News

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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Tishler to Lead Legal Aid Society Fundraising Campaign

From the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

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LAET Hosts 2 Open-Door Rural Clinics Friday

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host two Open-Door Rural Intake And Advice Clinics this Friday. One clinic will be held in Madisonville at the Monroe County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. The clinic in Athens will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the McMinn County Courthouse. For more information, contact Charlie McDaniel or visit www.laet.org/pro-bono.aspx

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Access to Justice Lawyers Learn, Network at EJU

More than 200 lawyers, law students and other advocates gathered for the 2013 Equal Justice University (EJU) in Nashville. EJU is the annual conference for Tennessee’s Access to Justice community and provides an  opportunity for continuing education as well as networking through task force meetings and social functions. The Equal Justice University conference is hosted by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) and co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association. Speakers at the 2013 EJU included Chief Justice Gary R. Wade, Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell and TBA President Cindy Wyrick.

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Government Shut Down Hits Non Profit Groups

The government shut down is making it harder for Legal Aid of East Tennessee to serve East Tennesseans in need, Knoxville television station WBIR reports. "The poverty population has increased dramatically and our resources have decreased," Executive Director Dave Yoder told the station. "We rely heavily on federal funding -- legal services corporation, Department of Justice, Housing and Urban Development." In addition to the immediate problems, the group reports it has lost more than $1.3 million in funding in the last three years and now only serves 10 percent of those in need. Read more from the report.

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Equal Justice University Offers Education, Networking

More than 200 lawyers, law students and other advocates gathered for the 2013 Equal Justice University (EJU) in Nashville. EJU is the annual conference for Tennessee’s Access to Justice community and provides a unique opportunity for continuing education as well as networking through task force meetings and social functions.

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Pro Bono Month Continues with 6 Events This Week

Six events will take place across the state this week as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. Among them is an Operation Stand Down Clinic in Nashville for veterans with civil and criminal legal issues, and a Pro Bono Attorneys Hall of Fame Reception in Chattanooga. The veterans clinic will be held on Wednesday at the Operation Stand Down offices. The reception will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. at Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade will speak at the event. Get details for these and other events.

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Pro Bono Month Continues with 3 Memphis Events Saturday

While Celebrate Pro Bono events are taking place across the state this week, Memphis lawyers are preparing for three activities on Saturday. The day begins with a Wills for Heroes clinic organized by the TBA Young Lawyers Division to provide free wills and powers of attorney to first responders and their families. Additional volunteers are needed, especially for the afternoon shift. Email Joann Coston-Holloway or call her at (901) 577-8223 to get involved. From 10 a.m. to noon, the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services will host a clinic to help members of the public with civil legal issues. From noon to 2 p.m., the University of Memphis Student Bar Association will host a pro bono picnic and celebration. All events take place at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Learn more about these and all Celebrate Pro Bono events on the TBA website.

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Private Firm Hopes to Take Over City's Indigent Cases

The city of Philadelphia plans to retain a private law firm to handle all court-appointed defense work for indigent individuals at an expected savings of $1 million annually, ABAJournal.com reports. The issue is hotly contested, however, pitting the city and a lawyer expected to win the $9.5 million yearly contract against those who currently handle the overflow of up to 27,000 cases annually.

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