News

Legal Aid Lawyer Sought for Domestic, Sexual Abuse Cases

West Tennessee Legal Services is seeking a staff attorney with a strong commitment to the delivery of quality civil legal assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking in rural west Tennessee. Experience representing domestic violence victims is preferred and proficiency in Spanish is a plus. Applicants must possess a Tennessee law license as well as excellent writing and oral communication skills and the ability to manage multiple tasks, build collaborative relationships, travel as necessary and use case management software. Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and references to Hiring Committee, West Tennessee Legal Services Inc., P.O. Box 2066, Jackson, TN 38302 or by email to jane@wtls.org.

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Online TN Justice Selected as Finalist for Award

Online TN Justice, a statewide virtual legal clinic that helps vulnerable Tennesseans access legal advice from a network of pro bono lawyers, has been named a finalist for the Frist Foundation's Team Building Award. The winner will be announced at a gala Sept. 23 in Nashville. The award, presented by the Center for Nonprofit Management, recognizes organizations that mobilize volunteers and partner organizations to support people in need. The team responsible for the creation and operation of Online TN Justice includes the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), the Tennessee Supreme Court and its Access to Justice Commission, the Tennessee Bar Association and the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Read more about the award and see other finalists on the Center for Nonprofit Management’s website.

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Supreme Court Gives Sendoff to Justice Koch

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. was honored at a reception today (July 7) at the Tennessee Supreme Court building in advance of his upcoming retirement. Emceed by Justice Connie Clark, the program featured comments by those impacted by Koch's service over the years. Herbert Slattery, counsel to the governor, presented a gubernatorial proclamation announcing today as "Justice William C. Koch Jr. Appreciation Day" and Sen. Randy McNally presented a resolution from the Tennessee General Assembly honoring Koch. All five members of the court were present at the standing-room-only event. To honor their colleague, the justices made a donation to the Nashville School of Law – where Koch will take over as dean next week – and Chief Justice Gary Wade presented a framed copy of the recent Tennessee Bar Journal, which features Koch on the cover. Court of Appeals Judge Frank Clement, a trustee of the Nashville School of Law, also spoke. He said Koch's arrival will be a huge "shot in the arm" for the school.  See photos from the event.

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Supreme Court Gives Sendoff to Justice Koch

Justice William C. Koch Jr. was honored at a reception today (July 7) at the Tennessee Supreme Court building for his upcoming retirement. Emceed by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark, several people spoke about Koch's service in his various jobs over the years.

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Gideon’s Promise Recruits 2 Vanderbilt Law Grads

Gideon’s Promise has signed two Vanderbilt University Law School graduates to participate in its Law School Partnership Program. Jose Costales and William Howell join 13 other recent graduates who will work in underserved public defender offices with the promise of a full-time position after one year. The program is a partnership between Gideon’s Promise, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, participating law schools and public defender offices in the southeast. See the full list of participants.

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TALS Announces New Award Named for Justice Holder

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) announced today that it has created the Janice M. Holder Access to Justice Award to honor the state’s first female Supreme Court chief justice, a passionate leader in Tennessee's Access to Justice efforts and a dedicated public servant. The award will be presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to expanding access to justice in Tennessee. The group is accepting applications for this and other awards through July 18. The awards will be presented Sept. 10 during TALS' Equal Justice University.

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Training for Advocates Fighting Violence Against Women

The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence is offering an advocacy training July 9-10 in Memphis. The event, which is free, will take place at The Urban Child Institute, 600 Jefferson Ave., Memphis 38105. The training will focus on the history of violence against women, practical advocacy techniques, prevention, vicarious trauma and more. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. Register online to attend.

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Save the Date for CLC's 20th Anniversary Celebration

Supporters of the Community Legal Center (CLC) in Memphis are asked to save the date of July 31 for the group’s 20th anniversary celebration. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. that evening. The CLC provides pro bono legal services and educational programs to those who are not eligible for assistance from Memphis Area Legal Services. Watch for more information on the event.

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Silent Auction to Benefit Legal Aid Society

The Nashville Chapter of NALS will host the 2nd Annual NALS After Hours Silent Auction on July 10 to benefit the work of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz, 211 Commerce St., Suite 800. Last year, the auction raised $3,350 for the agency and sponsors are hoping to top that amount with a range of items including autographed memorabilia from the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans, hotel stays, wine and restaurant gift certificates. For more information, to volunteer or to donate an item, contact nalsnashville@yahoo.com.

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Volunteers Needed for Incarcerated Veterans Clinic June 21

The Memphis Bar Association Access to Justice Committee is sponsoring a legal clinic Saturday  from 8 a.m. to noon and volunteers are needed. The legal clinic, which will be held at the Shelby County Jail, will provide help to incarcerated veterans who have civil legal questions about issues such as disability compensation, child support issues, advance directives, eligibility for benefits and outstanding debts. Those interested in volunteering should contact Mark Berryhill at (901) 222-4819. 

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NALS After Hours Silent Auction to Benefit Legal Aid

The National Association of Legal Professionals (NALS) Nashville Chapter will host its annual After Hours Silent Auction on July 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Baker Donelson. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. To volunteer or for more information, visit www.nalsnashville.com. To donate an item, please mail it to Tiffany Burford Taylor, Silent Auction Chairman, at Waller, 511 Union St. Nashville, TN 37219.

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Morgan named TJC Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

Brad Morgan, the coordinator of access to justice and mentoring programs for the University of Tennessee College of Law, has been named the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Morgan was honored at a reception hosted by the group at the TBA Convention in Gatlinburg last week. While at the convention, Morgan also spoke to law students participating in the TBA’s Diversity Leadership Institute on the importance of making pro bono a priority in their careers.

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Supreme Court to Recognize Pro Bono Work

The Tennessee Supreme Court has launched a new program to honor pro bono service by individual attorneys, law firms and law students, while encouraging greater pro bono participation statewide. Under the program, any attorney who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono service in 2013 will be named an “Attorney for Justice” by the court, while a law student who completes 50 or more hours of pro bono work during their law school career will be recognized as a “Law Student for Justice.” Law firms that averaged 50 or more hours of pro bono service per attorney in 2013 also may apply for recognition. Those who qualify will be recognized at events across the state in October, will be included in an Honor Roll published on the court’s website and will be given a seal that may be used on marketing materials. For additional information contact Anne-Louise Wirthlin, (615) 741-2687.

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New Justice AmeriCorps to Hire 100 Lawyers, Paralegals

Young lawyers and paralegals are being sought to provide legal assistance in immigration proceedings to children who come to the United States without documentation. Officials say about 100 lawyers and paralegals will be enrolled as members of AmeriCorps in a new division called "Justice AmeriCorps" – a partnership between the Justice Department and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the new program Friday. WATE News 6 has the AP story.

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Legal Aid Awarded $50,000 Grant for Volunteer Lawyers Program

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has received a $50,000 AmeriCorps Planning grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. According to a press release, Legal Aid will use the award to plan a capacity building program using AmeriCorps service members as liaisons for its Volunteer Lawyers Program, which engages the private bar to provide pro bono legal services across 48 counties in Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau.

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People’s Law School Summer Schedule Announced

The Legal Aid Society today announced its summer schedule for the People’s Law School, a free program that provides an overview of legal issues that a typical person might face. Taught by Legal Aid Society attorneys and volunteer attorneys in Nashville, the weekly, one-hour classes will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Cohn Learning Center, 4805 Park Ave. and at Wright Middle School, 180 Mccall St. For more information, visit the Nashville Community Education Commission website.

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Legal Aid Takes Initiative to Protect At-Risk Veterans

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest non-profit law firm, has partnered with Operation Stand Down Nashville (OSDN) and drawn on its Volunteer Lawyer Program to ensure at-risk veterans are receiving the resources they need. The program staffs monthly clinics at OSDN that provide general advice and legal counsel to veterans on a wide range of topics, including custody, drivers’ licenses, divorce and landlord-tenant issues. The Murfreesboro Post has more.

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House Rejects Effort to Defund LSC

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday defeated an amendment to zero out the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) by a vote of 116 to 290. Three of Tennessee's representatives – Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais – voted for the amendment. When the amendment was last offered in 2012, there were 122 votes in favor of zeroing out. The House bill contains $350 million for the agency. The Senate takes up its appropriations bill next week, and then the two chambers will have to conference on final legislation. View the transcript of the House's consideration.

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Nominations Accepted for Access to Justice Awards

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is accepting nominations for the B. Riney Green Award and the New Advocate of the Year Award. The awards will be presented at the group's Access to Justice Dinner Sept. 10 during the Equal Justice University conference. Submit nominations to TALS Operating Director Samantha Sanchez by June 27.

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Lawyers Unite for Public Defense Reform Tonight

Gideon’s Promise is hosting an event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the Square Gastropub in Memphis tonight (Thursday) to advocate for public defense reform. The organization states it is “setting out to ensure the 12 million citizens who move through America’s criminal justice system each year receive a fair and zealous defense.” Tennessee public defender Keeda Haynes is slated to provide remarks, as well as photography and B-roll of Gideon’s Promise Founder and President Jonathan Rapping delivering remarks to an assembled crowd.

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LAET Project Brings Millions to Chattanooga Economy

Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s (LAET) Family Stabilization Project continues to reap great benefit for the local community. The project focuses on the recently unemployed in the Chattanooga area to identify those who lost a job through no fault of their own, and yet were denied unemployment benefits. Funded by an anonymous $34,000 grant, the program provides legal services to help low-income residents appeal wrongful denials by the Tennessee Department of Employment Security. In its four-year history, the project has appealed and won 744 cases, bringing $2,465,471 into the Chattanooga economy. For more information on this program, contact LAET’s Chattanooga office at (423) 756-4013.

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Enjoy a Night of Baseball with the TJC June 2

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) will be recognized as the Nashville Sounds' Charity of the Night on June 2 at 7 p.m. TJC Executive Director Michele Johnson and her nine-year-old son Henry will be throwing the first pitch. Buy your tickets (and t-shirts) on the TJC website.

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Veteran Gets Help from Legal Aid

A Murfreesboro veteran received much needed help from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands after his adopted daughter, who suffers from severe mental health problems, was denied a subsidy to assist with her care and the family’s debt began spiraling out of control. The daughter, who has since turned 18, required professional, residential care in a state facility. Read how Legal Aid was able to help the Hicks family get back on their feet in a piece printed on Memorial Day in the Murfreesboro Post.

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LAET Chattanooga Office Earns Red Cross Award

Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s (LAET) Chattanooga office was recently presented with the American Red Cross’ Hometown Heroes Community Partner Award, presented by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. This award was given to LAET for their response to the Patten Towers fire, which occurred last year in downtown Chattanooga leaving over 240 people homeless.

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TBA Earns National Award for Public Service

The Tennessee Bar Association has been awarded the LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award for production and distribution of the 2014 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors. Written and edited by volunteers working with the TBA Public Education Committee, the handbook contains practical information on topics ranging from Social Security benefits to long-term care considerations and estate planning, as well as sections addressing online security and new health care legislation. The handbook has been distributed to several thousand Tennesseans through live presentations and requests on the TBA.org website since its launch in February. Members of the National Association of Bar Executives who reviewed entries for the award praised the breadth of information in the handbook and the volunteer involvement with its preparation and outreach. Formal presentation of the award will take place during the NABE's annual meeting this August in Boston.

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