TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Dec 31, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Jan 2019

Journal Name: Vol 55 No 1

Legal News You Can Use

Student's Murder is Subject of YLD's High School Mock Trial Case

This year’s problem for the 2019 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial competition is a criminal case, involving the murder of a college student and the arrest of the student's best friend, who was accused of the crime. The competition will be held in Nashville on March 22-23, following regional competitions across Tennessee. Chairing the YLD Mock Trial Committee this year is Rob Sands, with Vice Chair Kati Goodner.

Follow developments on Twitter using the hashtag #tnmock19.

Read everything about the hallowed competition, including the case itself, at www.tba.org/info/tennessee-high-school-mock-trial-0.


TBA Members Sworn In to U.S. Supreme Court  Ten Tennessee lawyers were sworn in Nov. 27, 2018, to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. TBA President-elect Sarah Sheppeard was on hand to move the admission of the group, which also included TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson. The group arrived in D.C. first for a reception at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel, and following the ceremony, enjoyed a tour of the Capitol conducted by staff from Sen. Bob Corker’s office.
Those admitted include Laura Smith, Michele Denise Hodges, Nancy Choate, Cynthia Sellers, Laura Williams, Christopher Bellamy, Elaine Michele Youngblood, Laura Yancey Goodall, Wendy Longmire and Berkley E. Schwarz.

Leadership Law Class Selected   Thirty-five attorneys from across the state have been selected for the Tennessee Bar Association’s 2019 Leadership Law program. Now in its 16th year, Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. The class will meet for its first session in January, and then spend the next six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service. Read the list of those who were chosen at www.tba.org/press-release/tba-selects-attorneys-for-2019-leadership-law-class


Legal Jobs Down Slightly from 2017  According to a report released in December by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal services sector saw a slight decline in jobs for November, down 2,400 from the October total of 1,138,100 and down 100 from November 2017. In addition to lawyers, jobs in the legal services sector include secretaries, paralegals and other law-related workers.

Survey: Many New Partners Not Satisfied with Pay  A recent survey found that more than 70 percent of new partners were dissatisfied with some aspect of their partnership so far, with many disappointed in their compensation, the ABA Journal reports. Only 57.2 percent of new partners reported they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with compensation, with several actually earning less than senior associates. Other identified areas of dissatisfaction included work-life balance, training, gender bias and cronyism.

Women's Groups Speak Out Against Mandatory Arbitration Agreements  Women’s associations from eight elite law schools have joined the fight against forced mandatory arbitration among legal employers, releasing a joint statement last month calling for an end to such agreements within the legal profession, Law.com reports. They say mandatory arbitration is an advantage to employers because it eliminates litigation as an option for employees who have been subjected to discrimination or other workplace misconduct. They also say they would no longer accept any funding from firms that require employees to sign such agreements or that do not disclose whether they use mandatory arbitration.


Court Soliciting Comments on Proposed Changes to Rule 43  The Tennessee Supreme Court is soliciting comments from the legal community and the public on proposed changes to Rule 43, which covers the interest on lawyers' trust accounts (IOLTA). Written comments may be sent to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts
.gov or mailed to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 43, Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville 37219. The deadline for comment is Feb. 4.

Proposed Rule Changes Would Require Lawyers to Register, Pay Fees Online  Attorneys would be required to file their annual registration and pay their annual fees electronically under proposed changes to Rule 9, Section 10 presented for comment in December by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Written comments from the legal community and the public may be emailed to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts.gov or mailed to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 10, Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville 37219. The deadline for comment is Feb. 4.


Report: More than Half of Tennessee Attorneys Provide Pro Bono Services  More than half of Tennessee attorneys provided pro bono legal services during 2016, according to an annual pro bono report from the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission. The report showed that nearly 9,000 practicing Tennessee attorneys provided more than 650,000 hours of pro bono service, with an estimated value of more than $130 million. The full 2017 Pro Bono Report includes data reported by individual attorneys, bar associations, law firms, law schools, legal service providers mediators and other organizations. Read more about it here.


Vandy Law Launches New Programs, Certificate in Law and Innovation  Vanderbilt Law School and its Program on Law and Innovation (PoLI) has officially launched the PoLI Institute and a new Certificate in Law and Innovation program. The program provides a series of in-depth, live and in-person immersion courses that will be held at the Wond'ry innovation center on Vanderbilt’s Nashville campus. The initial curriculum includes seven courses in 2019 and more in 2020. Each PoLI Immersion course consists of two eight-hour days. Lawyers receive their certificate once they have completed six “immersions” within 36 months. The Institute's first course, Legal Project Management 2.0 Immersion, will begin in February.

Duncan Law Back in Compliance with ABA Standards  A recent decision from the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar found that Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law is now in “substantial compliance” with admissions requirements, the ABA Journal reports. The law school, which has provisional approval from the ABA, in April was found to be “significantly out of compliance” with Standards 501(a) and (b), which state that schools should maintain “sound admissions policies and practices” and not admit candidates who seem unlikely to finish law school or pass a bar exam. Dean Gary Wade explained the school's challenge to the Knoxville News Sentinel, saying "Lincoln Memorial University has as its core mission providing higher education opportunities to the people of Southern Appalachia, who score lower on standardized testing."


Faughnan Ethics Blog Named to ABA ‘Best-Of’ List  As a part of the American Bar Association’s “Web 100” best-of lists for 2018, Tennessee lawyer Brian Faughnan’s “Faughnan on Ethics” blog made the cut for “Best Law Blogs” of the year. His blog came in at number 15 of 35 recognized blogs. Faughnan was the presenter at the TBA's annual Ethics Roadshow CLE programming in December in six Tennessee cities.


LexisNexis Launches New   Legal Analytics Tool  LexisNexis has launched Context, a legal analytics tool that includes data on every federal judge and for 100 different types of motions, Law.com reports. The result of LexisNexis’ purchase of Ravel Law in 2017, Context also has sortable data on 380,000 expert witnesses who have appeared in federal court. LexisNexis joins other companies such as Gavelytics, Premonition and more in pursuit of data that will offer predictive information on judges’ behavior and lawyers’ success rates in state courts.