Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Barristers on Beale Street by Jonathan Wolf

Clerking for Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC has been an incredible adventure. I have gotten to sit in on motion hearings, depositions, and mediation, all of which I found unbelievably interesting. However, if I had to pick one defining event of my first few months of clerkship, it would be Larry Rice’s famous divorce seminar.

In a world where lawyers can fulfill their continuing legal education (“CLE”) requirements via webinar from the convenience of their offices or living rooms, Larry Rice still draws hundreds of enthusiastic lawyers (and their tourism dollars) from all over the country to the historic Old Daisy Theatre on Beale Street. As soon as I took my seat, the lawyer sitting next to me whispered: “If going to CLE usually has the same effect on you as a sleeping pill; Larry’s seminar is the antidote!!” Larry has spoken on family law for the last 27 years throughout North America and recently published the 25th edition of his book, "The Complete Guide to Divorce." 

Larry masterfully lectured on a myriad of topics such as law practice management, maintaining client relations, drafting Marital Dissolution Agreements, conducting client interviews, and mediation. He also shared a plethora of invaluable trial techniques. Additionally, I was lucky enough to hear Dr. John Leite deliver a fascinating lecture on the neurobiology of divorce. According to Larry: “The goal of the seminar is for lawyers to leave with tools to better serve people going through the worst times of their lives.”

Throughout the seminar, Larry kept the audience engaged more like a ringmaster than a lecturer. There was never a dull moment. Another barrister mentioned, “I attended Larry Rice’s seminar years ago and it was the best CLE I had ever attended. When I heard another one was scheduled, I brought my whole team! It is still the best CLE I have ever attended.” Although, I personally don't have anything to compare it to, I am confident Larry Rice set the bar for future CLE’s impossibly high.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

To My Rice Amundsen and Caperton Family: By Jennifer Bicknell

To My Rice Amundsen and Caperton Family,
            I have been avoiding thinking about leaving.  I knew it was coming but I let it remain in the abstract to avoid any tears (I’m one of those ugly criers).  But, today is the day, and I guess I cannot avoid it any longer.
            Words cannot adequately express how much I have loved being a part of this family.  My time at the office has been one of the best things about being in Memphis; oh yeah and the whole graduating from law school thing was great too.  We have worked hard, played hard, drank hard, and laughed hard and I have loved every moment (well, almost every moment – there were some moments of extreme dislike when I was on my tenth trip up the stairs carrying boxes but…).  I had an amazing experience working here.  I learned so much about practicing law and I will always feel like this is my firm.
            I would like to give a special thank you to Larry.  Thank you for hiring me and allowing me to be a part of what you have built.  You created a place that helps each person shine and do what they do best and always feel appreciated.  I will miss your daily rounds, asking if we need anything and if we are happy.  I will miss it because I know you are genuinely concerned that we are happy and will do what you can to make sure we have what we need to be successful.  Thank you for your generosity, not only on bonus days (which I love and appreciate), but also your generosity of time in allowing me to go to court and mediations as well as just being willing to explain strategies and the like.  Your leadership has flowed down to every other person here and you have created a culture of teaching, cooperation, and openness. 
            I look forward to hearing all about the amazing things you all have happening in your lives.  I will miss each and every one of you.  This is a very special place to work and you all are extremely special to me.
All my love to all of you,
Jennifer Bicknell

Friday, March 27, 2015

You Should Have Been There! By: Jennifer Bicknell

           You should have been there!  Ever heard those words before?  Well, last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday you should have been to the Divorce Practice with Larry Rice “Friends and Family Law” Seminar.  Larry managed to include enough information that could fill two weeks of seminars into two and a half days and did it with an incredible amount of insight, experience, and a touch of irreverence…ok, a lot of irreverence because I am writing about Larry Rice after all.
             Some of the topics Larry personally lectured about were about law practice management, maintaining client relations, how to conduct an effective client interview, drafting Marital Dissolution Agreements and Permanent Parenting Plans, mediation, and trial techniques.  Not only did Larry lecture for two days, but he also brought in several excellent speakers such as his partner, Amy Amundsen, who spoke on tax tips you need to know for divorcing clients.  Also on the agenda was Mary Wagner who discussed appellate practice.  Dr. John Leite delivered a lecture on the neurobiology of divorce and Steve Conn discussed drug and alcohol testing techniques.  In addition, Nick Rice went over digital dos and don’ts surrounding social media.  Rob Vance discussed the numbers of divorce regarding business valuations and Nick Rice and Joe Barton both discussed the pesky business of collecting fees.  Finally, Andrea Schultz discussed the role of the paralegal and the importance of utilizing them in your law office.
             A portion of the proceeds from this seminar are also earmarked for the newly inaugurated Rice, Amundsen & Caperton Family Law Scholarship available to law students at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
             Rumor has it that Larry will be doing this seminar one more time in 2017 so don’t miss out!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Amendment 2 Passed by Justin Steele

               Tuesday, Nov. 4th was Election Day and specifically Amendment 2 passed by a huge majority.  If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I wrote about Amendment 2 several months ago saying that it was going to be bad.  Despite the outcome of last Tuesday I feel the same way today.  In case you didn’t read my previous blog post about Amendment 2 I will summarize.  Amendment 2 is bad because it removes the current method of judicial selection which has the appellate and Supreme Court level judiciary appointed by a nomination committee.   The Judicial Nomination Committee was good because it left much of the power to appoint judges, to the higher levels of the court system, with individuals  within the court system.  Now, however, we have approved an amendment which leaves the appointment of the appellate and Supreme Court in the hands of the governor, approval by the legislation and a retainment election by the people every 8 years.
               Our constitution previously stated that the Supreme Court was supposed to be elected by the people.  Now, many of us can see how that could be a problem because it would not insulate the judiciary from the political arena.  The previous process allowed for the retainment election every 8 years, which everyone claimed was enough to meet the requirement that the people had decided on their judiciary.  Personally, I do not believe that a retainment election meets the language of “elected by the people”, but then again, I do not want the Supreme Court to be elected by the people.  The current process is going to do twice as much damage though.  The people, which the constitution states should make the decision, still don’t get the vote but the judiciary is no more insulated from the political arena.  Instead of being approved by a group of many different people, candidates will now be approved by a much smaller body of highly political individuals who will sway their appointment decisions in any which way suits them at the moment.  I do not have a solution to the problem but I do not think amendment 2 was a wise amendment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“Thankful Every Day” by: Jennifer Bicknell

           Yesterday was Veterans’ Day and I wanted to take a moment to offer my thanks to all the Veterans, both those who have served in the past and those who serve today.  I am thankful for the sacrifices not only they have made and continue to make for our country, but also the sacrifices of their families.  As a former high school U.S. History teacher, I taught my fair share of lessons on the various wars that occurred throughout our history, and even those that occurred before there even was a United States, and I always tried to foster a respect and understanding of those sacrifices to my students. 
            So if you know a veteran, say “Thank you!”  If you see a veteran, say “Thank you!”  Be thankful for our veterans, not just on Veteran’s Day but every day!