You Need to Know

For the Record

13th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge Wesley Bray was sworn into office by Gov. Bill Lee in September at the Putnam County Courthouse. He replaces longtime judge David Patterson, who retired this summer. The 13th Judicial District covers Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White counties.

  Photo courtesy of Gov. Bill Lee’s Office

701 Take July Bar Exam, 497 Pass

When the list of applicants who were successful on the July 2019 Bar Examination was released Oct. 4, the Board of Law Examiners also released statistical information about this class of test takers.
It reports that 701 applicants (both first time and those repeating) took the test with 497, or 70.9 percent, passing. Of the group, 580 were first-time test takers and 121 were repeat test takers. The percentage of repeaters who passed was 27.3 percent.

The law school with the best success rate for first-time takers was Belmont University College of Law with 97.2 percent of its students succeeding. The rest of Tennessee law schools’ pass rates, based on first-time test takers are: Vanderbilt University, 93 percent; University of Tennessee, 83.7 percent; University of Memphis, 81 percent; Duncan School of Law, 73 percent; and Nashville School of Law, 69 percent. 

Mattel Inc’s “Career of the Year” Barbie is a judge, which comes with a black robe, a collar and a gavel. Judge Barbie comes in four different skin tones with four different hairstyles. Mattel’s marketing claims the dolls will “inspire girls to imagine everything they can become — like protecting the rights of others and ruling on legal cases!” Image courtesy of Mattel Inc.


COURTS
Chancery Court Honored for Outstanding Service

The Davidson County Chancery Court Part III recently was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Community Service Award from the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The court was recognized for a statewide initiative designed to improve older Tennesseans’ lives. The program, the result of a settlement of two related cases, provides dental, transportation, housing and legal services. It is administered by Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle with the help of Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability and five nonprofit agencies: West End Home Foundation, HCA Foundation, Assisi Foundation, United Way of Greater Knoxville and the Memorial Foundation.

A new mural of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was unveiled in Washington, D.C., in September in the 1500 block of U St. Northwest. The mural was painted by artist Rose Jaffe. The building is owned by Flock DC, a newly launched umbrella organization for three local real estate firms. Photo: The Hill.
 

LAW SCHOOL

LSAT’s Analytical Reasoning Section to Be Revamped  Major changes are coming to the LSAT, Above the Law reports. Within the next four years, the current analytical reasoning section will be removed and replaced with something else to assess analytical reasoning abilities. Angelo Binno, a legally blind aspiring law student whose visual impairment prevented him from performing the drawing and diagramming that is often necessary to complete the exam, brought suit against the American Bar Association and the Law School Admission Council. Now after eight years of litigation the parties have settled. Binno and his co-plaintiff, Shelesha Taylor, who is also legally blind, will work alongside the council and Wayne State University Law School’s Disability Law Clinic to make the LSAT experience fairer for all.

Study: Minorities Lag in Law School Clinic Positions  According to a new study by the Clinical Legal Education Association, women have made great strides in breaking into law school clinical faculty, but black and Latino clinicians have made few gains over the past three decades. Law.com reports that that the percentage of female clinical faculty at law schools nearly doubled from 33 percent to 62 percent, while minorities increased from 11 percent to just 20 percent. The study recommended that law schools actively recruit minority clinicians, while at the same time ensuring that women are not disproportionately clustered in clinical positions — which often lack the same status and pay as doctrinal positions.

Wilson County Schools has named an alternative learning facility in honor of the county’s General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge C. Barry Tatum.


LAW PRACTICE

IT Report: Law Firms Need Better Cybersecurity Protection  Nashville-based legal IT consultancy LogicForce has released its latest Law Firm Cybersecurity Scorecard, a study designed to assess cybersecurity preparedness across the legal industry and educate law firms on data protection best practices. This year’s study found that many law firms fail to implement critical cybersecurity practices leading to failed client audits. See the study’s details at www.logicforce.com.

Amazon Enters Legal Services Arena

It is not hard to imagine a time when Amazon will offer all kinds of legal services to consumers, lawyer and technology expert Robert Ambrogi writes in Above the Law. But that day may be closer now that the retail giant has launched a curated network of intellectual property law firms providing trademark registration services at pre-negotiated rates. The goal of the new “Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator” is to help companies obtain protection for their brands quickly and easily. So far, 10 law firms have been approved to participate in the program.
Set fees include $500 for a trademark search, $600 for a trademark application and $1,800 for a comprehensive brand review. The client pays nothing to Amazon, instead contracting directly with the law firms. Amazon also says it will provide protections to participating companies selling items on its site even while applications are pending.

Report Looks at Impact of Millennial Attorneys  The 2019 Millennial Attorney Report explores changing law firm dynamics and highlights generational differences between younger lawyers and their more experienced counterparts.
The report finds that millennials now make up the largest cohort of the legal profession and their unique working style has shifted workplace dynamics and brought major change to the field of law. Other major findings include: (1) work-life balance remains the top priority for millennial lawyers, (2) 45 percent of women strongly agree that law firm culture is sexist, and (3) 66 percent believe partnership in a law firm is less desirable than it was a generation ago.

Well-Being Groups Provide Guidance for Employers  Many law firms and other legal employers know they should be watching for signs that an employee is experiencing impairment because of a substance use disorder, mental health disorder or cognitive impairment, but many still struggle with how best to respond. A new resource from the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the ABA Working Group to Advance Well-
Being in the Legal Profession offers suggested guidelines for these situations. The “Well-Being Template for Legal Employers” is available for download (www.americanbar.org/groups/lawyer_assistance/working-group_to_advance_we...) and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any legal workplace.

Report: Lawyers Earning More in 2019 but Not All Benefiting  In the decade since the Great Recession, wages for private lawyers have risen, with the average salary now at $144,230. However, digging deeper into a collection of data released in the last year-and-a-half shows the wealth is not being shared equally across gender, region, client type and practice areas, the ABA Journal reports.

CIVIL RIGHTS

New Organization Brings Attention to Civil Rights Crimes in Tennessee  Former TBA President and Alamo lawyer Jim Emison has launched “Tennesseans for Historical Justice,” a new organization dedicated to revealing historical truth regarding civil rights crimes in Tennessee and striving for restorative justice and healing. Emison was instrumental in bringing attention to the unsolved 1940 murder of civil rights activist Elbert Williams in Brownsville in his book Elbert Williams: First to Die. The group has applied for nonprofit status and is awaiting final approval. There are opportunities to volunteer with the group and support it financially.
Learn more at www.tnhistoricaljustice.org.

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