The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) presented its inaugural “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award” to the law firm of Lewis Thomason at the KBA’s annual Bench & Bar Celebration on September 6, 2023. The award honors legal organizations that demonstrate a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the legal profession. Lewis Thomason was recognized as the 2023 Strategic Inclusion Leader for its demonstrable commitment and actions to advance these values by, among other things:
• Attracting and retaining diverse attorneys through the firm’s pipeline programs, including endowed scholarships and diverse law student clerkships;
• Maintaining an active and robust diversity committee;
• Providing leadership opportunities for diverse attorneys; and
• Offering annual inclusivity training.
Lewis Thomason prioritizes inclusion first because it recognizes that without inclusion diversity fails. Secondly, it prioritizes equity with a focus on fair and consistent outcomes. Last but not least, the firm focuses on increasing statistical diversity from a cross-section of gender, race, color, ability and disability, sexual orientation, religion, and geographical background.
In September 2022, the Knoxville Bar Association adopted its Strategic Inclusion Plan, memorializing its commitment to being an inclusion and diversity leader for its membership as well as the greater Bench and Bar.
According to KBA President Loretta Cravens, “Lewis Thomason’s DEI initiatives serve as a model to legal organizations for how we must listen, learn, and act in support of the people and communities we are privileged to serve. The Knoxville Bar Association is honored to shine the spotlight on Lewis Thomason for their goal-oriented diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and thanks them for developing a plan that may serve as a model for other professional legal organizations.”
Learn more about the Knoxville Bar Association Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award and the Strategic Inclusion Plan.
Photo Caption: Brooklyn Sawyers Belk, who serves on the Strategic Inclusion Plan Subcommittee of the Knoxville Bar Association’s Diversity in the Profession Committee, presents the inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award to Rod Fields, the managing partner of Lewis Thomason’s Knoxville Office, at the Bench & Bar Celebration on September 6, 2023.
Incumbent Municipal Judge John Rosson Jr. will face Tyler Caviness in the general election on November 7, 2023. In the Primary, Judge Rosson received 5,963 votes, and Tyler Caviness received 5,735. View all of the results from the August 29 Primary Election. Early voting for the general election begins on October 18 and runs through November 2, 2023.
As a service to the community, the KBA has developed a Get To Know Your Judicial Candidates section on our website to provide information about candidates running for Municipal Court Judge for the City of Knoxville.
Learn more about the candidates by viewing the 2023 Judicial Election pages here.
The Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice & Procedure annually presents recommendations to the Court to amend the Tennessee Rules of Appellate, Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile Procedure and the Tennessee Rules of Evidence. With its meeting on June 9, 2023, the Advisory Commission completed its 2022-2023 term, and the Commission thereafter transmitted its recommendations to the Court.
The Court hereby solicits written comments from the bench, the bar, and the public concerning the Advisory Commission’s recommended amendments set out in Appendix I (proposed amendments to the Rules of Appellate Procedure, Evidence, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Procedure) to this order. The deadline for submitting written comments is November 22, 2023. Written comments may either be submitted by email to email@example.com or by mail addressed to:
James Hivner, Clerk
Re: 2024 Rules Package
100 Supreme Court Building
401 7th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219-1407
Comments should reference the docket number set out above.
NEW Economics and Law Practice Management Survey
Have you ever wondered how your practice compares to other law offices in East Tennessee? Are you curious about total billable hours, salaries, benefits, staffing ratios, and job satisfaction for local attorneys? While the demand for legal services tends to fluctuate over time and across practice areas, you might find it helpful to learn about billing rates for attorneys and paralegals. The volatility of the economy in recent years has been accompanied by fears of skyrocketing overhead expenses for law firms. Overhead costs vary dramatically depending on the size and type of law firm. The survey will break down the factors that most impact financial success and drive the need for a strategic view of firms’ operations and the development of future plans. The KBA’s Economics and Law Practice Management Survey was conducted in 2019 and 2021, and since that time, the survey results have been used often by members in all different practice areas. View the results of past surveys.
What to expect:
On August 7, every attorney member of the KBA will receive an email containing a link to the survey. You can begin the survey and return to it as needed until completed without losing your answers. The survey will remain open until September 11. As an incentive, the ABA Division of Bar Services staff will randomly select two participants to win $250 Amazon gift cards.
The survey takes 15 minutes to complete, and if you don’t know the answer to a question, leave it blank. To obtain meaningful results, we need a sufficient number of participants to complete the survey. To ensure confidentiality, the KBA has contracted with the ABA Division of Bar Services to conduct the survey in a manner that completely protects the privacy of each respondent, even from the KBA. Skip logic has been built in, so you won't spend time answering questions not relevant to your practice setting.
We need every member to participate in this confidential survey. When you complete the survey, you’re contributing to a more comprehensive and detailed data set that can provide your office the edge it needs to stay competitive, especially in the realms of recruitment and retention. The more firms that participate, the more useful the survey results will be.
The survey results will be reported in December at the KBA Annual Meeting and will include the data from the 2019 and 2021 surveys for comparison. The survey results will also be filtered by years in practice, employment setting, and firm size. We need your participation to provide members with valuable information regarding the economics and law office management of our local legal community.
The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) has begun a search to replace longtime Executive Director Marsha Watson, who will be leaving the post in December after 33 years. As the chief executive officer for the KBA, the director is responsible for the association's day-to-day operations under the policies determined by the KBA Board of Governors. The director manages a staff of five employees, an annual operating budget of approximately $775,000, and all entities' assets. Interested applicants should email a cover letter expressing their interest in the position along with a resume and references. Please include your salary requirements. Download the full job posting.
KBA Member Survey Results Released Evaluating Candidates for City of Knoxville Municipal Judge
For Immediate Release
The Knoxville Bar Association today released the results of its Candidate Survey for the City of Knoxville Municipal Judge on the ballot for the August 29 Primary Election. The Survey asked each KBA member to carefully assess whether the candidates have demonstrated the knowledge, skill, experience, training, education, professional ethics, and temperament to fulfill the duties of Municipal Court Judge. The candidates were rated according to the following options: Strongly Recommend, Recommend, Do Not Recommend, Strongly Do Not Recommend, and Do Not Know Well Enough to Rate Candidate. If an attorney did not know the candidates’ qualifications or had no opinion, they were instructed to mark “Do Not Know Well Enough to Rate Candidate.”
“The intent is not to endorse any particular candidate, but rather to inform the public of the opinions of the attorneys actively practicing in East Tennessee regarding candidates’ fitness to serve in the judicial and related offices to which they are seeking election. The Knoxville Bar Association is pleased to provide this service to members of our community who have few, if any, encounters with the court system,” said KBA President Loretta Cravens about the KBA’s Membership Survey policy. “An informed electorate is vital to the efficient administration of justice.”
The Survey was conducted electronically from June 26 until noon on July 14, 2023. Download a PDF of the results.
As a service to the community, the KBA has developed a “Get To Know Your Judicial Candidates” section on its website to provide information about the candidates running for Municipal Court Judge for the City of Knoxville. The site includes educational resources so voters will know what to look for in a judicial candidate and can make an informed decision at the ballot box. But the site's primary focus is the biographical profiles of the individual candidates to provide a convenient way for voters in Knox County to obtain non-partisan information about candidates.
The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) is pleased to announce the release of an update to the “Legal Resource Guide – Finding Legal Assistance in Knoxville,” a directory of legal service and information providers in our community. This 22-page resource includes information about government agencies, nonprofits, pro bono organizations, and others who help to ensure that all citizens have equal access to justice.
The Legal Resource Guide is compiled from information gathered by the KBA staff from the agencies and offices listed therein. The KBA is grateful for the assistance of the many offices who responded to our requests for updated information, and their generosity in sharing information about their respective organizations with the public.
The Legal Resource Guide is available for online viewing or download from the KBA website at www.knoxbar.org/LRG. The full array of information and services provided to the public by the KBA is available at www.knoxbar.org/legalhelp.
We know that members of the public rely on quality access to appropriate legal services. The Knoxville Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) can connect members of the public with a qualified attorney who is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association and can meet their legal needs with skill and care. The Knoxville Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service may be reached online at www.knoxbar.org/findalawyer or by telephone at (865) 522-7501.
As a service to the community, the KBA has developed a Get To Know Your Judicial Candidates section on our website to provide information about candidates running for Municipal Court Judge for the City of Knoxville. All four candidates have completed profiles to share their experience and why they want to serve as City Judge. The site also offers educational resources so voters will know what to look for in a judicial candidate and can make an informed decision at the ballot box.
The KBA's Candidate Member Survey for the August 29 City of Knoxville primary will be released to the membership on Monday, June 26, and the deadline is July 14. The Survey is not a popularity contest. Instead, it is an assessment of the merits of individuals, as seen through the eyes of their peers in the legal profession. The KBA believes that this poll will provide the voting public with valuable information because of our members' day-to-day work within the judicial system and the diversity of legal practices in which our members are engaged.
KBA members will assess whether the candidates have demonstrated the knowledge, skill, experience, training, education, professional ethics, and temperament to fulfill the duties of the Municipal Court judge. The Survey will ask members to evaluate each candidate's overall suitability for the offices they were seeking according to the following options: Strongly Recommend, Recommend, Do Not Recommend, Strongly Do Not Recommend, and Do Not Know Well Enough to Rate Candidate. The intent is not to endorse any particular candidate but rather to inform the public of the opinions of attorneys actively practicing in East Tennessee of candidates' fitness to serve as City Court Judge. The larger the percentage of KBA members who participate in the survey, the more representative of our bar will be in the information provided to the public and to the candidates, and the more we prove to the public that the legal profession cares about our system of justice.
The formal investiture ceremony for U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Richardson Wyrick will be held May 19 at 1:30 p.m. EDT in the James H. Quillen U.S. Courthouse, 220 West Depot St. in Greeneville. Wyrick, a former TBA president, was named a federal magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee in 2019, but her investiture ceremony was twice delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can RSVP for the ceremony using this form.
The Knox County Election Commission conducts five (5) elections every two (2) years, and for an election to be successful, hundreds of individuals are needed to staff Knox County’s 78 Election Day polling places. These individuals come from all walks of life and all corners of the county. They perform the vital work of checking in voters, providing the correct ballot, and helping voters cast their ballot. Democracy depends on these workers and their commitment to fair and secure elections.
There is a myth among many individuals in our community that an election worker must be retired or of a certain age to be an election worker. However, many of our best election workers have full-time employment and take off the two to three days a year needed to work an election. Please don’t let the fact you have a full-time job be a deterrent to considering election work.
Whether you are interested in the process and want to perform election work as a civic duty, you want something to add to your resume, you want to make a couple hundred dollars for a day’s work at the polls, or a combination of these reasons, Knox County‘s Election Commission is interested in talking to you.
Poll workers work all day on Election Day, from before the polls open at 8 a.m. until after the polls close at 8 p.m. In addition, they will need to attend a training session before the election. Poll workers are paid for their time on Election Day and for the training class.
More information on elections in Knox County can be found at www.knoxvotes.org. If you think you might be interested in working, or just want to find out more information about being a poll worker, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knox County - 2023 and 2024 Elections
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