News

Pro Bono Recognition Set for Oct. 25 in Nashville

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hold its Pro Bono Recognition event for Middle Tennessee on Oct. 25 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Belmont University College of Law, 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville 37212. The free event is open to those who have completed the requirements for the court’s pro bono recognition program and their guests. Contact Anne-Louise Wirthlin or Patricia Mills at 615-741-2687 or ATJInfo@tncourts.gov for more information.

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Chattanooga Lawyers Honored for Pro Bono Service

Two Tennessee lawyers will be inducted into the Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s (LAET) Pro Bono Hall of Fame at an Oct. 18 event in Chattanooga. Chief Justice William M. “Muecke” Barker and Chancellor Howell Peoples are being honored for their long-term commitment to pro bono representation, increasing access to justice and support for LAET. Justice Barker served on the Tennessee Supreme Court for 10 years and Chancellor Peoples served as the first Legal Services Corporation funded legal aid lawyer in Chattanooga. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the LAET offices, 535 Chestnut Street, Suite 360. The celebration is free and will be hosted by former TBA President Marcy Eason. For more information or to RSVP, contact Paige Evatt.

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Innocent Man Released After Serving 24 Years in Prison

A Wisconsin man who served 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit is now free. A judge vacated Darryl Holloway's sexual assault conviction Tuesday, after new DNA ruled him out as a suspect. "Make better choices before convicting people," Holloway said in addressing the crowd upon his release. "Make sure you got the right evidence. Because when you do this, people lose, everybody loses." Holloway's release came about thanks to the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, which worked to overturn his conviction. Watch the video from WMCActionNews5.

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Public Interest Law Firm Seeks Staff Attorney

Memphis Public Interest Law Center (MPILC) is a public interest law firm seeking a staff attorney to provide civil legal representation to Latino and Hispanic victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and related crimes in the Memphis area. The attorney will be responsible for handling proceedings in various areas of the law, including but not limited to: orders of protection, divorce, child custody, child support, landlord-tenant disputes and consumer matters. Read the details in this job description and apply to Jamie Johnson at jmjohnson@mpilc.org. The position will remain open until filled.

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Nashville Law Schools to Host Virtual Advice Clinics

Two Nashville law schools are holding virtual legal advice clinics using Tennessee Free Legal Answers (formerly OnlineTNJustice), a web-based resource for low-income individuals seeking legal help. The Nashville School of Law (NSL) will host a clinic on Oct. 12 and Vanderbilt Law School will host one on Oct. 18. For more information or to volunteer at the NSL clinic, please contact Stacey Angello at stacey.angello@NSL.law. For the Vanderbilt event, contact Rachel Johnston at rachel.s.johnston@vanderbilt.edu.

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Blaze to Be Honored by LAET

Douglas A. Blaze will be inducted into Legal Aid of East Tennessee's (LAET) Donald F. Paine Memorial Pro Bono Hall of Fame at the upcoming Forging Justice Celebration. Blaze serves as the director of the Institute for Professional Leadership at the University of Tennessee College of Law. The LAET event will be Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at Ironwood Studios in Knoxville. Tickets are $35.

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Legal Clinic for Veterans to Be Held in Memphis

A free legal clinic for veterans will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Memphis Veterans Center at 1407 Union Ave., 11th floor. This clinic is co-sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services and takes place every second Tuesday to assist veterans with legal advice. For more information and to volunteer, contact Jake Dickerson at jdickerson@bakerdonelson.com.

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West Tennessee Events

In honor of Pro Bono month, Memphis Access to Justice will debut its rebrand – 2SLAC (2nd Saturday Legal Aid Clinic) this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. in Memphis. Co-sponsors are the MBA Young Lawyers Division and Litigation Section. Volunteer attorneys are especially needed in the following areas: family law, bankruptcy/debt, consumer law, employment, landlord-tenant and probate. Volunteers can contact Anne Fritz, 901-527-3575. Next Tuesday, Memphis area attorneys and law students are teaming up to provide free legal aid at the Cossitt Library Pro Bono Clinic, 33 S. Front St. from 3 to 5 p.m. Learn more or sign up or contact David M. Cook to learn more. 
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East Tennessee Events

Sullivan County Courts Pro Se Day will be held in Kingsport and Bristol General Sessions Courts, starting at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Christy Harris.
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Middle Tennessee Events

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands is hosting two legal clinics this week in Williamson County. On this and every Thursday, it will host the GraceWorks West Clinic from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at GraceWorks West, 2382 Fairview Blvd., Franklin, TN  37062. It will also host the Mercy Clinic at St. Andrew Lutheran on this and the first Thursday of every month at 4:30 p.m., 908 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin, TN  37064 For more information or to volunteer, contact Lucinda Smith.
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MALS to Hold 'Justice for All Ball' Benefit Oct. 15

Memphis Area Legal Services will hold the "Justice For All Ball," a superhero-themed benefit on Oct. 15. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Halloran Centre, located at 203 S. Main St. in downtown Memphis, and will feature live music, a silent auction, food and drinks. Tickets are $125.

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October TBJ: Alimony, Pro Bono and Fred Gray

Even when income changes dramatically at retirement, alimony in futuro does not change without asking the court for a modification. This may be a shock to your clients, but Memphis lawyer Miles Mason Sr. explains it in this new Tennessee Bar Journal. October is “Celebrate Pro Bono Month” and Chattanooga lawyer Russell Fowler looks at President James A. Garfield’s good example as a lawyer doing pro bono. The Journal also highlights civil rights icon Fred D. Gray upon the opening of an institute named in his honor. TBA President Jason Long examines the core values and principles that define us as lawyers and the profession. Read the October issue.

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Legal Aid Videos Available at Public Libraries

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) has completed production and distribution of a video series called “The Anytime Attorney: Legal Information on Demand 24/7.” The series addresses civil legal issues in Tennessee law such as orders of protection, divorce, rental housing, foreclosure, bill collectors and how to represent yourself in general sessions court. DVD copies of videos are available for check-out at public libraries in the 26 East Tennessee counties LAET serves. The videos also are available on the LAET website, through links on selected public library websites and on LAET’s Anytime Attorney YouTube channel. Production of the video series was funded by a grant from the Legal Services Corporation.

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Proclamation Ceremony Set for Tuesday

Memphis leaders will unveil a proclamation designating October as Pro Bono Month at a ceremony on Tuesday. Mayor Jim Strickland and Director of Legislative Affairs and Assistant Mayor David McKinney will present the proclamation at 10:30 a.m. at the Hall of Mayors in City Hall. Find other Celebrate Pro Bono events on the TBA website.

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Volunteers Needed for Saturday Expungement Clinic

One of the first events of the 2016 Celebrate Pro Bono Month is an expungement clinic planned for Saturday at Watson Grove Baptist Church in Nashville. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the TBA Young Lawyers Division will join with several community partners to offer legal advice to those seeking to expunge their records. For more information visit the event’s Facebook page or contact organizer and Memphis lawyer Amber Floyd.

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Scott County Judge Ends Use of Electronic Monitoring

Scott County General Sessions Court Judge James L. Cotton Jr. has stopped using electronic monitoring devices in the wake of a newspaper investigation into the practice, Knoxnews reports. Cotton said he ended the program and terminated the services of Howard Barnett, who had been providing the electronic monitoring devices. He said he had no financial stake in Barnett’s firm and used the service as an alternative to bonds and jail for the poor. He expressed regret for any misuse and said he “self-reported” the newspaper's findings to the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct.

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Ceremonial Swearing-in Thursday for Chief Justice Bivins

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins will have a ceremonial swearing in with Gov. Bill Haslam at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the historic Supreme Court chambers in the state Capitol. The event is open to the public. Bivins was unanimously elected chief by the other members of the court last month. He was officially sworn in by Justice Connie Clark during the Equal Justice University conference in August. Read more from the court.

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Event Honors Domestic Violence Victims, Advocates

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence will hold the annual “Meet Us at the Bridge” event Saturday at 1 p.m. in Nashville to kick-off Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The event, held on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, honors those who have lost their lives to domestic violence in the last year. Awards also will be presented to those who have done outstanding work in the fight to end domestic violence. The Waller law firm will be recognized for its work with the Civil-Legal Advocate Program (CLAP), a partnership between Legal Aid and the Metro Office of Family Safety that provides free legal representation to domestic violence victims.

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Lawmaker May Seek to Amend Exoneration Law

Lawrence McKinney’s legal team is getting help from State Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, who has offered to meet with Gov. Bill Haslam about McKinney’s application of exoneration, the Tennessean reports. Pody also said he will consider asking Haslam to hold off on a decision about McKinney while he drafts legislation that addresses the exoneration process. Pody says he felt Tuesday’s Parole Board hearing was “looking to retry the case” rather than considering the exoneration request. McKinney’s 1978 rape and burglary conviction was overturned and his record was judicially expunged, but he needs an executive exoneration to be able to seek compensation for his wrongful imprisonment.

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Indigent Representation Task Force to Meet Friday

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force will meet at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Room LP12 of Legislative Plaza in Nashville. The panel will hear presentations from Vince Dean, Hamilton County criminal court clerk and president of the Tennessee Clerks of Court Conference; Jerry N. Estes, executive director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference; Charme Allen, Knox County district attorney general; Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn; and Justyna Garbaczewska Scalpone with the Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender. Get details about the meeting.

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Celebrate Pro Bono Month Kicks Off Saturday

Celebrate Pro Bono Month 2016 kicks off this weekend with more than 50 events planned across the state during the month of October. Tennessee lawyers help thousands of clients throughout the year by providing free legal advice, but this assistance is especially celebrated and emphasized during the month of October as part of a nationwide celebration. Now in its eighth year, the Tennessee 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, and to celebrate the good works of Tennessee lawyers. This year's celebration is expected to involve more than 300 volunteers -- including lawyers, law students, paralegals and language interpreters. A summary of events is posted online and will be updated throughout the month.

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McVeagh Named to LAET Board

Alex McVeagh, an attorney with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, has been named the newest member of the Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) board of directors, Chattanoogan.com reports. McVeagh previously chaired the group’s annual Campaign for Justice Committee and has coordinated numerous pro bono clinics in East Tennessee. The LAET board is comprised of attorneys and client-eligible members from Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities areas that make up the organization’s 26-county service area.

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New Online Legal Clinic Rolls Out Nationwide

The American Bar Association has rolled out the new ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org in eight states and plans to have it extended to the majority of states by year end. Modeled on Tennessee’s OnlineTNJustice.org, the new virtual legal advice clinic gives income-eligible users the ability to pose civil legal questions to volunteer attorneys. Joining Tennessee on the platform now are Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wyoming. Software developers at Baker Donelson in Memphis created the site, which also drew support from AT&T, FedEx, International Paper, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Pilot Travel Centers, Wal-Mart Stores, the ABA sections of Business Law and Litigation and others.

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75-Year Old Law Grad Wants to Serve Others

Jim Edwards of Murfreesboro decided to go to law school with the mission to help others who could not afford legal representation. Many choose the profession for the same reason, but what makes Edwards unique is that he decided to do it as a 75-year-old. Edwards recently earned a degree from Nashville School of Law and is awaiting results from the state bar exam. He says he became intrigued by the law in college and remained so during his career in insurance sales. He finally decided to pursue his dream after retiring. Edwards volunteered with legal aid while in law school and is ready to start helping those in need, the Daily News Journal reports.

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City Launches Website to Help with Expungement

The city of Chattanooga this week launched a website aimed at helping people with criminal histories regain the right to vote and expunge their records. The website, restoremyrights.com, provides information on the expungement and voting restoration processes. “This is a systemic issue that we can do something about,” said Chantelle Roberson, a local attorney who helped create the website. Mayor Andy Berke also pledged to help cover court costs for people who want to expunge their criminal records but cannot afford the $450 fee, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

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