TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Jun 22, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Jul 2009

Journal Name: July 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 7

Court considers revised MJP proposal, comment through Aug. 10: In June, the Tennessee Supreme Court published for comment revisions to last summer's TBA proposal to provide for multijurisdictional practice. The proposal includes a registration process for in-house or corporate counsel for limited permission to practice for their employer, and permission for registered corporate counsel to do pro bono work. The deadline for commenting on the   proposal is Aug. 10. Download the proposal at www.tba2.org/mjp_061209.pdf

Supreme Court clerks cleared to do pro bono work
A newly adopted amendment to the Supreme Court Rules allows research assistants in Tennessee's appellate courts to provide certain pro bono legal services. The rule sets limitations including that the work involve no in-court appearances and be done on the lawyer's own time. The amendment took effect May 26.

Read a copy of the new rule at http://www.tba2.org/rule5_probono_adopted.pdf

Student practice rule broadened
Law students from any school that would make a student eligible to sit for the Tennessee bar may now take advantage of Tennessee's limited student practice rule. The change, adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court by order entered Monday, removes the requirement that only students from Tennessee law schools could practice. The change was supported by the Tennessee Bar Association.

See the amendment to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Sec. 10.03 http://www.tba2.org/rule7_amend_052009.pdf

Study recommends no judicial redistricting
An 18-month long study of judicial redistricting in Tennessee has again concluded that there is no need for changing judicial districts in Tennessee. The study, made available in May by the Comptroller's Office of Research and Education Accountability, was conducted by the Justice Management Institute and the Center for Justice, Law and Society at George Mason University. The study concludes that workload equalization and access to the courts can be achieved without redrawing district lines through the use of the weighted case load methodology currently employed by the Judicial Council to allocate judicial resources. The study recommends better mechanisms for documenting the work of limited jurisdictions courts, General Sessions courts in particular, and that a plan be developed to collect and maintain case data. The TBA House of Delegates was asked to provide input in the 10 local level focus group sessions held throughout the state.

Download a complete copy of the study http://www.tba2.org/judicial_redistricting_study_052009.pdf

Memphis law student wins TBA environmental law writing competition
A University of Memphis law student took first place in the Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award Writing Competition sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association. Shannon Wiley won for her essay "Lurking in the Water: Withholding Attorneys' Fees as a Threat to Effective Enforcement of the Clean Water Act."


Court denies petition on employment of disciplined lawyers
On May 26, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied a petition of the TBA seeking clarification of the policy on the employment of disbarred, suspended and disabled lawyers. The court denied the petition without soliciting comments from the public or the bar at large, although the court did receive comments from the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.

The petition, filed on Jan. 13, asked the court to adopt rules that would have barred the employment of disbarred lawyers in any law office; provided limited participation in law offices that were not the primary home of suspended lawyers; and permitted special rules for disabled lawyers who had no pending disciplinary complaints.

In its petition, the TBA said that authorities on the subject did not give ample guidance to the bar on the status of lawyers who have been disciplined.

Download a copy of the petition: http://www.tba2.org/disbarred_petition_exhibits_011609.pdf

Download the order denying it: http://www.tba2.org/petition_denied_052609.pdf

Vanderbilt Law School names new dean
Vanderbilt University Law School has named Chris Guthrie, a seven-year veteran of the school and the former associate dean for academic affairs, as new dean of the law school effective July 1. Guthrie has agreed to a five-year appointment, subject to approval by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. He replaces Edward L. Rubin, who will continue as a faculty member at the school. According to a press release from the school, Guthrie, 42, is an expert on dispute resolution, negotiation, judicial decision-making and behavioral law and economics. He earned a masters degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a law degree from Stanford Law School. Prior to joining Vanderbilt's faculty, he practiced law with Fenwick & West in Palo Alto, Calif., served on the faculty of the University of Missouri Law School, and taught as a visiting professor at Northwestern University Law School and the Washington University School of Law.

New site to track CLE Commission proposals
The Commission on CLE & Specialization has launched a new web site to track and discuss policy proposals pending before it. "The site makes it easier for individuals and organizations to contribute to and track discussions on policy proposals under consideration by the Commission," Commission Executive Director David N. Shearon says. Proposals under consideration include mentoring, minimum engagement requirements for distance learning programs, granting CLE credit for some forms of one-on-one coaching of attorneys, and a definitional change for ethics/professionalism programs and their accreditation."We want to make sure attorneys can both speak up and keep up," he says.

Check it out at http://cletn.wetpaint.com