TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Feb 22, 2011

Journal Issue Date: Feb 2011

Journal Name: February 2011 - Vol. 47, No. 2

Supreme Court names new CLE director

The Tennessee Supreme Court has appointed Judy Bond-McKissack as executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and Specialization. Bond-McKissack, assumed the post on Jan. 4, replacing David Shearon, who stepped down after 23 years of service. Bond-McKissack previously served as a Board of Review hearing officer with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. She also has held various positions in the Secretary of State's office including director of business services and chief legal counsel. Prior to joining state government, Bond-McKissack served as managing attorney for the Clarksville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She earned her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Read more about Bond-McKissack from the AOC


Read the 'Tennessee Volunteer Attorney'

The new issue of The Tennessee Volunteer Attorney is available online. Here you will find news from across the state about the pro bono and legal aid work being done by you and your colleagues in the bar. You can access this and past issues on the Tennessee Bar Association's Access to Justice page or download the Tennessee Volunteer Attorney here.

Notices from banks are moot with Senate IOLTA fix

If you receive a notice from your bank saying that the extension of unlimited FDIC insurance coverage did not include Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA), don't worry. Congress's action on Dec. 22, 2010, to continue that coverage for IOLTA accounts now does extend it through Dec. 31, 2012.

The FDIC required banks to send notice to all appropriate account holders in advance of the end of the coverage, Tennessee Bar Foundation (TBF) Executive Director Barri Bernstein explains. "The Senate action was so close to the Dec. 31 deadline that the notices were already printed and in the mail." The TBF administers IOLTA funds in Tennessee. "The American Bar Association and the nationwide IOLTA community worked feverishly to try to get the congressional 'fix' voted on prior to the sending of those notices, to avert widespread concern in the legal community but that didn't happen." The final answer, she says: "Ignore the notice."

IOLTA bill signed into law

President Obama Dec. 29, 2010,  signed H.R. 6398 into law, providing unlimited FDIC insurance coverage for Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) through Dec. 31, 2012. The FDIC issued the following statement on its website: "The FDIC will issue guidance to all insured depository institutions providing information on Congress's action to include IOLTAs in the definition of noninterest-bearing transaction accounts...The FDIC is advising insured depository institutions that they do not have to send individual notices to IOLTA depositors" and if they already have done so, they "may provide a revised notice advising that IOLTAs will receive unlimited insurance coverage..." Read more from the FDIC

Rude or not, Amazon patents gift-return process

In an effort to streamline the gift-return process, Amazon.com has turned to patent law for help. The online retailer has quietly patented a way for people to return gifts before they receive them, much to the irritation of the Miss Manners community. Amazon's innovation, not ready for this Christmas season, includes an option to, for example, "Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred," the patent says. "The user may specify such a rule because the user believes that this potential sender has different tastes than the user." In other words, the consumer could keep an online list of lousy gift-givers whose choices would be vetted before anything ships. The Washington Post has the story and the polite reaction from Emily Post's great-great-granddaughter


Criminal defense lawyer's role after 'Padilla' studied

The question of whether the role of the criminal defense lawyer has been affected by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky will be the focus of a task force established in December by the American Bar Association's criminal justice section. The goal is to explore the obligations on lawyers to advise clients about the consequences of criminal convictions and help criminal defense lawyers understand and meet those responsibilit ies. In Padilla, the court found that a defense lawyer's failure to advise a client that a guilty plea would have deportation consequences for the client amounted to "constitutionally deficient" representation.

Law.com has this story from the New York Law Journal


'Atticus Finch' to be featured on postage stamp

The late actor who portrayed Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" will be portrayed on a postage stamp being issued April 29. The stamp will feature a still photograph of Gregory Peck from the 1962 film, based on the novel by Harper Lee. The ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution in August honoring the film for "the positive role that the book has played in the lives of lawyers, their families and the American public." ABAJournal.com shows you the stamp



Four appointed to BPR, chair and vice-chair named

In January, the Tennessee Supreme Court appointed four new members to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility:

  • Michael E. Callaway, Bell and Associates in Cleveland, Tenn.;
  • Wade V. Davies, Ritchie, Dillard & Davies in Knoxville;
  • Michael U. King, King Law Office in Huntingdon, Tenn.; and
  • J. Russell Parkes, Hardin Parkes, Kelley & Carter in Columbia.

The court has also named Lela M. Hollabaugh of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville as chair, and Clarence Halmon of Archibald & Halmon in Memphis as vice-chair of the board. Both will serve one-year terms in their respective leadership positions. Kate Gooch and Clarence Halmon were reappointed to second three-year terms, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2013.

Get more details from the AOC, http://www.tncourts.gov/#BPR

Tennessee among states with fewer bankruptcies in 2010

The growth in bankruptcies around the country slowed significantly in 2010 from its breakneck pace in recent years, with about a dozen states recording a decline in filings from consumers and businesses, according to an Associated Press tally today. Tennessee recorded the second-biggest decreases in filings, down 8 percent. Knoxville lawyer John Newton says his firm continues to work six days a week to handle the massive bankruptcy caseload, but filings there have leveled off. "I think we've sort of turned the corner," he said. The Commercial Appeal has this AP story