News

Chattanooga Grand Jury Recommends Mental Health Court

The Hamilton County Grand Jury wrapped up two months of work with a recommendation that the government set up a mental health court to reduce recidivism, reduce the length of incarceration for participants and improve mental health outcomes. "It is difficult to provide humane and just treatment to persons with mental health issues in our jails and prisons," the jurors reported. “We believe that combining judicial supervision with community mental health treatment would in turn curtail criminal activity while improving the participants' quality of life." Chattanoogan.com has the full report.

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Legal Aid Clinic Helps Parents at Juvenile Court

Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Hamilton County Juvenile Court and the Court Clerk’s Office held the first free legal advice clinic aimed at child support problems in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Five lawyers, some volunteers and others with Legal Aid, sat with non-custodial parents and reviewed forms and fielded questions. LAET attorney Charlie McDaniel, who led the event, said if there’s demand the group will hold the clinic monthly. For information on the next Legal Aid clinic at Hamilton County Juvenile Court, contact Legal Aid of East Tennessee at (423) 756-4013. The Chattanooga Times Free has more. 

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Nashville PD: One More Capital Case is Too Much

As Tennessee pushes to carry out more executions, Nashville’s public defenders say they can’t take on any more capital punishment cases, and that includes the case of Lorenzo Jenkins who is accused of murdering three people in October, The Tennessean reports. Assistant Public Defender Mike Engle told Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt Jr. on Monday that the state should hire Jenkins a private attorney. Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman, who is prosecuting the case, disagreed. He said the public defender’s office should reassign cases to free up one of five attorneys qualified to handle death penalty cases. Besides, he said, he’s handling three cases. But Nashville’s elected public defender Dawn Deaner said it is unfair to compare the workload of her office with that of local prosecutors who have police officers, detectives, forensic experts and witnesses at their disposal.

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Free Legal Aid Clinic Set for Franklin

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands is hosting a free legal clinic tomorrow at the Williamson County Public Library from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public with no appointment necessary. Visit HobNob Franklin for more information.

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LAET Holiday Open House Nov. 29

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host a holiday Open House Friday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at 502 South Gay St., Suite 404 in downtown Knoxville. Local lawyers are invited to enjoy the Krutch Park tree lighting at 6 p.m. and then stop by Legal Aid’s office to warm up and enjoy holiday goodies. Admission is free with a business card. Families are welcome! Visit www.laet.org for more information.

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LAET, TBA Conclude Civil Right to Counsel Series

Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Tennessee Bar Association have concluded a multi-city panel discussion series on the issue of Civil Right to Counsel. This year is  the 50th anniversary of Gideon v Wainwright, which established the right to counsel in criminal cases. A great deal of discussion has been going on nationally about the lack of a right to counsel in critical civil cases where the risk of harm is greater than that in many criminal cases, including domestic violence, custody and foreclosure. Each of the sessions began with videos featuring Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade and Tennessee Bar Association President Cindy Wyrick. The Knoxville event on Nov. 15 was held at Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law. The second was Nov. 18 at Memorial Park Community Center in Johnson City and the third presentation was today on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus. Read more from LAET or see photos from the events.

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Free Legal Assistance Helped 1,800 in October

Tennessee lawyers helped 1,800 state residents by providing free legal information and advice throughout the month of October as part of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Celebrate Pro Bono initiative. Now in its fifth 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 330 volunteers – including lawyers, law students, paralegals, notaries and language interpreters – held more than 80 events and activities across the state. Read more or see photos from some of the events.

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Lawyers Help 1,800 During Celebrate Pro Bono Month

Tennessee lawyers helped more than 1,800 state residents by providing free legal information and advice throughout the month of October as part of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Celebrate Pro Bono initiative.

Now in its fifth 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 330 volunteers – including lawyers, law students, paralegals, notaries and language interpreters – held more than 80 events and activities across the state. Below are photos from some of the events in Memphis. You can also see photos from a Wills for Heroes event in Nashville hosted by the TBA's Young Lawyers Division.

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TJC Puts Bonnyman in Hot Seat to Raise Funds

Gordon Bonnyman was in the hot seat as friends and foes alike took turns sharing stories and poking fun at the Tennessee Justice Center co-founder during a roast/fund raiser Tuesday night in Nashville. With emcee Phil Williams starting the fun, the roast was on. Featured roasters were Stewart Clifton, former Tennessee Gov. Sundquist (below), Allston VanderHorst, Dana Dye, former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Matt Wiltshire and Michele Johnson. See photos from the event.

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Memphis Attorney Honored for Pro Bono Work

Pamela Williams Kelly of the Law Offices of Pamela Kelly received the Celebrate Pro Bono Award from the Memphis Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee and the Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) Pro Bono Project. Kelly was honored for her work on extended cases on behalf of indigent clients through the clinics offered by MALS. She also works with the Community Legal Center, Online Tennessee Justice and the Nashville-based Volunteer Lawyers for Professionals and the Arts. As an accredited attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, she also provides pro bono representation for veterans, the Memphis Daily News reports.

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Knox Firm Honored at Philanthropy Day Event

Knoxville law firm Eldridge & Blakney PC was recognized today for the firm’s service to the community and for its support of Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The honor came on the occasion of National Philanthropy Day. Eldridge & Blakney was among nine other individuals and organizations recognized during a luncheon hosted by the Great Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

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95 First Responders Served at Nashville Clinic

Volunteer lawyers in Nashville assisted 95 first responders and their families with wills and other end-of-life planning at a Wills for Heroes clinic this past weekend. The event, held at the Metro Police North Nashville Precinct office, was coordinated by Nashville lawyer Chip Howorth with Smith Cashion & Orr and Clarksville lawyer Brad Carter, chair of the TBA Young Lawyers Division's Wills for Heroes Committee. The YLD has served more than 300 police, firefighters and EMS personnel so far this year. Since the project began in Tennessee in 2008, more than 2,000 heroes have received free wills to protect their families. Learn more about the project and see photos from the event.

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AOC Seeking Pro Bono Coordinator

The Administrative Office of the Courts is seeking a pro bono coordinator to work with the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission. The coordinator -- who must be an attorney -- will cultivate, monitor and publicize new pro bono initiatives; maintain a statewide directory of pro bono programs; work with bar associations, attorneys and the judiciary to recruit new pro bono volunteers; and help implement the commission’s strategic plan and draft its annual report. The position is funded by a grant through November 2014, with the possibility of a one-year extension. Those interested should submit a current resume and completed application to human.resources@tncourts.gov. For more information contact Anne-Louise Wirthlin at (615) 741-2687.

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TBA to Host ‘Civil Right to Counsel’ Events

The TBA and Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will hold a series of discussions this month to explore “civil right to counsel” – the idea that people who face certain civil court cases and cannot afford representation should be provided with free counsel. The concept builds on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainright, which found that indigent criminal defendants must be provided free legal representation. Programs in Knoxville, Johnson City and Chattanooga will look at arguments for and against a civil right to counsel, past and present efforts to secure the right and the types of cases that might qualify for the right. Each session also will include a taped presentation featuring TBA President Cindy Wyrick and Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade. Each program will wrap up with an overview of pro bono programs offered by LAET and free CLE for those who agree to handle a pro bono case.

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KBA Holds 17th Annual LawTalk Next Week

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) will hold its annual LawTalk Program next week. This year, the free educational program will focus on issues of concern to the elderly, including having a will and an estate plan, and understanding legal protections that are available for seniors and their caregivers. Sessions will be held Nov. 15 at the O'Connor Senior Center and Nov. 16 at Fellowship Church. Free parking is available at both locations and materials will be provided. At each location, local lawyers will present information and answer questions from the audience. Pre-registration is not required but appreciated. Register by calling (865) 522-6522 or visiting the KBA online. Download a flyer about the sessions or get answers to frequently asked questions here.

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Lipscomb Plans 2nd Legal Clinic

The Institute for Law, Justice and Society at Lipscomb University is planning its second free community legal clinic Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 324 of the Burton Health Sciences Building. An additional six volunteer attorneys are needed. Please email Randy Spivey, academic director of the institute, or call him at (615) 966-2503 for more information or to sign up to help.

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Legal Aid Attorney Honored with Reception

The Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently honored Legal Aid attorney and domestic violence prevention advocate Jean Crowe. Crowe retired in September after 28 years of service in the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Her nearly three decades with Legal Aid included 15 years as managing attorney of the Family Law Section, where she crafted a program centered on holistic advocacy and helping clients become self-sufficient. See photos from the event.

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Saturday's 'Race for Grace’ to Benefit MALS

One of the last events of this year’s Celebrate Pro Bono Month will be Saturday in Memphis. The 2014 Race for Grace 5K benefits a range of organizations but runners may pick Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) on the registration form as their charity of choice. The race starts at 9 a.m. Runners should be there by 8:30 a.m. Register online or contact Shayla Purifoy at spurifoy@malsi.org with any questions.

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LAET Chattanooga Offers 2 Free Programs

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will offer two free CLE programs next week at its Chattanooga office. LAET will present a one-hour CLE on the Affordable Care Act Tuesday at 2 p.m. The three-hour CLE program “Top 10 Chancery Practice Principles” will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m.

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TJC Recruiting Pro Bono Attorneys with Program

The Tennessee Justice Center will present a free one-hour CLE on the Affordable Care Act at the University of Tennessee College of Law next Wednesday at noon. Attorneys will be asked to take one pro bono referral after completing the class. For more information, visit the TJC website or call (615} 255-0331.

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Jean Crowe Honored for Service

Legal Aid attorney retires after long and influential career

The Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence honored Legal Aid attorney and domestic violence prevention advocate Jean Crowe at a recent reception. Crowe retired this September after 28 years of service in the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

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Memphis Pro Bono Celebration Set for Oct. 29

Lawyers in Memphis will honor outstanding pro bono volunteers during a Pro Bono Reception and Celebration next Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event, which will take place at Butler Snow, is hosted by the Memphis Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee, Memphis Area Legal Services and the Community Legal Center. Email Mary Lynes or call (901) 271-0660 to RSVP. Learn more about this and other Celebrate Pro Bono events across the state.

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2 CLEs Offered Next Week as Enticement for Pro Bono Work

Celebrate Pro Bono month continues next week with two free CLEs for those who agree to take a case from their local legal aid office. Elvis Law: The State and Federal Cases Dealing with the King of Rock & Roll will be presented in Jackson on Oct. 21 and in Chattanooga on Oct. 24. Learn more about these events and others across the state on the TBA website.

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Miller & Martin Adopts New Model For Pro Bono

Miller & Martin PLLC will become the first Chattanooga firm to adopt the Pillar Law Firm Model for its pro bono efforts. Working with Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET), Miller & Martin has chosen to designate housing as its area of focus for pro bono activities, becoming Legal Aid’s main resource for cases in that practice area. “This model will serve as a way of streamlining our work in coordinating pro bono cases with the right firms for those in need in our area,” said Charlie McDaniel, Pro Bono Project Director at LAET.

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Tishler to Lead Legal Aid Fundraising Campaign

Waller partner and chair John Tishler will serve as 2014 campaign chair for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands’ Campaign for Equal Justice. “He is a strategic and business-savvy lawyer who is talented at motivating people,” Legal Aid Executive Director Gary Housepian said in announcing Tishler’s appointment. “His selfless attitude and manner are a perfect fit for the committee, and he has already shown his commitment to the campaign.” Learn more about the campaign and see a full list of the campaign committee.

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