News

Fastcase 7 New Features

A new Fastcase 7 update provides highlighting for your search terms when viewing the full text of a document. Each term is highlighted with a different color so that you can see the occurrence of each item separately. You can also turn off the highlighting function for both, and each term individually by choosing the highlight dropdown option, then selecting the ‘x’ across from the term. See this and all new features of TBA’s member benefit Fastcase 7 here.

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First Tennessee Expands Trust Division to Middle Tennessee

First Tennessee Bank on Tuesday announced the opening of a new office for its trust division in Nashville, the Nashville Post reports. The company plans to increase financial planning services throughout middle Tennessee, appointing Stephen Russell, as head of trust and estate administration for the Middle Tennessee region. Russell was previously vice president and senior trust officer in its Knoxville office and is a TBA Estate Planning and Probate Section member.

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TBA House of Delegates Seeks to Fill 13 Open Positions

In accordance with Article 29 of the TBA Bylaws, the officers of the House of Delegates will fill 13 open positions in the House. If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, please submit a declaration of candidacy that includes your name, principal place of law practice, district of interest and contact information to TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson by July 15. Read a list of open positions here.
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TBA Debuts New Podcast Network

The Tennessee Bar Association Podcast Network launched today with the premiere of two shows-- Sidebar and BarBuzz. Sidebar is a magazine podcast featuring compelling stories from attorneys across the state. BarBuzz is a monthly rundown of TBA news and upcoming events at the local and state bar levels. Both shows are now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and the TBA's website. Simply search the show title or "Tennessee Bar Association" wherever you listen to podcasts. Do you have a story lead you'd like to submit for a future episode? Submit your ideas here!

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Use Your Prepaid TBA CLE Credits Before Monday!

TBA members have until June 30 to use the 2018-2019 CLE credits that come with their memberships. Use the credits now to register for any TBA course taking place this summer or fall, or any online course, as long as you register by June 30. Don’t let these valuable credits go to waste! Find more information on how to use your credits, and if you haven’t done so already, remember to renew your TBA membership for the upcoming year to get more CLE credits.
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Full Upgrade to Fastcase 7 Coming July 22

The TBA will be upgrading to Fastcase 7 — the latest in legal research technology — on July 22. Start the transition by reviewing the helpful resource page to learn new and advanced research tools and view training videos and reference guides. Did you know that as a member benefit Fastcase also offers research assistance? Use the LiveChat feature located on the Fastcase website, email support@fastcase.com or call 866-773-2782, Option 2, to speak with a research attorney. 
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Businesses Testify to USTR Regarding Additional Trump Tariffs

Some of the nation’s business leaders recently participated in seven days of hearings with the Office of the United States Trade Representative in an effort to sway the Trump administration from imposing tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods, The New York Times reports. The group — comprised of toymakers, telecom officials, port workers and shoemakers — joined existing detractors, arguing that additional levies would further raise costs for consumers, disrupt supply chains and could force them to lay off employees or close. The administration says that these levies are necessary to curb China’s violation of international trading rules. President Trump will meet with President Xi Jinping of China at the end of this week to discuss the tariffs and a new trade deal, but business owners remain doubtful that an agreement will be reached.

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Coffee Co. Considers Additional Taxes for Bonnaroo

Following the first sold out Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in seven years, questions have risen about its future in Coffee County, The Tennessean reports. The festival and municipality have long been embroiled in a love-hate relationship; however, the recent move by the Coffee County Commission to instill a 2.5 percent tax on hotel room bookings just two days prior to this year’s events —which would also be charged to onsite campers — had organizers up in arms. Bonnaroo staff eventually made a deal with the commission to exclude campers this year, but Coffee County remains resolute in obtaining additional funds to pay for road and bridge upgrades in the county. The festival nets the municipality around $1 million annually in tax money from ticket sales and on-site services, and contributes about 25 percent of the county’s annual sales tax.

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Gavel Passed to Sheppeard, Sen. Alexander Speaks, Logo Unveiled at Convention Day 3

Day 3 of the TBA Annual Convention featured big names and big news – Sen. Lamar Alexander accepted the TBA President’s Award from outgoing President Jason Pannu, and he used the opportunity to shine the spotlight on fellow award winners and longtime friends, Nashville School of Law Dean Bill Koch and Hal Hardin. Pannu also passed the gavel to new President Sarah Sheppeard, who was able to highlight major changes coming to the TBA. One such change, unveiled today, is a new brand and identity for the TBA, which proceeds the upcoming new TBA website. Check out photos from the day here.
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International Law Firm Opens Nashville Office

International law firm Greenberg Traurig is establishing a local presence in Nashville helmed by Julie Mix McPeak, the recently departed commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, the Nashville Post reports. McPeak will join the firm’s insurance regulatory and transactions practice. Nashville becomes the firm’s 41st office worldwide and 31st in the United States.
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Hamilton County to Consider Tax Relief Program for Seniors

Facing a tax hike for Hamilton County residents, Commissioner David Sharpe plans to propose an initiative to soften the blow to seniors on a fixed income, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The program will supplement the state’s existing Property Tax Relief Program of 2018 that aids elderly homeowners, disabled homeowners, disabled veteran homeowners and widows of disabled veteran homeowners. Early estimates show that the program will cost the county about $360,000 annually.

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Tax Law Forum – Sept. 20

This year's Tax Law Forum is set for Sept. 20 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Registration is open, so reserve your spot today.

Look for additional details regarding speakers and session topics in an upcoming Connect.

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Nashville Metro Council Member Proposes 16% Property Tax Increase

Councilmen Bob Mendes proposed a 16% property tax increase in order to better fund Nashville schools, employee raises and make up for the budget revenue shortfall, the Tennessean reports. The proposal challenges Mayor David Briley’s proposed budget, which does not include an increase in property taxes. Budget talks will continue among the Metro Council, and Mendes’ alternative budget is slotted for a second reading on June 4. The Metro Council will vote on a final budget on June 18.

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Metro Nashville Government Releases Report on Tax Incentive Funding

The Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County released its Tax Increment Financing Study & Formulating Committee Report, which examines Metro’s Tax Incentive Funding (TIF) used to promote redevelopment in blighted areas. Mayor David Briley signed ordinance BL2018-1315 creating the committee to formulate recommendations on implementation of and ensure more transparency regarding the municipalities use of TIF. In its report, the committee compiled a number of observations and 17 recommendations, formally asking the Mayor’s Office to provide Metro Council with a description of agencies or departments that will address the recommendations, including cost estimates for implementation. The committee was scheduled to present its recommendations to the Metro Council last week. 

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Your TBA Free CLE Credits Expire June 30

TBA members receive three hours of free CLE programming. Your credits expire June 30 for the current bar year. You may apply them to any available course here or donate them. Members can use this credit to cover all or part of the cost of live programs or on any online CLE program. (The course does not have to take place by June 30.)
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Some Gold Star Families See Tax Increase on Survivor Benefits

After the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, some Gold Star families saw taxes on their survivor benefits more than double, CNN reports. Under the law, children of deceased service members that were previously taxed at the parents’ rate now fall into a new tax bracket known as the “Kiddie Tax,” which has a rate of 37 percent. According to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a nonprofit that assists the families of fallen soldiers, the bracket is to prevent wealthy families from hiding money in their children's names by taxing 'unearned income' and is intended as a trust and estate tax.

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Study Credits Tennessee Tax Policies for Economic Growth

A new study by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank comprised of legislators and business leaders, puts Tennessee in its top ten list of states with a positive economic outlook, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Between 2007 and 2017, Tennessee’s GDP rose 43.1 percent, with the state growing payroll employment by 8 percent. The study credits Tennessee’s relatively low tax rates, lack of personal income tax and plans to phase out inheritance and unearned income taxes, among other reasons, for the state’s economic standing.

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IKEA in Memphis will Opt Out of PILOT Tax Breaks

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA will opt out of its 11-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) break because the company failed to meet program requirements, the Daily Memphian reports. IKEA initially agreed to hire 175 employees with an average wage of $41, 011, however, currently employs 147 people with an average wage of $36,944. The company may get another year of incentives if it follows through on environmental projects such as water conservation efforts and installing a solar powered roof.

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U.S. Department of the Treasury Releases Updated Rules Regarding Opportunity Zones

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Wednesday released its second set of proposed regulations regarding the Opportunity Zones tax incentive, The New York Times reports. Introduced in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the initiative is intended to encourage development in economically distressed communities by allowing investors to defer, reduce or eliminate taxes on some capital gains when the investments are held for at least 10 years. Critics argue that the incentives, as introduced, would benefit real estate developers, not small businesses, and speed up the displacement of low-income residents in gentrifying areas. The new rules seek to quell some of these concerns, also allowing long-vacant properties to immediately qualify for the tax breaks and provides investors incentives even if the business focuses on exported goods or services to markets outside of the zone, pending the money is reinvested in another qualifying business or asset.

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Apply by June 1: Board of Governors to Fill Open Positions

Two open positions will be filled by the Tennessee Board of Governors at its meeting on June 15. In accordance with Article 47 of the TBA Bylaws, the board may fill the vacancies at its 2019 meeting. The West Grand Division Governor Position 1 seat represents Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley counties. The Fifth District Governor Position 1 seat is open because its current holder, Sherie Edwards, was elected to Vice President. The Fifth District represents Davidson County. If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, contact TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson in writing with your interest by June 1. Please include a resume with your submission.
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5 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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TBA Convention Kicks Off TOMORROW!

The big week is finally upon us: The Tennessee Bar Association’s Annual Convention begins tomorrow, June 12. This year’s Convention is chock-full of even better programming, exhibits and fun than last year! Look forward to:

  • Free Access to 9 Hours of CLE, including the Bench Bar Program, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Judicial Conference
  • Opening welcome reception
  • Bench Bar Luncheon (featuring keynote speaker, Ken Starr)
  • Law School and General Breakfasts
  • Lawyers Luncheon (featuring special honor for Sen. Lamar Alexander)
  • Thursday night joint reception sponsored with TLAW and TABL
  • Thursday night Dinner/Dance Party featuring My So-Called Band
  • Friday night TBALL/YLD Party
  • Access to activities and programming designed for well-being including massages, contemplative space and more.
  • Access to TBA's sponsorship hall to meet with exhibitors, participate in our special TBA Wellness Corner and win prizes.
• QUESTIONS: Just email convention@tnbar.org to get help.
 
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Volunteers Needed to Assist in Review of Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors

The TBA Elder Law Section is seeking assistance reviewing an updated edition of the 2019 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors. This resource contains practical information on a wide range of topics, including issues such as applying for Social Security benefits, long-term care considerations and estate planning, as well as completely new sections addressing online security and new health care legislation. Volunteers will aid in reviewing the resource for errors prior to release. If you are able to assist with this important initiative, please email Elder Law Section Coordinator Jarod Word.

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Help4TNDay Kicks Off Saturday

Tennessee lawyers are invited to participate in Help4TNDay activities throughout the month of April. Events will bring attention to the ongoing need for free and low-cost legal services and highlight the groups that provide these services to disadvantaged Tennesseans. Opportunities include volunteering to help clients in need through Tennessee Free Legal Answers (TFLA) or at a local legal clinic. The events kick-off this Saturday with a statewide virtual legal clinic, where attorneys across the state will answer questions on TFLA from noon to 2 p.m. Simultaneously, the TBA will host an on-site TFLA Clinic and Luncheon in Nashville. To participate in the TBA event, contact Liz Todaro. Help4TNDay is a joint effort by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, the Administrative Office of the Courts, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association. 
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Deadline for Veterans to Claim Special Tax Refund Approaches

The deadline for veterans to claim a tax refund ends this year, Clarksville Now reports. Passed in 2016, the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act seeks to provide refunds to qualified veterans who may have had taxes mistakenly withheld from their disability severance pay between 1991 and 2016. An initiative of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands, the Tennessee Taxpayer Project seeks to get the word out to all veterans who may qualify. By July 2019, eligible veterans must file an amended tax return for the year in which they received disability severance in order to receive a refund. Most people are eligible to receive between $1,750 and $3,200.

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