News

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

Tishler to Lead Legal Aid Society Fundraising Campaign

From the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

read more »

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

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

Lawyers, Judges Testify That Shutdown Hurting Legal System

A panel of lawyers spoke today before the House Judiciary Committee about the effects of the shutdown on the judiciary and access to justice. The judiciary, already grappling with budget cuts from earlier this year, will find it more difficult to cope if the shutdown continues, the Blog of Legal Times reports. There will be more delays in court proceedings and further demoralization of attorneys and other employees who have made sacrifices under the sequester. A.J. Kramer, the federal public defender for the District of Columbia, said he expects to see public defenders file motions to force funding or to dismiss cases because of the lack of funding, citing U.S. Supreme Court case law saying defendants have a right to the services needed to present a defense. Robert Kengle, co-director of the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also warned that the shutdown could have  long-term effects on the enforcement of voting rights laws.

read more »

Law Firm to Host Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program Oct. 18

Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC will host the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program — a training opportunity for pro bono attorneys interested in handling veterans’ claims. The event will take place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m on Oct. 18 at the firm's Nashville office, located at 211 Commerce St. Live webinar locations are also available.

read more »

'Father of Pro Bono' Featured for Pro Bono Month

October is Pro Bono Month, a good time to learn about one of Tennessee's "fathers of pro bono," Pleasant Miller. Read about him and his 19th century colleagues in this Tennessee Bar Journal article by Legal Aid of East Tennessee's Russell Fowler. Don't miss TBA President Cindy Wyrick's column, in which she dreams big about her hope for the profession.

read more »

Leaving Big Law Doesn't Have to Mean Leaving Pro Bono

In a blog post for Public Counsel, Sarah Luppen reflects on her positive experiences working with pro bono cases while employed at a Vault Law 100 firm. Her subsequent move to a smaller firm led to a decrease in the number of pro bono cases she took on due to a lack of firm support. In honor of National Pro Bono week Oct. 21-26, Luppen will blog about getting back into pro bono work and non-traditional pro-bono opportunities that fit small-firm and in-house lawyers’ needs.

read more »

LAET To Host Open Door Rural Clinics Oct. 3&4

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host four Open-Door Rural Intake and Advice Clinics in rural areas of the state this Thursday and Friday. The Oct. 3 clinics will be held in Dunlap at the Sequatchie County Justice Center at 9 a.m. Central and Pikeville at the Beldsoe County Courthouse at 12:30 p.m. On Oct. 4, the events will take place in Jasper at the Marion County Justice Center at 1 p.m. and in Cleveland at the Blythe Center at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Pro Bono Project Director Charlie McDaniel or visit the Celebrate Pro Bono website.

read more »

Celebrate Pro Bono Brings Help to Tennesseans in October

Tennessee lawyers will offer free legal services to those unable to afford a lawyer throughout the month of October as part of the 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 provide needed services, increase awareness about the justice gap and celebrate the good work of Tennessee lawyers. More than 60 events -- with more to come -- are planned across the state. Visit the Access to Justice Committee's Celebrate Pro Bono page to download event information.

read more »

Celebrate Pro Bono Kicks off Tuesday

Celebrate Pro Bono Month kicks off this week, bringing attention to the thousands of hours of free legal advice Tennessee lawyers provide every year. Now in its fifth year, the Tennessee Bar Association’s Celebrate Pro Bono 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's celebration is expected to involve more than 300 volunteers -- including lawyers, law students, paralegals and language interpreters -- in more than 60 events and activities across the state. The effort is also a part of a national pro bono campaign.

read more »

Celebrate Pro Bono Month Kicks off Tuesday

Every year, Tennessee lawyers help thousands of clients by providing free legal advice. This assistance is especially celebrated and emphasized 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's celebration is expected to involve more than 300 volunteers -- including lawyers, law students, paralegals and language interpreters -- in dozens of events and activities across the state. The effort is part of a national pro bono push.

read more »

LAET Steps in to Stop Eviction

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) has taken on the case of a disabled resident who is challenging a Chattanooga Housing Authority eviction, WRCB Channel 3 reports. Jeffrey Henson suffers from cerebliar degeneration and gets around with the help of an electric wheelchair that has scratched doors, dented doorframes and scuffed the walls of his apartment. Wednesday, a judge granted a restraining order blocking the eviction until the case is heard in court next month, or a settlement is reached. "He's being evicted essentially for being disabled," LAET attorney Emily O'Donnell said, "and that's a violation of state and federal fair housing law."

read more »

Fellowship Funds Graduate's Work at Legal Aid

As part of a law school fellowship program at American University’s Washington College of Law, recent graduate Malika Noel is serving in the Knoxville office of Legal Aid of East Tennessee for one year. “When I heard about the fellowship opportunity, I immediately knew that I wanted to do legal aid work,” Noel said. “It takes only one day in court to see that lower-income Americans are grossly under-represented in our legal system…Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, and everyone deserves a meaningful chance at justice. Legal aid attorneys are on the front lines of making sure that happens, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.” Read more about Noel’s background in this release from Legal Aid.

read more »

HELP Clinic Training Scheduled for Sept. 30

The University of Tennessee College of Law has coordinated the HELP clinic at Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries for several years. Now, a coalition of groups – including the ABA Section of Litigation, the law firm Baker Donelson and Legal Aid of East Tennessee – will join the college in holding the clinic twice a month. Prospective volunteers are invited to a reception and training session next Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Each participant will receive a volunteer manual to better address questions that may surface while serving at the clinic. Email Kelli Thompson or Eric Setterlund or call them at (865) 549-7000 for more information.

read more »

Event Marks 30 Years for Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence will host "Pearls & Pinstripes," a gala evening with silent auction on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville. The nonprofit works to end violence in the lives of Tennesseans through public policy, advocacy, education and activities that increase the capacity of programs and communities to address violence. News anchor Demetria Kalodimos is honorary chair of the event celebrating the Coalition's 30th year. For tickets and sponsorship information, visit www.tncoalition.org/pearls or call 615-386-9406.

read more »

Labor Department Rules on Unpaid Interns Doing Pro Bono

According to a letter from the Labor Department, law students may work as unpaid interns on pro bono matters at law firms, provided certain conditions are met. The letter is a response to immediate past ABA President Laurel Bellows who sought assurances that the agency would interpret the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow such internships. “This clarification will assist law students seeking to gain legal experience and increase their volunteerism,” current ABA President James Silkenat said in a statement released on Monday. “It also will ensure law firms can continue to help the many people in need of legal assistance through pro bono efforts.”

read more »

TALS Announces Access to Justice Winners

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) today announced its 2013 Access to Justice Honorees. Award recipients include Gordon Bonnyman, founding executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, Harrison McIver III, executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services and Charity Miles Williams and Emily O’Donnell, both from Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The Access to Justice Dinner will be held Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville.

read more »