Yoder Honored at EJU Luncheon

MURFREESBORO, Sept. 2, 2015 — Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby was featured speaker at the opening luncheon of the Equal Justice University today in Murfreesboro. The luncheon also included the presentation of the 2nd Annual Janice M. Holder Award to Dave Yoder, executive director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The award, named in honor of former Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, recognizes an individual who has advanced the quality of justice statewide by ensuring that the legal system is open and available to all.

In her remarks, Justice Kirby thanked those in the legal services community for their tireless work, recognizing the sacrifices of the individual lawyers and staff as well as that of their families and loved ones. Kirby said she has been happily surprised at the “breadth and depth” of the access to justice community in Tennessee and the “optimistic, energized, positive but realistic” demeanors of those who do the work.

Former Justice Holder made the presentation of the award that carries her name, praising Yoder for serving as a “vocal advocate and national leader” who has dedicated his professional life to building partnerships and supporting individual clients in the pursuit of “equal access to justice.”

In accepting the award, Yoder recalled experiences ranging from “the glory days of legislative advocacy” and working on landmark litigation to representing “many wonderful, courageous domestic violence clients” and public benefits clients who “did not believe the law could work for them” and were “amazed” that legal aid could help them get to meaningful, positive outcome. Yoder concluded by noting that he and colleagues in the legal aid community “have been through tough times and had great adventures,” and that he is grateful for the opportunity to “spend time waging the battle for equal justice.” (Photos by Liz Todaro of the TBA)

Equal Justice University 2015

Holder Award winner Dave Yoder (second from right) with (from left) Memphis Area Legal Services Executive Director Harrison McIver, former Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, AOC Director Deborah Taylor Tate, Justice Connie Clark, Justice Holly Kirby and Justice Jeffrey Bivins. Below left, Justice Kirby addresses attendees. Below right, McIver serves as master of ceremonies for the luncheon.

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