TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Apr 28, 2011

Journal Issue Date: May 2011

Journal Name: May 2011 - Vol. 47, No. 5

Deadline is June 1

Seats on Court of Judiciary Open for Nomination

The Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors will select three members for the Tennessee Court of Judiciary at its June 18 meeting.

The Court of the Judiciary takes cognizance of the violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, willful misconduct, persistent failure to perform duties, and any other conduct calculated to bring the judiciary into public disrepute. According to the statute, the membership of the Court of the Judiciary includes “one (1) practicing attorney from each grand division to be appointed by the Board of Governors of the Tennessee Bar Association.”  Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-201.

The position from East Tennessee is currently held by Pamela Reeves of Knoxville and the position from West Tennessee is currently held by David Cook. Both Reeves and Cook are eligible for reappointment. The other TBA-appointed member, Mary Schaffner of Nashville, is ineligible for reappointment. 

In order to be considered for this appointment, members should submit a letter indicating their interest along with a resumé to TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219, no later than June 1.

The complete procedure to be employed by the board in filling the seats may be found at www.tba.org/BOG/elexhandbook.html.

McDowell to lead YLD in 2013

Chattanooga lawyer David McDowell will serve as president of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division in 2013-2014. He will take office in June as vice president, and then assume the office of president-elect in 2012 and president in 2013. McDowell, who practices with Gearhiser, Peters, Cavett, Elliott & Cannon PLLC, was deemed elected after the filing deadline passed and he was unopposed.

Other YLD officers elected without opposition for the 2011-2012 bar year are Secretary Stacie Winkler, Memphis; Treasurer Marisa Combs, Nashville; and West Tennessee Governor Steven King, Memphis. District Representatives elected without opposition are District 5 Rep. Jason Demastus, Chattanooga; District 9 Rep. Jenney Keaty, Nashville; and District 11 Rep. Shauna Billingsley, Franklin. Members of the YLD will decide the outcome of six contested races at the division’s annual meeting June 17 in Chattanooga.


Bill Young named state’s new solicitor general
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper named Bill Young as the state’s new solicitor general. Young, a former senior counsel in the attorney general’s office, will assume his duties in early July. Young worked in the AG’s office for more than eight years, leaving in 1995 to serve as deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. For the past eight years, he has been senior vice president and general counsel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. Young earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1981. The position of solicitor general was open because of the death of Mike Moore in 2010.

Corporate counsel honored at Pro Bono Gala
In March, Bass, Berry & Sims PLC and AutoZone were recognized for their commitment to providing free legal services to the poor at the 5th Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Gala in Nashville. Two individuals were recognized for their leadership in the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative. For the last five years, Memphis lawyers Jim Barry with International Paper and Andy Branham with Counsel on Call have coordinated the program and helped raise more than $200,000 for pro bono activities. The event featured remarks by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. The Pro Bono Initiative is a partnership between the Tennessee Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel that encourages and supports pro bono activities by lawyers serving as in-house and corporate counsel in the state.

Disaster plan in place for Memphis courts
Tom Gould, clerk of court at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, says he learned a lesson after Hurricane Katrina. “The absence of a court system down there was really significant,” he said. So he is working to make sure that the federal courts in Memphis would be up and running within 72 hours of any disaster that makes the courthouse inoperable. Part of the emergency plan is to place computer servers and portable equipment such as laptops at various places around Shelby County, including court workers’ homes.

TBA flood video named finalist in national competition
The Tennessee Bar Association has been selected as a finalist for Sonic Foundry’s seventh annual Rich Media Impact Awards. The four-minute video documents the efforts of Tennessee lawyers and the TBA in the wake of devastating flooding that hit Middle Tennessee in May 2010. Use of various resources enabled the TBA to get information out quickly to lawyers who wanted to help or already were helping but needed questions answered about FEMA, the Home Buyout Program and more. The video was produced by TBA AV/Webcasting Coordinator Angie Bianchi, with voice-over by TBA Publications Coordinator Landry Butler. Webcasts about the flood resources were produced by TBA Assistant Director of CLE Mindy Thomas-Fulks.

Chattanooga lawyer develops mediation app
Chattanooga lawyer and mediator Joe Manuel has developed and released the “Tennessee ADR Finder” for the iPhone, iPad or iTouch. The application, which allows users to search key Tennessee mediation rules by topic with one click, is available through iTunes or Apple’s App Store. For more information contact Manuel at jem@joemanuel.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Track legislation
Track the status of legislation in the 107th Tennessee General Assembly using TBA tools. Watch TBA Today for regular news updates and follow the TBA Action List to track bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in — those it has initiated, taken a position on, or has a policy on. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.

Find these resources at www.tba.org/tba_legismain.html

Getting Legal Help, Volunteering, Made Easier with New Web Site

A new web site that will allow Tennesseans to seek free legal advice from volunteer lawyers is now available at OnlineTNJustice.org. The service is a joint project of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association.

The site is a virtual walk-in clinic where clients can request brief advice and counsel about a specific civil legal issue from a volunteer lawyer. The lawyers will provide information and basic legal advice without any expectation of long-term representation.

The project was developed with the financial support and technical expertise of the information technology team in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, led by John Green. Dell, Microsoft and the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission also supported this project.

“This is the first statewide resource of its type in the country,”  former TBA President George T. “Buck” Lewis, a shareholder at Baker Donelson, said. “From the start, it has been our fervent hope that this site would be a convenient way for more lawyers to provide help to those in need.”

While Tennessee lawyers have held thousands of legal clinics and helped tens of thousands of fellow residents through traditional pro bono methods, this web site was created to eliminate any lingering barriers — such as geographic location, work schedule or family obligations — that keep those in need from receiving free legal help. It also was developed to expand pro bono services in rural areas of the state and to provide an alternative source of assistance for legal aid clients who are eligible for services but turned away due to an agency’s lack of resources.

Learn more about it and sign up to volunteer at OnlineTNJustice.org