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Posted by: Leo Bearman on Jun 23, 2020

 

In the 2019 – 2020 term, the local Inn of Court chapter tackled social issues that the world is finally discussing.  Before all the protests and demonstrations, the chapter organized programs for its members addressing social issues such as detrimental implicit bias in policing, explicit racism, and challenges within the criminal justice system. The chapter planned other socially relevant programs, but unfortunately, the coronavirus intervened and caused programs scheduled toward the end of the term to be postponed. 
 


 

On November 12, 2019, Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings addressed the Inn and discussed how the Memphis Police Department recruits officers and polices the community.  He also discussed how the department combats implicit bias within its ranks, as it strives to better serve Memphis’s residents.  Officer Lance Wright, a lead trainer for the department, accompanied Director Rallings and presented on methods to recognize and alleviate harmful implicit bias in police departments.

On January 14, 2020, Dr. Peter Simi, Chapman University professor of sociology and leading expert on extremist groups, educated the chapter on the rise and cause of hate groups and hate crimes in America.  Dr. Simi has studied hate groups for over 20 years and has interviewed extremists and immersed himself in their habitat.  He shared his extensive experiences with the chapter members to help them understand and combat racist ideology.

On February 11, 2020, the Director and Lead Counsel for the Tennessee chapter of the Innocence Project, Jessica Van Dyke, educated the chapter on the Innocence Project’s work, which led to over 362 wrongfully convicted people being released from prison.  She also discussed challenges within the criminal justice system that led to individuals being wrongfully convicted.  Sabrina Butler, a wrongfully convicted mother who was exonerated through the Innocence Project, also presented at this program and discussed her experience navigating the criminal justice system.

Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, but few people know about the 1919 Elaine Massacre, in which over 100 black residents of Elaine, Arkansas were murdered by white mobs and vigilante militias, aided by federal troops.  United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Brian Miller, is a member of the Elaine Massacre Memorial Committee who had several relatives slain in this massacre.  Judge Miller was scheduled to present on this topic at the March 18, 2020 meeting, but the program was cancelled because of the pandemic.
 




The chapter was going to further address issues within the criminal justice system by having Cyntoia Brown and her attorney, Houston Gordon (who is an Inn chapter member), present at its April 14, 2020 meeting, but that meeting also got cancelled.  Ms. Brown was a sex trafficking victim granted clemency while serving a life sentence for killing a “John” who she alleges was trying to kill her when she was 16 years old.  Ms. Brown and her attorney will discuss their experiences with the criminal justice system at a postponed program in the next term. 

Posted by: Tannera Gibson on Jun 5, 2020

​The Memphis Bar Association has issued the following statement: 

“We all have a responsibility to create a just society…” –Bryan Stevenson 
 

Lawyers have a duty to effect change in the face of societal ills, systemic injustice, unfairness, racial disparity, and all forms of discrimination.  The current political climate, with cities burning and hundreds of thousands of people around the world protesting these injustices in the face of a global pandemic, has divested us of the ability to turn a blind eye to issues that have plagued our society for centuries.   

 

The death of George Floyd has brought to the forefront issues that many of us may have been aware of, while being unaware of the depth of, the problem we face.  We have been charged with upholding the law, and we have a responsibility to step in and address circumstances that conflict with everything for which we vowed to stand.  We must not only denounce racial and societal injustices, but we also have a duty to act.  

 

Lawyers have been agents of change throughout history, working to end legal discrimination, to stop legal segregation, to exonerate the wrongfully incarcerated, and to codify the right to vote for minorities.  Now is the time for us to serve as we vowed, as change agents for the current issues plaguing our country.  The Memphis Bar Associated is committed to doing so—using the power vested in us as lawyers to ensure that systemic discrimination and injustice finally meet their long overdue end. 

 

Earlier this week, the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association issued a press release, which can be found here.  The Chapter is also seeking attorneys to represent peaceful protestors in matters such as disorderly conduct, obstructing roadway, resisting arrest, inciting riot, assault, or vandalism on a pro bono basis.  Prior criminal experience is not required but volunteers need to be licensed in Tennessee and in good standing.  To volunteer, click here 

 

      

 

Posted by: Patrick Hillard on Jun 29, 2020

 

 

Bar Unity March Speech Patrick J. Hillard, Esq.  June 24, 2020 
 
Howdy Folks, my name is Patrick Hillard and I will be speaking on behalf of myself.  After I speak, we will have 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence.  I want each of you to look at the person to your left, and the person to your right, and understand what it means to truly be united. 

To stand united against racism.  To stand united against injustice.  To stand united against inequality.  To be one. A single note doesn’t make a song, and a single voice doesn’t carry a movement.  We need each and every one of your voices to help move this forward.  We need you to speak up in rooms where someone else’s scream is not being heard.  Your voice may change that room; together our voice will change the world.  We can do this.  We will do this. 

 Ask yourselves during that 8 minutes and 46 seconds what can you do?  What will you do?  Ask yourself why have you been silent in the past?  Ask yourself why did you laugh at that “awkward joke” or even worse, tell it.  Ask yourself why when a 4 year old mentions the boogie man under their bed you go and check for it, yet you won’t check for the boogie man in your board rooms. 

 People, we won’t get through this unless we are united.  We won’t get through this unless we stand together.  Take this 8 minutes and 46 seconds and let it be the last time you are silent about any of these issues.  Let it be the last time you are silent in the face of racism, in the face of systemic racism.  8 minutes and 46 seconds is about to feel like an eternity.  After it’s finished, make sure you don’t waste another second.  Thank you.   

 

Posted by: Brian Faughnan on Mar 26, 2020

Thanks to Brian Faughnan of Lewis Thomason for sharing one of his recent blog posts. Be sure to check out his website www.faughnanonethics.com.

Change seems like it never comes … right up until it does.

So, I’m not a public health expert and I try to pride myself on not talking too much about conversations to which I am unable to meaningfully contribute. Thus, I’m not going to purport to speak directly to how to be dealing with the pandemic looming over everything. I’ve been doing what little I can to try to help “flatten the curve,” because I’m economically privileged enough and have robust access to technology to be able to do so. If you are in a similar situation, I hope you will do the same.

I’m going to instead focus on something much smaller … the disappointing news out of California yesterday that goes a long way toward kneecapping the efforts of the California ATILS task force. As mentioned in an earlier post, the ATILS task force itself had already scaled down its efforts but the California State Bar voted down significant aspects of even the watered-down proposal.

If you’d like to read the details, you can do so at this The American Lawyer article. If you’d like a sense of what comes next, you can read this Twitter thread from Andrew Arruda, a very irked member of the task force.

All I want to say for today is that I don’t think the California State Bar is going to have the last word on this, not by a long shot.

Beyond the fact that the post-pandemic world is going to be different, I’m not prepared to predict what different exactly looks like. But it seems clear already that, at least in the United States, we are learning quickly that a lot of things people have been told weren’t possible actually are.

Your job likely can be done remotely through telecommuting. The for-profit health system can make allowance to discount costs. A quality legal education can be obtained through online classes. Courts do not have to have as many in-person hearings in order to dispense justice.

The list is much, much longer.

It is hard not to think that there are going to be a variety of businesses, large and small (including law firms), that will not be able to survive in an environment where large swaths of the population do not venture out of their house for much of a 30 or 60 day period. It won’t all be businesses in the food and beverage delivery industry and businesses that otherwise require large groups to gather. Yet, given the legalistic nature of U.S. society today, the demand for people to be helped with their legal and contractual rights likely only increases.

Whether that translates to an increased demand for lawyers to do those things though is a lot less clear.

Innovations will likely happen out of necessity.

In the meantime, stay safe out there.

Posted by: Anne Fritz on Sep 11, 2019

Memphis, Tenn.— September 11, 2019 – The Memphis Bar Association today released the results of its Judicial Preference Poll for the candidates in the contested City Court judicial and court clerks’ races on the October 3rd ballot.

The poll was sent to all licensed, practicing attorneys in Shelby County. Participants were not required to answer every question. The poll asked attorneys to select the one candidate in each race whom they felt was best qualified to serve. If an attorney did not know the candidates’ qualifications or had no opinion, he/she was instructed to mark “no opinion.”

“The Memphis Bar Association is pleased to provide this service to members of our community who may not have the opportunity to interact with our judiciary and candidates,” said Memphis Bar Association President Annie T. Christoff. “The poll represents lawyers’ collective opinion regarding sitting judges and candidates but is not intended as an endorsement by the Memphis Bar Association of any candidate.”

Click here to view the poll results.

Posted by: Anne Fritz on Aug 28, 2019

The Memphis Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association, is now accepting grant applications from 501(d)(3) organizations that provide law-related projects or programs in the Memphis area. The MBF awards grants up to a maximum of $10,000. Previous grant recipients include the Community Legal Center, Memphis Area Legal Services, the Public Action Law Society at the law school, and CasaLuz.

Click here to download the grant application, which is due by 5:00 p.m. on September 9, 2019. Questions? Contact Anne Fritz at afritz@memphisbar.org.

Posted by: Carole Doorley on Aug 20, 2019

The MBA Young Lawyers' Division is proud to host its annual Charity Golf Tournament Benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis on Friday, October 4, 2019 at the Links at Galloway Golf Course.

Register Now!

Sponsorship Opportunities

Our sponsorship opportunities range from a $250 hole sponsorship to a $1,150 Title Sponsorship. As part of the tournament, we also award prizes for “closest to the pin” and “longest drive”, team prizes and door prizes, all of which would not be possible without the generous support of local businesses. 

Learn more about sponsorship here. If you would like to discuss any of these sponsorship opportunities in greater detail, please contact Dylan Holzemer, or Chris Williams.

Posted by: Anne Fritz on Aug 16, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        August 15, 2019
 
For more information, contact Ann Pruitt (615) 775-9684; apruitt@tals.org
 
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) will present Harrison D.  McIver III with the Founder’s Award, an honor it established for the purpose of recognizing McIver’s extraordinary contributions to Tennessee’s access to justice community during his twenty-year tenure as Chair of Equal Justice University and tenure as Executive Director of Memphis Area Legal Services. The award will be presented on August 29, 2019, at the Leadership Luncheon, Embassy Suites Conference Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.   
 
Harrison D.  McIver III recently retired as CEO of Memphis Area Legal Services after more than twenty years as its leader.  His passion for diversity and inclusion, rigor in legal education programming and dedication to community building are embedded in the fabric of Equal Justice University, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Service’s annual public interest conference. Cathy Clayton, TALS’ Board Chair and Executive Director, West Tennessee Legal Services stated, “It is fitting that we are honoring Harrison’s legacy with the Founder’s Award at Equal Justice University’s Leadership Luncheon.”
 
McIver’s leadership has had a strong impact locally, regionally and nationally. In addition to raising MALS’ profile in all three arenas, McIver served as Chair of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association Board, President of the Southeast Project Directors Association twice, and held Board memberships on the National Equal Justice Library, TALS, Latino Memphis, the Memphis Bar Association and Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association. He served on the Advisory Board of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change and was a member of the University of Memphis Law School Dean Advisory Council.  He serves as a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s House of Delegates, Long Range Planning Committee and Access to Justice Committee. McIver’s long history of commitment to justice has been recognized in a number of contexts. He was presented the prestigious American Bar Association’s Charles Dorsey Award for promoting equal justice. The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) recognized his life’s work during a reception at an annual American Bar Association meeting.; the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association bestowed upon him the A.A. Latting Award for legal services; TALS presented him the B. Riney Green Award in recognition of his promoting collaboration within Tennessee; and the Memphis Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. presented him the Jessie Turner Award for community impact.  A highlight of his career was being invited by Congressman Steve Cohen to testify, on behalf of legal aid organizations nationwide, about the importance of legal services to the poor.
 
 
How to Participate
To register for the conference, visit https://www.tals.org/eju.  
 
Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is a statewide non-profit organization that builds   partnerships to support the delivery of effective civil legal services for low-income and elderly Tennesseans. TALS manages a web portal providing legal information- www.HELP4TN.org, and staffs 1-844-HELP4TN, a toll-free civil legal services referral and information phone line. Learn more at www.tals.org.
 
 

Posted by: Carole Doorley on Aug 8, 2019

The 36th Annual Race Judicata will be held on Saturday, September 21st at 9:00 a.m. at the UM Law School.  Last year, the MBA Wellness Committee partnered with the UM Law School Student Bar Association Wellness Committee to organize the Race, which had over 250 participants and raised nearly $10,000 for the Community Legal Center and Memphis Area Legal Services.  Our goal is to improve upon both those figures this year.  To do that, we need your help in one (or more) of the following ways: 

  1. Sign up to be a runner ($25 in advance) or spirit runner ($20) and form a running team with others in your firm or office.
  2. Consider sponsoring the Race (either yourself or your firm/business).  Sponsorship levels range from $250 (Sessions Sponsor) to Supreme Sponsor ($2,500).  Sponsorship includes a number of race entries and t-shirts.  All proceeds from the Race will benefit access to justice programs offered by the Community Legal Center and Memphis Area Legal Services. See the attached flyer for more details.
  3. Spread the word about the Race!  Like & follow Race Judicata on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RaceJudicata5K/, contact friends and colleagues and encourage them to participate, put up a poster (available at the MBA office) in your firm/office or places lawyers frequent.

We need your support to make this year's Race Judicata an even bigger success!  If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Christy Washington, Chair, MBA Wellness Committee, at cfwashingtonlaw@gmail.com or Anne at 901.333.0077; afritz@memphisbar.org.

Christy Washington, Chair                           Anne Fritz, Executive Director
Wellness Committee                                     Memphis Bar Association

 


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