Posted by: TBA News on Jan 1, 2021

Journal Issue Date: Jan-Feb 2021

Journal Name: Vol. 57 No. 1


Court Order Allows All CLE Hours to
Be Earned Remotely in 2021

Tennessee lawyers may continue fulfilling their CLE requirements through approved distance learning courses through 2021, per an order issued Dec. 3, 2020, from the Tennessee Supreme Court. The order extends the temporary suspension of Rule 21, sections 3.01(c) and 4.02(c), and also allows for CLE hours from 2020 to carry over into the new year. It was issued in response to the ongoing state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and is effective immediately and through Dec. 31, 2021. 


Fund Established to Honor Judge Reeves’ Legacy 

Friends of the late Chief U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee Pamela L. Reeves have created a way for the public to honor her legacy and her passion for developing young lawyers as future leaders. A fund has been established to honor Reeves at the University of Tennessee College of Law Leadership Institute. It will support the Institute’s ongoing mission of helping students identify and develop their leadership skills, professional values and career path. Reeves was the first woman to be president of the TBA. 

To donate to the fund, make checks payable to the UT College of Law with a note that it is for the Pam Reeves Memorial Fund and mail it to Ellen Cole, UT College of Law, 1505 West Cumberland Ave., Suite 248, Knoxville TN 37996. Cole can be reached via email at or at 615-974-6704.

Homeless Court Offers Second Chances, Resources

A pilot program for a Homeless Court was launched by Baker Donelson in September and is presided over by Nashville Judge Lynda Jones. Baker Donelson associate Hannah Cole says the court’s goal is two-fold. It is “to remove legal barriers to housing and employment for people who are homeless and then to connect our participants with service providers in town.” 

Court Extends Comment Deadline for Diversity CLE Requirement

The Tennessee Supreme Court extended the deadline for comments on a proposal from the Nashville Bar Association that would require all attorneys to complete two hours of continuing education in diversity, inclusion, equity and elimination of bias. Those who would like to comment on the proposal now have until March 3 to do so. The TBA requested the extension to allow time for its House of Delegates and Board of Governors to consider the issue at meetings in January and February.

TBA Earns National Award for Public Service Academy

The TBA’s Public Service Academy has earned a national award for public service and law-related education. The two-year-old program, which is a nonpartisan training fellowship for attorneys interested in running for local offices such as school board, city council and county commission, was selected for a 2020 LexisNexis Community & Educational Outreach Award, presented by the National Association of Bar Executives. 

Participants in the program spend two weekends learning about topics such as strategy, campaign finance and work-life balance. Knoxville attorney Tasha Blakney of Eldridge & Blakney PC and Clarksville attorney Joel Wallace of Cunningham, Mitchell & Rocconi are cochairs of the committee producing the program.

Applications Accepted for TBA Mentoring Program

The TBA Mentoring Committee has relaunched its Mentoring Program — a six-month experience designed to foster mutually beneficial relationships between attorneys, no matter their age or years of practice. To participate as a mentor, you must be a TBA member and be available to talk with your mentee match two times per month via phone, email or text. Complete the online form to be matched, at

Tennessee High Schools Compete in Virtual International Mock Trial

Two high school mock trial teams from Tennessee participated in the first-ever virtual Empire New York World Championship against a field of close to 40 teams from the United States, Canada and China. Montgomery Bell Academy of Nashville won its division in the preliminary rounds and placed second behind Venture Academy of Stockton, California, in the final round. Two MBA students received awards, including first place for Most Outstanding Witness and third place for Outstanding Attorney. The MBA team is coached by Nashville lawyers Wade Cowan and Tracy Hancock and MBA faculty member Michael Stewart. 

The Chattanooga/Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association of Chattanooga also participated, finishing in 10th place. Chancellor Jeff Atherton coaches that team. 

Shelby Corrections Center to Offer Remote Learning for Inmates

Inmates at the Shelby County Correctional Center will be able to continue education classes remotely thanks to a $180,000 grant, the Daily Memphian reported. The funding, which comes from the Tennessee Community CARES program through the state Department of Human Services, will go to HopeWorks, a nonprofit organization that oversees educational and job training programs at the prison. 

Outside programming was stopped in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That programming included classes to help inmates get their high school diplomas, culinary classes that offered job skills training, construction and logistics classes, and more. HopeWorks has bought 100 laptops, protective gear and other online learning aids to start the online classes at the prison next month.