News

Legal Aid Lawyer On the Job at Erlanger

Emily Lay has been Legal Aid of East Tennessee's full-time lawyer in Chattanooga's Erlanger Hospital for several months now, helping patients who may need legal assistance, such as a setting up a power of attorney, applying for social service benefits, working out child custody, writing living wills or obtaining protective orders for domestic violence victims. This is the first such health-law partnership at Erlanger, and Charlie McDaniel, pro bono project director for Legal Aid in Chattanooga, says the first hurdle to setting up the program was in persuading the hospital to bring in lawyers to the facility. Another challenge was to commit a full-time attorney, not just volunteers, to be in the hospital and available at a moment's notice. Read how Lay does her job, and what it takes for a partnership like this to work, in the Times Free Press.

read more »

Dixon Takes Office; Lawyers Honored at Luncheon

Lawyers Luncheon Highlight of 131st Annual TBA Convention

Nashville lawyer Jacqueline B. Dixon took office as the Tennessee Bar Association's 130th president at the association's annual convention in Memphis today. After being sworn into office by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark (above), Dixon laid out her vision for the year, which will include a focus on civics education, civility in the profession, pro bono efforts and working to preserve an impartial judiciary.

read more »

Federal PD Sought for Memphis Office

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is soliciting applications from persons interested in appointment as federal public defender for the Western District of Tennessee at Memphis. This is a vacancy created by the retirement of the previous incumbent. Applications are due by June 15. Download information from the court

read more »

Firm Honors More Lawyers For Pro Bono Service

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has recognized more attorneys within the firm for their commitment to pro bono service. Tennessee lawyers honored are Marlene J. Bidelman, Chattanooga; Jennifer P. Keller, Johnson City and LeAnn Mynatt, Knoxville. Five in the Memphis office were honored earlier as the firm's Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year. Read more about each winner's work

read more »

Morristown Lawyers Start Monthly Legal Clinic

Morristown attorneys will host a free legal clinic, called Hamblen Legal Link, on Thursday (June 7) from 5 to 7 p.m. This is the first in a series of clinics to be held on the first Thursday of each month. "The mission is to connect residents with local lawyers and social service organizations that are willing to provide free informatin and basic guidance to those who need it," Aaron Chapman says. Chapman and fellow Morristown attorney Dale Darby have organized the events, with the help of Beth Boniface who is providing her office for the clinics, at 1125 West First North Street. For more information visit facebook.com/HamblenLegalLink or email hamblenlegallink@yahoo.com

read more »

Baker, Donelson Names 'Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year'

The Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has named five lawyers as its Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year. They are Leo Bearman, Lori Patterson, Kate Bogard, Gabe McGaha and Ashley Satterfield. The team was recognized for its work helping a group of Memphis voters involved in ongoing voting rights litigation arising from the proposed consolidation of the Memphis and Shelby County governments. Baker Donelson pro bono shareholder Lisa W. Borden praised the team for standing up for “the right of every person to vote, and to have that vote count equally.” Learn more about the firm’s pro bono efforts

read more »

Make Plans for Celebrate Pro Bono 2012

Bar associations and legal organizations across the country will hold pro bono clinics and events as part of the national Celebrate Pro Bono effort this fall. The official Celebrate Pro Bono week will be Oct. 21–27, but Tennessee lawyers will hold events all month long. If you are interested in organizing an event in your area contact TBA Access to Justice Coordinator Sarah Hayman or call (615) 383-7421.

read more »

Spanish Language Clinic Planned in Knoxville

The McKellar Law Firm is hosting a Spanish-language pro bono legal clinic in Knoxville on June 6. The event will run from 5 to 9 p.m. at Holy Ghost Church, 1041 N. Central Street, Knoxville 37917. For more information call (865) 637-0484 ext. 1524, or visit the firm’s Facebook page or Twitter page for details.

read more »

Honored Mothers Showed Strength, Perseverance

The Tennessee Justice Center recently named seven women as its 2012 Mothers of the Year. Two of those women reside in Rutherford County, and an article in The Tennessean looked at their lives this week. The first award recipient, Felicia Burk, is the adoptive mom of three children who all have been diagnosed with autism as well as developmental disabilities, ADHD, bipolar disorder and sleep disorder. The TJC says it honored her for fighting tirelessly to ensure those children have access to the services they need to grow and function to their fullest capacity. A second mom, Deborah Balthrop, was recognized for persevering through 20 denials of coverage for her own prenatal care.

read more »

Court Explores Improvements to Interpreter Service

Court officials looked at how best to provide spoken language interpreter services for court hearings during an Interpreters Issues Summit hosted by the  Administrative Office of the Courts and the National Center for State Courts. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark opened the summit noting the importance of interpretive services to the judicial system and thanking the governor and legislature for recognizing that. Of particular focus was how best to spend an additional $2 million included in the state's 2012-2013 budget.

read more »

KBA Seeking Auction Items for LAET Fundraiser

The Knoxville Bar Association is still collecting donations for the silent auction at its upcoming "Cheers for Charity" benefit for Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The wine tasting event has sold out, but the KBA is seeking items such as an elegant dinner hosted by a Tennessee attorney, an assortment of fine wines or a basket that includes donations from restaurants or liquor stores for the silent auction. All proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to LAET, and donors will be recognized during the event and in all follow-up publicity.  Contact KBA Executive Director Marsha Wilson at 865-522-6522 for more information.

read more »

KBA Sponsors Wine Event

The Knoxville Bar Association will host "Cheers for Charity" on May 31 from
 6 to 9 p.m. at the Knoxville Beverage Company. Tickets -– priced at $35 per person -– include a group wine tasting and food. Guests also may take part in a VIP tasting for an additional $15. The event will include a silent auction of wines and related items that will benefit Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The auction closes at 8 p.m.
 Register online at www.knoxbar.org or call the KBA at (865) 522-6522

read more »

'Volunteer Attorney' Shows New Concept in Pro Bono

The spring 2012 edition of The Tennessee Volunteer Attorney provides news from across the state about the pro bono and legal aid work being done by you and your colleagues in the bar. This issue features a new concept in pro bono, the Pillar Firm Pro Bono Initiative, where law firms can choose a substantive area of law, train and develop expertise, and Legal Aid will direct those particular kinds of cases to them. For example in Nashville, Baker Donelson will focus on parenting plans in divorce cases; Bass Berry will focus on landlord tenant cases; Bradley Arant will focus on appeals of denials of Medicaid benefits; Miller & Martin will focus on divorces; Stites & Harbison will focus on appeals of the denial of unemployment benefits; and Waller will focus on debt clinics and debtor litigation. Download The Volunteer Attorney

read more »

House Passes Funding for LSC

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved $328 million in FY 2013 for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) after turning back two amendments that would have further cut or eliminated funding for the agency. One of those amendments, offered by Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., would have eliminated all funding. See how Tennessee lawmakers voted on the amendment

read more »

Editorial: Linking Welfare to Drug Tests a Good Idea

In an editorial, the Times-Free Press says "it is entirely reasonable that Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill linking welfare benefits to drug tests for recipients" who are suspected of using drugs. The paper says multigenerational dependence on welfare is a serious enough problem already and the move should help "stop subsidizing lifestyles of drug abusers."

read more »

ABA YLD Presents Legal Clinic, Awards

The ABA YLD Spring Meeting wrapped up this past weekend with a legal clinic for veterans, a presentation by the TBA YLD, and an award ceremony honoring two Tennessee lawyers. Attorneys from across the country in Nashville for the meeting helped serve 20 veterans during Project Salute. Later, Memphis lawyer and YLD Diversity Committee Chair Ahsaki Baptist spoke to attendees about the group’s Diversity Leadership Institute, which was named one of four finalists for the ABA’s Next Steps Challenge Grant. The conference wrapped up Saturday with a panel discussion featuring Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch, Vanderbilt Law School Professor Brian T. Fitzpatrick and Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch speaking about recent funding cuts and attacks on the judicary. TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur moderated the discussion.

read more »

Fast Money: LAET Hosts Fundraiser at Speedway

Legal Aid of East Tennessee -- in collaboration with the Bristol Motor Speedway, Speedway Children’s Charities and East Tennessee Region Sports Car Club of America -- held a benefit event at the Speedway on Sunday, where about 100 drivers competed in the “Solo Time” autocross. Competitors also had an opportunity to try out the drag strip. The first-time effort earned $9,000, to be shared between LAET and Speedway Children’s Charities. Commemorative t-shirts are available. For information, t-shirt, a schedule of upcoming fundraising events or registration information, contact Dave Yoder.

read more »

Williamson Volunteers to be Honored Friday

The Williamson County Bar Association will honor four legal figures at its Friday Law Day luncheon. The Legal Aid Society and Nashville Pro Bono Program will honor Clerk and Master of Chancery Court Elaine Beeler for her work in establishing the Volunteer Lawyer Program, and it will honor Bill Lane, Diane Crosier and Ben Papa as 2012 Pro Bono Volunteers of the Year, the Tennessean reports.

read more »

Courts Recognized for Language Access Programs

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) recently received several awards from the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts for its efforts to eliminate language barriers for persons with limited English proficiency. Among the initiatives recognized were those providing remote interpreting services through Internet video conferencing, interpreter services in criminal cases for non-indigent defendants, and translation of order of protection forms into five languages. The AOC also was recognized for its successful legislative efforts to secure an additional $2 million in funding to cover interpreter services in all cases. The AOC reports

read more »

House Committee Cuts $20M from LSC

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee last week approved $328 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in 2013, a cut of $20 million from current levels. The funding is included in the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which committee leaders said would be on the House floor May 8. The companion committee in the Senate has approved $402 million for the agency, which received $348 million last year. Read more from the LSC

read more »

Wills for Heroes Clinic Set for Saturday

Attorneys in upper East Tennessee will provide free wills for emergency responders on Saturday as part of the TBA Young Lawyers Division’s Wills for Heroes program. Event organizer and YLD District Representative Rachel Ralston says both attorney and non-attorney volunteers are still needed. The event takes place at the Washington County/Johnson City EMS Center at 296 Wesley St. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact Ralston at (423) 943-3101 or rralston@hsdlaw.com for more information or to volunteer. The Johnson City Press has more

read more »

Court Exempts Pro Bono Credit from Filing Fee

The Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday issued an order amending Supreme Court Rule 21, Section 4.07(c) to exempt all credit hours awarded for pro bono legal representation from the per-hour fee imposed by Section 8 and collected by the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Under court rules, the commission may award one hour of ethics and professionalism credit for every five billable hours of pro bono legal representation. The court said that the per-hour fee that was being charged to cover administrative costs no longer would be collected. It noted in the order that lawyers who perform pro bono work provide an invaluable service not only to their clients but also to the state’s system of justice, and should be exempt from the fees. Download the order

read more »

Project Salute Planned for Nashville

The American Bar Association YLD is holding its spring meeting in Nashville this week and will be hosting a Project Salute Clinic on Friday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. The program, which is the group's primary public service initiative for the year, educates American veterans on the benefits available to them and helps them obtain those benefits. The program is being led this year by Nashville attorney Matt Potempa. To participate in the clinic, volunteer lawyers must be VA-accredited and complete a three-hour training session. To volunteer for the Nashville clinic, contact Knoxville lawyer Troy Weston at tweston@ebtlaw.com or (865) 544-2010.

read more »

Project Salute Planned for Nashville

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is holding its spring meeting in Nashville May 3-5 and will be hosting a Project Salute Clinic on Friday, May 4, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. The program, which is the group's primary public service initiative for the year, educates American veterans on the benefits available to them and helps them obtain those benefits. The program is being led this year by Tennessee's own young lawyer Matt Potempa.

read more »

House Subcommittee Approves $328M for LSC

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies approved $328 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in Fiscal Year 2013. Earlier this week, the subcommittee’s counterpart in the Senate approved $402 million for the agency. Read more from the LSC

read more »