TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Aug 19, 2011

Journal Issue Date: Jun 2011

Journal Name: June 2011 - Vol. 47, No. 6

Lawyers jump in to give free legal advice

Tennessee lawyers began mobilizing immediately after April’s storms, tornadoes and flooding in the state, ready to provide free legal assistance to victims. Using the newly unveiled web site, onlinetnjustice.org, lawyers were able to volunteer electronically, as well as by calling a hotline.

Resources for members of the public, lawyers who want to help victims, and lawyers whose offices were affected are available at https://www.tba2.org/volunteer/

In the immediate aftermath of the storms, the Tennessee Bar Association offered free CLE for lawyers handling cases about the legal issues related to handling contractor/home repairs in Tennessee, a discussion of home solicitation sales by contractors and how the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from predatory contractors. The one-hour webcast was live on May 13, but it will be available for one year at https://www.tnbaru.com

“Tennessee lawyers step up to help disaster victims just like they help people every day,” said TBA President Sam Elliott. “The TBA offers a platform for lawyers to organize and deliver that help.” 

YouTube video contest winners detail hot civics topics

Students from across Tennessee who were challenged to produce videos on the state’s unique history of law and liberty were honored by the Tennessee Bar Association as a part of the national Law Day celebration.

In addition to cash prizes, the two first-place winners — McMinnville middle school student Anna Whittemore and Signal Mountain high school student Vivian Hughbanks  — will be invited to the TBA's annual meeting in Chattanooga and have their winning videos shown to legal leaders.

Whittemore chose the topic of labor laws and textile mills, and Hughbanks filmed a video about machine politics and citizen efforts to restore integrity to local political systems.

The contest was an initiative of TBA President Sam Elliott, who has made civics education a focus of his presidency. Link to all the winners’ videos at https://www.tba.org/journal_links


Thousands of jobs lost last year, but demand coming back
The National Law Journal reported this spring that nearly 10,000 legal jobs at “BigLaw” firms were lost in the last two years. In the 34 years the NLJ has been surveying large firms to gather headcount numbers, there have never been multi-year declines of this magnitude.

But news was not all bad. Demand for legal services increased for the second straight quarter, rising 2.1 percent from the same period last year, according to the latest Peer Monitor Index Report from consultant Hildebrandt Baker Robbins. Litigation saw the highest increase in demand of any practice area, jumping 4.1 percent from the same period last year. According to the report, litigation practices have bolstered the overall industry performance over the past two quarters, representing almost one-third of billable hours in the legal market.

Tech guide for solo and small firms released
The American Bar Association (ABA) recently released the fourth edition of its annual Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, which offers the latest information and recommendations on current legal technology products, operating systems and software, wireless capabilities and the legal implications of social media. The book is available through the ABA’s website store.

Law school applications reworked for people who are blind
Online law school applications will soon be useable by people who are blind, under a court settlement obtained by the U.S. Justice Department. The National Federation of the Blind had sued the Law School Admission Council, complaining that its online application service wasn't compatible with screen readers the blind use to navigate the Internet. The Justice Department brokered a settlement in which the council will make applications fully accessible for the fall 2012 admissions process. The department also is negotiating agreements with individual law schools to advertise how blind students may apply by phone until the online application is fully functional.

2011 court rules amendments adopted
The 2011 Appellate Court Rules package was passed by the General Assembly in May. The rules will be effective as amended on July 1. Senate resolutions passed on April 4; House resolutions passed May 2.

Rules book contains error: correction now available
The 2011 edition of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct  — the one with the purple cover — recently published by the Tennessee Bar Association contains an error with respect to the version of RPC 1.16(d) and Comment [9]. After originally approving revisions to the rules on Sept. 29, 2010, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order on Oct. 12, 2010, that corrected certain editing errors to RPC 1.16 and replaced the previously approved version of RPC 1.16 with a new, corrected version. The 2011 edition of the rules published by the TBA did not accurately reflect those corrections, which while limited to RPC 1.16(d) and Comment [9] are significant. The TBA regrets the error and has a corrected version of those pages that can be downloaded to update the book. A complete electronic version of the rules book also is available online from the TBA. at https://www.tba.org/ethics/index.html

‘Volunteer Attorney’ covers pro bono rule changes, more
The Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee published the spring issue of The Tennessee Volunteer Attorney, which looks at changes in the rules for pro bono emeritus attorneys, local pro bono and public service efforts, the state’s first pro bono summit, and the TBA’s public service award winners.

Legal help for military families now available
The American Bar Association has created an online legal resource center for military families. The site features the national Directory of Programs, which is a state-by-state listing of programs and offices providing services that may be utilized by military families in need of legal help.

State presidential primary moved back one month
Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law in May moving Tennessee’s presidential primary from the first Tuesday of February to the first Tuesday of March. The change comes in response to pressure from the national political parties, and the state’s experience of low candidate interest in the last presidential election campaign.