News

LAET to Host Garden Party Fundraiser in Maryville

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host a garden party fundraiser on Sept. 28 in Maryville. The event is called “Fall in the Garden,” and will be held at Out of Eden Garden Center, 2928 Highway 411 S, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and are available at LAET’s website.
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Volunteer Lawyers Help About 250 with Expungements

About 250 people filled the Bloomfield Baptist Church on Saturday morning for a free clinic aimed at expunging criminal records that don't involve convictions. The clinic was the combined effort of the Memphis Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association and the Ben F. Jones chapter of the National Bar Association. Eighteen lawyers led by Memphis attorney Amber Floyd were on hand to review cases to determine eligibility for expungement and to help with the paperwork, the Commercial Appeal reports.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Maintains LSC Funding

The Senate Committee on Appropriations Thursday approved the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which includes $385 million in funding for the Legal Services Corporation. The Committee voted 30-1 to pass the budget proposal, which maintained LSC funding at FY 2017 levels. Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut LSC funding by 24 percent, while the Trump administration’s budget would slash LSC funding entirely. Lawyers and legal groups across the country, including TBA, are speaking out against the devastating impact of proposed funding cuts. Legal Aid Defender has more information.

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LSC Budget Proposal Heads to Senate Appropriations

Funding for the Legal Services Corporation goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow after a subcommittee on Tuesday approved $385 million in spending as part of a proposed FY 2018 budget. The $385 million budget would maintain FY 2017 funding levels. Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut LSC funding by 24 percent, while the Trump administration’s budget would slash LSC funding entirely. Lawyers and legal groups across the country, including TBA, are speaking out against the devastating impact of the proposed funding cuts. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander serves on the Appropriations Committee and can be reached at (202) 224-4944. Legal Aid Defender has more information.

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TALS Announces Access to Justice Award Winners

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) today announced the winners of its 2017 Access to Justice Awards. Caitlin “Cat” Moon and Larry Bridgesmith of Legal Alignment are recipients of the Janice M. Holder Award in recognition of their work addressing the intersection of legal needs and technical solutions in innovative ways, including collaborative work with the TBA. Other award winners include Carol Gish and Ashley Holliday from West Tennessee Legal Services, recipients of the B. Riney Green Award, and New Advocate of the Year honoree Christina Magráns-Tillery of Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The honorees will be celebrated during TALS’ Equal Justice University Conference Aug. 30 in Murfreesboro. 

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Senate Committee to Consider LSC Funding Cuts

A U.S. Senate subcommittee will consider proposed cuts to funding for the Legal Services Corporation when it meets tomorrow. Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut LSC funding by 24 percent. The Trump administration’s budget slashes LSC funding entirely, while the House’s proposal cuts $85 million.

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TBA President, ED Set to Speak at Equal Justice University

Guest speakers for the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ (TALS) annual Equal Justice University have been announced and include new TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson and TBA President Lucian Pera. Also scheduled to speak are Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins and Nicole Austin-Hillery, director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Washington, D.C. office. This year’s EJU will take place in Murfreesboro on Aug. 30 through Sept. 1. Find out more and register here.
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Community Legal Center Hosts Benefit Concert in Memphis

The Community Legal Center in Memphis will host a fundraiser benefit concert on Aug. 12. The event, called “Jam for Justice,” will take place at Loflin Yard at 7 p.m. and feature acts such as John Paul Keith, The Low Country Nationals, The Outcry and more. Tickets are $20 and available for purchase here.
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New Senior Law Website Launched

West Tennessee Legal Services has launched a website, TnSeniorLaw.org, to provide legal information and resources to Tennessee senior citizens. The site includes nearly 60 printable factsheets and informative videos on legal issues relevant to seniors, including conservatorships, long-term care and Medicaid. The project was made possible by a Serving Tennessee Seniors grant and adapted some topics from the TBA's Senior Law Handbook. 

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2nd Saturday Legal Aid Clinic Celebrates 10 Years

Memphis’s 2nd Saturday Legal Aid Clinic is celebrating 10 years of serving the community with a ceremony tomorrow, The Commercial Appeal reports. The clinic opens every second Saturday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Since the clinic began in November 2007, about 10,000 people have been served. The celebration will take place at the library at 1 p.m. Justice Holly M. Kirby of the Tennessee Supreme Court and retired Justice Janice M.Holder are slated to speak, and the governor is expected to attend.
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Free Legal Clinic in Chattanooga Hosted by LAET, Faith-based Partnership

A free legal advice clinic in Chattanooga hosted by Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET), Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance, Christian Legal Society and Chattanooga Gospel Justice Initiative will be held at White Oak United Methodist Church on Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The church is located at 2232 Lyndon Avenue. The Chattanooga House of Prayer will also be available at the event to offer prayer support and encouragement for participants. Anyone who would like more information about this event or the partnership should contact Paige Evatt, Pro Bono Director at Legal Aid of East Tennessee, (423) 402-4758.
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LAET to Host Debt Relief Clinic for Pre-Screened Individuals

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET), in partnership with the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA), will host a Debt Relief Legal Advice Clinic on July 29 beginning at 9:30 a.m. The clinic will be held at Powell United Methodist Church, 323 W. Emory Road in Powell. This is not a walk-in clinic — clients must be pre-screened in order to attend. Attorneys interested in volunteering for this clinic should contact Kathryn Ellis, LAET Pro Bono Project Director, (865) 251-4950.

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July TBJ: Mentors, Annuities and the Challenges of Change

Covington lawyer Amber Griffin Shaw writes about how having a mentor in Houston Gordon made all the difference in her law practice. Read her story — and his advice — in the July Tennessee Bar Journal. Knoxville lawyer Glen A. Kyle writes about planning options for spousal annuities. President Lucian T. Pera writes about the challenges of change – whether it be in the changing of leadership at the helm of the TBA, the need for improvements in indigent defense for Tennessee’s least-privileged citizens, or how lawyers respond to the dramatic changes “facing not just the profession or the business of lawyers, but the whole market for the delivery of legal services.”

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Lipscomb Seeking Volunteers for Free Legal Clinic Next Week

The Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice and Society at Lipscomb University will host a free legal clinic at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Schrader Lane Church of Christ, 1234 Schrader Lane in Nashville, and attorneys are needed to volunteer. Those who are available should contact Randy Spivey.

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Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Expungement Clinics in Memphis, Paris

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is seeking volunteers for upcoming expungement clinics in Memphis and Henry County. The clinic in Memphis will be held on July 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church, located at 123 South Parkway West. The second clinic will be on Aug. 12 at the Henry County Courthouse, 101 E Washington Street in Paris, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested in volunteering should contact Amber Floyd at (901) 537-1054.
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TALS Extends Deadline for Awards Nominations

The deadline to submit nominations for the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ three annual Access to Justice Awards has been extended to June 30. The awards will be presented at the Equal Justice University Conference. The Janice M. Holder Award recognizes a professional in private practice, corporate counsel, a public servant or other social service advocate who has advanced the quality of justice statewide by ensuring the legal system is open and available to all, the B. Riney Green Award recognizes someone who promotes inter-program cooperation across the state, and the New Advocate of the Year Award acknowledges someone who has been with their legal services program for five years or less.

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Registration Open for Equal Justice University

Registration is now open for the 40th Anniversary Equal Justice University Conference, which will be held Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 in Murfreesboro. Hosted by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services with support from the Tennessee Bar Association, EJU is the annual gathering of 200 lawyers, advocates, and pro bono attorneys involved in providing civil legal assistance across Tennessee. Find out more information and register here.
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Commission on Civil Rights Concerned with Proposed Budget Cuts

The bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has launched an investigation into Trump Administration proposals to cut funding and staff from civil rights programs. The commission expressed concern that the administration’s proposed budget cuts “would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country.” The proposal to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the major funding source for local legal aid agencies across the country, is one of the specific cuts to be considered in the two-year investigation. Learn more about the bar’s support for LSC on the TBA website.

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TALS Access to Justice Awards Nominations Due Friday

The deadline to submit nominations for the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ (TALS) three annual Access to Justice Awards is this Friday. The awards will be presented at the Equal Justice University Conference. The Janice M. Holder Award recognizes a professional in private practice, corporate counsel, a public servant or other social service advocate who has advanced the quality of justice statewide by ensuring the legal system is open and available to all, the B. Riney Green Award recognizes someone who promotes inter-program cooperation across the state, and the New Advocate of the Year Award acknowledges someone who has been with their legal services program for five years or less.

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Memphis Lawyer’s Nonprofit Featured in Vogue

Former Shelby County juvenile court judicial magistrate Claudia Haltom’s A Step Ahead Foundation was among several women’s health organizations profiled in Vogue magazine this month. Haltom’s group was hailed as “innovative” for its work helping women in need. The organization even provides free rides to those it serves so they can obtain health services.
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CASA Monroe to Host 5th Annual Balloon Fiesta Benefit

CASA Monroe will host the 5th Annual Muscadine Balloon Fiesta benefit at Tsali Notch Vineyard. The event will feature balloon rides, live music, food, games and more and all proceeds will support the organization. The two-day Fiesta runs on Sept. 2 and 3, from 2 to 10 p.m. at 140 Harrison Road, Madisonville. VIP packages are available. Tickets can be found at the Muscadine Festival website.
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Volunteers Needed for Veterans’ Legal Clinic in Memphis

The next Memphis Veterans’ Legal Clinic will take place tomorrow (Tuesday) from noon to 2 p.m. at 1407 Union Ave, 11th Floor. Volunteers are needed to assist, especially those with expertise in criminal defense, family law and employment law. Those with questions or who would be able to volunteer should contact Jake Dickerson at (901) 577-8236 or jdickerson@bakerdonelson.com.
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Volunteers Needed for Lipscomb Legal Clinic Next Week

A free legal advice clinic, hosted by the Lipscomb University Institute for Law, Justice and Society, will be held at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville on June 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. This will be an advice-only clinic and informational materials with frequently asked questions will be provided. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Randy Spivey at Lipscomb at (615) 966-2503 or randy.spivey@lipscomb.edu.
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Attorney General Ends Practice of Donating Settlement Money to Third Parties

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on Tuesday telling Department of Justice lawyers to stop directing settlement funds to nongovernmental organizations unaffiliated with the cases, the ABA Journal reports. The practice, popularized during the Obama administration, was especially common in settlements with mortgage lenders accused of wrongdoing during the financial crisis of 2008. That money was often directed to community groups, including legal aid organizations. The new policy forbids these settlements unless the funds go directly to remedy direct harm from the wrongdoing; all other funds will go to the U.S. Treasury. 
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LAET to Host 3 Legal Clinics for Seniors Thanks to Grant

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host three legal clinics for seniors in Knoxville this month, thanks to the “Serving Seniors” grant and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The first clinic will be held June 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Frank Strange Senior Center in Lovell Heights, the second will be on the same day from 10 a.m. to noon at the Corryton Senior Center, and the third will be on June 15 at 1 p.m. at the South Knoxville Senior Center. Each session will continue until everyone present has been served, and no appointment is necessary. The grant is being administered by the Community Foundation through the settlement of a lawsuit against SeniorTrust and ElderTrust.
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