News

Many Pledge to 'Stand Against Racism' at YWCA Event

Several hundred people gathered in Nashville's Public Square Park today for the YWCA's annual Stand Against Racism event. The programming was led by Mayor Megan Barry and featured several lawyers and others speaking on the theme "Women of Color Leading Change." Among the speakers were Ana Escobar, with the Davidson County District Attorney General's Office; civil rights attorney Abby Rubenfeld; and Sharon Roberson, president and CEO of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. Melody Fowler-Green, with the Metro Human Relations Commission, and Beverly Watts, who serves on the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commisson, led the crowd in committing to the pledge. See photos from the event.

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Knoxville Judges Will ‘Serve Justice’ at LAET Event

To celebrate its new Knoxville location, Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will host a event in which local judges will serve the food and drinks called “Serving Justice.” The evening will include a short program and feature Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Lincoln Memorial University President Dr. B. James Dawson, LMU Duncan School of Law Dean Justice Gary R. Wade and LAET executives. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. on May 2 at the Star Building, 607 West Summit Hill Drive.
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Attorneys Needed for Truancy Intervention Program

Attorneys are needed to represent students in the Connecting Attendance to Results in Education (CARE), a community-based truancy intervention program created by Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Metro Student Attendance Center and Advocates for Women’s and Kids’ Equality (AWAKE). A training session, which is required in order to represent a student, will be held at Waller, 511 Union Street in Nashville, on May 2 from 8 – 9:30 a.m. The program will train attorneys about truancy laws, the truancy adjudication process, the structure of the CARE program and the boundaries of the attorney-client (student) relationship. Register at the Nashville Bar website.
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Legal Aid Society Relocates Gallatin Office

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands announced this week that it has relocated its Gallatin office to 106 Public Square, Suite 109. Three staff attorneys and two staff members work at the new location, providing free civil legal assistance to low-income individuals in Macon, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale and Wilson counties. All phone numbers to the Legal Aid Society’s Gallatin location remain unchanged.

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TBA to Join Push for Legal Services Funding in Washington

Lawyers from Tennessee and other states will be in Washington next week to speak to members of Congress and their staffs about the importance of funding for the Legal Services Corporation as part of ABA Day 2017. The TBA effort will be lead by President Jason Long and will include President-elect Lucian Pera, YLD President Rachel Mancl, TBA Legislative Counsel Gif Thornton and Executive Director Emeritus Allan Ramsaur. Nashville attorneys Ann Pruitt from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and Jonathan Cole, president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, will accompany the delegation as they visit each lawmaker from Tennessee in the American Bar Association's annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession.

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Community Foundation Grant Provides Van to Drug Court

The 23rd Judicial District Drug Court received a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for a 15-passenger van to transport participants to work, counseling, community service and mandatory court sessions.

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Volunteers Needed for Lipscomb Legal Advice Clinic

Volunteers are still needed for the Lipscomb/St. James Legal Advice Clinic on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The clinic will be at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, 600 28th Ave. North in Nashville. The clinic will be advice-only with no expectation that volunteers take on continuing representation. Contact Randy Spivey at Lipscomb's Institute for Law, Justice and Society for more information or to volunteer.

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Indigent Representation Task Force Recommends Hourly Pay Increase

The Tennessee Supreme Court's Indigent Representation Task Force today presented seven recommendations, including one that would increase the rate for paid appointed private counsel to no less than $75 per hour. The recommendations were released at a Capitol press conference and were based on findings from a statewide listening tour, research and consultation with national organizations regarding standards across the country. Read the full list of recommendations at the TBA website.
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Memphis Bar Voices Support for LSC

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) sent a letter last week to Tennessee’s elected officials in Washington, urging that the federal government continue to provide “robust funding” for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The LSC, the largest funder of civil legal aid in the country, faces the total elimination of funding under a proposed Trump administration budget. TBA President Jason Long issued a similar statement against the budget cuts in March, as did ABA President Linda Klein.
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Events Planned for Saturday's #Help4TN Day

Saturday is #Help4TNDay and Tennesseans will have the opportunity to receive free legal advice and learn about civil legal resources available throughout the year. Attorneys are still needed to volunteer for events scheduled across the state and online. The program, which kicked off in mid-March and continues through mid-April, is focused on bringing attention to the on-going need for free and low cost civil legal services and highlight the groups that provide these services to Tennesseans in need. Visit the Help4TN website to learn more about the program, as well as information on how to get involved.  

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Corporate Counsel Add Support to LSC

General counsel from 185 companies sent a letter yesterday to Congress urging preservation of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) because “access to justice is not an expendable luxury but an indispensable manifestation of our country’s most fundamental values.” The letter also notes that without the LSC, countless hours of pro bono service would lost, leaving many individuals unrepresented. Signatories include corporate attorneys from Amazon, Google, American Express and Tennessee-based Federal Express and Counsel on Call. Similar demonstrations of support have come from law firm leaders and law school deans. Learn more about the threat to LSC and show your support for vital legal aid programs via TBAImpact.

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Volunteers Needed for Jackson, Bolivar Expungement Clinics

Two upcoming expungement clinics in West Tennessee are in need of attorney volunteers. The first is in Jackson on April 7 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Criminal Justice Complex, 515 South Liberty Street. Contact Kathryn Tucker at (731) 426-1308 for more information. The second is in Bolivar on April 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Campbell Chapel Baptist Church, 17545 Highway 125 South. Contact Zulfat Zuara at (731) 609-5092 to volunteer.
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Help4TN: Volunteers Needed for Murfreesboro Expungement Clinic

The Rutherford County Community Court is looking for volunteers for an expungement clinic this Saturday. Held in partnership with the TBA Young Lawyers Division and other groups, it will take place at the First Baptist Church, located at 738 East Castle Street in Murfreesboro, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attorneys who wish to help should contact I’Ashea Myles-Dihigo.
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Vandy Law Students Spend Pro Bono Spring Break in Mississippi

Ten Vanderbilt Law students spent their spring break in Biloxi engaging in pro bono service work as a part of the Law Students for Social Justice organization. Three teams of students worked on education, expungement and other cases for low-income residents under the direction of staff attorneys at the Mississippi Justice Center. “All three groups made a real impact,” said Hannah Keith, the student organizer of the Pro Bono Spring Break program. “We made a dent in the attorneys’ workload.”
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Court Launches Help4TNDay Initiative

The Tennessee Supreme Court today made April 1 Help4TNDay, launching the statewide initiative with news conferences in five cities across Tennessee. In Nashville, Chief Justice Jeff Bivins championed the campaign, which will include free legal help online or in person at clinics, as well as a public service campaign that will air on television and radio stations across the state. “We want to ensure all Tennesseans have equal access to legal representation,” Bivins said. “Through the civil legal clinics, the citizens of our state will have a convenient place to go to get answers to their legal questions.”

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Summar to Leave Arts and Business Council

Longtime Executive Director Casey Summar is leaving the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville (ABC), citing a move to California as the reason for the change. Summar was the co-founder of the Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in 2006, which later merged with the ABC in 2009. The ABC board will begin searching for a new Executive Director in the coming weeks. Among other services to the Nashville arts community, the ABC provides pro bono legal help to low-income artists, as well as legal assistance to nonprofit arts organizations.
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Legal Aid Programs in Limbo Under Proposed Trump Budget

The Atlantic asks “What Will Happen to Americans Who Can’t Afford an Attorney?” in a story examining the fate of legal aid organizations if a Trump proposal to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation wins Congressional support. Gary Housepain, executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, was quoted in the article explaining the wide-reaching benefits from having a robust legal aid program, from reduced costs for police, the court system, hospitals and more.
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ABA-Microsoft Launch Fellowship to Improve Legal Services

A new fellowship opportunity for recent law school graduates is now available. The American Bar Association Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen fellow will live for a year in residence at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, helping improve legal services in the United States, focusing primarily on partnership projects between the ABA, Microsoft and the Legal Services Corporation. The fellow will receive a $45,000 salary and benefits. Bar admission is not necessary. The deadline to apply is April 15. Learn more from the ABA Center for Innovation.

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TBA Joins Efforts to Save LSC

Details of the Trump administration budget have generated strong opposition to the proposed elimination of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The Tennessee Bar Association is mobilizing to save legal aid services by encouraging Tennessee representatives in Congress and the White House to restore LSC funding. Learn more about the threat to LSC and show your support for vital legal aid programs via TBAImpact. National advocacy groups including The Shriver Center, Pro Bono Institute and National Legal Aid & Defender Association have joined in efforts to mobilize support for LSC. The Shriver Center notes historic bipartisan support for LSC, and its role as a “barometer for our country’s commitment to supporting basic fairness and access to equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of one’s income.”

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Responses Needed for Attorney Pro Bono Survey

All attorneys licensed to practice in Tennessee are invited to participate in an American Bar Association statewide survey on pro bono service. Your feedback will help provide a better understanding of legal services provided to persons of limited means. This survey is anonymous, and it closes on March 31. It should only take a few minutes to complete, depending upon the amount of pro bono work done in 2016. Find out more here.
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TBA President Speaks Out Against Elimination of Legal Services Funding

TBA President Jason Long is joining bar leaders from across the country in speaking out against a proposed Trump administration budget that would eliminate funding to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the largest funder of civil legal aid in the country. “Tennessee lawyers know how vital legal aid programs are to the fabric of our community,” Long said. “We will mobilize our resources and, most importantly, the voices of our members to maintain and indeed expand LSC funding." American Bar Association President Linda Klein said in a statement released today that the ABA was "outraged" at the budget proposal.
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#Help4TN CLE Planned for Nashville

The Tennessee Supreme Court will host a free pro bono-themed CLE in Nashville in conjunction with #Help4TNDay. This event will provide attorneys with information on points of entry into doing pro bono in the Nashville area. Justice Connie Clark will summarize the ethical rules surrounding pro bono work and highlight the Tennessee Faith & Justice Alliance, an initiative of the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission. Representatives from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services will cover the opportunities their organizations provide for lawyers to do pro bono work. The event will be held at Nashville School of Law on April 1 from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Register at the Help4TN website.

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Court to Kick Off #Help4TNDay

The Tennessee Supreme Court will kick off #Help4TNDay on March 21 with five press conferences in five cities across the state. #Help4TNDay, planned for April 1, aims to educate the public about free legal advice events as part of its Access to Justice Initiative, in which Tennesseans are invited to get free civil legal help online or in person at walk-in clinics near them. There will also be educational events across the state where people can learn about their legal rights and how to resolve disputes without going to court. Visit the Help4TN website to learn more about the program, as well as the date, time and place of events.

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More Than 150 Law Firm Leaders Urge Continued LSC Funding

After a proposed Trump administration budget put funding for the Legal Services Corp. (LSC) on the chopping block, more than 150 law firm leaders in all 50 states sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget yesterday to push against the cuts. The American Lawyer reports that the letter references the large amount of pro bono work that firm lawyers are able to do by working alongside legal aid agencies funded by the LSC. Representing Tennessee on the letter are Ben C. Adams of Baker Donelson; Todd J. Rolapp of Bass, Berry and Sims; and Matthew R. Burnstein of Waller Lansden.
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Gatlinburg Wildfire Free Legal Clinic Planned for March 27

Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Sevier County Bar Association will host a free legal clinic for the survivors of the Gatlinburg wildfires on March 27. Clients are expected to need advice with consumer/debt issues, insurance, tax problems, government benefits and more. The clinic will take place at the conference center of the Greystone Lodge on the River, 559 Parkway, from 1 – 5 p.m. For more information or to sign up to help, contact LAET’s Knoxville office at (865) 637-0484.

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