News

Court to Require Electronic Filing of Indigent Compensation Claims

The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued an order, effective July 1, that requires electronic submission of all compensation claims for counsel of indigent defendants. The order, Rule 13A, makes amendments to Supreme Court Rules 13, 15 and 42, concerning indigent counsel, mental health proceedings and standards for court interpreters.

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Court Initiative Connects Pro Bono Lawyers, Faith Communities

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission has formed a faith-based initiative to encourage lawyers to provide pro bono services within their places of worship, and to support faith-based groups that commit to provide legal resources to their congregations and communities. The Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance (TFJA) is designed to connect with people in need in a place they already go to seek help with a problem. “Faith communities are a natural fit with our efforts to help those in need find access to legal advice,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark. “And with our goal of helping more lawyers find more occasions to provide pro bono services, this is the ideal opportunity for attorneys to put faith in action in their own worship communities." For more information contact Palmer Williams at (615) 741-2687 ext. 1414 or palmer.williams@tncourts.gov.

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Legal Aid Receives Grant to Help Low-Income Women

Legal Aid of East Tennessee has received a $10,000 grant to represent low-income women in Washington County through its Access to Civil Justice Project for Women. The money, according to the Kingsport Times News, comes from the Harris Fund for Washington County. The agency said the funds would provide representation to 25 women facing legal crises such as domestic violence, homelessness due to unlawful eviction or foreclosure, and wrongful denial of unemployment compensation benefits.

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Immigration Attorney Finds Ideal Job with CLC

Johnna Bailey began working as immigration attorney for the Community Legal Center (CLC) in January, an ideal job for her given her nonprofit background. “It’s what I dreamed of returning to after law school,” she told the Memphis Daily News. After college, Bailey worked as a program coordinator for the family literacy program at a refugee resettlement agency in Chicago. That inspired her to go to law school where she then served as an associate in a private immigration group. Now at the CLC, Bailey represents clients and trains lawyers to take on pro bono immigration cases. She said the Memphis legal community has been willing and eager to help when called.

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aLEGALz in the News

Stories from Knoxville’s WATE News 6, Nashville’s WDEF News 12 and WSMV News 4 covered the new aLEGALz toll-free hotline, which provides free legal information and referrals. The service was launched by the joint effort of a coalition of Tennessee legal groups, including the Tennessee Bar Association.

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Sandy Relief Bill Includes $1 Million for Legal Services

The Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill that passed the U.S. Senate yesterday includes $1 million for the Legal Services Corporation to provide assistance to low-income people in areas significantly affected by the super storm. The Legal Services Corporation says that individuals and families encounter a variety of civil legal needs after recovering from a natural disaster, including preventing wrongful eviction, obtaining repairs to damaged rental housing, and contesting inappropriate denials of insurance claims.

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Public Service Luncheon Video Now Available

If you missed the 2013 Public Service Luncheon, you can now watch it online. The program features the presentation of awards to the Law Student Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year and the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteers of the Year, as well as the keynote address from former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate.

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Law Student Pro Bono Conference Wraps Up

More than 30 students and faculty representing law schools across Tennessee gathered at the Belmont University College of Law last week to strategize and plan for increasing pro bono opportunities for law students. The group was invited by the TBA Access to Justice Committee and joined by representatives from the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. The event kicked off with a keynote speech by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and continued with planning discussions led by TBA committee members. See photos from the event.

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UT Law Reps to Speak at Poverty, Access to Justice Symposium

University of Tennessee College of Law Dean Doug Blaze and Access to Justice Coordinator Brad Morgan will be among the speakers at the upcoming Poverty and Access to Justice Symposium, sponsored by the Pro Bono Initiative at the University of Mississippi School of Law. At the symposium, The Informant freports that state supreme court justices, appellate and trial judges, scholars and practitioners will examine barriers to the justice system, creative legal service delivery methods and specific programs that are proving effective.

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Justice Holder Addresses Law Student Pro Bono Conference

Attorneys, students and faculty from Tennessee laws schools are studying ways to involve more students in pro bono activities at a conference this weekend in Nashville. The event at Belmont College of Law kicked off today with opening remarks from University of Tennessee attorney Brad Morgan. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder later gave the keynote address, talking about her own law school experience and the lack of pro bono opportunities at the time. She encouraged today's students to take advantage of the many programs available, saying that, “Perhaps the most significant benefit to pro bono work for law students is the integration into the legal community, [the] opportunity to get to know people in the legal profession. That is how you get jobs, get active in bar associations and get integrated into this profession.” See photos from the event.

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Apply for TALS Executive Director Job by Feb. 1

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is seeking a dedicated, experienced and creative individual to serve as its next executive director. Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest, resume and three references by Feb.1 to Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Executive Director Search, 50 Vantage Way, Suite 250, Nashville, TN 37228; by fax to (615) 627-0964; or by email to info@tals.org (please list “Executive Director Search” in the subject line). Download the job announcement.

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TBA Joins Forum Focusing on Law Student Pro Bono

Members of the TBA Access to Justice Committee’s Law School Subcommittee will join a group of student leaders and representatives from law schools across the state for the second annual Law School Public Interest Forum this weekend. The event begins Friday at 11 a.m. at the Belmont University College of Law in Nashville. The agenda includes a presentation by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, planning for this year’s Alternative Spring Break and a discussion on how best to encourage students to get involved in pro bono activities. For more information about the event contact TBA Access to Justice Coordinator Liz Todaro at (615) 383-7421 or ltodaro@tnbar.org.

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Tate Keynotes Public Service Luncheon

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate challenged the crowd at the Tennessee Bar Association's Public Service Luncheon in Nashville to keep their work in perspective. Her address followed the recognition of a number of Tennessee lawyers who have performed outstanding public and pro bono service during past year. See photos from the event.

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Public Service Awards Luncheon 2013

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate told the crowd at the Tennessee Bar Association's Public Service Luncheon in Nashville to keep their work in perspective. "Your family is more important than any case you try," she said, "or even your nonprofit work." Tate was the keynote speaker at the Saturday event held at the Hermitage Hotel where awards were given to the Law Student Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T.

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Legal Clinic Saturday for Artists

Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts will hold a pro bono legal clinic for artists of every genre this Saturday at the Church of the Redeemer, 920 Caldwell Lane, Nashville 37204. The Nashville Arts & Entertainment Law Clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteer attorneys will answer questions about intellectual property (including copyrights, trademarks and licensing) and entertainment law issues. Prospective clients should sign up for 30-minute appointments by emailing vlpa@abcnashville.org.

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Watch the 2013 TBA Public Service Luncheon

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Tennessee Bar Association Public Service Luncheon, where awards were given to the Law Student Volunteer of the Year, the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year and the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year. The video below include's Tate's address and the presentation of these awards.

 

Lawyers To Be Recognized for Service at TBA Event

Tennessee attorneys who generously gave their time and talents in service to others will be recognized this Saturday at the TBA Public Service Luncheon. The event is the centerpiece of this weekend's TBA Leadership Conference, and will feature former FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate as keynote speaker. Honored at the event will be Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteers of the Year Phillip Cramer, Bill Harbison, Elliott Ozment and John Farringer; Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Jean Crowe; and Law Student Volunteer of the Year Chris Martin. Also meeting this weekend are the TBA House of Delegates, the TBA Board of Governors and a number of TBA committees, sections and divisions.

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MLK Day: A Day On, Not A Day Off

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Day of Service, Nashville is holding its first-ever Day of Service Volunteer Fair Saturday at the Center for Nonprofit Management. From 10 a.m. to noon, attendees will have a chance to learn about volunteer opportunities available throughout the year with about 40 nonprofit organizations in Nashville.

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Urness to Chair Legal Aid Fundraising Campaign

A item in Monday's TBA Today omitted a leader in the Legal Aid Society’s 2013 Campaign for Equal Justice and misidentified the campaign chair. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings partner and Nashville Pro Bono Program Chair Thor Urness will serve as the overall campaign chair for the 2013 fundraising effort, while Vic Alexander with KraftCPAs PLLC will serve as community chair.

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Legal Aid Names 2013 Fundraising Team

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings partner and Nashville Pro Bono Program Chair Thor Urness will serve as community chair of the Legal Aid Society’s 2013 Campaign for Equal Justice fundraising effort. Urness has assembled a leadership team for the campaign that includes large firm co-chairs Dan Elrod with Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada and Riney Green with Bass, Berry & Sims; small firm co-chairs Edgar Rothschild with Rothschild & Ausbrooks and Emily Shouse with Waddey & Patterson; government attorneys chair Henry Martin with the federal Public Defender’s Office; judges co-chairs Chancellor Carol McCoy and Judge Dan Eisenstein; corporate attorneys chair Rachel Seifert with Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp.; and Williamson County attorneys chair Tara Swafford with The Swafford Law Firm. The Tennessean reported the appointments.

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New 888 Line Offers Free Legal Information, Referrals

A coalition of Tennessee legal groups, including the Tennessee Bar Association, have announced a new toll-free phone line offering free legal information and referrals to low income Tenneseans. The service, known as aLEGALz, will help callers find resources to deal with civil legal issues. Those who cannot afford a lawyer may call the line at 888-aLEGALz (1-888-253-4259) and leave a message. Calls will be returned by a licensed Tennessee lawyer who will provide referrals to appropriate legal service providers, pro bono assistance programs, free legal clinics and social service providers.

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Station Showcases Nashville Legal Clinics

A story on WZTV Fox 17 in Nashville extols the benefits provided by the Legal Aid Society and the Nashville Bar Association through the groups’ free legal clinics. Clinic volunteer John Farringer, a lawyer with Sherrard and Roe, explains how the clinic works and why lawyers are willing to donate their time and expertise to such endeavors. Learn more here.

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TALS Executive Director to Step Down

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) executive director Erik Cole is leaving the organization at the end of January. Cole, who has served as executive director since 2005, is moving to the Nashville mayor’s office, where he will be working on creating new programs related to financial stability and empowerment for low-income Nashvillians.

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First Corporate Legal Department Named to Pro Bono Hot List

The National Law Journal issues a Pro Bono Hot List each year and this year, a corporate legal department has made the top 10 list for the first time. The magazine reports that it included International Business Machines Corp. in recognition of the company’s work on behalf of Hurricane Sandy victims. It also says that inclusion of the legal department highlights the increasing corporate commitment to pro bono projects. “Legal departments are making it clear that they care and expect their outside counsel to do likewise,” the editors write.

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New TBJ: Innovative Ways to Boost Access Justice

Lawyers in Tennessee are helping those who need it, not only through pro bono representation, but by working to change the structure and services available. The January Tennessee Bar Journal details efforts like new funding and rules for court interpreters and a new legal telephone hotline, 1-888-aLEGALz.

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