PROGRAMS FOR 2019-2020
August 20, 2019
ORIENTATION AND INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS
SEPTEMBER 17, 2019
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands: Looking Back Over the First Fifty Years
(responsible for May Toast) CLE Program (1.5 dual hours)
The Preamble to Tennessee’s Rules of Professional Conduct prompts lawyers to “seek improvement of . . . access to justice” and to “be mindful . . . of the fact that the poor, and sometimes persons who are not poor, cannot afford adequate legal assistance.” Accordingly, Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 8, RPC 6.1 requests lawyers to “aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono publico service per year,” and to “voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.” The purposes of this program are (1) to review how the Legal Aid Society has provided lawyers with an opportunity to fulfill these ethical obligations for the past 50 years and (2) discuss the ways that lawyers can currently fulfill their obligations to serve the public good and to promote access to justice.
Barbara Holmes, Co-Captain
Skip Gant, Co-Captain
Alex Dickerson, reporter
Sue Kay, liaison
Mandy Strickland Floyd
OCTOBER 15, 2019
Social Media and the First Amendment
(responsible for April Toast) CLE Program (1.5 general hours)
The First Amendment protects individuals from censorship by the government. However, because social media platforms are private companies, they can censor content posted by persons using their platform as they see fit. Because of the growing role of social media in public discourse, important issues have arisen regarding the role these platforms should play in the “marketplace of ideas.” The purposes of this program are (1) to explain how various social media platforms censor content, (2) to compare these policies with the protections of the First Amendment, (3) to discuss the extent to which social media should be held responsible for curtailing misinformation and lies, and (4) to ask whether First Amendment protections should be extended to persons who post on social media.
Neal McBrayer, Co-Captain
Erin Polly, Co-Captain
Ashonti Davis, reporter
Bill Ramsey, liaison
NOVEMBER 19, 2019
Give It a Shot: Vaccines and the Law
(responsible for March Toast) CLE Program (1.5 general hours)
The Centers of Disease Control recommends 9 vaccines for children between birth and 6 years old. While federal law does not currently require vaccinations, all 50 states make certain vaccines a prerequisite for children who attend public schools. All but 3 states permit exemptions from vaccinations for various medical, religious, and philosophical reasons. While the medical support for vaccinations is uniform, a significant number of parents question the safety and efficacy of vaccines for children. This program is designed (1) to examine the competing rights and interests at stake in the current debate about compulsory vaccination of children and (2) to highlight the legal precedents that inform the debate.
Anne Martin, Co-Captain
Tom Haroldson, Co-Captain
James Haltom, reporter
Andrée Blumstein, liaison
DECEMBER 10, 2019
MEMBER/GUEST HOLIDAY RECEPTION
JANUARY 21, 2020
Profiles in Courage: Tennessee Lawyers Taking a Stand
(responsible for February Toast) CLE Program (1.5 dual hours)
It is commonplace to hear about attorneys behaving badly. From crass lawyer jokes, to mass media portrayals of scheming litigators, to stories about real life lawyers who create ethical quagmires for themselves and others, accounts of the legal profession can be demoralizing. In the face of these perceptions, it is important to remember that the Preamble to Tennessee’s Code of Professional Conduct sets high standards. It emphasizes that lawyers are expected “to promote justice and the public good” and to “further the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority.”
By its very nature, the practice of law can be difficult. Recognizing this reality, the Preamble points out that “many difficult issues of professional discretion can arise” and advises that “[s]uch issues must be resolved through the exercise of sensitive professional and moral judgment guided by the basic principles underlying the Rules.” The goal of this program is to profile lawyers whose conduct under difficult circumstances exemplifies the Preamble’s aspirational expectations. By focusing on lawyers who represented unpopular clients, advocated for unpopular causes, challenged the powerful, or advocated the rights of minorities, this program will encourage other lawyers to follow in their footsteps.
Richard Dinkins, Co-Captain
Maria Salas, Co-Captain
Stephanie Williams, reporter
Chris Sabis, liaison
FEBRUARY 18, 2020
Lyft, Uber and AirBNB: Legal Issues from the “Sharing Economy”
(responsible for January Toast) CLE Program (1.5 general hours)
The sharing economy, a relatively new way of distributing goods and services, is one of the fastest growing business trends in history. Merriam-Webster defines “sharing economy” as “economic activity that involves individuals buying or selling usually temporary access to goods or services especially as arranged through an online company or organization.” Although the sharing economy offers numerous opportunities to those who participate as both providers and consumers, it has grown so rapidly that safety and legal concerns are still being worked out. Consequently, businesses like Lyft, Uber, and AirBNB have operated in a legal gray area as the law learns how such business work, and governments enact regulatory laws. The purpose of this program is to review the legal issues confronted by the parties involved in various types of sharing economy transactions, including employment classification, taxation, premises liability, local regulation, property use restrictions, and insurance coverage and liability.
Alistair Newbern, Co-Captain
Tony Orlandi, Co-Captain
Emily Mack, reporter
Bernadette Welch, liaison
MARCH 17, 2019
How Much Judicial Deference Is Too Much?
(responsible for November Toast) CLE Program (1.5 general hours)
In Chevron, U.S.A. v. National Resources Defense Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984) and Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), the United States Supreme Court articulated the standards to be used by federal courts to review administrative agencys’ interpretation of the statutes they administer and their own regulations. The judicial deference to these agency interpretations mandated by Chevron and Auer has entered a period of uncertainty. This program provides an opportunity (1) to explore the reasoning, criticisms, and practical impact of Chevron and Auer and the role the courts should play in reviewing agency decisions, (2) the growth of the administrative state and Congress’s delegation to rule- making authority to administrative agencies, and (3) the extent that the Chevron and Auer doctrines have been adopted by Tennessee and other state courts.
Eli Richardson, Co-Captain
Sarah Campbell, Co-Captain
Rachelle Gallimore-Scruggs, reporter
Bill Koch, liaison
APRIL 21, 2020
European Union 101: Is This Really a Happy Union?
(responsible for October Toast) CLE Program (1.5 general hours)
The European Union is a unified trade and monetary body of 28 member countries. It eliminates all border controls between members. That allows the free flow of goods and people, except for random spot checks for crime and drugs. The EU transmits state-of-the- art technologies to its members. The areas that benefit are environmental protection, research and development, and energy. Its purpose is to enable Europe to be more competitive in the global marketplace. At the same time, it must balance the needs of its independent fiscal and political members. Three bodies run the EU. The EU Council represents national governments. The Parliament is elected by the people. The European Commission is the EU staff. They make sure all members act consistently in regional, agricultural, and social policies. Contributions of 120 billion euros a year from member states fund the EU.
The purposes of this program are (1) to review the EU’s historical background, particularly the role WWII played in its formation, (2) the purpose, structure, and governance of the EU, (3) the current legal disputes between the EU and member states arising from conflicts based on national sovereignty, conflicting laws, and nationalism, (4) the potential impact of Brexit on the EU, and (5) the future of the EU.
Waverly Crenshaw, Co-Captain
Kathryn Barnett, Co-Captain
Jennifer Lankford, reporter
Chasity Goodner, liaison
MAY 19, 2020
State of Tennessee v. Duncan Cooper and Robin Cooper
(responsible for September Toast) CLE Program (1.5 general hours)
On November 9, 1908, Edward Carmack, a prominent attorney, newspaperman, and political figure was killed in a shootout with Colonel Duncan Cooper, a journalist, publisher, and leading figure in the Democratic Party, and his son Robin Cooper. This incident was the culmination of a bitter dispute between the two men. Colonel Cooper and his son were tried for first degree murder. Notwithstanding Governor Malcolm Patterson testimony on Colonel Cooper’s behalf, both defendants were convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to twenty years in prison. While the case was pending before the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Democratic Executive Committee, controlled by Governor Patterson, attempted to influence the outcome of the appeal by giving the governor more control over the selection of Supreme Court nominees for the upcoming judicial elections. Despite these efforts, the Tennessee Supreme Court, in a split decision, upheld Colonel Cooper’s conviction and remanded Robin Cooper’s case for a new trial. Soon after the Court announced its decision, Governor Patterson pardoned Colonel Cooper.
The purposes of this program are (1) to explore the background of the dispute between Colonel Cooper and Mr. Carmack and the conduct of the trial, (2) to discuss the impact of Governor Patterson’s efforts to manipulate the judicial selection process while the case was pending and their impact on the independence of the judiciary, and (3) to examine the results of the 1910 judicial elections and the long-term effects on the judiciary in Tennessee.
Hank Hildebrand, Co-Captain
Dawn Deaner, Co-Captain
Raquel Bellamy, reporter
Matt Sweeney, reporter
Melissa Van Pelt