News

AOC Grants Available for Pro Se Programs

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) will award $200,000 in grant funding for initiatives that help divorced or never married self-represented litigants resolve parenting and visitation issues. Initiatives may include self-help centers, pro se clinics, unbundled legal services and mediation programs. To be considered for a grant, proposals must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 7. Get details on the AOC website.

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MALS Hiring for 3 Positions

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) is seeking to fill three positions. Two of the openings are in Memphis: the director of pro bono programs will oversee the agency’s pro bono programs and provide limited legal representation to clients, while a new staff attorney will provide legal representation and advice to eligible clients. The third position, another staff attorney, is located in the group’s Covington office. For all of these positions, lawyers should be licensed in Tennessee and have some legal experience. Those interested should submit a letter of interest, resume, three references and a writing sample to Janese K. Perry.

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Legal Aid Has $22M Impact

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands provided $22.7 million worth of free legal help throughout 48 counties in 2014, according to statistics released by the agency. With the help of almost 800 lawyers, the agency handled 2,386 cases and provided 6,801 pro bono hours last year. Read more about these accomplishments.

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TBJ: Microscopic Hair, Queen Caroline and TBA Awards

The erroneous use of microscopic hair comparison is examined by Journal columnist Wade Davies, in the July issue. Columnist Russell Fowler tells the story of the incorrigible Queen Caroline and her equally despicable husband, King George IV. He describes their divorce as a "lawyer's dream case ... the grounds and defense were salacious allegations of adultery." And in this installment of celebrating the Journal's 50 years, take a look at the many awards the Tennessee Bar Association gives every year, notably the Justice Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing.

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Immigration Group Seeks Legal Advocate

Nashville-based Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) is seeking a bilingual legal advocate to support the work of two attorneys assisting immigrants with their immigration legal needs. The legal advocate will assist with interpretation, translation, client intake, document preparation, scheduling and other administrative tasks. Applicants should speak, read and write English and Spanish fluently. Though a law degree is not required, previous experience in a law office setting is preferred. Get more information about the position.

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West Tennessee Legal Services Seeks Victim Assistance Attorney

West Tennessee Legal Services is seeking an attorney in its Victim Assistance and Advocacy Project. The position will represent victims of domestic and sexual violence in civil protection order cases and provide legal advocacy on behalf of victims in various forums. Litigation experience on behalf of domestic violence and/or sexual assault victims, and prior work with specialized client populations and/or ethnic or language distinct communities is preferred. Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and references by July 18 to: Hiring Committee, West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc., P.O. Box 2066, Jackson, TN 38302 or by email to sandy@wtls.org.

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Grant Allows Legal Aid to Continue SNAP Advocacy

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has received a $13,000 grant from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. This is the second year the group has received the funding, which will go toward its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits advocacy. A team of legal aid staff advocates for SNAP recipients before state and federal agencies, and works with the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) on critical SNAP issues.

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Solo in the Park to Benefit Legal Aid

The 5th Annual Solo in the Park autocross competition comes to Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park July 11-12. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America, the event features sports car enthusiasts driving a timed precision course. All proceeds benefit Knoxville Family Justice Center and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. For general event information, call (865) 637-0484.

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Stay or Pay: When Criminal Offenders Can't Pay Fines

In the July issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, out today, the Hon. Walter Kurtz writes about the incarceration of minor criminal offenders when the offense is the inability to pay fines and fees. Also, when can you compensate a fact witness? Craig P. Sanders and Brandon J. Stout explain. In Bill Harbison's first column as Tennessee Bar Association president, he writes about the many ways lawyers give their time to champion justice for others.

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ACA Ruling Spurs Renewed Calls for Insure Tennessee

Health advocates are renewing their push for Insure Tennessee in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. Supporters gathered at Nashville’s Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital yesterday to urge state legislators to approve Gov. Bill Haslam’s alternative Medicaid expansion plan, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Those on hand for the event included representatives from the hospital, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee Justice Center and a number of federal, state and local elected officials.

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Speakers Announced for 2015 Equal Justice University

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services has announced several national speakers for the 2015 Equal Justice University scheduled for Sept. 2-4 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. This year’s featured speaker will be Ramón P. Arias, former executive director of Bay Area Legal Aid in California and a member of the Equal Justice Works board. Other presenters include Rebecca Dixon with the National Employment Law Project, Eric Carlson with Justice in Aging and Georgetown University law professor David Super. The annual conference is cosponsored by the TBA.

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Services Pending for Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate

Jean Crowe died today (June 22). Considered by many to be the Mother of the Domestic Violence Movement in Nashville, Crowe founded the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence while an employee of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. The Jean Crowe Advocacy Center was named in her honor. In 2013, she was named the TBA Public Service Attorney of the Year. Information on funeral services is pending.

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ABA President Pushes Online Models for Civil Disputes

The president of the American Bar Association told Tennessee lawyers that the traditional method of providing pro bono legal services in civil matters isn’t working, the Memphis Daily News reports. “People are migrating en masse to these online services,” William C. Hubbard told a group of 200 attorneys and judges Thursday at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual meeting in Memphis. “We need to make sure we don’t have perhaps two justice systems that operate independently – one totally online and totally unregulated and one highly regulated but not innovative enough. We need to synthesize those two systems.”

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LAET Sets Pro Bono Night

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host Pro Bono Night & the Donald F. Paine Memorial Pro Bono Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 28 at 5:30 p.m. Learn more about it.

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TennCare Applicant Suit Argued

An attorney for the state of Tennessee, Michael Kirk, told a federal appeals court Thursday that a court order is not needed to protect TennCare applicants because they are no longer being left in indefinite limbo. But Samuel Brooke, who represents the TennCare applicants, told the judges that even though the problems are being resolved, the state still is not fulfilling its duty to process the applications on time. "It seems to me this case is crying out for a settlement," Judge Karen Nelson Moore said, since both seemed to want to help TennCare applicants resolve their problems. The Greeneville Sun reports.

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AOC Hiring Pro Bono Coordinator

The Administrative Office of the Courts is seeking a Pro Bono Coordinator to work with the Access to Justice Commission. Main job duties will be to cultivate, monitor and follow-up with new pro bono initiatives, especially in parts of the state where none currently exist to serve specific segments of the population or communities with legal needs that are not being met. The position is a one-year grant-funded position, beginning August 1. Applications are due June 30.

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Officials Investigate Fire at Legal Aid

Firefighters say they believe someone intentionally set fire to the back door of the Legal Aid Society office in Murfreesboro, WSMV reports. A police officer who was patrolling in the area first saw flames at the back of the office building on Walnut Street around 11 p.m. last night.

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6th Annual ‘Lawyers for Littles’ Event Raises $21,500

The sixth annual “Lawyers for Littles” Bowl for Kid’s Sake event helped raise over $21,500 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. Twenty-three teams participated in the bowling event on June 4, representing all spheres of the legal profession, including law firms, corporate counsel, government agencies and bar associations. Money raised in events like “Lawyers for Littles” is used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety and to provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. For more information contact Elizabeth Sitgreaves or Bart Pickett.

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New Website Presents Database of Collateral Consequences of Conviction

A new National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction is now available through a website produced by the National Institute of Justice and the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. The interactive site lets attorneys select one or more jurisdiction in the database, then identify legal sanctions and restrictions imposed. The work is part of the ABA’s efforts to reform collateral consequences so that they serve public safety goals, but do not impose high social and economic costs.

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Court Opens Pro Bono Recognition Process

Tennessee lawyers can now report their pro bono hours from the previous year at any time and be recognized through the “Attorneys for Justice” program if they provide 50 or more hours of pro bono service. Learn more from the AOC.

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Senate Panel Advances $10 Million Increase in LSC Funding

The Senate Appropriations Committee today marked up a bill that contains $385 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) for FY 2016, an increase of $10 million over current levels. LSC had asked for $486.9 million, approximately the same amount requested for the past two years, the agency reports. While not moving forward with a similar increase, the House has not presented an amendment to zero out the LSC budget as it has for at least six years.

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CAC Event Raises $45,000

The Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District raised $45,000 during its annual dinner and auction last week at the Yacht Club in Tellico Village. The theme was “A Child’s Voyage ... from Victim to Survivor.” The event boasted a silent auction, live auction and music by the Tellico Top Notes. The News Herald has more.

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NALS Silent Auction to Benefit Legal Aid

NALS will host its third annual After Hours Silent Auction on July 16 at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, the state’s largest non-profit law firm. Attendees will have the chance to bid on donated items such as massages, gift certificates, hotel stays and more. 

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Registration Now Open for Equal Justice University

Registration is now open for the annual Equal Justice University, co-hosted by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the TBA. Equal Justice University brings Tennessee's equal justice community together for high quality CLE featuring local and national experts, networking opportunities and other special events. This year’s conference will be held Sept. 2 - 4 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro.

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Date Change for Lipscomb Legal Clinics

Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society will hold a free legal advice clinic 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 23 at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville. Due to scheduling conflicts, the clinics will be meeting on the fourth rather than third Tuesday of each month. For more information or to volunteer, contact Randy Spivey at randy.spivey@lipscomb.edu

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