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For the Record

13th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge Wesley Bray was sworn into office by Gov. Bill Lee in September at the Putnam County Courthouse. He replaces longtime judge David Patterson, who retired this summer. The 13th Judicial District covers Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White counties.

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For the Record

Three Tennessee attorneys were honored at the Equal Justice University Awards Dinner. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins and Legal Aid of East Tennessee Executive Director Sheri Fox joined with honorees Jeannie Kosciolek, Lucy Boateng and Benjamin Danforth at the program.

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For the Record

TBA Board approves bylaws change to accommodate new benefits

The TBA Board of Governors voted on proposed revisions to the organization’s bylaws after a 21-day period for members to review the proposal. The vote took place in late August. One of the revisions creates a category of nonvoting, law firm, employer-level membership. Any law firm in which 100 percent of its Tennessee-based attorneys are members of the TBA will be eligible to become a law firm member of the association under rules established by the Board of Governors.
The bylaws change will accommodate future benefits including a new health insurance plan that the TBA would like to offer its members this fall. The future health plan will offer coverage to a variety of employer members including solo practitioners with at least one qualifying W-2 employee.

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Opioid Task Force Report Shows Impact on Legal Aid Organizations

Legal Services Corporation released its Opioid Task Force Report this summer at the Tennessee Supreme Court in Nashville. The report provides background on the opioid epidemic and addresses the intersection of civil legal aid and the need for coordinated responses to this crisis. Speakers included Chief Justice Jeff Bivins and Tennessee Courts Director Deborah Taylor Tate. Tate served as a member of the LSC task force and is the co-chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force.

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Bar Foundation Awards More Than $1.1 Million

The Tennessee Bar Foundation has awarded $1,122,735, from the Tennessee Legal Initiatives Fund (TLIF) intended to be used to “extend the capacity of organizations to break the cycle of poverty and the barriers to justice by using civil legal aid and education to increase productivity and success for vulnerable populations.”

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Leaders from Tennessee’s legal community gathered at the Equal Justice Conference in Louisville in May. Among those organizations represented at the event were the TBA Access to Justice Committee, Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Memphis Area Legal Services and West Tennessee Legal Services.

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TBA Delegation Visits Capitol Hill for Lobbying Event

A delegation of eight lawyers from Tennessee met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., in April for “ABA Day on the Hill.” U.S. Rep. David Kustoff met with TBA President Jason Pannu, President-elect Sarah Sheppeard and other members of the group. They also met with Reps. Scott DesJarlais, Steve Cohen and Tim Burchett, and Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander. Main topics were increased funding for the Legal Services Corporation and maintaining the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

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TBA OFFERS WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATES VIA LIVESTREAM, TBATODAY

The Tennessee Bar Association launched a series of weekly legislative video updates in February, which are livestreamed most Thursdays via Facebook while the Tennessee General Assembly is in session. Also available are weekly round-ups of bills from the previous week impacting the legal community each Friday in TBAToday.

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Henley Awarded TBA YLD CASA Volunteer of the Year

Gail Henley of Madisonville was awarded the 2018-2019 CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) Volunteer of the Year Award by the TBA Young Lawyers Division. Now in its 15th year, the award is designed to recognize the outstanding efforts of a CASA volunteer who goes the extra mile in his or her work with a CASA program in Tennessee.

Henley, who was nominated by CASA Monroe’s Executive Director Alisa Hobbs, has been a volunteer with the organization for 10 years.

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TBA Board Adopts Changes to Bylaws

Pursuant to the notice provided Dec. 19, 2018, the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors held a specially set meeting on Jan. 2 to vote on the proposed changes to the bylaws as published on Nov. 7, 2018. The Board rejected the proposed change to Section 38 related to the term of the TBA treasurer and voted to leave that section unchanged. All other changes published in the Nov. 7 notice were approved. Pursuant to the bylaw change, the individuals appointed to positions in Districts 7 and 8 shall serve the remainder of the terms to which they were appointed and will not run in 2019 to retain those seats. Thus, only Districts 1 and 4 will be subject to election this year and petitions for these positions are still due no later than Feb. 15, 2019. Learn more at www.tba.org/node/105100.

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