Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the founder of the (NeW) Network of Enlightened Women, Karen Lips to the newsmaker line to discuss the organization’s recent call for part-time attorneys not to continuously take the bar due to their part-time status and create a more family-friendly policy in the state of Tennessee and others.
Leahy: We welcome to our microphones on the newsmaker line now Karin Lips, who’s the president of the Network of Enlightened Women. There’s a Tennessee issue you want to talk about, Karin; good morning. How are you?
Lips: I’m doing well! How are you doing?
Leahy: I’m delighted you are enlightened (Chuckles) because we need enlightenment here.
Lips: (Chuckles) We need more young, conservative women leaders. I will tell you that.
Leahy: That’s why you’re enlightened. Young conservative women are by definition enlightened. So you’ve got this very interesting request letter to the Supreme Court of Tennessee about outdated licensing rules that make it harder on women attorneys. Tell us about this.
Lips: I’m delighted to share about this issue because I think it’s one that can really make a difference in the lives of some part-time attorneys, a majority of whom are women.
To be licensed to practice law, you’ve got to get your license from a state, and there are a few states, including Tennessee, that penalize part-time workers with unnecessary occupational licensing requirements.
The Tennessee Supreme Court requires that a lawyer be practicing full-time to be admitted to practice without having to sit and take the bar examination.
Again, that means that a lawyer who makes the decision to reduce hours from maybe 40 hours a week to 25 hours a week, if they want to practice in Tennessee, that lawyer then has to sit and take the bar examination.
So they’re penalized just for reducing their hours. And we know a lot of attorneys reduce hours to take care of children. So this to me seems like an outdated, unnecessary occupational licensing reform issue, and I’m really excited to be working on it.
NeW has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to remove the full-time requirements, and the court is now accepting comments. I would love for your listeners to submit comments on this issue.
Leahy: And how would they do that, Karin? Is there a site at the Tennessee Supreme Court where they could provide comments?
Lips: Yes, they can go to the Tennessee State Courts website or they can even just send an email. And some of these comments are pretty informal. Just one paragraph email to [email protected].
Leahy: Karin, what’s the process after this comment period ends on July 25? What happens then?
Lips: The comment period now ends on August 12. It’s now been pushed back. And then, the Supreme Court of Tennessee will review the issue.
So we are trying to get as many folks to comment and submit letters to the court so they can hear from a lot of the people that this impacts.
Leahy: How long will that review process take?
Lips: I don’t have an exact day count on that. So we’ll just wait to hear.
Leahy: Have similar requests to the Tennessee Supreme Court had much success?
Lips: This is the first time I’m aware of this request being submitted to Tennessee. And actually, I’m working on this issue in some other states as well because there’s a handful of states that have this full-time requirement.
So we’re trying it out and see what happens in Tennessee and then are going to move to some other states. But it’s all state rules. It’s very state specific.
Leahy: Very state specific. We will track this one very carefully.
Carmichael: And talk about it. Because this is an important issue where if a mother or father who is a lawyer wants to work part-time from home raising children, they ought to be able to do that.
Leahy: They ought to have that right.
Carmichael: They ought to be able to do that. What you’re asking for is a very family-friendly change.
Lips: Thank you. That’s what I think.
Leahy: Why is it, Karin, why is it that you think Tennessee has been so slow to adopt on this issue, to sort of how the modern world works?
Lips: I’m hopeful they’re just ready to make the change now that it’s going to be put in front of them. The legal profession has changed, and I think it’s now time for this full-time requirement to be removed.
Leahy: Last question for you, and Crom and I can attest that you are in fact an enlightened woman.
Carmichael: This is a very good issue and you are absolutely on the correct side of it.
Lips: I just think it’s a perfect example of an issue that’s more of a state issue, that a small change really will make a big difference in the lives of women. One of my friends ended up having to sit and take the Tennessee bar exam.
She was working, joining a law firm, working part-time, and it was a huge burden on her and her family. Taking that bar exam takes a lot of time to study and prepare for, and in my opinion, didn’t really tell Tennessee much about her. She had already been practicing law.
She had already passed a bar exam. It’s one of these things that I think it’s so important to address and fix because it’s really serving no valid purpose. I don’t think it’s got a compelling benefit.
Leahy: Here’s a big question. Are you ready?
Lips: I think so.
Leahy: How did somebody graduate from the University of Virginia and then the University of Virginia School of Law and come out with such as a common sense, intelligent, conservative person? How does that happen? (Carmichael laughs)
Lips: (Chuckles) Very kind. You are very kind. Well, I will tell you, one of the things we’re trying to do in the Network of Enlightened Women creates a more of a community so there can be more people that come out of universities and hold strong to their conservative principles.
And for example, right now we’re running an essay contest that runs through July 27th, giving college and high school women a chance to talk about leadership and submit an essay on being conservative women leaders.
And so we’re pleased to give them an opportunity to get a credential, win a contest, get published, and help build our network at Enlightenedwomen.org.
Leahy: Karin, next time you’re in Nashville, come on in studio where we can have a longer conversation.
Lips: Well, thank you for the invitation. I will let you know.
Listen to the interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.