TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Oct 28, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Nov 2009

Journal Name: November 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 11

Published for comment: Amendments to appellate, civil and criminal procedure rules

Discovery of insurance coverage and changes to rules on providing that inadvertent disclosure does not waive a privilege are among those being considered in more than a dozen amendments to the Rules of Appellate, Civil and Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence published today by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The Court is inviting public comment on the proposals from its advisory commission not later than Nov. 30. Various sections and committees of the TBA will review the proposals for consideration of filing of any TBA comments.

The significant appellate rules changes include a requirement for a statement of the standard of review in TRAP 11 applications and in briefs; an expansion of time for the filing of trial record in criminal cases and matters on direct appeal to the Supreme Court from 60 to 90 days; and, an explicit provision permitting collection of costs related to amicus curiae filings.

In addition to the discovery of insurance coverage in the civil procedure arena, new rules would permit service on lawyers by emailing a PDF of a document; allowing a court to establish by local rule an electronic means to file with the court; and, a requirement mandating findings of facts and conclusions of law, without a request, in TRCP 41 involuntary dismissals. In the criminal arena, TRCrimP 5(e) is amended to set forth the entitlement to a preliminary hearing, the requirements for expeditious preliminary hearings,and a remedy for failure to report for preliminary hearings in criminal cases; and changes setting forth requirements for discovery related to examinations of competency to stand trial under TRCrimP 12.2.

Rule 5.02 of the Rules of Evidence is amended to provide that the inadvertent disclosure of privileged information or work product does not operate as a waiver if the holder of the privilege or work product takes reasonable steps to prevent disclosure and promptly attempts to rectify the error. This evidence rule change is advocated by the TBA to coincide with changes in the RPC 4.4 and discovery of electronically stored information rules.

Download a complete copy of the proposals

Rule 9 amendment adds new section

The Tennessee Supreme Court amended its Rule 9 by adopting Section 32, establishing guidelines for suspending the license of an attorney who fails to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. sections 67-4-1701 and 1710. These Tenn. Code Ann. sections apply to attorneys subject to the Privilege Tax. The amendment was published for comment earlier this year and will become effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Download the order and the amendment http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2009/rule9_amendment_091409.pdf

Blogging: Too much info can get you in trouble

Watch out when you write whatever pops into your head if its going on the internet. Blogging lawyers and judges have landed in trouble with legal ethics regulators and judges, while one blogging lawyer ended up as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit.

ABAJournal.com connects you to this story

Scalia offers trial tips

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia drew a crowd of roughly 300 people in September as he shared tips for arguing a case. Before signing copies of his book, "Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges," Scalia said, "Don't beat a dead horse...Be brief. And when your time expires, shut up and sit down." The book also encourages lawyers to avoid using acronyms and to study a judge's background and likes and dislikes before appearing in court.

He also revealed what his favorite legal movie is: "My Cousin Vinny," he said. "I can watch that over and over again."

Politico.com reported the news     http://www.politico.com/click/stories/0909/justice_reveals_favorite_legal_movie.html

UT, Memphis Law make 'Best Value' ranking

The National Jurist released its annual ranking of "Best Value" law schools recently, identifying 65 law schools that carry a low price tag but do well in preparing students for today's competitive job market. The University of Tennessee College of Law came in at 14 on the list with an in-state tuition rate of $11,502. It was followed by number 15, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, with in-state tuition costs of $11,412.

See the full ranking at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress/nationaljurist0909/#/26

You are being monitored if you email a federal employee

Both recipients and senders have no reasonable expectation of privacy if an e-mail is opened by a federal employee logged into a work computer network, according to an Aug. 14 legal opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice that was released Friday.

Find out more through ABAJournal.com

Email subpoena is a scam

If you get grand jury subpoena from a U.S. District Court via email, be suspicious. The e-mails are not a valid communication from a federal court and may contain harmful links. You should not open the links or download any information relating to this e-mail notice, according to this U.S. Courts alert

More Americans eligible for legal aid this year

Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that nearly 54 million Americans qualified for legal aid in 2008 -- about three million more than the prior year and the largest number in the history of the Legal Services Corporation. The number includes 18.5 million children and 20.7 million adult women, and represents almost 18 percent of all Americans. The 2008 data also showed a seven percent increase in the number of Americans living at 100 percent of poverty -- the first statistically significant increase since 2004.

Read more from the Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/014227.html

DOJ issues new rules for state secrecy claims

The U.S. Justice Department has revamped the process government agencies use to block the release of information under claims of state secrecy. Under the new guidelines, the attorney general has to approve requests and the standard agencies have to meet has been increased. The department said it made the change to restore the confidence of judges, Congress and civil liberty groups that criticized both the Bush and Obama administrations for excessive secrecy. The new policy will take effect Oct. 1.

CNN reported the news http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/23/holder.state.secrets/

Land where pink house stood remains undeveloped

The land in New London, Conn. -- where Susette Kelo's pink house stood before it was overtaken by eminent domain -- is a bare field, still undeveloped. Proponents blame the economy for the lack of the promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues. "They are getting what they deserve. They are going to get nothing," said Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the landmark property rights case. "I don't think this is what the United States Supreme Court justices had in mind when they made this decision."

WATE.com carried this AP story http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?S=11196719

Nominate a lawyer for the Margaret Brent Award

The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession is calling for nominations for its 20th annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards, to be presented on Aug. 8, 2010 in San Francisco. The award, established in 1991, recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. Previous winners from Tennessee are Marilyn V. Yarbrough (1991), Margaret L. Behm (1992) and Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey (2003). The deadline to nominate is Nov. 24.

Learn more about the award and nominate someone here http://www.abanet.org/women/awards.html

LSC releases new report on justice gap

Nearly a million poor people who seek help for civil legal problems this year will be turned away by legal aid offices because of insufficient resources, says a new report released by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The study found that for every client served by LSC programs, another one will be turned away, and in some high-demand areas such as foreclosures, legal aid agencies are projected to turn away two clients for every one served. Researchers point to declining contributions from state and local governments and charitable sources, as well as lower interest from Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) as contributing factors to the situation.

Download the report www.lsc.gov/documenting_the_justice_gap_in_america_2009.pdf

Court issues two orders regarding admission to practice

The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued an order seeking comments on amendments to Rules of the Supreme Court regarding admission to the practice of law in Tennessee. Specifically, the amendments would delete the current requirement that applicants for admission must state their intent to practice law in Tennessee. Written comments should be made to Court Clerk Michael W. Catalano by Nov. 4. Last Friday, the court issued another order regarding Rule 6. The amendment set forth in that order outlines in detail who can administer the oath of admission, and follows the General Assembly's recent amendment of the Tennessee Code, Section 23-1-108.


Belmont to open Nashville law school by 2011

Belmont University officials announced today that the school plans to open the state's sixth law school in Nashville by 2011. The university will spend $25 million to build a 75,000-square-foot facility, which will accommodate a total enrollment of 350 students. The inaugural class is expected to number 120 students with tuition set between $25,000 and $35,000 a year. Planning for the school, which was kept secret, has been in the works for five years. The school decided to move forward after finding that more than half of those who sit for the state bar exam attend law school in another state and that, compared to neighboring states, Tennessee has fewer lawyers per capita.

The Tennessean has the story