TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 9, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee today issued Executive Order No. 26 suspending current law to facilitate remote notarization and witnessing of documents. The Executive Order temporarily suspends all statutes requiring a physical presence for a notary public and witness(es), under certain conditions such as real-time audio and visual communication including Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc., among others. With COVID-19 impacting more and more people, many have prioritized setting up wills and healthcare directives. Gov. Lee’s executive order will allow the execution of wills and other legal documents without the in-person contact that risks exposure to COVID-19. The TBA had established a Remote Notary/Witness Task Force and has been in touch with the governor’s office and the Tennessee Supreme Court on this issue. "The The TBA sincerely appreciates the governor and the Tennessee Supreme Court allowing our organization to provide input on this very important issue," TBA President Sarah Sheppeard said. "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have benefited from the judicial and executive branches allowing us to weigh in and provide our members’ input on critically important issues, and we sincerely appreciate that courtesy and the consideration that our input has been given.”

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 9, 2020

Vanderbilt Law School student Kevin Witenoff and University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law student David McIntyre have been selected by the American Constitution Society (ACS) as 2020 Next Generation Leaders. Only 26 law students nationwide are selected for the honor, which is awarded based on leadership qualities and engagement with ACS. Both students will receive access to quarterly trainings and career advancement calls, invitations to press and donor calls and individualized career support.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 9, 2020

A new episode of the Tennessee Court Talk podcast from the Tennessee Supreme Court is out and it features an inside look at the state’s chancery courts. The podcast features Chancellor J.B. Cox, Chancellor Pam Fleenor, Chancellor John Rambo, Chancellor Tony Childress and Chancellor John Weaver who discuss what chancery courts are, what unique remedies they can order and what it is like to serve as a chancellor. Listen online.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 9, 2020

Attorney General Herbert Slatery today announced he has joined a bipartisan coalition  of attorneys general from 39 states and the District of Columbia to hold companies accountable for defective products in their home-state courts. The Minnesota and Montana Supreme Courts ruled that Ford Motor Company may be sued in those states for defects in Ford vehicles that led to serious accidents. Ford appealed both decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court, prompting Slatery and the other AGs to file an amicus curiae brief asking the court to uphold the decisions made in Minnesota and Montana. Read the AG’s press release for more information.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 9, 2020

A few days before the COVID-19 pandemic closed down much of Nashville’s regular business activity, the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center hosted its third annual "Mediation Matters" Breakfast. The event celebrated the past, present and future of the organization, which was launched 20 years ago. Former District Attorney Torry Johnson was the event’s keynote, while Sara Figal, the center’s executive director, emceed. The Nashville Post has photos from the event.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 8, 2020

The University of Memphis School of Law notified students today that this year’s graduation ceremony will be held virtually. The school is using a company called Marching Order to host the virtual ceremony. Those who are interested in participating should register by April 14. The school also reported that it is working on options for how graduates can celebrate their class in person once it is safe to do so, and will provide updates as they become available.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 8, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission kicked off its annual Help4TNDay celebration today. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and tornadoes that impacted Middle Tennessee in early March, the theme of this year’s initiative has shifted to “Innovation and Responsiveness.” Throughout the month of April, the commission will promote virtual and telephonic legal clinics as well as other ways to provide legal help. It also will release online resources for volunteer attorneys and the general public. Read more in a release from the commission and watch for updates on the commission’s website and Facebook and Twitter accounts @JusticeForAllTN.

Attorneys are encouraged to provide pro bono service however they can during the month. Two great ways to get started are signing up to answer civil legal questions on TN Free Legal Answers or signing up with the TBA to help tornado victims

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 8, 2020

The Nashville law firm of Rogers, Kamm & Shea announced this week that it will now be known as Rogers, Shea & Spanos. The move comes after Lawrence Kamm transitioned into a new role as “of counsel” and George Spanos became a partner last year. The firm is located at 2205 State St., Nashville, TN 37203 and can be contacted at 615-320-0600.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 7, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that $200 million in grants will be distributed across the state to every county and city government for one-time, local expenses, AP News reports. At least $500,000 will be given to each county, and each city or municipality will receive at least $30,000. The grant money can be spent on certain tornado recovery and COVID-19 response costs, road projects, IT upgrades, capital maintenance, utility system upgrades and public safety projects. Lee’s office will begin accepting applications for the grants on April 30.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 7, 2020

A coalition of statewide organizations are urging Gov. Bill Lee to roll back certain state laws so that local officials can meet the needs of residents during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tennessean reports. The organizations, which include the Tennessee Justice Center, Stand Up Nashville, Memphis For All and others, wrote an open letter on Monday asking Lee to use emergency powers to suspend laws that limit localities from requiring employers to provide paid sick days and repeal anti-sanctuary cities measures to ensure immigrants feel safe getting medical treatment. The coalition argues that local governments must have “every tool in the toolbox” to meet the needs of the community during the state of emergency. The group is also looking to expand property tax freeze eligibility and to allow “inclusionary zoning” polices to make housing affordable and provide incentives for new affordable units as some cities rebuild from the March 3 tornadoes.   


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