Tag Archives: lack

The Legislature’s Looming Lawyer Shortage

(Note: This is an unedited version of a column written for Sunday’s News Sentinel.)
In an interview last week, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick remarked that the Legislature doesn’t have enough lawyers these days.
“We need more attorneys in the House of Representatives. We need more attorneys in our (Republican) Caucus,” he said.
McCormick’s comment came while talking about state House races this year. He made it in saying he supports Rep. Linda Elam, a lawyer, over former state Rep. Susan Lynn, a non-lawyer, in this summer’s Republican primary clash between the two.
Coincidentally, a fundraising solicitation sent out the same day by Phillip North, a Democratic lawyer who is running for the state Senate in Nashville, made a similar point.
“Out of the 132 members of our Tennessee Legislature (99 representatives and 33 senators), only 17 are practicing attorneys. In the Senate, four of our attorney senators will be retiring. Three are up for re-election in contested races. In the House, three are up for re-election.
“By the time Tennesseans vote in November, the number of attorney legislators could be as little as four in the Senate and three in the House,” wrote North, suggesting this would not be a good thing though “I know you have concerns beyond the legal profession and so do I.”
So there you have it: Bipartisan concern that we’re short of lawyers in Legislatorland.

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Lack of Focus a Problem for Occupiers?

The Occupy Nashville protesters have been clear in their resolve to remain at the foot of the Tennessee Capitol, writes Chas Sisk. But what it will take to persuade them to leave is as uncertain as ever, a fact that both sympathizers of the movement and its detractors say could lead to its undoing. Nearly two months after the Occupy protests started, no one seems to know where they are going — not even the protesters themselves.
The Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoots have raised questions about wealth distribution and the role of money in politics, but they have failed to articulate concrete solutions. Leaderless and fragmented, the movement may not even have the ability to do so.
The Occupy protests stand in stark contrast to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, which for the most part was disciplined and well coordinated. But with the rise of social media and an unsettled political environment, some observers believe the movement could still lead somewhere significant.
Two years ago, many people doubted tea party protests could exert much influence without clear goals or leadership. Yet, those protests have redirected American politics.
“(Occupy protests) are a populist impulse on the left, just as the tea parties were a populist impulse on the right,” said Gary Gerstle, a history professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in social movements. “What the two movements share is a sense of people being exploited.”