News

TBA to Introduce Legal Document Generation

The TBA will soon launch a new subscription-based product for Tennessee lawyers — automated legal forms. The initiative will use HotDocs, a custom documentation generator that creates form templates and speeds up the preparation process based on client and case data. In order to provide this valuable resource to our members, we hope to obtain your comments and ideas on forms you deem beneficial for replication. With across-the-board participation, we can comprise a substantive, comprehensive database where subscribers will have access to forms submitted by all TBA sections. Please send suggestions and comments to TBA Membership Director Mindy Fulks.

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Last Chance to Register for International Forum

 
Early bird registration for the TBA's International Law Forum ends on Feb. 16. Three international business panels make up this Feb. 22 Nashville program and include a stacked line-up of speakers. Register now before it's too late!
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TBA Offers Complimentary Meeting Rooms

Your membership includes free use of TBA’s meeting rooms for mediations, depositions and arbitrations. Rooms include display monitors and WiFi access. Available spaces can provide seating for 6-75. Please contact Linda Murphy for application and details. (A small hospitality fee provides coffee, sodas, water and parking.)
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International Law Forum on Feb. 22

Join your colleagues Feb. 22 as the International Law Section shares the latest updates and hot topics in international law. This forum at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville is applicable for the experienced and the new business attorney, corporate counsel, employment law and technology law attorney, as well as those exposed to the current and changing international law issues and events affecting Tennessee companies, individuals and beyond. Three hours of General CLE are available. Stay following the event, for a networking reception.
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IP, Trade Talks Between China and U.S. Continue This Week

Officials from China and the U.S. have yet to come to an agreement regarding trade and intellectual property issues, Bloomberg reports, but talks are set to resume this week. American officials confirmed the lack of progress and reported that China continued to deny the alleged IP theft and requested proof. China’s top economic emissary, Liu He, is scheduled to attend the next round of talks in Washington, D.C. this week.

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Register Now! International Law Forum on Feb. 22

 
Stay on track earning your CLE credits by attending the International Law Forum on Feb. 22 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Early bird registration ends tomorrow, Feb. 16!
 
This program is applicable to a wide variety of practice areas, including business law, corporate counsel, employment law, law tech and immigration. Three international business panels make up this afternoon program and include a stacked line-up of speakers. Topics to be discussed include Government & Private International Manufacturing Perspectives, International Sourcing, Importing & Exporting Perspectives and International Entertainment & Tourism Perspectives.
 
Join us for an evening reception immediately following the program for a chance to network with attendees and speakers. Read more about the panels and register for the program here.
 
Unable to attend the live course? Join us virtually for the live webcast!

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Federal Government Reopens for 3 Weeks

President Trump agreed last week to reopen the federal government for three weeks while negotiations proceeded over how to secure the nation’s southwestern border, The New York Times reports. The decision paved the way for Congress to pass spending bills immediately that Trump will sign to restore normal operations at a series of federal agencies until Feb. 15 and begin paying again the 800,000 federal workers who have been furloughed or forced to work for free for 35 days.
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Meditation Apps Help Incorporate Mindfulness Each Day

Consider a meditation app for your phone to help incorporate mindfulness into your day. The accessibility and variety of meditation apps can make them beneficial and easy to try. Some, such as Mindbody, Stop, Breathe & Think, 10% Happier, Breethe, Omvana, Insight Timer, Sattva Meditations & Mantras, and Smiling Mind (which can be tailored to different age groups) are free. Others, such as Calm, Headspace, and the Mindfulness App, have free trials and can be upgraded to a paid subscription. Comparisons of various apps are available on www.healthline.com or www.bestproducts.com.
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Judge Blocks Trump Plans to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

A federal judge in New York ruled against the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, NPR reports. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count "without curing the legal defects" the judge identified in his opinion. The district court ruling in New York is expected to be appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court.
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Bloomberg Exposes “Ghost” Worker Loophole for Major Companies

A Bloomberg News investigation recently exposed a loophole that allows big-name companies, like Target and Walmart, to utilize cheap, undocumented labor through contractors. One such contractor that has been partnered with Target since 2003, Diversified Maintenance Systems LLC, has faced allegations of labor violations in the past, including putting undocumented immigrants to work by utilizing pay cards under assumed names in order to hide the illegal status of the employee. The article profiles Martha Lopez, an illegal immigrant working at a Target in Brentwood, Tenn. who experienced a loss of an entire month’s worth of wages due to the pay card practice. When she confronted her employer regarding the missing pay, she was told no one would listen to her because she did not exist on their system due to her working under an assumed name, like a ghost. Since these contracted employees do not work directly for the large companies, the company is able to benefit from this source of illegal, cheap labor without fear of penalty. Bloomberg inquired with Target regarding Lopez’s case and the labor practices of Diversified; within a couple days Target decided to cancel its contract with the company in the state of Tennessee.

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Forum Selection Provision in Corporate Charter or Bylaws Deemed Unenforceable Under Delaware Law for Securities Claims

While Delaware statutes permit corporations to include bylaws provisions specifying a forum for “internal affairs claims,” such provisions in corporate documents do not apply to external relationships. In a Dec. 19 opinion, the Delaware Chancery Court ruled in the case of Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg that a provision in an incorporation certificate stating that any claim under the Securities Act of 1933 must be brought in federal court was unenforceable. The court noted the fundamental principle that corporate charters are not ordinary contracts binding the rights and obligations of private individuals, but rather are instruments creating a corporate entity, whose existence is recognized and regulated by a state. Delaware’s authority over the internal affairs of corporations “does not extend to (a corporation’s) external relationships.”

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Venezuela Sued Over Unpaid Bonds

Florida-based firm Casa Express Corp. filed suit in New York federal court yesterday against Venezuela for unpaid debt, Reuters reports. The firm via a trust of the same name represents bondholders who are demanding payment on over $34 million of unpaid principal and interest. This may be the first legal action taken by creditors since the nation defaulted on its debt. The article notes that "the government of President Nicolas Maduro stopped making payments on nearly all bonds issued by Venezuela and state oil company PDVSA this year and has accumulated some $8 billion in pending interest and principal." Last month, a group of creditors demanded payment on a $1.5 billion defaulted bond, but no claims have been taken to court. 

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Join Us Today: LAW TECH

Today's the day! Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville!

The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

CLE TOPICS:
  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show 2019: BEAT THE CLOCK
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Know When to Hold 'Em
  • Digital Evidence – A Technical Life Raft for the Legal Mind
  • Make it Rain: Ethics Guidelines and Practice Essentials

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including an iPad Pro. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

TAKE A LYFT: TBA has partnered with Lyft to offer attendees a discounted ride.

  • New to Lyft?: Get $5 off 2 rides at http://lyft.com/i/lawtech5 or download the app and enter code LAWTECH5
  • Already Have Lyft?: Save 10% off 2 rides to or from Law Tech Blast with code LAWTECH

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS:


 

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Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

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Best Twitter Accounts for Legal Issues

Looking for some great social media follows? The American Bar Association is out with its list of best legal Twitter accounts of 2018. Included for the first time this year is @inspiredcat, the account of Vanderbilt Law School professor Cat Moon. Members can also always keep up locally with the TBA at our Twitter accounts, @TennesseeBar, @TennBarJournal or @TBAYLD.

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December CLE in 6 Cities

TBA offers CLE in six locations during December. See offerings in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City and Jackson. Find last-minute by the hour through Dec. 31 or take any of the TBA's online CLE packages.
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Hot Topics in International Law/Congress Set for Tomorrow

Tomorrow's noon CLE Hot Topics in International Law webcast will discuss the major issues from the new Congress in the areas of trade, tax and business. The program will also review what to do with unreported foreign accounts now that OVDP has ended with some thoughts directly from some recent IRS presentations.
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Republican Lawmakers Ask Trump to Pull Out of Trade Deal Over LGBT Protections

40 House Republicans on Nov. 16 sent a letter to President Trump asking him to drop out of the latest trade proposal with Mexico and Canada because of a provision encouraging countries to adopt policies barring anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce, The Washington Blade reports. The group, led by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), say they are “deeply concerned” by the proposed requirements and that “a trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy.” The lawmakers maintain that the proposal would undermine efforts currently underway in the U.S. government. 

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Nissan Chairman Dismissed Following Tokyo Arrest

Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been dismissed from the company after an internal investigation found he under-reported his income by millions and engaged in other “significant misconduct,” The Associated Press reports. He voluntarily submitted to questioning last week by Tokyo prosecutors. Nissan calls Nashville home in North America, and its Smyrna-based plant is one of the largest employers in the greater Nashville area.
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U.S. Mulls Doubling Tariffs on China

According to Business Standard, Recently at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence took a hard line Saturday when asked about China and tariffs stating, "The United States, will not change course until China changes its ways." The U.S. is asking China for improve market access and intellectual property protections for U.S. companies, cut industrial subsidies and slash a $375 billion trade gap. With no end in sight this warning will likely be unwelcome news to financial markets that had hoped for a thaw in relations and maybe even some sort of deal at a G20 meeting later this month in Argentina. For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping has said, "History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a Cold War, hot war or trade war will produce no winners."

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Mark Your Calendars!

European Real Estate Giant Invests in U.S. Commercial Lending

One of Europe’s largest real estate investment firms is jumping into the U.S. debt market, The Wall Street Journal reports. AXA Investment Managers — a unit of the French insurer AXA — is set to purchase the $9.4 billion debt portfolio of Atlanta-based Quadrant Real Estate Advisors for an undisclosed amount. Quadrant specializes in loans bankrolled on office buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings and other commercial property.

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Former Baker Aide to be Ambassador to Australia

President Donald Trump has nominated attorney and Tennessee native A.B. Culvahouse Jr. as ambassador to Australia, the Nashville Post reports. The former aide to Sen. Howard Baker also served as legal counsel to President Ronald Regan and was previously chair of international law firm O’Melveny & Myers. “A.B. Culvahouse is an exceptionally fine nominee for Ambassador to Australia,” Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a statement. “His experience as counsel to President Reagan and President Trump and former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, and his leadership of one of the world’s major law firms equip him to represent our country well."

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U.S. Secretary of State says Khashoggi Murder Violated International Law

French News Agency AFP reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week, "The killing, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Turkey violates the norms of international law. That much is very, very clear." As part of retaliatory actions, the United States has identified 21 Saudis whose visas would either be revoked or would not be renewed. Pompeo stressed that he wanted to preserve the decades-old alliance with Saudi Arabia and declined explicitly to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

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Rights Group: Migrant Caravan Crackdown Violates International Law

Rights groups are warning that responses to Central American migrants, refugees going to U.S., may violate international law. Al Jazeera reports the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico in recent weeks have fortified parts of their borders, deployed police and military forces and held or returned migrants and refugees. Some of these measures violate international law or risk doing so, according to human rights groups and international agencies. These groups claim that these and other actions violate the Refugee Act of 1980.

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