News

Legal Aid Announces People’s Law School Fall Schedule

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has announced its fall People’s Law School schedule. The free program, which is taught by Legal Aid Society attorneys and volunteer attorneys, provides an overview of common civil legal issues people may face, such as renters' rights and responsibilities and Social Security options. For the first time, People’s Law School is offering a class on child support. Learn more at www.las.org.

read more »

TJC Celebration to Honor Firm Involvement

The Tennessee Justice Center will kick off a new year with a celebration on Sept. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The group recently announced that 20 law firms have committed to help it serve more families across the state. The celebration will recognize these firms for “Raising the Bar.” All friends of TJC are invited. The event will be held in the offices of Bass, Berry & Sims, located on the 28th Floor of the Pinnacle at Symphony Place, 150 Third Ave. S., Nashville. Learn more or RSVP online.

read more »

Wednesday is Deadline for EJU Registration

Tennessee lawyers who want to attend this year’s Equal Justice University (EJU), set for Sept. 10-12 in Murfreesboro, have until the end of the day Wednesday to register. A schedule for the event, which is cosponsored by the TBA, is available online as is the registration form. The program will offer 40 hours of CLE and keynote addresses by civil rights leader Diane Nash, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and TBA President Jonathan Steen, who will speak on medical-legal partnerships, one focus of his presidency this year.

read more »

Justice Holder Featured in ‘Litigants Without Lawyers’ Video

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder's appearance in a congressional briefing on “Litigants Without Lawyers: Equal Justice Under Threat in State Courts” is now available on video. The event was sponsored by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and featured justices from four states. The justices said that large numbers of unrepresented individuals lead to slow dockets and less efficiency.

read more »

New Firm Offers Reduced Rates for Criminal Defense

Three northeast Tennessee lawyers have opened the Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) to provide legal services for those who need a criminal defense attorney but do not qualify for a court-appointed one or cannot afford to pay full price for one. Jim Bowman, Chris Byrd and Nikki Himebaugh maintain separate legal offices, but collaborate on cases accepted by the CDC, the Johnson City Press reports. The attorneys assess each client and apply a sliding fee scale for the service. The trio stress they are not trying to undercut fees other lawyers charge, just trying to help defendants who legitimately do not have the money to pay for a lawyer. The CDC is currently taking cases in Washington and Unicoi counties.

read more »

Medical-Legal Partnership Attorney Sought

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) has an immediate opening for an attorney in its Nashville office to direct its Middle Tennessee Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) program. The attorney will manage a program that provides legal services to the patients of its medical partners and will handle a general civil practice, including domestic violence, housing, mortgage foreclosure, consumer, elder law, health and benefit law and immigration. Learn more about the position and how to apply in the attached job description.

read more »

TBA Accepting Nominations for Public Service Awards

The TBA each year recognizes lawyers and law students who have shown exceptional commitment to increasing access to justice to individuals and communities. The awards recognize pro bono service in three categories: work performed by an attorney employed by an organization primarily involved in providing legal representation to the indigent, work performed by a private attorney and work performed by a law student volunteer. The nomination period for 2104 honorees is now open. Nominations may be submitted via the TBA website or by email to Liz Todaro. Download a hard copy submission form. Nominations are due no later than Sept. 5. Submissions should include a narrative of the individual’s accomplishments, the nominator’s reasons for selecting the individual and a description of how the nominee meets the award criteria. Awards are presented at the Annual Public Service Awards Luncheon in January.

read more »

Access to Justice Award Winners Announced

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services will present this year’s Access to Justice awards on Sept. 10 at its annual Equal Justice University. Former TBA President George T. “Buck” Lewis will receive the inaugural Janice M. Holder Award, named for retiring Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder. The award honors an individual who has advanced the quality of justice statewide by ensuring that the legal system is open and available to all. Theresa Vay-Smith of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands will receive the B. Riney Green Award, which recognizes the advocate who has coordinated statewide efforts to improve the quality of legal services for low income Tennesseans. Charlie McDaniel, with Legal Aid East Tennessee, will receive the New Advocate of the Year Award honoring advocates who have excelled within their first five years in public interest law.

read more »

New ABA President Calls for Innovation in Delivery of Legal Services

South Carolina lawyer William C. Hubbard accepted the gavel as the new president of the ABA and urged lawyers to join him in his signature effort: closing the legal services delivery gap for the poor. Hubbard outlined several ways to accomplish that goal, including connecting lawyers, judges and academics with technology innovators who are spending millions of dollars on finding new ways of providing legal services. “We must marry this creativity with our own justice system to provide greater access while protecting the public,” he said. He also noted that several specific issues “clamor for our attention and rational evidence-based solutions.” These include a criminal justice system that is breaking down fiscally, the continued imprisonment of low-level offenders, the number of mentally ill in prison, the need for more pro bono representation for domestic violence victims, and the balance between privacy and security. Read more about Hubbard’s goals for the year in the ABA Journal.

read more »

ABA House of Delegates Acts on Range of Issues

The ABA Annual Meeting continued yesterday with a number of actions by the group’s House of Delegates. The body approved new standards and procedural rules to be used in the accreditation process for U.S. law schools and adopted resolutions urging:

read more »

McIver Honored at ABA Events

Memphis attorney Harrison D. McIver II, executive director/CEO of Memphis Area Legal Services, was honored two times during the ABA Annual meeting in Boston. First, McIver received the 2014 Dorsey Award in recognition of exceptional work as a legal aid adviser. Later he was honored for his service to the Tennessee legal community at the Tennessee Reception, an event hosted by the TBA with support from the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Belmont University College of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School. See photos from the events.

read more »

LAET’s Autocross Event in Knoxville This Month

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host a fundraiser at Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park on Aug. 16-17. The 4th Annual Solo in the Park Autocross competition is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America and features sports car enthusiasts driving a timed precision course. More than 100 competitors are expected during the two-day event. All proceeds benefit Knoxville Family Justice Center and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Driver registration is $35. Spectator admission is $5 per person or $10 per family. For a $10 donation, spectators may ride the course at competition speed with a participating driver. For more information visit the event website or call (865) 637-0484.

read more »

Tennessee Lawyers Honored for Public Service at ABA Events

Tennessee lawyers received recognition across the board during this past week at the ABA Annual Conference in Boston. 


YLD Recognized for Diversity, Public Service, Overall Programming


YLD ABA Award Winners

read more »

Incumbent Judges, DAs, PDs Defeated by Challengers

Thursday was a day for incumbent wins overall, but there were exceptions, with several Republicans upsetting Democrats across the state. In District 6, incumbent Chancellor Daryl Fansler was beaten by Republican Clarence Pridemore Jr., and Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly Jr. was bested by Republican William "Bill" Ailor. Read more in Knoxnews. In District 8, Elizabeth Asbury defeated incumbent Chancellor Andy Tillman, who was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam in April 2013.  In the same district, incumbent District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones was defeated by Jared Effler. Both are independents, but made the news in the spring when Phillips-Jones fired Effler, a 14-year prosecutor in the district. Two other district attorneys general were defeated: Mickey Layne, a Democrat, lost to Republican Craig Northcott in Coffee County, the Manchester Times reports, and Democrat Hansel J. McCadams fell to Republican Matt Stowe in Madison County. In District 10 Criminal Court, Republican Sandra N. C. Donaghy defeated Democrat incumbent Amy Armstrong Reedy, Chattanoogan.com reports. In Distrtict 26, the Jackson Sun reports that incumbent Circuit Court Judge Nathan B. Pride lost to Republican Kyle Atkins.

Two incumbent public defenders lost their jobs in this election. In District 11, Democrat Ardena Garth lost to Steven E. Smith, a Republican. Democrat David N. Brady lost to Republican Craig P. Fickling in District 13.  Also, Smyrna Town Judge Keta Barnes was defeated by challenger Lynn England Alexander. The Secretary of State’s Office has more results.

read more »

Seminar to Help Ministers Identify Legal Needs

The Knoxville Bar Association, Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance are teaming up to host a seminar on Sept. 16 for ministers of all faiths to learn about the resources available to help members of their congregations with legal problems. “The idea is to make them aware of how to spot legal problems that are impacting the lives of people in their congregations, and to inform [the ministers] of the various legal and social resources in East Tennessee that are available,” said Knoxville lawyer Ian Hennessey. The seminar will be held in Trentham Hall of First Baptist Church of Knoxville, 510 W. Main St. Cost is $6, which includes a sandwich lunch buffet. Those interested in attending should contact Vanessa Moore. Download a handout about the event or read more in Knoxnews.

read more »

LAS Provided $17M in Legal Aid Last Year

Year-end results for 2013 reveal that the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and its team of volunteer pro bono attorneys provided more than $17.4 million in free legal help throughout 48 counties. Throughout the year, Legal Aid handled a total of 7,709 cases for low-income individuals and families and received more than 18,000 requests for assistance. Cases covered a variety of legal issues, with family law being the most common. “These numbers not only reflect Legal Aid Society’s dedication to work toward fairness for all people in the civil justice system, they also speak to the continual need for our services,” Executive Director Gary Housepian said in a press release.

read more »

Lipscomb, Nashville Church Host Legal Clinic Aug. 19

On Aug. 19 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society and St. James Missionary Baptist Church will host a general legal advice clinic for underserved individuals in Nashville. The event will be held at the church at 600 28th Ave., North. Attorney volunteers are needed to work with clients. No specific legal expertise is required. To participate or for more information contact the Institute's academic director Randy Spivey at (615) 966-2503.

read more »

Details Released for CLC 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Memphis-based Community Legal Center (CLC) will mark its 20th anniversary with a celebration on July 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the home of Leslie and Renelle Ballin, 254 Cloister Green Lane, Memphis 38120. The event will feature a presentation of the center’s plans for the future as well as a celebration of past accomplishments. The CLC provides pro bono legal services and educational programs to those who are not eligible for assistance from Memphis Area Legal Services.

read more »

AOC Seeks Pro Bono Coordinator

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has an opening for a Pro Bono Coordinator to work with the Access to Justice Commission. The coordinator will cultivate, monitor and follow-up with new pro bono initiatives, especially in parts of the state where none currently exist. The position will be grant-funded through May 2015, with the possibility of a one-year extension. Visit the AOC website to apply.

read more »

Legal Aid Society Announces New Officers

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has announced John T. Blankenship of Blankenship & Blankenship law firm will lead the Board of Directors as president for two years. Other members of the Executive Committee includes first vice president Robert J. Martineau, second vice president Charles K. Grant, third vice president Susan L. Kay, secretary Turner McCullough Jr., treasurer J. Andrew Goddard, member-at-large Charles H. Warfield and past-president James L. Weatherly. View the press release

read more »

TBA Wins Top Award for Public Education Project

For the second consecutive year, the Tennessee Bar Association earned the top public service award from the Tennessee Society of Association Executives. The 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors was named winner of the Association's Advance Tennessee Award. The TBA’s Public Education Committee updated the Handbook and is continuing to conduct outreach and education across the state. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur and Access to Justice/Public Education Coordinator Liz Todaro accepted the Award today at a Nashville luncheon.

read more »

MALS Moves to New Offices

Effective today, Memphis Area Legal Services has relocated to the Falls Building, 22 N. Front Street, 11th Floor, Memphis 38103. All telephone numbers remain the same. The agency previously was located in the Claridge House Building at 109 N. Main.

read more »

Memphis Legal Clinics Need Volunteers

The Memphis Saturday Legal Clinic will be held tomorrow (July 12) from 10 a.m. to noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Volunteer attorneys, especially with family law experience, are still needed. Those interested in helping are encouraged to arrive by 10 a.m. In addition, lawyers are needed for the weekly Courthouse Advice & Counsel Clinic (formerly known as the Attorney of the Day Clinic) held every Thursday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 134 of the Shelby County Courthouse. Volunteers talk to pro se litigants in General Sessions Court about procedural issues and how to present their case. For more information about that opportunity contact Linda Warren Seely or David Cook.

read more »

Memphis Bar Foundation Seeking Grant Applications

The Memphis Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association, is seeking grant applications from 501(C)(3) organizations that advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession; promote social justice; promote legal education; or recognize professionalism among members of the bar. Applications are available by contacting Anne Fritz at (901) 527-3575 or afritz@memphisbar.org. Deadline for submitting proposals is Aug. 15.

read more »

ACLU to Challenge Law Mandating Welfare Drug Tests

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is looking for people interested in challenging a new law mandating drug tests for some applicants for the state's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. ACLU-Tennessee said the law, which took effect July 1, raises “serious constitutional concerns" and singles out limited-income people. Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said in a statement that research indicates TANF recipients "are no more likely to use illicit drugs than farmers, veterans, and students, who also receive government support.”

read more »