Links for November 2017

Court Announces Support for Changes to Indigent Representation

October 3, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court today announced it will support reform of the state’s method for providing legal assistance to individuals unable to afford an attorney. Responding to a report from its Indigent Representation Task Force, the Court said it will seek funding to increase the rate attorneys are paid to work on such cases to $65 per hour, and will also request an appropriation in next year’s budget to raise compensation caps by $500 on all felonies and by $250 on juvenile matters. In a statement this afternoon, TBA President Lucian Pera said, “The TBA applauds the Supreme Court’s strong leadership on indigent representation reform. We look forward to partnering with the Court and others interested in making real improvement on the status quo." Pera added, “The Court’s recommendations regarding rates and caps is a step in the right direction. Frankly, it’s a small step, and it is not enough; but it is a start.”

Court Issues Proposed Rules Amendments, Asks for Comment

October 3, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court has published the annual package of recommendations from the Advisory Commission on Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the 2018 Proposed Rules Amendments. Several TBA sections are reviewing the recommendations for possible comment. Comments are due to the court no later than Nov. 22.

Court Amends Rule 34: Public Access to Court Records

September 15, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order and appendix late today amending Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 34. The amendments, effective immediately, revisit the records policy for appellate courts and indicate they are adopting a separate written public records policy applicable to the appellate courts.

How Lawyers Can Help in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

October 4, 2017

To ensure that legal assistance is available to victims of hurricane disasters in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the American Bar Association (ABA) has partnered with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center (LCJC) to create a hotline (800-310-7029) to provide needed information and services through pro bono volunteers. The ABA urges lawyers who are active members of the USVI or Puerto Rico bars to sign up to accept referrals of pro bono cases from the LCJC. Lawyers who are not licensed in either place can also assist by providing legal research or assistance with federal/administrative law questions. The volunteer sign up form is online in English and Spanish at ABA Disaster Legal Services Volunteer Attorney Intake Form. For more opportunities, go to the TBA's Volunteer Resources for Disaster Relief page.

TBA YLD Leaders Speak to Belmont Law Students

By Kathy Prescott on Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:24pm

TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson and members of the TBA Young Lawyers Division, including Ahsaki Baptist, Judd Taback, Cole Rogers, I’Ashea Myles-Dihigo and James Cobb, outlined volunteer opportunities and other topics to TBA law student members from Belmont University College of Law today. More than 90 Belmont 2Ls and 3Ls are law student members of the TBA.

Passage Rate Up for Tennessee Bar Exam

October 9, 2017

The passage rate for candidates who took the July Tennessee bar exam increased by 4.55 percentage points from the same exam last year. Overall 67.68 percent – or 467 – of the applicants passed the exam. Among first time takers, the passage rate was 78.52 percent, also up from last year. Among Tennessee law schools, Vanderbilt University Law School grads passed at the highest rate – 97.06 percent – followed by Belmont University Law School at 87.32 percent. The Board of Law Examiners has more detailed results from all Tennessee law schools.

Hotline Set Up for Puerto Rico Hurricane Victims

September 27, 2017

Survivors of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico can now get legal assistance by calling a hotline set up by a partnership among the Disaster Legal Services Program of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Virgin Islands Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. Disaster victims can now call 800-310-7029, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to reach free legal help. Find out more from the ABA's Disaster Legal Services website. Additionally, there is a continued need for legal assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, as well as victims of hurricanes in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Disaster Hotline Set Up for Hurricane Victims in U.S. Virgin Islands

September 20, 2017

Survivors of the hurricanes in the U.S. Virgin Islands can now get legal assistance by calling a hotline set up by a partnership among the Disaster Legal Services Program of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Virgin Islands Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. Disaster victims can now call 800-310-7029, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to reach free legal help. Find out more from the ABA's Disaster Legal Services website. Additionally, there is a continued need for legal assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Haslam Names Rudolph to Circuit Court Bench

September 27, 2017

Governor Bill Haslam today named David M. Rudolph as Circuit Court Judge for the 30th Judicial District, which serves Shelby County. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Robert L. Childers on June 30. Rudolph, 54, has been at the Memphis law firm Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor and Matthews since 2009, where he practiced in the areas of complex commercial litigation, tort litigation and employment law. He is a Vanderbilt Law graduate who has also served on the board of directors for the Tennessee Employment Lawyers Association since 2014.

Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies Process for Determining Best Interests of a Child in Parental Termination Case

September 29, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today that courts must consider all nine statutory factors, as well as any other relevant facts, when deciding whether terminating parental rights is in a child’s best interests. The Supreme Court explained that requiring courts to consider all relevant facts and circumstances ensures each case receives individualized consideration before fundamental parental rights are terminated. Justice Cornelia A. Clark authored the unanimous opinion.

Inventor Legal and Business Boot Camp in Knoxville on Wednesday

September 18, 2017

The TBA will conduct an Inventor Legal & Business Boot Camp on Sept. 20 in Knoxville to educate all attendees about the legal and business aspects of Intellectual Property and its role in starting a business. This program is designed for those who create or own intellectual property (inventors, makers, artists, licensing organizations, etc.) and the attorneys who represent them. Click here for more information and to register.

Inventor Bootcamp Provided Training to Lawyers and Inventors.

The Legal Assistance Volunteer for Patent Applicants (LAVPA) of the TBA hosted an Inventor Legal and Business Bootcamp for inventors and the attorneys that represent them. Jimmy Cochran, a Knoxville inventor of the product Hooky, a device to help fisherman thread their fishhooks, kicked off the Bootcamp by taking the attendees through the creative, legal, and business process he encountered.

This presentation set the stage for attorneys Stephen Adams of Luedeka Neely and Bill Fortunado of Merchant & Gould along with USPTO Regional Director, Hope Shimabuku to address the patent process. R. Christopher Trump and Tracy McAfee of Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, P.C. along with Joan Heminway, UT College of Law then addressed business entities and the investment process. 

Tennessee Legal History Project Posts More Than 100 Video Interviews Online

September 13, 2017

The Tennessee Bar Foundation has announced that more than 100 video interviews of senior Tennessee lawyers and retired Supreme Court justices are now available online. The interviewees, from across Tennessee, recount personal biographical information and significant legal topics dealt with during their careers, as well as the important social and political issues of their day. The Tennessee Legal History Project continues to conduct interviews, and more videos will be added soon.

Robertson Celebrates 30 Years Service as TBJ Editor

October 5, 2017

Tennessee Bar Journal editor Suzanne Craig Robertson today celebrated 30 years of service to the TBA. "For decades, the Tennessee Bar Journal has been the finest bar publication in the country," TBA President Lucian Pera said. "And, much as I love our editorial board members and authors — I've been in both camps — I bet they'd all agree with me that the most important reason is Suzanne Robertson. Even though many don't know it, the entire Tennessee legal community owes an immense debt of gratitude for her service." Robertson also received congratulations from her colleagues at the National Association of Bar Executives' Communication Section, which is meeting this week in St. Louis. The group has named the Journal best in the country several times during her tenure.

AOC Extends Deadline for Courthouse Security Grant Applications

By Katharine Heriges on Thu, 10/12/2017 - 5:06pm

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has extended its deadline for court security grant applications to Nov. 17. Grant applications received on or before the original due date of Oct. 16 will move forward in the review and decision process. The AOC launched a one-time court security grant program after receiving $2 million in one-time funding from the Tennessee General Assembly and Gov. Bill Haslam to improve court security across the state. Preference will be given to counties with courtrooms that do not currently meet the present minimum courtroom security standards, as well as counties that have experienced a courtroom security breach during the 12-month period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. For more information, contact Mitch Turner.

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