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Front Page - Friday, September 27, 2013

Seats still available for The Sixth Circuit: A Year in Review

With just one percent of all federal cases reaching the Supreme Court of the United States, the decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit “by and large” govern those within its domain, says District Judge Curtis L. Collier. For this reason, Judge Collier believes every attorney practicing in the Greater Chattanooga area should consider attending “The Sixth Circuit: A Year in Review,” a conference the Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is scheduled to host next month.

Taking place Friday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Chattanoogan Hotel, the conference will feature a lunchtime presentation by the Honorable Jane Branstetter Stranch, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. The program will also feature two tracks offering reviews of the past year’s Sixth Circuit cases; one will present an overview of important civil cases, while the other track will cover precedent-setting criminal cases. A judges panel, an ethics presentation, and a post-conference reception will complete the day.

“The Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association has put forth a lot of effort in coming up with a challenging and exciting program,” Judge Collier said. “It ought to benefit not only our local lawyers but any lawyer who would like to practice before the Sixth Circuit.”

The conference will begin with the two tracts. The civil track will feature John C. Harrison of Evans, Harrison & Hackett, Tonya Kennedy Cammon of Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison, and Russell W. Gray of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Perry H. Piper, assistant United States attorney, Lee Davis of Davis & Hoss, and Anthony Martinez, first assistant federal defender, will discuss cases in the civil track.

Katharine Gardner, president of the local FBA and career law clerk of Magistrate Judge William B. Mitchell Carter, said each of the attorneys running a track is “a long-time practitioner who’s well-respected in his or her field.”

Following lunch, Judge Carter will moderate a panel of four judges occupying seats in the Eastern District of Tennessee, including Chief District Judge Thomas A. Varlan, Judge Collier, District Judge Harry S. Mattice, Jr., and Bankruptcy Judge Shelley D. Rucker.

“The topics will likely cover trial experience, technology, professionalism, bankruptcy issues, and sequestration,” said Judge Carter. “Courts are having to do more and more on ever restricting budgets. The public is largely unaware of this.”

The opportunity for participants to pose questions might send the 90-minute discussion in unexpected directions, said Judge Carter.

Gardner is especially looking forward to the 90-minute ethics presentation by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee. “I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him before, and he actually makes the subject interesting. He has a wonderful sense of humor,” she said.

The post-conference reception, which will begin at 5:00 p.m., will give participants rare and valuable “face time” with the judges, said Gardner.

The Bar has applied to allow conference participants to earn six hours of CLE credit, including one-and-a-half ethics hours. The cost is $200 for FBA members and $250 for non-members. Lunch and the reception are included.

For registration information, email Crews Townsend at chattanoogafba@gmail.com. The conference is limited to 100 participants.

Collier urged every attorney to consider filling one of the remaining seats. “The [Sixth Circuit] court is involved in a lot of things that affect people’s lives here on a day-to-day basis, and the better lawyers and the public understand how it operates, how it makes its decisions, and the cases it’s heard, the better off we’ll all be.”