News

State High School Mock Trial Competition Underway

The 2019 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition is now underway in Nashville. The competition, which is put on by the TBA Young Lawyers Division, brings together 14 teams from across the state. This year’s qualifying schools are Agathos Classical School (two teams), Beech High School, Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home School Association, Coffee County Central High School, Dobyns-Bennett High School, Farragut High School, Harpeth Hall, Jefferson County High School, Signal Mountain High School, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, University School of Nashville and Westminster Academy. The final round will take place tomorrow afternoon, with Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark presiding.
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Attorneys Needed for April 27 Expungement Clinic & Resource Fair

The Music City Community Courts have another Expungement Clinic & Resource Fair scheduled Saturday, April 27 at Magness – Potter Community Center (Salvation Army’s Red Shield East Campus – 611 Stockell St. Nashville, TN 37207).
 
The clinic will have check-in for the pre-registered participants at 9:00 am -9:30 am and the Clinic will start at 10:15 a.m. All volunteer attorneys are asked to arrive at 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. for orientation and the run of the day.
 
So far there are 72 participants pre-registered and are in need of volunteer attorneys! Please email if you are able to volunteer, even if you can only stay an hour.
 
The Criminal Court Clerk’s office will have computers and the ability to process the expungement paperwork right on the spot. We anticipate the clinic ending around 12:30 p.m. 
 
As usual, there will be coffee and snacks provided to the volunteers and we look forward to having another great event!
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TBA Legislative Update

 
Most of us have probably, at some point in our lives, experienced School House Rock’s classic explanation of how a bill becomes a law (if not, consider spending 3 minutes and 20 seconds on YouTube to remedy this). This simple, but accurate, ditty provides a good overview of how the executive and legislative branches of our federal government—at least in theory—co-exist and make law. But, School House Rock doesn’t offer an entirely realistic portrayal of how a bill becomes a law—it doesn’t address constitutional requirements, drafting guidelines, rules of order, committee deliberations, lobbyists, financial notes, amendments or any of the other various aspects of our law-making process. 
 
The Tennessee legislative process is likewise structured and technical. Our legislative body—the General Assembly—is comprised of two chambers, the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Tennessee Senate, “both dependent on the people.” Like our federal system, each chamber makes use of committees and sub-committees and operates pursuant to certain rules of order. Similarly, lobbyists representation various organizations and ideas engage in efforts to educate and endorse legislative agendas to members of the General Assembly. 
 
One of the TBA’s core missions is to advocate for the profession and for our system of justice and regularly engages in efforts to include federal and state policy. This includes lobbying the General Assembly for policy issues that are of interest and concern to the legal profession. Each fall, TBA sections, committees, and divisions prepare public policy and legislative proposals for consideration by the TBA House of Delegates and Board of Governors. These proposals may be specific pieces of legislation or may be more general policy positions. If any proposal is approved by the Board of Governors, the TBA will lobby the General Assembly accordingly 
 
In this legislative session, the TBA is supporting six proposals: 
 
  • Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Trial Courts

HB 854 / SB 719: The TBA supports this proposal to allow a trial court to exercise domestic relations jurisdiction, regardless of the nature of the allegations, unless and until a pleading is filed or relief is otherwise sought in a juvenile court invoking its exclusive original jurisdiction. This bill is needed to clarify that circuit and chancery courts can continue to hear divorce cases, modification of parenting plans, and other domestic relations cases, even when the case involves an allegation of dependence or neglect. This legislation was drafted by the TBA in collaboration with other groups. 

This bill passed unanimously in the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

  • Changes to Adoption Law

HB 287 / SB 208: The TBA supports this proposal to clean up and make several technical corrections to existing adoption law in Tennessee. This legislation was drafted by the TBA. 

This bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and has been transmitted to the Governor for action.

  • Contracts for Post-Adoption Contacts

HB 288 / SB 207: The TBA supports this proposal to allow enforcement of post-adoption contact agreements already agreed to by the parties. This bill gives both parties (biological parents and adopted parents) who have already both agreed to and signed a post-adoption contract allowing the biological parent to contact the adopted child a right to seek judicial enforcement of the agreement. This legislation was drafted by the TBA. 

This bill passed unanimously in the House and on a margin of 30-1 in the Senate and has been transmitted to the Governor for action. 

  • Service of Process 

HB 393 / SB 456: The TBA supports this proposal to clarify that service of process made by a constable or private process server is valid even without a return address if all of the process servers’ relevant contact information is made available to the parties by the parties’ attorneys. This bill is needed to reduce confusion over whether service of process is valid when lacking a return address. This legislation was drafted by the TBA.

This bill, as amended, passed unanimously in the Senate and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. 

  • Changes to Probate Law

HB 675 / SB 542: The TBA supports this proposal to make six necessary changes to probate law to make the law more consistent. Among other things, this bill would clarify the disposition of property under a revocable trust, protect the confidentiality of the interests of trust beneficiaries, and exempt certain transfers from recordation taxes. This legislation was drafted by the TBA. 

This bill is set to be referred to the House Judiciary Committee, Children & Families Subcommittee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

  • Construction Law Lien Legislation 

HB 875 / SB 692: The TBA supports this proposal to limit the recovery of attorney’s fees, expenses, and actual and liquidate damages to situations where a party has proved, by clear and convincing evidence, that the person claiming a lien has acted with malice. This bill will allow court to penalize fraudulent lienors, while legitimate lienors will not be under the threat of being penalized for simply pursuing their legitimate lien rights. This bill was drafted by the TBA. 

This bill has been referred to the House Commerce Committee, Business Subcommittee, and the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee. 

To learn more about the TBA’s legislative advocacy or to stay apprised on the status of these initiatives, please spend a few moments reviewing the TBA Impact website: https://p2a.co/xFc8g5z. You can also contact your representatives through this website to voice your own thoughts about these policy initiatives. 

The TBA expects that these next four weeks will be particularly important for legislative proposals before the General Assembly. We encourage you to pay attention to these important developments in Nashville. 
 
As many of you may recall, the YLD adopted a bylaw amendment in 2016 to establish a mechanism to take positions on public policy issues and present policy and legislative proposal to the TBA Board of Governors. If you have a policy idea or a legislative proposal that you would like for the TBA to consider, I would be delighted to work with you to solidify your thoughts and navigate both the YLD and TBA’s policy-making mechanisms. Legislative deadlines will start to run in mid Fall, and so we need to take advantage of these summer months and the fall planning meeting. Please do not hesitate to contact John Rice to discuss your ideas and concerns! 
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2019 State High School Mock Trial Tournament

 
This weekend in Nashville the stage will be set for the 2019 State High School Mock Trial competition finals!
 
The TBA YLD is still seeking volunteers for the State Competition, which will take place on March 22 to 23 at the Metro Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville.  The Mock Trial Competition is an incredibly fulfilling and entertaining opportunity to help introduce younger generations to the practice of law. Also, these high school kids are legit! For more information on volunteering for the State Competition, click here.
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Memphis Bar Association YLD

The Memphis Bar Association is currently accepting applications for its annual Summer Law Internship Program. SLIP is an internship program that places minority high school students in legal workplaces June 3 - 28. All Memphis area minority students who will begin their junior or senior year of high school in August 2019 are eligible to apply. Click here to learn more.

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DLI March Workshop

The Diversity Leadership Institute will host its March workshop for the 2019 DLI Class on March 22 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. During the workshop, the DLI class will participate in mock interviews and have their resumes critiqued from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Attorney volunteers are needed to conduct the mock interviews and critique resumes. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact DLI Chair Alicia Teubert

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NBA YLD Annual LOGICFORCE Race Judicata in Nashville

Come out and race for a good cause on Saturday, April 6. The 16th Annual Nashville YLD Race Judicata 5k and 10k races will take place at the Edwin Warner Park. Proceeds from the race will benefit two area charities — Able Youth and Achilles International Nashville. Learn more about the 2019 YLD Race Judicata.
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Update on YLD CATALYST Legislation

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, and Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville previously introduced SB836/HB1002, which is legislation that was drafted by high school students from Chattanooga School of the Art and Sciences.  The legislation — which was developed through the TBA Young Lawyers CATALYST program — requires every person applying for a driver’s license to be automatically registered to vote upon the applicant’s 18th birthday. The bill was to come before the Senate’s State and Local Government Committee today. Learn more about the bill and the CATALYST program here.

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Montgomery County Expungement Clinic

Volunteer attorneys are needed on April 27 for a non-conviction expungement clinic. The clinic will take place at 9 a.m. at Loaves & Fishes, located at 215 Foster St. For more information on the clinic, please contact District Rep. Jamie Durrett.   

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Campaign Messages from 2019 TBA Vice President Candidates

The voting deadline of April 1 for contested races in the 2019 TBA elections is rapidly approaching. One of the central contested races is the TBA Vice President position.  Whoever wins the VP position will ascend automatically to the position of President-Elect at the completion of the VP’s term. The TBA has two candidates running: Nashville Attorney Brian Winfrey, and Brentwood Attorney Sherie Edwards. Check-out Brian and Sherie’s campaign messages to the YLD:

Brian Winfrey, Nashville

Sherie Edwards, Brentwood

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March 2019 YLD Attorney Spotlight – Ross Smith

 
This month we are shining the spotlight on Nashville government relations specialist, Attorney Ross Smith.  
 
 
What's the best gift you've ever received?
When I was about 12 years old, Santa Claus brought me a Pinball Machine from the 1970’s and the theme was the Six Million Dollar Man. That thing was the talk of the neighborhood and it still has paper taped all over with various friends’ high scores.
 
How do you relax?
Relax? It’s the middle of the legislative session – there is no relaxing. Ask me again in mid-May.
 
What was the most indulgent purchase you’ve ever made?
I just booked a European Cruise to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Russia with 3 other YLD members! …and we upgraded to balcony rooms. 
 
If you weren’t a lawyer, what profession would you be?
Inspirational Speaker, but I’d need a good speech writer. It’s all about delivery, right?
 
What is your favorite place in the world?
Some may find it hard to believe, but I’m really just a home body. There’s nothing like being home.
 
What’s next on your bucket list?
Solid tie between traveling to Argentina or Vietnam.
 
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Easy – when people don’t rinse off dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Who wants spaghetti sauce caked onto their dishes?
 
What fictional character do you most relate to? Why?
Squints Palledorous – I’m still looking for my Wendy Peffercorn.
 
What are three books that influenced your life?
1. Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
2. Chicken Soup for the Soul (and its multiple off-spring)
3. 50 Things Every Gentleman Should Know by John Bridges and Bryan Curtis
 
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CATALYST Students Visit Legislature for Day on the Hill

Students from the Chattanooga School of the Arts and Sciences visited the Tennessee legislature today as a part of the TBA Young Lawyers Division CATALYST program. The program solicited ideas for legislation from schools across the state, helped the students compose their own legislation, and then selected one bill to introduce at the General Assembly. The students who wrote the bill toured the Capitol today and met with Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, as well as lobbyists and other government leaders.
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Teams Set for 2019 High School Mock Trial Competition

The teams for the 2019 Tennessee High School Mock Trial tournament have been named following district competitions held across the state. The 14 teams headed to Nashville for the state finals are Jefferson County High School, Chattanooga/Southeast TN Home Education Association (CSTHEA), Farragut High School, Signal Mountain High School, Beech High School, University School of Nashville, Westminster Academy, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Harpeth Hall High School, Dobyns- Bennett High School, Coffee County Central High School. Agathos Classical School (Team Gondor), Agathos Classical School (Team Rohan) and Springfield High School. The teams will compete in four rounds over two days, March 22-23, at the Metro Nashville Courthouse. The Young Lawyers Division is still seeking judges, attorneys, law students and legal staff to serve as volunteers for the competition. Sign up here to take part.

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ABA Panel Examines Potential Changes to Legal Profession Amid Millennial Ascendance

A recent American Bar Association Techshow panel examined challenges and changes the legal community will face as millennials take on a greater role in the profession. The ABA Journal reports that in 10 years, 75 percent of law firm staff will be millennials, the oldest now turning 38 and the youngest 22. Millennial attorneys have more student loan debt than previous generations, and are more racially and economically diverse. Due to these differences, firms were encouraged by panelists to be transparent with millennial lawyers about pay scale and growth opportunities.
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March TBJ Explains New Child Tax Credit, More

Calculating the new Child Tax Credit into a client's parenting plan is complicated but necessary. Read "Who Gets the Credit" by Cindy MacAulay and Miles Mason in the new Tennessee Bar Journal for help. TBA President Jason Pannu gives support to criminal justice reform, pointing out that the TBA is in a unique position to add to that discussion. "We must work with other legal groups such as the district attorneys general, public defenders, judges, legislators, representatives from the governor's office, academics, and criminal law bar organizations to discuss ideas and find common ground," he writes in his column. He adds that some of the issues the bar can address are sentencing, juveniles, specialty courts, mental health and transition back to society. This Journal also has info on the YLD CASA Volunteer of the Year Gail Henley! Read the March issue.

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Volunteers Needed for Expungement Clinic in Nashville on Feb. 23

Volunteers are needed for an upcoming expungement clinic in Nashville. The Music City Community Court is hosting an the clinic and resource fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Napier Community Center, 72 Fairfield Ave. Only pre-registered clients will be allowed to take part. For more information, contact Amber Floyd.
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YLD Names New Officers for 2019-2020 Bar Year

Several positions for the Tennessee Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division (TBA YLD) 2019-2020 bar year were certified this month via uncontested election results, including that of vice president. Cookeville lawyer Jason Hicks was deemed elected vice president, and he will serve as TBA YLD president in 2021-2022. 

Filings for YLD Officer positions were due Feb. 15. Pursuant to the TBA YLD Bylaws, the following Executive Committee members are deemed elected:

• Secretary: John Wilks

• Treasurer: Justin Faith

• Middle Tennessee Governor: Nina Kumar

• East Tennessee Governor: Brittany Faith

In addition, five district representative positions were filled by election without opposition, as follows:

• District 1 : Curt Collins

• District 5 : Logan Threadgill

• District 7:  Kelly Gray

• District 9: Ann Ralls Niewold

• District 11: Sean Aiello

Congratulations to these young lawyers!

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YLD CATALYST Program- Legislation Update

Earlier this month Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, and Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, introduced SB0837/HB1002, which is legislation submitted through the YLD CATALYST program that requires every person applying for a driver’s license or photo identification card to be automatically registered to vote upon the applicant’s 18th birthday.  
 
The CATALYST program was created by the YLD to help teach high school students about their state government, and to provide them with the knowledge and skillset to draft legislation addressing significant issues in their respective communities.  The YLD leadership selected legislation submitted by students from Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences and worked with sponsors, Akbari and Beck, to have it introduced. The students will meet with the sponsors and track their legislation as it makes its way through the General Assembly committee process. 
 
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DLI March Workshop

The Diversity Leadership Institute will be hosting its March programming for the 2019 Class on March 22 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. During the programming, the DLI will conduct mock interviews and resume critiques from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. that Friday.  The DLI is in need of volunteer attorneys to help with the mock interviews and resume reviews. If you are interested in helping, please contact DLI Chair Alicia Teubert.  

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Last Chance to Register for International Forum

 
Early bird registration for the TBA's International Law Forum ends on Feb. 16. Three international business panels make up this Feb. 22 Nashville program and include a stacked line-up of speakers. Register now before it's too late!
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TBA Legislative Agenda – YLD CATALYST Legislation

 
Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, and Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, this week introduced SB836/HB1002, which requires every person applying for a driver license or photo identification card to be automatically registered to vote upon the applicant's 18th birthday. This legislation is a result of the TBA Young Lawyers Division's Civic Achievement Through Activism in the Legislature by Young Students in Tennessee (CATALYST) program. The CATALYST program was created and implemented by the YLD and teaches high school students about their government by providing curriculum to the students, which in turn helped them draft legislation directly addressing issues in their communities. The YLD leadership selected legislation submitted by students from Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences and worked with sponsors, Akbari and Beck, to have it introduced. The students will meet with the sponsors of the bill and follow its progress as it moves through the General Assembly committee process.
 
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TBAToday Legislative Update

This week the House and Senate were both in session, and legislators were primarily focused on preparing bills to be filed before the Feb. 6 bill filing deadline next week. Committee meetings this week were mostly organizational, but next week they will start to consider legislation. The TBA is in the process of having the TBA legislative initiatives introduced. This year’s TBA legislation was drafted by the Adoption Law Section, the Creditors’ Practice Section, the Probate Study Group, and the Construction Law Section. We are also working closely with the Juvenile Court judges and the trial judges on a bill clarifying subject matter jurisdiction on family law matters before the trial courts. And finally we are working with the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) to help introduce legislation drafted by Tennessee high school students participating in the YLD Civic Achievement Through Activism in the Legislature by Young Students in Tennessee (CATALYST) program.
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MBA YLD 2019 Kickoff Event

The MBA YLD is hosting a Kickoff Event at Aldo’s, 100 S. Main St #101, Memphis, TN 38103, on Feb. 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Drinks and food will be provided. For more information, contact Natalie Bursi.  

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Grey at Leadership Conference: 'Protect Those Who Seek Justice'

“We need to protect those individuals who seek justice,” Robert Grey Jr. said in his keynote speech at the TBA’s Public Service Luncheon Jan. 19 in Nashville. “It’s not just an idea – it is a reality that we need to make happen.” A former American Bar Association president, Grey is the president and executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and a member of the board of the Legal Services Corporation. “Lawyers are the trustees of our legal system,” he told the packed room. “We didn’t ask for that role, but we assumed the responsibility when we take the oath.” The luncheon also celebrated the TBA’s Public Service Award honorees and capped off the TBA’s Leadership Conference, which included programming about Young Lawyers Division initiatives, legislative tools and resources, and more. Meeting at the two-day conference were the House of Delegates, TBASCUS, committee and section leaders, YLD, the Law Student Diversity Leadership Institute, and the Board of Governors. See photos from the 2019 TBA Leadership Conference.
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