Tennessee Library Education Project

During the 2013-2014 bar year, the TBA Young Lawyers Division reached out to librarians across the state to make sure they are aware of several free legal resources to help members of the public in need of legal information and advice. These tools include OnlineTNJustice, LIFT and aLEGALz. The goal was to reach at least one library in each Tennessee county. The project met its goal in June 2014!

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CASA Volunteer of the Year

Each year, the YLD selects a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer from nominations made by Tennessee's local CASA agencies. The award recognizes a volunteer who goes the extra mile in his or her work with children in the state. The winner is honored at a dinner in January and presented with a cash award. The volunteer's local agency also receives a cash award.

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Law Student Outreach

The YLD, through its Diversity and Membership & Law School Outreach Committees, exposes law students in Tennessee to various career fields and practice areas. Through networking events, free seminars and free section membership, students can interact with lawyers practicing in a wide range of settings and areas of law. The YLD also hosts a leadership program for minority law students, and an internship program to pair law students with the state's trial judges. Learn more on the TBA's law student page.

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Diversity in the Profession

The YLD, through its Diversity Committee, is dedicated to increasing racial, ethnic, geographic, demographic and practice area diversity within the division's leadership and membership. The committee is responsible for undertaking programs that encourage people from all walks of life to consider a career in the law. Learn more about its activities in the YLD's Diversity Plan.

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iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by providing free and innovative educational materials. The program, founded by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, offers 16 educational video games as well as teaching materials that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. It is the nation's most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum available for free on the web. In Tennessee, the YLD has partnered with program leadership to provide awareness and training about iCivics to teachers in the state. Learn more about the program at

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CASA Speaks for Polly

The YLD -- in conjunction with local bar young lawyer groups across the state -- provides CASA agencies in the state with coloring books that explain the role of CASA and the courts in language that children can understand. The CASA Speaks for Polly book, the brainchild of CASA volunteer Daniel Rowland of Johnson City, tells the story of Cassie Bear, a CASA advocate that helps Polly the Possum through a scary time. Since the program began in 2011, young lawyer groups in the state have provided 12,000 coloring books and 5,000 crayon packets to Tennessee children. Groups contributing to the effort include the Chattanooga Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Jackson Madison Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Knoxville Bar Association Barristers, Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Nashville Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, LexisNexis, LexisNexis Cares, Ruby Tuesday and the law firm of Lewis, King, Kreig & Waldrop PC. Download a copy of the coloring book.

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Disaster Legal Assistance

The YLD recruits lawyers willing to volunteer their time to help Tennesseans affected by natural disasters. It also provides resources, including CLE programs, to help volunteers handle such cases. The division published the first-ever Tennessee Disaster Assistance Manual to guide attorneys through common issues that arise following a disaster. When the state faces a disaster, the YLD, in cooperation with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also recruits lawyers to staff a hotline for victims and handle cases pro bono. Learn more about the TBA's disaster relief efforts.

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Statewide Public Service Day

The YLD plans and executes a major one-day volunteer effort among lawyers in Tennessee each May in conjunction with Law Day. District Representatives identify projects that benefit individuals, neighborhoods or non-profit organizations. Projects in the past have included building a wheel chair ramp for a disabled woman, cleaning and providing landscaping at an inner-city recreation center, painting a facility that provides rehabilitative services to mothers with addiction issues and conducting a free legal advice workshop. Watch for details about projects in your area!

Wills for Heroes

The YLD hosts Wills for Heroes clinics around the state to provide free wills, powers of attorney and advance directives for Tennessee's firefighters and law enforcement officers. The Wills for Heroes program started shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks as a way to give back to first responders in need of estate planning services. Since its inception in Tennessee, Wills for Heroes has served nearly 2,000 heroes and their families. If you would like to have a clinic in your community please contact the TBA. In addition, the program is in need of new or used laptops or printers. If you or your firm is interested in making a tax-deductible donation please contact Wills for Heroes Committee Chair Brad Carter at

See a list of upcoming clinics here

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High School Mock Trial

The Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition provides high school students an opportunity to learn about the law, court procedures, and legal system. Each year the YLD develops a fictional case in which students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The case and competition rules are distributed in November. In February, local competitions take place in 13 districts across the state. The winners of those contests advance to the state competition, which is held each March in Nashville. YLD members organize, host and score the state competition. Learn more about mock trial.

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Law Day Art & Essay Contest

Each May, in conjunction with the national Law Day celebration, the TBA YLD hosts an art and essay contest for students in the state. The contests are designed to give young people the opportunity to express their ideas about living in a society that is governed by the rule of law, and achieve statewide recognition for their work. The theme each year is set by the American Bar Association. The art contest is open to students in Kindergarten through 8th grade, while the essay contest is open to students in 9th through 12th grades. Learn more and see past winners.

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Mentoring Program

The TBA, in partnership with the YLD, is offering a mentoring program for lawyers in their first three years of law practice. Applicants must be TBA members and must apply by Jan. 3, 2014. Those participating in the program will commit to a formal mentoring relationship for one year -- beginning in February -- with a requirement that mentors and mentees meet face-to-face at least once a month. Participants will be able to choose one of two tracks: a track that offers up to seven hours of CLE credit or one that will not include CLE. Participants will choose from a variety of curriculum topics, materials for which will be available on the TBA website. In addition to seeking mentees, the TBA is recruiting attorneys with at least eight years of legal practice experience to serve as mentors.

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Judicial Internship Program

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division's (TBA YLD) Judicial Internship Program matches law students in Tennessee with appellate and trial court judges in the state who have agreed to accept summer clerks. Students will be placed with judges for either six or 12-week assignments. No compensation is available, but we hope the experience gained through the program will provide participants with meaningful and practical benefits. Applications are available each fall for assignments the following summer.

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Diversity Leadership Institute

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division's Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) is a six-month leadership and mentoring program for Tennessee law students in their second, third or fourth years of study. Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to:

  • Develop skills to succeed as a law student and attorney;
  • Empower students to contribute more to the legal community;
  • Match students to mentors in a diverse variety of practice areas; and
  • Build relationships among students of diverse backgrounds

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