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 mobilize to help storm victims
Tennessee lawyers began mobilizing today to provide free legal assistance to victims in the wake of April’s  storms, tornadoes and flooding in the state. "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." Read more about what is being done in this news release. Resources for members of the public, lawyers who want to help victims, and lawyers whose offices were affected are available on the TBA's disaster webpage.

Learn more or sign up to provide free legal advice

TBA names YouTube video contest winners
Students from across Tennessee who were challenged to produce videos on the state's unique history of law and liberty are being honored today by the Tennessee Bar Association as a part of the national Law Day celebration. First place winner in the middle school category is Anna Whittemore of McMinnville, who chose the topic of labor laws and textile mills as her video subject. First place winner in the high school category is Vivian Hughbanks of Signal Mountain, who filmed a video about machine politics and citizen efforts to restore integrity to local political systems. The contest is an initiative of TBA President Sam Elliott, who has made civics education a focus of his presidency. All winners will receive cash prizes. The two first place winners will be invited to the TBA's annual meeting in Chattanooga and have their winning videos shown to legal leaders.

Learn more about all winners

Rules book contains error, correction now available
The 2011 edition of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct (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.

Download the corrected version of RPC 1.16(d) and Comment [9]

Report: Demand for legal services increases
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.

The AmLaw Daily reports on the findings

Survey: Nearly 10,000 lawyer jobs lost in last 2 years
The NLJ 250, The National Law Journal's annual survey of the nation's largest law firms, shows that Big Law continued to shed lawyers at a brisk pace in 2010. Nearly 2,900 fewer lawyers worked for the 250 top firms last year. That's in addition to the approximately 6,600 attorneys who departed in 2009. 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.

Study the survey in The National Law Journal

Free CLE for lawyers handling disaster cases
The Tennessee Bar Association will offer a one-hour free CLE webcast on May 13 about the legal issues related to handling contractor/home repairs in Tennessee. The session will include a discussion of home solicitation sales by contractors and how the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from predatory contractors. This free program -- which will help lawyers handle disaster-related pro bono cases -- is accredited for one hour of continuing legal education. The course is being offered free by the TBA as a public service for attorneys who provide pro bono assistance. Register for the webcast here

Money-saving trend: video instead of in-person court appearances
A New York man charged with first-degree murder in the death of a police officer will not leave jail for months of pretrial hearings. Instead, he'll be beamed into the courtroom via video as lawyers discuss his case in front of the judge. This case is part of a surge in court appearances done by video around the country, as cash-strapped communities look for ways to boost efficiency and cut costs. The tools are used in courts large and small, and the savings for some are staggering. NewsChannel9 carried this AP story

ABA releases tech guide for solo, small firm lawyers
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 priced at $89.95 ($54.95 for members of the ABA's Law Practice Management Section) and is available through the ABA's website store at http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/.

Law school applications reworked for the blind
Online law school applications will soon be useable by the 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.


Volunteer Attorney newsletter available
The Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee published the spring issue of The Tennessee Volunteer Attorney this week. This edition 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. Read it here

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

Amendments to Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure (SR13/HR35)
Amendments to Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure (SR12/HR34)
Amendments to Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure (SR14/HR36)
Amendments to Tennessee Rules of Evidence (SR11/HR33)

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.