TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Jun 1, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Jun 2018

Journal Name: June 2018 - Vol. 54, No. 6

Report:?Tennessee Lawyers Rated High for Pro Bono Work

Attorneys in Tennessee reported performing an average of 53.1 hours of pro bono in 2016 — the second highest rate among all states taking part in a new American Bar Association survey. Supporting Justice: A Report on the Pro Bono Work of America’s Lawyers also found that just shy of 67 percent of attorneys in the state reported having done at least some pro bono in 2016, and Tennessee was a leader in the proportion of attorneys offering reduced fee services (29.9 percent).

Tennessee also had the second lowest percent of attorneys who had never performed pro bono among the 24 states that participated in the survey. Results also showed that four out of five attorneys believe that pro bono services are important, although finding the time to provide free or low-cost legal services to the needy and charitable groups remains the biggest challenge for many.


New Rules Package in Effect July 1 
The Tennessee Supreme Court announced in May that the 2018 rules package will go into effect July 1. Included in the package were revisions to the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules of Evidence and Rules of Juvenile Procedure. They have been ratified and approved by the General Assembly.

Supreme Court Seeking Comments for Changes to Rule 6 
Following the decision to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam in Tennessee, the Tennessee Supreme Court stated that it would consider “whether to adopt a post-admission law component and the content of such a requirement.”

To that end, the court is soliciting comments to proposed revisions to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 6, which would require new attorneys to complete a Tennessee Law Course within one year of admission to the Tennessee bar. The Tennessee Law Course would be administered by the Administrative Office of the Court and include, but not be limited to, instruction on areas of Tennessee civil and criminal procedure, real estate, wills, estates and trusts, business organizations, family law, and administrative law. The deadline for submitting written comments is June 18.

TSC Grants Will Create Kiosks for Self-Represented Litigants 
Self-represented litigants in eight Tennessee counties will soon be able to access valuable legal information and resources, thanks to a series of grants provided by the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The grants will cover the expense of purchasing and installing special kiosks in courthouses throughout the state. The kiosks will connect self-represented civil litigants with a variety of tools they can use to better navigate the legal system, including information about legal aid offices, pro bono projects, court-approved documents, and more. Courthouse visitors will access these resources via an onsite computer or tablet.

Rutherford County Unveils New Judicial Center 
The new, $73 million Rutherford County Judicial Center held its grand opening in April, with Chancellor Howard Wilson, General Sessions Senior Judge Ben Hall McFarlin Jr. and county Mayor Ernest Burgess giving remarks at the ceremony. The 203,000-square-foot building, featuring 12 courtrooms, opened May 7.

Attorney Well-Being

'Girl Walks Out of a Bar' Author Interviewed at TBA
Lisa Smith, author of Girl Walks Out of a Bar, was interviewed last month by Nashville attorney Nancy Corley for the TBA’s Attorney Well Being Committee. Smith talked about how her personal journey has strengthened her commitment to attorney well-being and shared her thoughts on challenges for today’s lawyers. Watch the full interview on YouTube.

Yale Law Women Names Top 10 Female-Friendly Firms 
Yale Law Women has released its annual list of top 10 most family-friendly law firms, as well as a new list topic, the ABA Journal reports. The new 10 Female-Friendly firms list was based on gender equity in hiring, the representation of women in leadership and promotions, and equitable training and mentorship opportunities. The other list is the top 10 “family-friendly” law firms, which considers billable hours and compensation, parental and family accommodations, and flexible work schedules.


CRED Seeking New Membership 
The TBA Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CRED) is led by Terica Smith of the District Attorney General’s Office in Jackson. CRED works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

The committee is currently seeking members to assist with the planning and execution of activities and development of diverse individuals within the vocation. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact TBA staff coordinator Jarod Word at jword@tnbar.org.


Legal Sector Adds 800 Jobs
The legal services sector added 800 jobs in April, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ABA Journal reports that the total number of legal jobs in April was 1,136,300, which is 800 more than in March and 2,500 more than at the same time last year.

American Lawyer Population 15 percent Higher in?Last 10 Years 
New data from the American Bar Association’s National Lawyer Population Survey shows the number of attorneys in the U.S. has increased by 15.2 percent over the last decade. The ABA Journal reports that as of the end of last year, there were 1,338,678 lawyers active in the country. The five states reporting the highest number of active lawyers were New York, California, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

TLAW Panel Addresses Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession 
TBA President Lucian Pera led a panel discussion on sexual harassment in the legal profession during the Empowerment Conference presented in April by the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women. Joining Pera on the panel were the Hon. Chris Craft of the 30th Judicial District Criminal Court, Baker Donelson shareholder Charles K. Grant, Unum Group Assistant Vice President and Special Counsel Angela A. Ripper and University of Tennessee College of Law Dean Melanie Wilson.

Employment Data for Class of 2017 Shows Drop 
Fewer members of the class 2017 have landed full time, long-term legal jobs than those from 2016, according to a new employment report now publicly available from the American Bar Association.

While the aggregated school data shows that 75.3 percent of graduates from ABA accredited law schools are employed in the bar-passage-required or J.D. Advantage jobs —- up slightly from the year before — the percentage gain is likely because of a roughly 6 percent decline in the size of the graduating class.


Legislature Adds 3 New Judicial Positions 
The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation this session funding three new judge positions in Tennessee. The new positions will be in the state’s 19th Judicial District, which serves Montgomery and Robertson counties; the 16th Judicial District, which includes Rutherford and Cannon counties; and the 21st Judicial District, which includes Hickman, Lewis, Perry and Williamson counties.

Civil Rights Cold Case Bill Will Look Into Unsolved Crimes 
A bill that would create a state body to investigate civil rights cold cases passed the Tennessee House and Senate in April, and at the time of this writing was awaiting Gov. Bill Haslam’s final approval. It was sponsored by Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, and Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis. The measure would set up the Tennessee Civil Rights Crimes Information, Reconciliation and Research Center, which would delve into unsolved civil rights crimes.

Access to Justice

Deaner Gives Keynote at 2018 Public Service Luncheon 
The TBA’s 2018 Public Service Luncheon was April 21 in Nashville, where four individuals were honored for their contributions to access to justice. Nashville Public Defender Dawn Deaner served as keynote speaker, where she said that Tennessee attorneys can change the justice system for the better.

“Justice is evolutionary,” Deaner said. “It can be changed, it can be improved, and we can do that through education, through action, through determination, and through the good acts of the people that are gathered in this room.”

This year's honorees are Daniel Horwitz, who receives the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award, Mary Michelle Gillum, who was named the Ashley Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year, and Alexa Spata, the Law Student Volunteer of the Year. A special award, the Access to Justice Champion Award, was presented to TBA Executive Director Emeritus Allan Ramsaur, in acknowledgement of his accomplishments as a bar leader and as a leader in the access to justice community.

The luncheon was originally scheduled for January, but was rescheduled because of bad weather.

TJC Honors Advocates for Children, Mothers at Luncheon
The Tennessee Justice Center honored five Hall of Fame advocates during its First Annual Mother's Day Luncheon in Nashville May 1. Among those honored at the event were the Hon. Sheila Calloway, Dr. Craig Anne Heflinger, Linda O’Neal, Russell J. Overby and Rev. Kaki Friskics-Warren. For two decades, TJC has honored the strength and determination of its advocates with the Tennessee Justice Center “Mothers of the Year” Awards. This luncheon extended the recognition to those who have spent their lives championing mothers and their children.