News

Open-Door Legal Clinic Set for Monday

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host an “Open-Door” intake clinic in Cleveland on Oct. 8, in which citizens can meet with attorneys and receive free legal counsel. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at 1075 Blythe Ave., SE, Suite 8, Cleveland, TN 37311. Contact Charlie McDaniel for more information. See a list of all this month's Celebrate Pro Bono events

read more »

Komisar Named Panel Lawyer of the Year

The Federal Public Defenders Office recognized Nashville attorney David Komisar as Panel Lawyer of the Year at the 21st Annual Panel Appreciation Banquet, which honors court-appointed private attorneys who represent federal defendants. Komisar is a Nashville native and graduate of the University of Memphis law school. The Tennessean has the full story.

read more »

Court Adopts Forms for General Sessions Courts

The Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted a set of six forms for use in General Sessions Courts. The forms were first proposed by the General Sessions Judges Conference in June 2011 after consultation and assistance from the Tennessee Bar Association Creditor’s Practice Section. The court’s Access to Justice Commission provided more review during the public comment period and later worked with the Commission on further revisions. The order today includes an appendix with forms for:
1. Protected Income and Assets (Affidavit of Claim Exemptions)
2. Request to Make Payments (Motion and Affidavit for Installment Payment and Order)
3. Request Not to Pay Fees for Appeal (Pauper’s Oath in Lieu of Appeal Bond)
4. Request to Postpone Filing Fees and Order (Uniform Civil Affidavit of Indigency)
5. Request to Protect Income and Assets (Motion to Quash Garnishment/Execution and Claim Exemption Rights)
6. Sworn Denial (Sworn Denial on Account)

read more »

Free Legal Clinic in Morristown

A free legal clinic will be held in Morristown on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. The event, sponsored by Hamblen Legal Link, will take place at 1125 W. First North St., Ste. A. For details contact Dale Darby by email or by phone at (423) 307-6198 See all events planned for Celebrate Pro Bono Month

read more »

Free Legal Clinic in Murfreesboro

The Rutherford-Cannon County Bar Association hosts a free legal clinic Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Greenhouse Ministries, 309 South Spring Street, Murfreesboro. Contact Andrae Crismon at (615) 890-0905 or acrismon@las.org for more information.

read more »

Education Program for Seniors Thursday

An education and outreach program will be offered for seniors at noon Thursday in Gruetli-Laager. The event is sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of East Tennessee. For details, contact Charlie McDaniel at (423) 756-4013 x 1113 or cmcdaniel@laet.org. The program is one of more than 40 events planned across the state this month.

read more »

Memphis Event Features Bill Courtney

Join former football coach Bill Courtney for breakfast tomorrow beginning at 8 a.m. and stay for pro bono training. The training session, presented as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month, will focus on handling debt collection, pro se divorce forms and employment issues at legal clinics. The Memphis Bar Association, Memphis Area Legal Services, Community Legal Center and University of Memphis School of Law host the event in the Ball Reading Room of the law school. Contact Linda Seely or Callie Caldwell for details. 

read more »

Pikeville Event for Seniors Wednesday

An education and outreach program will be offered for seniors at noon Wednesday in Pikeville. The event will be sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of East Tennessee. For details, contact Charlie McDaniel. See all the events planned for Celebrate Pro Bono Month

read more »

Legal Clinic at Martha O'Bryan Center on Wednesday

The Nashville Pro Bono Program, with lawyers from Walker, Tipps & Malone PLC, will provide advice and referral to people with low incomes at a Wednesday legal clinic at the Martha O'Bryan Center, 711 South 7th St., in Nashville. The event is 9 a.m. to noon. For more information contact Lucinda Smith at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands.

read more »

LSC Group Recommends New Ways to Enhance Pro Bono

A task force charged with finding innovative ways to enhance pro bono service in the face of decreasing legal aid funding is presenting the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) with a list of proposals that include: forming a professional association of pro bono coordinators at LSC-funded organizations; asking Congress to create a new Pro Bono Innovation/Incubation Fund; and developing a fellowship program for new graduates and emeritus lawyers designed to build support for civil legal services and pro bono within firms, law schools and the legal profession. The task force also recommends asking bar leaders, the judiciary, and others to permit judges to recruit and recognize pro bono attorneys, consistent with their ethical obligations; allow lawyers to take on limited-representation matters or unbundle services; and allowing lawyers to take on pro bono matters in jurisdictions other than those in which they are licensed to practice. Learn more from the LSC

read more »

EJU Presents Awards, Provides Education

More than 150 lawyers and advocates involved in providing civil legal assistance across Tennessee gathered last week at Paris Landing State Park for Equal Justice University, an annual educational program sponsored by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) and the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA). The event also celebrated two individuals dedicated to providing access to justice in Tennessee -- Nashville lawyer Margaret L. Behm and Adrienne Kittos from Justice for Our Neighbors.

read more »

Equal Justice University 2012

TALS & TBA co-sponsor annual event promoting & celebrating access to justice.

On Sept. 26 - 27, 2012, more than 150 lawyers, advocates and students involved in providing civil legal assistance across Tennessee gathered at Paris Landing State Park for Equal Justice University, an annual educational program sponsored by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) and the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA). 

read more »

'Celebrate Pro Month' to Offer More Than 50 Events

Today kicks off Celebrate Pro Bono Month in Tennessee. In its fourth year, the initiative brings together bar associations, law schools, law firms, legal services providers and individual lawyers to offer free services to those unable to afford a lawyer. This year, more than 300 volunteers -- including lawyers, law students, paralegals and language interpreters -- are expected to participate in dozens of events and activities across the state. Here is what's on tap for Tuesday:

• Legal Aid of East Tennessee hosts a Seniors Education and Outreach Program at noon at 535 Chestnut St., in Chattanooga. Contact Charlie McDaniel for more information.

• The Nashville Pro Bono Program and lawyers from Waller will staff an Assisted Pro Se Divorce Clinic at the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands. Clients should arrive at 4:30 p.m. for the clinic that runs 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact Lucinda Smith.

• The Nashville Bar Association hosts its monthly Dial-A-Lawyer program, where volunteer lawyers answer questions from anyone calling (615) 242-9272 from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information contact Wendy Cozby.

• The Nashville Pro Bono Program, with lawyers from Community Health Systems and the Williamson County Bar Assocation, will provide advice/counsel and referral to people with low incomes at the Williamson County Public Library, 1314 Columbia Ave., Franklin. Clients should arrive at 5:30 p.m. for the event that runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Lucinda Smith.

See more than 50 events planned for the month here.

read more »

Pro Bono Month: State's Lawyers Step Up to Help

Tennessee lawyers will offer free legal services to those unable to afford a lawyer throughout the month of October as part of the national Celebrate Pro Bono initiative. Activities will include legal advice clinics, education programs, public presentations and other events. The initiative kicks off with four legal clinics on Oct. 2, with more than 40 events planned across the state during the month. Last year more than 350 volunteers assisted more than 1,100 clients. "Though the legal community generously donates pro bono services year-round, this special focus is designed to ensure that those in our communities who need free legal help know where to find it,” TBA President Jackie Dixon said.

read more »

TBA Announces Fourth Annual Celebrate Pro Bono Month

Tennessee lawyers to offer free legal services across the state in October

NASHVILLE, Sept. 27, 2012 — Tennessee lawyers will offer free legal services to those unable to afford a lawyer throughout the month of October as part of the national Celebrate Pro Bono initiative. Activities will include legal advice clinics, education programs, public presentations and other events. The initiative kicks off with four legal clinics on Oct. 2, with more than 40 events planned across the state during the month.

read more »

IJM's Haugen: In Some Places 'People Die if Lawyers Don't Show Up'

The Belmont University College of Law presented its second Champions for Justice Award Wednesday to Gary Haugen, the president and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization that secures justice for victims of slavery and sexual exploitation. “Make your work in the law connect to things that matter to the satisfaction of your own soul,” Haugen told the students. “There are places in the world where people die if the lawyers don’t show up. In such desperate places, it turns out that lawyers desperately matter.” Haugen’s appearance at Belmont came the day after he joined President Barack Obama at the Clinton Global Initiative event in New York, where the president announced that he had signed an executive order to stem the crime of human trafficking, a major focus of IJM’s work.

read more »

LSC to Give $3.4 Million in Grants

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has announced new technology grants to increase access to Web-based resources, enhance pro bono, expand websites for veterans and disaster recovery, and -- a new category this year -- improve data collection and analysis. Through its Technology Initiative Grants program, LSC plans to award 43 grants in 2012, totaling more than $3.4 million. The grants will fund LSC grantee programs in 25 states and the territory of Guam. Learn more

read more »

5K to Support Public Interest Law

The Bly Roll Race for Justice will take place Friday on the campus of University of Tennessee Knoxville and will support students pursuing work in public interest law. The 5k event is named in memory of Roll, a member of the 2012 College of Law class. Read more or register for the event at The Informant.

read more »

Behm, Kittos to Receive Equal Justice Awards

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services will present awards to Margaret L. Behm and Adrienne Kittos on Wednesday at the annual Equal Justice University. The 2012 B. Riney Green Award will be presented to Behm, who was the first chair of the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission. The 2012 New Advocate of the Year Award will be presented to Kittos from Justice for Our Neighbors-Tennessee. Equal Justice University, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Alliance of Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association, is the annual gathering of about 250 lawyers, advocates, professionals and pro bono attorneys involved in providing civil legal assistance across Tennessee. The event is at at Paris Landing State Park through Friday. Learn more about the awards

read more »

CLE Grants to Fund Access to Justice Initiatives

The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization has awarded funds from its reserves for projects supporting the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Initiative and the creation of two new positions for attorneys. First, the grant will fund a new statewide toll-free number the public can call for legal information. It will be staffed by an attorney housed at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Service. Learn more about the position. Second, the grant will pay to staff an initiative to develop new pro bono projects to help low-income Tennesseans get free legal advice. The position will focus on creating projects in areas of the state that do not currently have free legal resources for low-income individuals. Learn more about the AOC's pro bono coordinator position.

read more »

New York Law Requires Pro Bono

The state of New York will require applicants to the state bar to complete 50 hours of pro bono work in order to practice law starting in 2015, the Wall Street Journal reports. Although 21 law schools have pro bono requirements for graduation, the law will be the first of its kind among the states.

read more »

Legal Aid Announces Hall of Fame Inductees

Legal Aid of East Tennessee has inducted four people into its Pro Bono Hall of Fame, the Chattanoogan reports. The attorneys were chosen based on their commitment to pro bono, access to justice and the Legal Aid mission. This year's honorees are Richard D. Crotteau with Miller & Martin; Sam Elliott with Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon; Joseph C. Simpson with Husch Blackwell; and Glenn C. Stophel with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. 

read more »

Fellowship Promotes Public Interest Law

The Ford Foundation is funding a special public interest fellowship at four law schools, the ABA Journal reports. First and second year students at Harvard, NYU, Stanford, and Yale will be eligible to apply for a 10-week summer program. Stanford fellowships will offer a focus on international as well as domestic public interest practice.

read more »

Feds Closing 6 Courthouses in South; More Cuts Likely

The federal judiciary says it will close six courthouses in the South because of inadequate funding from Congress and the prospect of more cuts to come. Locations include Gadsen, Ala.; Pikeville, Ky.; Meridian, Miss.; Wilkesboro, N.C.; Beaufort, S.C.; and Amarillo, Texas, News Channel 5 reports. In addition to announcing the closings, the Judicial Conference asked all district courts to adopt shared administrative services and curb printing and mailing costs, according to the ABA Journal.

In related news, David Sentelle, chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, this week warned that federal civil jury trials in the United States likely would have to be suspended if Congress fails to reach a budget deal next year. As reported by the Associated Press, he also said that the nation’s probation system and payment for defense lawyers could be thrown into disarray. If Congress does not reach a budget deal by year’s end, some $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases automatically will kick in. According to Sentelle, the federal judiciary's share of the cuts would be more than $500 million.

read more »

Public Defender Likely to Take Role in Memphis Juvenile Court

The office of the Public Defender will likely represent minors who cannot afford legal counsel in Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court proceedings, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell told the Memphis Daily News last week, but that funding issues are still being worked out. Appearing on Behind the Headlines, Luttrell said he believes it is a necessary and beneficial change and that staffing and funding issues can be overcome.

read more »