Links for September 2018

Article Examines Difficulties Faced by Female Trial Lawyers

August 9, 2018

Is it harder to be a trial lawyer if you are a woman? The Atlantic took a look into the question, examining personal stories, history and statistics about gender in the legal profession. One suggested cause for the difficulties faced by female lawyers was the lack of women in positions of power in the courtroom: women currently make up only 33 percent of federal trial-court judges.

Pera Helps Lead ABA Effort to Modernize Rules on Lawyer Advertising

August 9, 2018

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.

1940 Cold Case Murder of NAACP Activist to be Reopened

August 8, 2018

The 1940 homicide of civil rights activist Elbert Williams has been reopened in Haywood County, The Jackson Sun reports. Garry Brown, District Attorney for the 28th Judicial District of Tennessee, today reopened the investigation into the unsolved homicide. Elbert Williams is recognized as the first known NAACP member to be killed for his civil rights work. Williams was a participant in the Brownsville NAACP branch’s 1940 effort to register African-American voters. 

2018 Young Lawyers Conference Includes CLE

August 8, 2018

Expand your network and learn from some of best in law education by attending the inaugural Tennessee Young Lawyer’s Conference, beginning Oct. 5 in New Orleans. This event offers up to eight hours of dynamic CLE learning and the excitement only the Big Easy can provide. Experience the culture, food and fun in addition to a unique opportunity to network with the members and leadership of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Join in at a host of receptions, brunches, dinners and other social events!

Study Suggests More Innocent People are Pleading Guilty

August 7, 2018

A new paper published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers examines evidence suggesting that an increasing number of defendants are pleading guilty to avoid the risk of trial, rather than trying to prove their innocence, Forbes reports. The study, called “The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It,” concludes that "there is ample evidence that federal criminal defendants are being coerced to plead guilty because the penalty for exercising their constitutional rights is simply too high to risk." 

ABA Scuttles Plan to Kill Law School Admissions Exam Requirement

August 7, 2018

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar withdrew a resolution before the ABA House of Delegates on Monday that called for cutting a required exam for law school admission, the ABA Journal reports. On Friday, the Young Lawyers Division Assembly voted against changing the test requirement. And as Monday’s House session began, a letter was circulated on the House floor from the Minority Network, a group of law school admissions professionals, saying the LSAT is better than any other admissions test in predicting a candidate's success in law school.

UTK Law Launches Pro Bono License Reinstatement Project

August 3, 2018

The University of Tennessee College of Law Pro Bono and Legal Clinic are working together to assist Tennessee drivers whose licenses have been suspended, following a federal court decision that deemed unconstitutional Tennessee’s practice of revoking driver’s licenses for failure to pay court costs. The License Reinstatement Project includes a hotline and a website which people utilize for information or help with the process of getting their license reinstated.

Access to Justice Commission Releases New Strategic Plan

August 3, 2018

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission has released its fifth strategic plan for improving access to justice in Tennessee. The plan identifies priorities for the next two years, including educating the public on existing resources, encouraging and creating new opportunities for increased pro bono and developing resources to support self-represented litigants. The new plan also includes objectives designed to connect with rural attorneys and local bar associations. The full strategic plan is available on the TN State Court website.  

New AOC Program Trains Court Reporters

August 2, 2018

Court reporters have a vital role in the justice system, but their numbers are on the decline. The Administrative Office of the Courts has partnered with Nashville State Community College to address this need by offering a new course in digital court reporting. The 10-week course trains individuals to administer the digital recording systems already in use in many proceedings, take notes and transcribe from the recordings. The AOC has plans to offer similar training in other locations across the state.

Report Finds Uptick In Salaries Of New Law School Grads

August 2, 2018

According to a new report from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), law school graduates in the class of 2017 are seeing median salaries of $70,000, up $5,000 from the previous class. Citing the NALP report, the ABA Journal writes that the salary increase comes as larger law firms hired more new graduates than at any time since the recession. Employment rates for law graduates are also at the highest point since the recession, but the NALP report attributes this to a decrease in graduates, rather than an increase in job numbers.

Law School Applications Surge

July 30, 2018

The number of people applying to law school for the upcoming academic semester shot up 8 percent this year, Law.com reports. This is the first significant annual increase since 2010. This year’s applicant pool was also more qualified, with the number of 175-180 LSAT scorers up 60 percent.

A New Life for Historic Brushy Mountain Penitentiary

July 27, 2018

Doing time at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary takes on a whole different meaning this week, WBIR reports from East Tennessee’s newest attraction. The historic state penitentiary once home to the worst convicts, has been transformed into a destination where visitors can enjoy a southern-cooked meal at The Warden's Table, try a taste of 'End of the Line' moonshine at the distillery and tasting room, enjoy the scenery of the nearby mountains or take a step inside the notorious prison doors.

New Members Elected to TBA Board at Convention

July 26, 2018

Three Tennessee attorneys were elected to fill open positions on the Tennessee Bar Association’s Board of Governors during the recent TBA Annual Convention in Memphis. Aimee Luna, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro will fill the Fourth District Governor post, Dyersburg attorney Matt Willis will hold the Seventh District Governor post and Germantown attorney Jim Barry will fill the Eighth District position. In addition, Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper will rejoin the board as the District Attorneys General Conference representative.

Law School Scholarship Created to Honor Chief Justice Anderson

July 26, 2018

The Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation (TJCF) has created a legacy scholarship to honor the life of former Chief Justice Riley Anderson and his contributions to the legal profession. Anderson died earlier this month. Created by the Judicial Conference in 1996, the Foundation awards 22 need-based scholarships annually to students at Tennessee’s colleges of law. Gifts in memory of Justice Anderson can be made to the TJCF, Attn: Suzanne Keith, Treasurer, 629 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206. The TJCF earlier honored Chief Justice Frank Drowota, who died in April. The group had created a scholarship at Vanderbilt Law School in Drowota's name.

Rice Named New TLAP Executive Director– Success

July 24, 2018

Ted Rice was recently appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court as the new executive director of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP). Rice first came to TLAP in 2006 as deputy director. For the past several months he has been serving as interim executive director. Since he joined TLAP, the program has grown to help around 350 lawyers, law students and judges who are dealing with substance abuse or mental health-related issues each year.

Tennessee Last in the Nation in Voting

July 17, 2018

The state of Tennessee is 50th in the nation in voter turnout and 40th in voter registration, Knoxnews reports. Only 28.5 percent of Tennesseans voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according a PEW Charitable Trust analysis. Of the state’s 95 counties, only five are above the national average of 65 percent in active voter registration numbers.

How Is Life for Women in Big Law? Not as Great as Managing Partners Think 

A recent ABA survey of more than 1,300 participants from the nation's 350 largest law firms revealed some sharp divisions between how men and women fare in Big Law—and also that managing partners' view of their firms as champions for women's advancement is not borne out by women's own reports of their experiences. For example, 81 percent of women who responded said they had been mistaken for a lower-level employee, as opposed to 0 percent of men, and while 71 percent of firm leaders said that law firms were doing a good job of promoting women into equity partnership, only 47 percent of women agreed. The full report from the survey, commissioned by immediate past ABA President Hilarie Bass, is expected in early September. As a preview, The American Lawyer shares some of the other findings that were released during the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting.

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