News

Hickman to Chair Legal Aid Society 2018 Fundraising Campaign

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands announced that Scott Hickman will serve as the 2018 chair of the Campaign for Equal Justice, an annual initiative that raises funds for Legal Aid Society. Hickman, an attorney at Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison practicing in the areas of employment law and business dispute resolution, has been an active participant in Legal Aid’s free legal help clinics since 2000. The Campaign for Equal Justice, set to launch in March, has been held annually since 1987. This year’s goal has yet to be set, but in 2017, the campaign received $814,240 of a $826,000 goal.
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Ashworth Named Chair of Access to Justice Commission; 3 Appointed to Group

Three lawyers have been named the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, and Gail Ashworth has been appointed the new chair. Michael L. Forrester of Kingsport, John L. Farringer of Nashville, and Alexander McVeagh of Chattanooga were appointed to three-year terms to replace the outgoing Marcia M. Eason, David R. Esquivel and Anthony Alan Seaton. Ashworth’s term as chair will last two years, beginning on April 1. Farringer also currently serves as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice committee.
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Dog Bites, Alimony Deductions and a New Superhero

The January Tennessee Bar Journal carries a full slate of legal information from our columnists, ranging from a column covering the law regarding dog bites by John A. Day, to the elimination of alimony deductions by Marlene Eskind Moses and Manuel Benjamin Russ; and Bill Haltom's thoughts on the possibilities for a new superhero: Super Spiderman Batman Lawyer.

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What Indigent Representation Reform Is, Why it Matters

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put indigent representation on a path to real and lasting reform," TBA President Lucian Pera writes his January Tennessee Bar Journal column. "Reform matters especially to us as lawyers because of the special commitment we all made in the admission oath we each swore. It also matters especially to us because the system won’t work without the full participation of lawyers. [This] depends in part on the system’s fair compensation of lawyers who accept appointments to represent the indigent." Pera asks lawyers to help achieve reforms mapped out by the Supreme Court. The magazine delves into the subject in an article by Elizabeth Slagle Todaro, and focuses on other access to justice areas, too, with updates on initiatives, innovations through Equal Justice Works fellowships and features on this year's public service award honorees.

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Supreme Court, MBA Recognize Memphis Attorneys

The Tennessee Supreme Court recognized Memphis-area 2017 Attorneys for Justice during the Memphis Bar Association Annual Dinner. Justice Holly Kirby publicly thanked attorneys who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono work in the prior calendar year. Out-going President Dean Decandia presented one of his President’s Awards to Amber Floyd for her leadership in pro bono work. Retired Judge Robert L. Childers also was honored for his 33 years of service on the bench, and was presented with the inaugural Robert L. Childers Wellness Award.
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LAS, Nashville Bar Launch New Program for Veterans

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) has launched a new program with the Nashville Bar Association (NBA) to support veterans with legal issues. Called The Veterans Project, it is a partnership among the NBA, Veterans Court, Office of the Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville, Metro Homelessness Commission, Operation Stand Down TN (OSDTN) and Legal Aid Society’s Volunteer Lawyers Program. While the program is primarily focused on helping veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness, help with civil legal problems is available to all veterans. The scope of civil legal issues for which veterans can seek help includes child support, debt, bankruptcy, car purchase/repair, family law, expungement and reinstatement of driver’s licenses. 
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MALS Presents B. Taylor Gray with Pro Bono Award

Memphis Area Legal Services last week presented The W.J. Michael Cody Access to Justice Award to B. Taylor Gray at the Memphis Bar Association Annual Meeting. The award recognizes a private attorney who has furthered the vision of "Justice for Those in Need" and has supported MALS' mission of providing excellence in legal advocacy for those in need. Gray represented several MALS clients in adoption proceedings and provided many hours of free legal support. He also was instrumental in establishing Bass, Berry & Sims as a Pillar Law Firm, which means the firm has agreed to be the first point of contact in MALS' efforts to place pro bono cases with private attorneys.

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New TBJ: How the 38-Year 'Geier' Case Changed Higher Education

Follow the 38-year legal battle to secure educational opportunity for African-Americans in Tennessee's public colleges and universities, in this issue. Written by C.A. Gonzalez, who was the mediator and court's monitor in the case, the article explains all the twists, turns and intrigue of the famous Geier case that changed everything. Also, TBA President Lucian T. Pera explains what he sees as a market failure for lawyers as well as what the solutions could be. In a feature article, Tennessee's 1865 Constitution and "the return of civil government" is examined by former TBA President Sam D. Elliott. Read the December Tennessee Bar Journal.

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Faith and Justice Alliance to Host Legal Clinic Saturday in Knoxville

The Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance will host a free legal advice clinic in Knoxville on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The clinic will take place at Ball Camp Baptist Church, 2412 Ball Camp Byington Road, and is coordinated by the Knoxville Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, the University of Tennessee College of Law and legal volunteers.

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ABA Urges 11th Circuit to Ban Bail System in Calhoun, Ga.

The American Bar Association filed a new amicus brief Monday, again contending that the bail system in Calhoun, Ga., which allows pretrial release only if the defendant pays an amount of bail money fixed to a schedule of offenses, violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit remanded the case back to the trial court, requesting the judge’s injunction provide more guidance to Calhoun on how it must comply with the minimal standards required by the U.S. Constitution. This is the second brief filed by the ABA in the matter.
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Attorney Volunteers Needed for Immigrant Family Defense Workshop in Memphis

The TBA Young Lawyers Division and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition will be hosting their final Family Defense Workshop on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Iglesia Nueva Vida. Volunteer lawyers will provide powers of attorney for individuals in the event of deportation or other immigration enforcement actions. A large turnout of clients is expected so many attorney volunteers are needed. No immigration law experience is required and a brief training will be held prior to the clinic. Those with questions should contact Brandon Pettes or Camila Fyler.
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Nearly Half of Tennessee Attorneys Report Pro Bono Service

Nearly half of Tennessee attorneys reported doing some pro bono work in 2015, totalling 591,064 hours of pro bono service or an average of 72.7 hours for each attorney. That data comes from the just released 2016 Pro Bono Report, which is compiled by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. The report shows that the number of attorneys who reported pro bono and the number of hours of pro bono work performed both increased from the prior year. The report also describes the significant work being done by bar associations, law schools, legal aid organizations and faith-based communities across Tennessee to increase opportunities for pro bono service. 

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Legal Services Corp. Announces Award Grants, Nearly $8 Million Headed to Tennessee

Last week the Legal Services Corp. announced a series of grants awarded to organizations that “provide effective and economical delivery of high quality civil legal services to eligible low-income individuals,” and some of that money will be granted to Tennessee-based organizations. The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will receive over $3 million, Memphis Area Legal Services will see just north of $1.5 million, West Tennessee Legal Services will receive nearly $700,000 and Legal Aid of East Tennessee will be awarded almost $2.5 million. Interested parties have 30 days to comment on the proposed grants.
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TJC Honors Long-time Donors at Hall of Fame Event

The Tennessee Justice Center this week honored nine donors who have contributed close to $1 million to the organization since its inception 22 years ago. The Hall of Fame event Thursday in Nashville recognized Don Enright, Ruth Ann Leach Harnisch, Ellen Levy and Gregg Horowitz, Bill and Robin King, Nancy MacLean, and Steve and Jeanne Thomas. See photos from the event.

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Legal Aid to Leave Downtown Nashville for Airport Area Location

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands is moving from downtown Nashville to space at Airport Executive Plaza, the Nashville Post reports. The agency will leave its home for the past 15 years at Public Square Garage for about 12,000 square feet of space in the building at 1321 Murfreesboro Pike, about five miles southeast of downtown.

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LAET to Host Expungement Clinic on Saturday

October is Celebrate Pro Bono Month, and all month long the TBA will be highlighting pro bono opportunities and events for Tennessee attorneys. On Saturday, Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET), in partnership with the Knoxville Bar Association, will host an Expungement Legal Advice Clinic for pre-screened individuals. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. Clients wishing to become pre-screened should call LAET’s Knoxville office at (865) 637-0484, or visit www.laet.org and click on “Begin Client Intake.” For more Celebrate Pro Bono events, visit the TBA website.

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Celebrate Pro Bono: Nashville Schools Office to Host Legal Clinic

October is Celebrate Pro Bono Month, and all month long the TBA will be highlighting pro bono opportunities and events for Tennessee attorneys. In partnership with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) will host a legal clinic this weekend. The clinic is held the third Saturday of every month from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at MNPS’s English Learners Office, 615 Fessey Park Road, Nashville, off Bransford Avenue next to MNPS admin building. For more information, contact the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands at (615) 244-6610. For more Celebrate Pro Bono events, visit the TBA website.

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Tickets Available for Memphis ‘Justice for All Ball’ Benefit

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) will host its annual Justice for All Ball benefit at Ballet Memphis on Oct. 28. The evening will include live music by the Soul Shockers, food by Iris and a silent auction. Tickets are available for purchase on the MALS website.
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Free Legal Advice Clinic in Oak Ridge Oct. 17

October is Celebrate Pro Bono Month, and all month long the TBA will be highlighting pro bono opportunities and events for Tennessee attorneys. A free legal clinic will be held in Oak Ridge on Oct. 17 at the Legal Aid Society. The clinic will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at 575 Oak Ridge Turnpike. For more information, contact the Legal Aid Society of East Tennessee at (865) 483-8454. See more Celebrate Pro Bono events statewide here.

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LAET to Honor Pro Bono Award Winners

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) hosts its annual Pro Bono celebration on Oct. 20 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ironwood Studios in Knoxville. The event, entitled “Forging Justice,” will honor attorneys and law firms who have made a significant impact in access to justice work. The highlight of the evening will be the induction of Terry J. Woods into the Donald F. Paine Memorial Pro Bono Hall of Fame. Woods served at LAET’s Central Region Pro Bono Director from 2000 until her retirement in 2016. Also honored will be Tyler Sims as Pro Bono Law Student of the Year, Cheryl Rice as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, the Volunteer Ministry Center as Pro Bono Community Partner of the Year, and London & Amburn as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year. Contact Kathryn Ellis at (865) 637-0484 for more information.
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Join MALS for a Free Legal Clinic on Oct. 21

Memphis Area Legal Services and Idlewild Presbyterian Church are teaming up to host the Midtown Legal Clinic in Memphis on Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteer legal professionals will be on hand to assist those in need with legal issues. The clinic will be held at the church, located at 1750 Union Ave, but people of all beliefs are welcome. Those who are interested in volunteering or have questions should email midtownlegalclinic@gmail.com.
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2SLAC Pro Bono Legal Clinic Planned for Saturday in Memphis

A pro bono legal clinic held on the second Saturday of each month, 2SLAC, will be held this week in Memphis. The clinic will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Volunteer attorneys will give legal advice on a range of issues, from divorce to employment law. To volunteer, email afritz@memphisbar.org.
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Virtual Legal Advice Clinics Planned for October

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) has several virtual legal advice clinics coming up in partnership with Tennessee law schools. On Oct. 24, one will be held with the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. To volunteer or get more information, email Josie Holland. The University of Tennessee College of Law will host one on Oct. 26, and Julia Hale is the person to contact to volunteer. Vanderbilt Law will host its on Oct. 30 from noon to 1:10 p.m., and Patty Walton is the contact. More clinics are expected in the following months.
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Get Ready for Full Week of 'Pro Bono and Faith'

In honor of Pro Bono Month, the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance will be hosting the first annual statewide Pro Bono & Faith Days from Oct. 21 to Oct. 29. All houses of worship and faith-based partners are encouraged to plan and participate in a form of pro bono work or an equal justice project during the week. That participation may take various forms as fits the local community. Please contact kimi.dement@tncourts.gov for more information on how to get involved.
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TJC to Honor 9 at Hall of Fame Dinner

The Tennessee Justice Center will honor nine philanthropists at a Hall of Fame Gala coming up at the end of the month. Don Enright, Ruth Ann Leach Harnisch, Ellen Levy and Gregg Horowitz, Bill and Robin King, Nancy MacLean, and Steve and Jeanne Thomas will be recognized, having contributed a collective $850,000 to the work of the TJC. The dinner will be held at the Sheraton Grand in Nashville on Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available here.

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