News

Shelby County DA Stops Prosecuting Cases of Driving with Revoked License

The Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office has stopped prosecuting cases involving drivers whose licenses are revoked for oweing fines, The Commercial Appeal reports. The DA’s office says it has eliminated about 43 percent of the docket in the General Sessions Criminal Court with the change. The county’s policy change came shortly before the recent ruling that the state can no longer revoke driver’s licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic tickets.
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Volunteers Needed for Expungement Clinic Oct. 27

The Music City Community Courts, in partnership with the TBA’s Young Lawyers Division, is seeking volunteers for an expungement clinic in Nashville on Oct. 27. A high turnout of clients is expected as this series of clinics has been very well-attended in the past. The clinic will take place at Cathedral of Praise, 4300 Clarksville Highway, at 9:30 a.m. Those who are able to volunteer should contact Amber Floyd.
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MALS’ Justice for All Ball Coming Up Next Weekend

Memphis Area Legal Services’ annual Justice for All Ball is set for Saturday, Oct. 27 from 7 to 10 p.m. Held at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum Theatre, the event will include food, a silent auction and live music. All proceeds go to MALS, the primary provider of civil legal representation to low-income families in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale Counties.
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LAET to Host Chattanooga Pro Bono Night

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) is hosting a Community Justice Pro Bono Celebration on Oct. 25 in Chattanooga. The event will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Whiskey Event Hall and Headquarters, 890 Riverfront Parkway. Tickets are $45 each or $80 per couple.
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'Tapas for Justice' Planned for Oct. 25 in Nashville

On Oct. 25, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) will host its annual "Tapas for Justice" fundraiser, supporting JFON's efforts to help asylum-seekers, young DACA recipients, and families that have been separated from one another. The event will be held in Nashville at Bass Berry & Sims from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and will feature an art display of Amber Vongsamphanh's photography series "America the Beautiful." Tickets are $50 to attend and $100 to co-host.
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Supreme Court to Host Faith and Justice Universities Statewide

The Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance, a project of the Tennessee Supreme Court, will be hosting its second annual statewide Pro Bono and Faith Days in October 2018. All houses of worship and faith-based partners are encouraged to provide information to their networks about the free legal resources available in Tennessee, including the help4tn.org website, and to participate in a form of pro bono work or an equal justice project during the month if possible. This year, #PBFDays will present 2018 Faith and Justice Universities in each grand division where attendees can learn about existing free legal resources in their community and how to get more involved. The 2018 Faith and Justice Universities will be held in Memphis on Oct. 16, Knoxville on Oct. 18 and Nashville on Oct. 23.
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LAET to Host Forging Justice Pro Bono Event

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will host its annual Pro Bono celebration on Oct. 19 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ironwood Studios in Knoxville. “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 Harry Ogden into the Donald F. Paine Memorial Pro Bono Hall of Fame. Also honored will be Bill Coley and Ian Hennessey as Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year, Georgia Miller as Pro Bono Law Student of the Year, East Tennessee Children's Hospital as Pro Bono Community Partner of the Year, and Breeding Henry Baysan as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year. 

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Gibbons to Replace Wallace as 2nd District PD

Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Andrew J. Gibbons of Kingsport as public defender for the Second Judicial District, which serves Sullivan County. Gibbons will replace Stephen Wallace, whose retirement is effective Nov. 1, according to the Times-News. Gibbons has been an assistant public defender in the district since 2001.

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'Legal Whiplash' Marks Zagorski's Execution Week

The Tennessean and The Nashville Scene follow the "legal whiplash" of this week when Edmund Zagorski was set to be executed. Gov. Haslam's reprieve, giving executioners time to prepare to use the electric chair, expires Oct. 21, at which point the state Supreme Court will have to set a new execution date. Shortly after the reprieve was announced Thursday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected all of Zagorski's requests. The court declined to hear the case over Tennessee's lethal injection protocol, and vacated the Sixth Circuit's stay. Zagorski's lawyer, Kelley Henry, who is a supervising assistant federal public defender, told the Scene that the earliest Zagorski could be executed is likely Oct. 29.

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MALS Plans Pro Bono Awards Luncheon for Oct. 15

The Memphis Area Legal Services will host its annual Pro Bono Awards Luncheon on Oct. 15. The luncheon will take place at International Paper, 1740 International Drive, Tower 4, and will begin at 12:30 p.m. Find out more here
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LSC Awards More Than $14M in Disaster Relief Grants to Legal Aid Organizations

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that it is awarding 11 disaster relief grants to legal aid organizations in California, Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the Virgin Islands totaling $14,145,055. Earlier this year, Congress enacted an $89.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations law that included $15 million for LSC to support the delivery of legal services related to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017. The grants support projects that mobilize pro bono attorneys, enhance online resources for survivors, and improve communication and cooperation among legal aid clients, pro bono attorneys and partner organizations.
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Volunteers Needed for Legal Clinic in Nashville Oct. 16

The Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice and Society's regular legal clinic at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville will be held Oct. 16. Those interested in volunteering should meet upstairs in the rear of the building at 5:30. It will be an advice-only clinic with no expectation that volunteers take on continuing representation. Volunteers will be provided an informational packet that addresses common legal clinic questions. Those interested should contact Randy Spivey at 615-966-2503.
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Tennessee Supreme Court Launches Oral Argument Video Initiative

The Tennessee Supreme Court began last week videotaping oral arguments taking place in Nashville and making them available to the public. The video will give lawyers, students and others a more realistic feel of the interaction between the court and attorneys during oral argument, which often includes unscripted questioning and debate. The video system includes three separate cameras, allowing the view to toggle between the attorney at the podium and the individual justices on the bench during the oral argument. 
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Washington State Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Violates Constitution

Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled today that the death penalty violates its Constitution, USA Today reports. The court was unanimous in its order that the eight people currently on death row have their sentences converted to life in prison. “Given the manner in which it is imposed, the death penalty also fails to serve any legitimate penological goals,” the justices wrote.
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Faith & Justice Alliance to Host Pro Bono and Faith Days

The Tennessee Faith & Justice Alliance (TFJA) is hosting its second annual statewide Pro Bono & Faith Days (#PBFDays) this month as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. Faith & Justice Universities will be held in each grand division so that attendees can learn about existing free legal resources in their communities and how to get more involved: Events will be in Memphis on Oct. 16, Knoxville on Oct. 18 and Nashville on Oct. 23. The TFJA is part of the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. It is an alliance of faith-based groups in Tennessee who commit to providing legal resources to their congregations and communities.

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Legal Aid to Host Clinic for Seniors on Oct. 16

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has scheduled a Free Legal Help Clinic for seniors on Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Life Church, 2223 N Washington Ave., Cookeville, TN, 38501. The event will be coordinated through the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance, and in partnership with the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information please contact Matt Silvey, 931-528-7436.

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Race, Clinic Highlight Events to Celebrate Pro Bono

All across Tennessee events are taking place this weekend as part of the Celebrate Pro Bono month. On Saturday, the Memphis Law Student Bar Association and Memphis Bar Association are joining together to host the Race Judicata (The Run for Justice!) in downtown Memphis. This event, which also features an afterparty with food, drink and live music, benefits the Memphis Bar Association’s Access to Justice program. To the east, Knoxville lawyers will be providing free legal advice at the Knox County Super Saturday Bar Advice Clinic, hosted by Legal Aid of East Tennessee. That event runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Find out more about other Celebrate Pro Bono events taking place across Tennessee.

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Legal Aid Society’s Nashville Office Names New Managing Attorney

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands’ Nashville office has hired Emma Sholl as its new managing attorney. Sholl has been a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society since 2014, focusing on health, benefits and special education issues. Her accomplishments at the firm include securing coverage of life-saving medications and services for Medicaid clients, advocating for special education services for children with disabilities and obtaining home health care and nursing services for elderly clients. She co-chairs Legal Aid’s Gilbert Family Fellowship program.
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Vanderbilt, Bass Berry, CLC Join to Host Immigration Training

Bass, Berry & Sims in conjunction with the Community Legal Center and the Vanderbilt Immigration Practice Clinic is hosting a CLE called "How To Help Immigrants In Tennessee: Beyond Rapid Response" on Oct. 9. Participants will be trained on the basics of litigating removal defense cancellation of removal cases, with the goal of placing cancellation cases with attendees to provide pro bono assistance. The training will take place at Bass, Berry & Sims' Nashville office from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Space is limited, so registration priority will be given to individuals who sign up to a pro bono case.
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October TBJ Highlights Online Sales Tax, Celebrate Pro Bono Month

What does a South Dakota case have to do with us here in Tennessee? After Wayfair, our cover story points out, there will be significant impact on commerce and tax collection in our state, too. Also, it is the 10th anniversary of Celebrate Pro Bono Month! Read about its impact and how you can get involved; a word from TBA President Jason Pannu on the legal needs of low-income Tennesseans; and the remembrance of pro bono lawyer and historical hero, Lutie Lytle. Read the whole October issue here.

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West Tennessee Legal Services Seeking Volunteers for Obion County Clinic

The Pro Bono Project at West Tennessee Legal Services has scheduled a Free Legal Clinic on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Troy United Methodist Church. The clinic will be held in the church’s Activities Building located at 226 W. Westbrook St., Troy, Tennessee, 38260. All lawyers are invited to help at this counsel and advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information contact Ginny Brimm, 731-426-1308, or go online here.
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TBA YLD Seeking Volunteers for Nashville Expungement Clinic

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is seeking volunteers for an expungement clinic on Oct. 27 at Nashville's Cathedral of Praise, 4300 Clarksville Highway. The event will be hosted by the National Prison Summit. Registration for pre-registered participants will take place from 8 - 9 a.m. and the clinic will start at 9:30 a.m. All volunteer attorneys are asked to arrive at 9 a.m. for orientation and the run of the day. The Criminal Court Clerk’s office will have computers and the ability to process the expungement paperwork right on the spot. The clinic is expected to end around noon. Those who wish to volunteer should contact Amber Floyd.
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Legal Aid Society Seeking Volunteers for Oct. 6 Clinic in Nashville

Legal Aid Society has scheduled a Free Legal Help Clinic on Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, 819 33rd Ave. North in Nashville. The clinic will be held in partnership with OneNashville and students from Belmont College of Law. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information please contact Jorge Salles Diaz, (615)780-7131.
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ATJ Commission to Hold Family Law Summits Across Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission is sponsoring a series of Regional Family Law Summits. The summits will bring together judges, court clerks, lawyers, mediators, law students, educators, and anyone interested in innovative ways to help Tennesseans with family law issues. West Tennessee's will be held Sept. 24 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library in Memphis from 2 - 5:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee's will be held Sept. 25 at Nashville School of Law from 1:30 - 5 p.m. East Tennessee's will be held at the United Way in Knoxville from 1:30 - 5 p.m.
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Attorney Volunteers Needed for ‘Become a Citizen’ Workshop

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Hillcrest United Methodist Church and the Nashville Mayor’s Office of New Americans are seeking attorney volunteers for their “Become a Citizen Now!” workshop, held on Sept. 22 in honor of National Citizenship Day. Local families who are legal permanent residents will receive assistance in applying for naturalization at the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Interested attorneys should complete this form to take part.
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