts on the Rise 
The number of pro bono hours volunteered by Tennessee attorneys went up by nearly 3,000 in the last reporting year, according to the annual report by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission.

"Tennessee attorneys continue to respond to the need for free legal assistance,” said Doug Blaze, chairman of the commission. About 40 percent of all lawyers completed the voluntary filing — fewer than the year before — but those who did report gave an average of more than 78 hours in one year, an increase of nearly 6 percent.

Apply Now for Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Recognition Program 
The Tennessee Supreme Court has extended the deadline for its annual Pro Bono Recognition Program through Nov. 30. Lawyers and law students who completed at least 50 hours of pro bono in calendar year 2014 may apply to be recognized for their service. Those who meet the goal will be named “Attorney for Justice” and “Law Student for Justice” by the court and will be honored at regional events across the state. Law offices are also eligible to be recognized for pro bono work done by their attorneys. Learn more about the process for firm recognition

LAW SCHOOL

64 Percent Pass July Bar Exam
Of the 701 candidates who took Tennessee’s July bar exam, the Board of Law Examiners reports that 452 (64 percent) passed.

The board also reported the percentage of passages for Tennessee law schools. Belmont University College of Law posted the top pass rate with 87 percent. Vanderbilt was next with 84 percent; UT with 81 percent; Memphis with 69 percent; Duncan with 52 percent; and Nashville School of Law with 28 percent.
Of 114 repeat test-takers from all schools, 96 (84.21 percent) failed the exam.

Bar Exam Scores Drop 
Nationally, the average score on the multiple-choice portion of the July bar exam fell 1.6 points from the previous years, reaching its lowest level since 1988, Bloomberg Business reports. The mean score on this summer's exam was 139.9, down from 141.5 in July 2014.

GOVERNMENT

TBA Ranked Among Top Lobbyists in State 
Southern Political Report has ranked the Tennessee Bar Association as one of the top five Lobbyist/Government Affairs Firms in Tennessee. The magazine surveyed lobbyist and government affair specialists across 13 Southern states to compile its listings. The TBA’s ranking was in the associations category. Also recognized was Adams & Reese LLP, which represents the TBA at the General Assembly. It was at the top of the listings for law firms.

YOUR PRACTICE

Tennessee Ranks 6th in Lawyer Population Growth 
Tennessee is ranked sixth in greatest growth for lawyer population during a 10-year trend according to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 2015 National Lawyer Population Survey as reported in the ABA Journal. Overall, lawyer population grew 17.7 percent in the last decade.

SUPREME COURT

Court Opens New Session, Rejects Baumgartner’s Appeal  
When the U.S. Supreme Court began its new term Oct. 5 the list of cases to watch included abortion regulations and affirmative action disputes. The court rejected hundreds of appeals, including an appeal by Richard Baumgartner, the former Knox County Criminal Court judge convicted in 2013 of lying to cover up his mistress’s drug crimes. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that attorneys Ann Short and Donald A. Bosch filed a petition asking the court to review misprision of a felony – the law under which Baumgartner was convicted – and to determine if the law properly applied in his case.