News

NBA Seeking Lawyers to Represent Protestors

The National Bar Association (NBA) is seeking attorneys who are licensed to practice in Missouri or are willing to be admitted on a Pro Hac Vice basis to assist those arrested during protests related to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson. Services include conducting jail visits or providing legal advice and/or representation. To learn more about ways to help contact Aramis Donell Ayala, chair of the NBA Pro Bono Committee.

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Study: 60% of Needy Tennesseans Face Legal Problems

Sixty percent of vulnerable Tennesseans face a significant civil legal need, though only 25 percent are aware of resources to help find a lawyer, and even fewer know where to find free services.Those are some of the findings from a new study commissioned by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, with the support of the Tennessee Bar Association, The analysis also found that less than 40 percent of respondents sought any help pursuing legal recourse for their issues, and a third of those decided to navigate the system on their own. The study is the first analysis of legal needs in the state since 2003 and shows that roughly the same number of low-income Tennesseans continue to experience civil legal issues. “We have many ways of providing services to those in need,” Commission Chair Douglas Blaze said. “We hope this study will help lead us to the most effective way to make those services available.” Read more from the court, access the full study or read a summary of the report.

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Legal Aid Names New Medical-Legal Director

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) has named Audrey Dorrough Seamon as director of the Middle Tennessee Medical-Legal Partnership. Seamon has worked at LAS since January 2013, primarily representing domestic violence victims in areas of family, juvenile and elder law. In her new job, she will oversee program operations and support partnerships, which include United Neighborhood Health Services (UNHS) and Vanderbilt University’s student-run Shade Tree Clinic. Read more in this release from the group.

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CLE Commission Awards $100,000 for Access to Justice Initiatives

The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to support Access to Justice initiatives in the state, the AOC announced Wednesday. The grants will extend by one year each the pro bono coordinator position and the aLEGALz project. The grants come from the CLE Commission’s reserves, funded from fees paid by attorneys who do not meet CLE requirements. “Encouraging lawyers to give back to their communities is a priority for the Court,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee. “These programs play a significant role in identifying opportunities and aligning the appropriate resources, and we are grateful that the funding to continue them was possible.”

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Williamson County Lawyer Honored as Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year

Stacey Smith has been selected to receive the annual Williamson County Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award by the Volunteer Lawyers Program of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest non-profit law firm. Smith, a computer programmer for Aspect in Brentwood and a licensed attorney, provides pro bono legal representation to domestic violence victims in Williamson County. The award was presented at a meeting of the Williamson County Bar Association. 

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Tennessee Ranks 10th in State Court Study

The nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice in New York City has released new rankings on how well state court systems serve poor and disabled people and other members of the public. Tennessee comes in at number 10 with a score of 64. It trails Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Delaware, Washington, Colorado and Wisconsin. WKRN News 2 reported the news.

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Pro Bono Honor Roll Submission Deadline Extended

The TBA is preparing its annual Pro Bono Honor Roll and is seeking names of lawyers and law students who volunteered with legal service organizations over the past year, anytime between Nov. 1, 2013, through Oct. 31, 2014. Please complete this form with the name and county of attorney and law student volunteers who gave time during the last year. The deadline for submission of information has been extended to next Friday, Nov. 21. Email completed forms to Access to Justice Coordinator  Liz Todaro.

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Lipscomb Clinic Set for Next Tuesday

The next Lipscomb University legal clinic at St. James Missionary Baptist Church will be held next Tuesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The church is located at 600 28th Ave. N., Nashville 37209. To volunteer contact Randy Spivey, academic director for the school’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society, at (615) 966-2503 or randy.spivey@lipscomb.edu.

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Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Award Nominations Due Friday

Nominations for 2015 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Awards are due by Friday. The awards, which recognize the Tennessee law firm and corporate legal department that best exemplify a commitment to access to justice, will be presented at the Ninth Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala, March 7, at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. The event is hosted by the TBA Access to Justice Committee, in partnership with the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

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MALS to Hold Veterans Legal Clinic Nov. 10

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) will host a free Veterans Legal Clinic Monday at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central in Memphis. The clinic is designed to assist veterans with civil legal issues such as consumer debt, child support, housing and other non-criminal matters. Attorneys will be on site to offer free legal help from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the clinic call (901) 432-7524.

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Wine & Cheese Event Raises Funds for MALS

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) will hold its next fundraiser “Wine & Cheese for Legal Fees” Nov. 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event, hosted by Weetie Whittemore and Gigi McGown, will take place at 162 South Goodlett, Memphis, 38117. RSVP to Elizabeth Roane, MALS chief donor relations officer.

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Operation Stand Down Holds Fall Service Day

Operation Stand Down will hold its Fall 2014 event on Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Greater Bethel AME Church in Nashville. Volunteers will be on hand to provide assistance with veterans’ benefits, housing, employment, health care, food stamps, legal needs, haircutting, clothing and other services. Veterans may pre-register at the Operation Stand Down office or the Nashville VA Homeless Program before Nov. 14. Transportation will be provided from several pick up points. For more information call (615) 248-1981 or visit the event website.

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TBA Announces 2015 Pro Bono Award Recipients

Two Nashville lawyers and a recent University of Memphis School of Law graduate will be honored with the state’s top pro bono and public service awards at a Nashville ceremony in January, the TBA has announced. Nashville lawyer Rebecca McKelvey Castañeda of Stites & Harbison will receive the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award for handling a number of time-intensive pro bono cases this past year, as well as her service on the board of the Tennessee Justice Center. Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, will receive the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award in recognition of nearly 20 years of service with the center, which she co-founded in 1996. And Jennifer Mayham, a 2014 graduate from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, will be recognized as the Law Student Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Memphis Area Legal Services. Read more about the honorees.

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TBA Announces 2015 Pro Bono Awards

Nashville lawyers, Memphis law student to be recognized for commitment to pro bono

NASHVILLE, Nov. 3, 2014 — Two Nashville lawyers and a recent University of Memphis School of Law graduate will be honored with the state’s top pro bono and public service awards at a ceremony in January.

The awards will be presented by the Tennessee Bar Association at its 2015 Public Service Luncheon on Jan. 10 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. Held each year as part of the association’s Leadership Conference, the luncheon also will feature remarks by TBA President Jonathan Steen and other leaders from the legal community.

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Living Will Presentation Set for Tomorrow

Two attorneys with the Murfreesboro office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will be giving a presentation on Living Wills tomorrow. Andrae Crismon, managing attorney of the office, and Aimee Luna will be at the Smyrna Senior Center, 100 Raikes Street, at 10 a.m. for this public program. See the list of all remaining pro bono events at http://www.tba.org/info/celebrate-pro-bono-month-2014

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TALS, Belmont Law Host Virtual Legal Clinic

Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and Belmont College of Law will host a “Virtual Legal Advice Clinic” tomorrow at Belmont from noon to 2 p.m. Law students will be paired with local attorneys to answer questions from OnlineTNJustice.org as part of a series clinics hosted by law schools across the state. Contact Samantha Sanchez for more information at ssanchez@las.org or  (888) 395-9297.

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TJC Hosts Free Training on TennCare Hearings

The Tennessee Justice Center is hosting free trainings for attorneys on how to represent Tennesseans waiting more than 45 days to get TennCare and how to navigate the hearing process. The first session will take place in Memphis tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. A second session will be held Nov. 5 at the Tennessee Justice Center in Nashville at 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact Emily Jones at ejones@tnjustice.org.

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Music Producer Honored with Legal Aid Service Award

Grammy Award-winning country music producer Kyle Lehning will receive the Bob Sullivan Service Award from Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands for his long-standing commitment to connecting Music Row with Legal Aid. The award will be presented during the fifth annual Bob Sullivan Memorial Breakfast this Wednesday, starting at 7:45 a.m. at Cabana, 1910 Belcourt Ave. in Nashville. To attend, RSVP to Meredith Yates.

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Volunteers Needed at Gallatin Wills for Heroes

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is seeking attorneys to volunteer at a Wills for Heroes legal clinic in Gallatin on Nov. 8. Over 60 emergency first responders have signed up to receive estate planning documents that day. The clinic will start at 9 a.m. at the Gallatin Civic Center. Those available to volunteer should contact YLD District 8 Representative Cherrelle Hooper, (615) 451-1880. The YLD has been conducting Wills for Heroes clinics since 2008 and has served more than 2,500 first responders and their families. Learn more about Wills for Heroes.

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MALS Celebrates New Space with Reception, Open House

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) will celebrate its new home in the Falls Building at 22 N. Front Street in downtown Memphis next Thursday. A ribbon cutting and reception will begin at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the building. The open house will run until 7 p.m. with tours of the 11th floor where the offices are located. MALS moved into its new space this July after more than 20 years at the Claridge House. Call the office at (901) 523-8822 with any questions.

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Lawyers, Law Students, Firms Honored for Pro Bono Work

Members of the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Access to Justice Commission honored the pro bono work of attorneys, law students and law firms in ceremonies across the state this week. Programs were held in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville to recognize the 167 attorneys and 95 law students who donated 50 or more hours of their time over the last year to Tennesseans in need of free legal assistance. Nine law firms also were recognized for averaging more than 50 hours of pro bono per year per attorney. The court’s recognition carries with it a designation of “Attorney for Justice” or “Law Student for Justice,” which recipients may use on their web sites or in marketing materials. Honorees also are included in an Honor Roll published on the court’s website. The program is entirely voluntary and based on self-reporting. See the lists of those honored and photos from the ceremonies.

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High Court Allows Texas Voter ID Law to Take Effect

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order at 5 a.m. Saturday allowing Texas’ voter ID law to take effect for early voting beginning today. In her dissent Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, said the law’s procedures are “the strictest regime in the country.” The law “likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote. Texas won’t accept photo IDs from an in-state four-year college, from a federally recognized Indian tribe, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Those without the required ID can obtain an “election identification certificate” from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which generally requires a certified birth certificate. The ABA Journal has this roundup on the story. The Supreme Court took an opposite tack on Oct. 9 when it refused to allow a Wisconsin voter ID law to take effect after early voting had begun. However, both orders were consistent with the principle that courts should not change the rules close to an election.

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LAET Gets Grant for Domestic Violence Victims, Names Campaign Chairs

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) has received a $500,000, three-year grant to expand assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault and human trafficking. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. The funding allows LAET to provide comprehensive civil legal services, including legal advocacy, education and direct representation. Three attorneys and two paralegals will work directly under this grant to help about 1,000 East Tennessee clients over a three-year period. In other news, LAET announced the Knoxville volunteer leadership for its 2014 Annual Campaign for Equal Justice. Ian P. Hennessey of London Amburn and John E. Winters of Kramer Rayson LLP will serve as campaign co-chairmen, leading LAET’s Central Region campaign. The goal for the effort is $175,000. The campaign, which runs through Dec. 31, is currently at $67,619 or 38.6% of goal.

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Legal Aid, Nashville YLD Host Clinic

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands and the Nashville Bar Association YLD are co-sponsoring a legal clinic at Casa Azafran Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The clinic is hosted the third Friday of every month and walk-in clients are welcome. Volunteers should contact Lucinda Smith for more information. See a list of all events taking place around the state this month as part of Celebrate Pro Bono.

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Greene County Clinic Makes Debut Friday

The Greene County Bar Association with the help of Legal Aid of East Tennessee will hold its first Free Legal Advice Clinic at the Greene County Courthouse on Friday. The clinic will run from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information or to volunteer contact Joseph McAfee, (423) 972-4391.

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