News

Court OKs Forms for Uncontested Divorce with Children

The Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted a set of plain-language forms and instructions for use in uncontested divorces between parties with minor children. The forms were developed by the Access to Justice Commission as part of an effort to simplify court proceedings, reduce barriers to access to justice and meet the legal needs of vulnerable Tennessean who do not qualify for legal aid programs. To use the forms, both parties must have minor children together and agree on all aspects of the divorce, including child support. They also cannot own real property or have retirement accounts. The new forms will be universally accepted in Tennessee courts as of Jan. 1. Read the court's order.

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Lipscomb Legal Clinic, Dinner to Honor Gray

The Institute for Law, Justice & Society at Lipscomb University will be renamed in honor of civil rights lawyer Fred D. Gray next month. As part of the renaming celebration, the institute will hold a free legal clinic Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Schrader Lane Church of Christ in Nashville. Volunteers are needed to provide advice on civil, criminal, domestic and probate issues. That evening, the school will host Gray for a dinner and keynote address at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Tickets are $200 per person. RSVP by Nov. 2 . Contact institute director Randy Spivey, 615-966-2503, for more information about any of these events. Read more about Gray and the institute in the October issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal or in this press release from the school.

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Tennessee Hosting 4 Equal Justice Works Fellows

Tennessee is benefiting from the services of four Equal Justice Works fellows. It is the first time in more than 10 years that the state has had any fellows, according to the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS). That group is hosting Kirsten Jacobson in its office. Elder Justice Fellow Matt Schwimmer is serving with West Tennessee Legal Services in Jackson. Elder Justice Fellow Sara Dodson is serving with the Tennessee Justice Center in Nashville. And Immigrant Defense Fellow Valeria Gomez is working with Justice AmeriCorps and VIDA in Knoxville. TALS credits the work of the state Supreme Court, which has made pro bono a strategic priority, and the support of the state’s legal aid providers in making these fellowships a reality.

Photo from left: Jacobson, Gomez, Schwimmer, Dodson

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3 Legal Clinics Scheduled for Saturday

Three legal advice clinics will take place tomorrow as Celebrate Pro Bono Month enters its last week of activities. The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will hold its standing McHugh Clinic in Nashville at 8:30 a.m. The group also will hold a clinic from 9 a.m. to noon at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. The TBA Young Lawyers Division will round out the day with a free Wills for Heroes clinic for first responders from 9 a.m. to noon in Lebanon. Get details on these and other remaining events on the Celebrate Pro Bono web page.

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Volunteers Needed for Veterans’ Clinic

Volunteers are needed for a Veterans’ Legal Advice Clinic scheduled for Nov. 2 from noon to 2 p.m. in Knoxville. The clinic is one of several planned by a group of legal organizations in the city, including the Knoxville Bar Association, the Knoxville Barristers, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Knox County Public Defender’s Office, the University of Tennessee College of Law and the local Veterans's Affairs office. It will take place at the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office, 1101 Liberty St.

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Debunking the ‘Solo, No Bono’ Myth

Big Law lawyer David Lash takes on the myths that solo practioners do not have the time, resources or experience to do pro bono work, arguing they are, and historically have been, critical to the delivery of legal services to the poor. In an article for Above the Law, he debunks each of these myths and concludes that solo practioners and small firm lawyers likely engage in pro bono service in the same numbers and percentages as other attorneys.

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Training Offered to Help Lawyers Help Veterans

The University of Tennessee College of Law will hold a two-hour training session on Nov. 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. EST for those interested in learning more about volunteering at a Project Salute event or assisting veterans with legal issues in any setting. A “meet and greet” will follow the program. Register online.

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Disability Rights Group Presents Freedom Awards

Disability Rights Tennessee awarded its 2016 Freedom Awards at the Third Annual Disability Employment Awareness Luncheon last week in Nashville. Joey Hassell, an assistant commissioner for special populations in the Tennessee Department of Education, was recognized for implementing a holistic approach to aligning services for all students. Martie Lafferty was honored for 13 years of service with DRT, including her work as the organization's legal director. During her time with the organization, Lafferty won cases that granted access to Tennessee courts and Medicaid waiver services for thousands and ensured equal access to health care for Tennesseans who are deaf and hard of hearing. Lafferty is now a litigator at the Washington, D.C., civil rights firm Stein & Vargas.

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Clinic Saturday to Help College Students

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will hold a free legal help clinic this Saturday on the Tennessee Tech campus in Cookeville. Volunteers are needed to help answer general civil legal questions from 9 a.m. to noon. The clinic will take place in the Roaden University Center, Room 101 at 1000 N. Dixie Ave. Contact Legal Aid at 931-528-7436 with questions or for more information. Access a flyer for the clinic.

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MALS to Hold Courthouse Clinic Thursday

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) will hold a Thursday afternoon Courthouse Advice & Counsel Clinic this week starting at 1:30 p.m. at the Shelby County Courthouse, 140 Adams St., Room 134. Volunteer lawyers are needed to help clients navigating the court system. For more information or to sign up call 901-523-8822 or visit www.malsi.org/volunteer.

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KBA Sections Holding Pro Bono Night

The Knoxville Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Section and Family Law Section are joining forces for a Pro Bono Night next Tuesday. Members of the sections will gather to answer civil legal questions posted to TN Free Legal Answers. Representatives from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services will be available during the event to answer questions and assist with technology issues. Other volunteers are invited to join the group from 5 to 7 p.m. EST at the Adams Law Firm, 8517 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919. Register online to participate.

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ATJ Commission Adopts New Strategic Plan

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission has adopted its 2016 Strategic Plan for improving access to justice in Tennessee over the next two years. Specific initiatives include adding 10 new court kiosks across the state, developing a statewide communications plan in conjunction with legal aid and access to justice programs, and expanding the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance to include representatives from a variety of faiths. In announcing the plan, Access to Justice Commission Chair and past TBA President Marcy Eason said, “The commission appreciates the positive leadership of the Tennessee Supreme Court and is encouraged with our growing access to justice partnerships throughout the state.”

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LAET Inducts 2 into Pro Bono Hall of Fame

The Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) has inducted two longtime members of the judiciary into its Chattanooga Pro Bono Hall of Fame. Former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William M. Barker and retired Hamilton County Chancellor Howell N. Peoples were recognized at a reception and ceremony this week at the group’s Chattanooga office. The pair was selected for the honor because of their early work in the access to justice movement. According to LAET, Barker was the first chief justice of the state Supreme Court to make access to justice a priority for the court, while Peoples was the first legal aid attorney in Chattanooga to be funded through the federal legal aid program.

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UT Law Hosts Environmental and Social Justice Conference

The University of Tennessee College of Law will host the Appalachian Environmental and Social Justice Conference this weekend in Knoxville. The international, three-day conference will focus on environmental and social justice throughout the Appalachian region. Law school alumna and federal judge Pamela L. Reeves will deliver the Saturday keynote address on “Mediating the Kingston Coal Ash Spill.” Registration is $35 per day or $60 for the entire weekend. The conference is free to all undergraduate and graduate students. Register online here.

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Event Friday Celebrates Role of Mediation

The Nashville Conflict Resolution Center and Southern Word will hold an event Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Rocketown, 601 4th Ave. S. The spoken word event “Only You(th) Can Stop the Violence” will feature original poetry written and performed by Nashville youth. The center is dedicated to helping individuals and families resolve conflict through mediation and find long-term solutions to relieve overcrowded courts and reduce the burden on taxpayers. For more information, contact Sara Figal, 615-333-8400.

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2 Clinics Planned for Oct. 22 in Memphis

Two legal clinics will take place in Memphis Oct. 22. The Midtown Legal Clinic, sponsored by Memphis Area Legal Services, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Ave. To volunteer or for questions, email midtownlegalclinic@gmail.com. From noon to 4 p.m., the Community Legal Center, Latino Memphis, Mid-South Immigration Advocates, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee and World Relief team up to host a “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” clinic to help children and young adults apply for the federal program. The clinic will be held at Latino Memphis, 6041 Mt. Moriah Rd. Spanish language skills are not required. Come at noon for a volunteer training session and lunch. Contact Emily Stotts with any questions.

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Free TennCare Training Offered Oct. 24-25

Lawyers interested in learning more about handling TennCare cases are invited to attend a web-based training session hosted by the Tennessee Justice Center. Topics include how the Affordable Care Act affects Tennesseans, navigating the TennCare process and using work-arounds to address complex issues. On Monday, Oct. 24, the webinar will run from 1 to 5 p.m. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the webinar will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please register for each day if you plan to attend both. Review the program agenda.

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Legal Clinic Offered at Project Homeless Connect

A legal clinic to serve homeless individuals will take place Thursday in Memphis as part of Project Homeless Connect, which offers a range of services and resources for the homeless. The clinic will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Cook Convention Center, 255 N. Main St. Lawyers are needed to serve clients during two shifts: (1) 8:30 a.m. to noon and (2) noon to 3:30 p.m. No follow-up representation will be necessary. Lunch and a t-shirt will be provided to volunteers. Contact Chris Martin to volunteer.

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Address Corrected for Legal Aid Office

A Celebrate Pro Bono news item in the Oct. 13 issue of TBAToday had an incorrect address for the Oak Ridge office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. The group is holding a legal advice tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at its offices at 575 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Suite 201, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. Volunteers are still needed. For more information or to help contact Jarod Wood, 865-483-8454 or 800-483-8457.

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KBA Golf Tournament Set for Next Week

The Knoxville Bar Association will host its annual charity golf tournament Monday at Holston Hills Country Club. Individual and team registrations have closed but corporate sponsors are still needed. Funds raised at the tournament will be used for the various charitable endeavors of the Barristers, including programs from its Hunger & Poverty Relief Committee.

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Boot Camp to Train Lawyers for Clinic Work

On Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. the Memphis Bar Association will hold a Legal Clinic Boot Camp for those who want to learn the basics of how to advise clients in legal clinic settings. The program, which will be held at the MBA office at 145 Court Ave. #301, will highlight the four most common issues that arise with pro bono clients. It also will provide three hours of free CLE credit if attendees agree to take a pro bono case. Learn more or register online. E-mail knewsom@memphisbar.org with any questions.

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Legal Clinic Next Tuesday in Nashville

Lipscomb University's Institute for Law, Justice & Society will host a legal clinic Tuesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, 600 28th Ave. N., Nashville 37209. The clinic will be advice-only clinic with no expectation that you take on continuing representation. Each volunteer will receive an informational packet that address common legal clinic questions. Contact Randy Spivey, 615-966-2503, with the institute for more information or to volunteer. See a list of all Celebrate Pro Bono events taking place this month.

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Butler Snow Lawyer to Head Legal Aid Campaign

Butler Snow lawyer Julie Watson Lampley will serve as chair of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands’ 2017 Campaign for Equal Justice, its annual fundraising effort. Lampley is an attorney and assistant practice group leader for the health care regulatory and transactions group in the firm’s Nashville office. She also serves on the firm’s executive committee. The 2017 campaign is expected to raise more than $800,000.

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Lawyers Included in Most Admired CEO List

The Nashville Business Journal has released its list of the 2016 Most Admired CEOs. Legal leaders on the list are Charles Bone with Bone McAllester Norton and Gary Houspian with Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

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Volunteers Needed for Oak Ridge Clinic

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will hold a legal advice clinic in Oak Ridge Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. The clinic will take place at the group’s office at 575 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Suite 201. Volunteers are needed. For more information or to help contact Jarod Wood, 865-483-8454 or 800-483-8457.

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