News

California Bar to Consider Allowing Non-lawyers to Provide Some Legal Services

The State Bar of California is asking for public comment on proposals that would allow legal technicians to offer legal advice and non-lawyers to hold a financial interest in law firms, the ABA Journal reports. The proposals would modify restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law and ethics rules that ban fee sharing with non-lawyers.
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Fastcase 7 New Features

A new Fastcase 7 update provides highlighting for your search terms when viewing the full text of a document. Each term is highlighted with a different color so that you can see the occurrence of each item separately. You can also turn off the highlighting function for both, and each term individually by choosing the highlight dropdown option, then selecting the ‘x’ across from the term. See this and all new features of TBA’s member benefit Fastcase 7 here.

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TBA House of Delegates Seeks to Fill 13 Open Positions

In accordance with Article 29 of the TBA Bylaws, the officers of the House of Delegates will fill 13 open positions in the House. If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, please submit a declaration of candidacy that includes your name, principal place of law practice, district of interest and contact information to TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson by July 15. Read a list of open positions here.
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TBA Debuts New Podcast Network

The Tennessee Bar Association Podcast Network launched today with the premiere of two shows-- Sidebar and BarBuzz. Sidebar is a magazine podcast featuring compelling stories from attorneys across the state. BarBuzz is a monthly rundown of TBA news and upcoming events at the local and state bar levels. Both shows are now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and the TBA's website. Simply search the show title or "Tennessee Bar Association" wherever you listen to podcasts. Do you have a story lead you'd like to submit for a future episode? Submit your ideas here!

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Use Your Prepaid TBA CLE Credits Before Monday!

TBA members have until June 30 to use the 2018-2019 CLE credits that come with their memberships. Use the credits now to register for any TBA course taking place this summer or fall, or any online course, as long as you register by June 30. Don’t let these valuable credits go to waste! Find more information on how to use your credits, and if you haven’t done so already, remember to renew your TBA membership for the upcoming year to get more CLE credits.
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Full Upgrade to Fastcase 7 Coming July 22

The TBA will be upgrading to Fastcase 7 — the latest in legal research technology — on July 22. Start the transition by reviewing the helpful resource page to learn new and advanced research tools and view training videos and reference guides. Did you know that as a member benefit Fastcase also offers research assistance? Use the LiveChat feature located on the Fastcase website, email support@fastcase.com or call 866-773-2782, Option 2, to speak with a research attorney. 
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Juror in Pastor Rape Case Defends Judge Who Issued Ruling

A juror is defending Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword, who has come under fire for the 12-year sentence he handed out to a pastor convicted of rape and incest, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.The juror, Bill Quillen, says that he was surprised by the backlash and wrote a letter to the News Sentinel stating "(Sword's) conduct of the trial and handling of the jury was impressive … his knowledge and experience are far deeper in what a proper sentence should be than the uninformed on social media where outrage seems to be the norm." Prosecutors in the case had sought the maximum for each charge to be served consecutively, amounting to 72 years. A petition calling for Sword's removal from the bench has garnered more than 14,000 signatures.
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ABA Issues Formal Ethics Opinion on Negotiating Plea Bargains for Misdemeanor Offenses

The American Bar Association has issued a formal ethics opinion regarding the obligations of prosecutors in negotiating plea bargains for misdemeanor offenses. The opinion addresses a prosecutor's obligations when negotiating with an unrepresented individual who is or may be entitled to counsel at the time the prosecutor initiates the plea bargaining process for a misdemeanor charge. The opinion also addresses a prosecutor’s duties when plea bargaining with an unrepresented accused on a misdemeanor charge irrespective of whether the accused has invoked the right to counsel. Read the full opinion here.
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Your TBA Free CLE Credits Expire June 30

TBA members receive three hours of free CLE programming. Your credits expire June 30 for the current bar year. You may apply them to any available course here or donate them. Members can use this credit to cover all or part of the cost of live programs or on any online CLE program. (The course does not have to take place by June 30.)
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5 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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Supreme Court Adopts Changes to Rule 7

After opening the issue up to public comment earlier this year, the Tennessee Supreme Court has officially adopted amendments to Rule 7, which governs the admission and licensing of attorneys in the state. Changes include edits to the rules governing students attending non-American Bar Association accredited law schools, approval of law schools seeking ABA accreditation and more. The rule goes into effect immediately. The court received comments from deans, clinic directors and law school faculty members.
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Registration Now Open for TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15

The TBA's annual Convention returns to downtown Nashville this summer! Mark your calendars for June 12-15 and prepare for four days of CLE, networking, entertainment and more at the Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street. Registration is officially open, with early bird rates available until April 30.
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BPR Solicits Comment on New Formal Ethics Opinion

The Board of Professional Responsibility is now soliciting written comments regarding a new formal ethics opinion which concerns the ethical propriety of a settlement agreement in a products liability case, which contains as a material condition of the settlement that the subject vehicle alleged to be defective be destroyed within 180 days with certification to defendant's counsel of record of the destruction. The deadline for submitting written comments is April 10. Written comments may be emailed to LChastain@tbpr.org or mailed to: Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, 10 Cadillac Drive, Suite 220, Brentwood, TN 37027
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TBA to Introduce Legal Document Generation

The TBA will soon launch a new subscription-based product for Tennessee lawyers — automated legal forms. The initiative will use HotDocs, a custom documentation generator that creates form templates and speeds up the preparation process based on client and case data. In order to provide this valuable resource to our members, we hope to obtain your comments and ideas on forms you deem beneficial for replication. With across-the-board participation, we can comprise a substantive, comprehensive database where subscribers will have access to forms submitted by all TBA sections. Please send suggestions and comments to TBA Membership Director Mindy Fulks.

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Proposed Rule Requires Additional Support for Ethics Complaints Against Elected Officials

A new policy proposed by Rep. Mathew Hill, R-Jonesborough, would require lawmakers to take an additional step when filing an ethical complaint, NPR reports. The prospective rule change makes it necessary to obtain signatures from at least two representatives — one with firsthand knowledge or evidence of the alleged violation — in order to file a complaint against another elected official. "If there’s not corroboration, if there’s not evidence that is presented, then we are working off hearsay, we are working off gossip," Hill said in a House meeting last Thursday. The rule, according to Hill, is modeled on a biblical requirement that allegations must be corroborated. 

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Join Us Today: LAW TECH

Today's the day! Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville!

The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

CLE TOPICS:
  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show 2019: BEAT THE CLOCK
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Know When to Hold 'Em
  • Digital Evidence – A Technical Life Raft for the Legal Mind
  • Make it Rain: Ethics Guidelines and Practice Essentials

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including an iPad Pro. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

TAKE A LYFT: TBA has partnered with Lyft to offer attendees a discounted ride.

  • New to Lyft?: Get $5 off 2 rides at http://lyft.com/i/lawtech5 or download the app and enter code LAWTECH5
  • Already Have Lyft?: Save 10% off 2 rides to or from Law Tech Blast with code LAWTECH

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS:


 

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Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

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Faughnan Ethics Blog Named to ABA ‘Best-Of’ List

As a part of the American Bar Association’s “Web 100” best-of lists for 2018, Tennessee lawyer Brian Faughnan’s “Faughnan on Ethics” blog made the cut for “Best Law Blogs” of the year. Faughnan, who will again be presenting at the TBA's annual Ethics Roadshow CLE programming in six Tennessee cities, came in at number 15 of 35 recognized blogs.
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Court Grants Stay on Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163

The Tennessee Supreme Court has granted a request to stay the effectiveness of Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163, which deals with a prosecutor’s ethical duties to disclose information. The request for the stay came from the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. Earlier this month, the Board of Professional Responsibility had responded to the stay request saying that it anticipates voting on reconsideration of Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163 at its Dec. 14 meeting, and will “hold in abeyance any recommended disposition by a Hearing Committee Member or the Board of any disciplinary complaint filed against a prosecutor wherein Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163 is referenced in the complaint.”

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Ethics Roadshow 2018: Nashville

It’s back! The popular ethics program is coming to Nashville on Dec. 11. This year’s theme, Back to Basics: Sailing the Five Cs of Ethical Lawyering, offers a look into the significant developments in the world of lawyer’s during 2018 focused on the five “Cs” that make up the perfect recipe for ethical lawyering, no matter what law you practice: Competence, Confidentiality, (Avoiding) Conflicts, Communication and Candor. Don’t miss your chance to fulfill your ethics requirements; offering 3 dual credits. The Roadshow will also make stops in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis.
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Basic Tech Checklist for Firms

Law firms attempting to stay competitive and state-of-the-art need to consistently evaluate their use of technology. In addition to staying competitive, technological competency is required. In 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court amended Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility to include this obligation. Above the Law presents a simple and straightforward tech checklist for law firms or lawyers seeking guidance in this area.   

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ABA Releases Opinion on Attorney Disaster Response

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released today an opinion that underscores the importance of ABA model rules for lawyers affected by disasters and provides specific guidance on their ethical responsibilities in the aftermath of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires. The formal opinion notes that recent large-scale disasters, such as Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, highlight the need for lawyers to understand that extreme weather events and other calamities have the potential to destroy property or cause the long-term loss of power. Lawyers, in turn, have an ethical obligation to implement reasonable measures to safeguard property and funds they hold for clients or third parties, prepare for business interruption and keep clients informed about how to contact them or their successor counsel.
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Pera on Podcast: Seek Help from Other Attorneys on Ethics Issues

Former TBA President Lucian Pera recently appeared on the American Bar Association podcast “Asked & Answered,” in which he discusses the importance of seeking the advice of colleagues on issues of ethics. “None of us — and this is not just lawyers — are really objective about our own matters,” Pera said. The Memphis attorney and current chair of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility’s Coordinating Council said that when an attorney gets even the slightest notion that something could become a problem on a client matter, reach out and ask for help. 
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Pera Helps Lead ABA Effort to Modernize Rules on Lawyer Advertising

The ABA House of Delegates on Monday voted in favor of amending Rule 7 of ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which addresses lawyer advertising, the ABA Journal reports. Lucian Pera told delegates that in the decades since the 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona allowed for lawyers to advertise their services, there’s been a “breathtaking variation in advertising rules” among states. He said the amendments were necessary to clarify and simplify these rules.
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Brian Benczkowski Confirmed to Lead the Justice Department’s Criminal Division

The Senate on Wednesday voted 51 to 48 to confirm President Trump’s nominee Brian Benczkowski to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division, amidst the objection of Democrats who expressed concern regarding his representation of a Russian bank and lack of prosecutorial experience, reports The Washington Post. Benczkowski once represented Alfa Bank — a Russian firm that was referenced in a dossier containing allegations about Trump, his advisers and their possible Russian connections — at the request of a partner in his firm, Kirkland & Ellis. Benczkowski told lawmakers he would recuse himself from any matters involving the bank for two years and would permanently step aside from any matters that touched on his work for the institution.

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