News

2015 Access to Justice Award Winners Announced

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Service (TALS) today announced the recipients of its 2015 Access to Justice Awards. The recipients will be honored on Sept. 2 in conjunction with the Equal Justice University Conference. David Yoder with Legal Aid of East Tennessee will receive the Janice M. Holder Award for his contributions to increasing access to justice in Tennessee, especially in the areas of domestic violence advocacy and medical legal partnerships. Lenny Croce with Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will receive the B. Riney Green Award for his collaborative efforts to promote law reform for the protection of low income Tennesseans. And Robert Downs with Legal Aid of East Tennessee will receive the New Advocate of the Year Award for his creative and effective advocacy efforts on behalf of domestic violence victims in the Knoxville area.

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NALS Silent Auction Raises $4,700 for Legal Aid

The Nashville Chapter of NALS raised more than $4,700 in proceeds for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands during its third annual NALS After Hours Silent Auction held July 16. “We are thrilled with the auction’s success and are thankful for the generosity of NALS, local businesses and the auction attendees,” said Gary Housepian, Legal Aid Society’s executive director

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Bar Foundation Grant Deadline is Aug. 31

A news item in yesterday’s issue of TBA Today had the wrong date for the Memphis Bar Foundation’s deadline for a law-related grant program. Applications are due by Aug. 31. The grant funds programs and projects that advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession, promote social justice, promote legal education, and recognize professionalism among members of the bar. Applications are available on the MBA's website or by contacting MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz at (901) 527-3575.

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Apply Now for Memphis Bar Foundation Grants

The Memphis Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association, is now accepting grant applications for law-related programs and projects that fall within its mission, including those that advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession; promote social justice; promote legal education; and recognize professionalism among members of the bar. Applications are available on the MBA's website  or by contacting Anne Fritz  at (901) 527-3575. The deadline for submitting a grant application is 5 p.m. Central on Aug. 31.

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Services for Guess Set for This Week

Visitation for Francis Scott Guess will take place Tuesday from 2 to 6 p.m. at Lewis and Wright Funeral Home and on Wednesday from 11 a.m to 12:30 p.m. at the Music City Center, followed by funeral services from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The Tennessean has details.

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AOC Seeking Wilson County Attorneys Interested in Indigent Representation

The AOC is seeking Wilson County attorneys who are interested in contracting with the AOC to represent indigent litigants, including respondents facing involuntary emergency judicial hospitalization. Judges will continue to have the discretion to assign attorneys, but only attorneys who have agreed to the contract terms will receive appointments. For more information, contact David Byrne, 615-741-2687.

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Harbison to Address 2015 Equal Justice University

TBA President Bill Harbison will be among Tennessee leaders speaking to attendees at this year’s Equal Justice University, set for Sept. 2-4 in Murfreesboro. Harbison, who was part of a team that challenged Tennessee law on marriage equality, will provide an update on legal issues in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same sex marriage across the country. He also will speak at the Leadership Lunch, where the Janice M. Holder Access to Justice Award will be presented. Other prominent Tennesseans scheduled to address the conference are Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby and Department of Human Services Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter.

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Bernstein to be Honored at LAET Pro Bono Event

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will host its Annual Celebrate Pro Bono event next Tuesday at the Square Room in Knoxville’s Market Square. The group will celebrate local attorneys who have donated time and legal services during the past year and present awards for Law Student of the Year, Pro Bono Advocate, Pro Bono Partner and Law Firm of the Year. The group also will induct Knoxville lawyer Bernard E. Bernstein into the Donald F. Paine Memorial Pro Bono Hall of Fame. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased online.

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Nashville Lawyer to Donate Book Proceeds to Local Nonprofits

Nashville lawyer Randy Kinnard with Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge will donate proceeds from his book, Respect: Through the Eyes of Children, to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee and Nashville CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children), LAS announced. Released last fall, the book is a collection of essays written by local students illustrating the definition of respect from a youth’s perspective.

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TJC Elects New Board Officers

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has appointed eight new board members: Ronette Adams-Taylor, associate general counsel at Meharry Medical College; Mark Behr, professor of English Literature and Fiction Writing at Rhodes College; Marvin Berry Jr., motivational speaker and former TJC client; Nashville lawyer Robb Bigelow; Terri Lynn Casola, litigation paralegal and former TJC client; Justice Janice Holder, former chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court; Brad Morgan, associate director for the Institute for Professional Leadership at the University of Tennessee College of Law; and Jerry Taylor, attorney and partner at Burr & Forman LLP. The TJC also announced its new board chair, Mike Abelow, an attorney at Sherrard & Roe PLC.

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NALS Silent Auction to Benefit Legal Aid

NALS will host its third annual After Hours Silent Auction Thursday at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, the state’s largest non-profit law firm. Attendees will have the chance to bid on donated items such as massages, gift certificates, hotel stays and more.

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AOC Grants Available for Pro Se Programs

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) will award $200,000 in grant funding for initiatives that help divorced or never married self-represented litigants resolve parenting and visitation issues. Initiatives may include self-help centers, pro se clinics, unbundled legal services and mediation programs. To be considered for a grant, proposals must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 7. Get details on the AOC website.

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MALS Hiring for 3 Positions

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) is seeking to fill three positions. Two of the openings are in Memphis: the director of pro bono programs will oversee the agency’s pro bono programs and provide limited legal representation to clients, while a new staff attorney will provide legal representation and advice to eligible clients. The third position, another staff attorney, is located in the group’s Covington office. For all of these positions, lawyers should be licensed in Tennessee and have some legal experience. Those interested should submit a letter of interest, resume, three references and a writing sample to Janese K. Perry.

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Legal Aid Has $22M Impact

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands provided $22.7 million worth of free legal help throughout 48 counties in 2014, according to statistics released by the agency. With the help of almost 800 lawyers, the agency handled 2,386 cases and provided 6,801 pro bono hours last year. Read more about these accomplishments.

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TBJ: Microscopic Hair, Queen Caroline and TBA Awards

The erroneous use of microscopic hair comparison is examined by Journal columnist Wade Davies, in the July issue. Columnist Russell Fowler tells the story of the incorrigible Queen Caroline and her equally despicable husband, King George IV. He describes their divorce as a "lawyer's dream case ... the grounds and defense were salacious allegations of adultery." And in this installment of celebrating the Journal's 50 years, take a look at the many awards the Tennessee Bar Association gives every year, notably the Justice Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing.

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Immigration Group Seeks Legal Advocate

Nashville-based Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) is seeking a bilingual legal advocate to support the work of two attorneys assisting immigrants with their immigration legal needs. The legal advocate will assist with interpretation, translation, client intake, document preparation, scheduling and other administrative tasks. Applicants should speak, read and write English and Spanish fluently. Though a law degree is not required, previous experience in a law office setting is preferred. Get more information about the position.

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West Tennessee Legal Services Seeks Victim Assistance Attorney

West Tennessee Legal Services is seeking an attorney in its Victim Assistance and Advocacy Project. The position will represent victims of domestic and sexual violence in civil protection order cases and provide legal advocacy on behalf of victims in various forums. Litigation experience on behalf of domestic violence and/or sexual assault victims, and prior work with specialized client populations and/or ethnic or language distinct communities is preferred. Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and references by July 18 to: Hiring Committee, West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc., P.O. Box 2066, Jackson, TN 38302 or by email to sandy@wtls.org.

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Grant Allows Legal Aid to Continue SNAP Advocacy

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has received a $13,000 grant from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. This is the second year the group has received the funding, which will go toward its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits advocacy. A team of legal aid staff advocates for SNAP recipients before state and federal agencies, and works with the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) on critical SNAP issues.

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Solo in the Park to Benefit Legal Aid

The 5th Annual Solo in the Park autocross competition comes to Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park July 11-12. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America, the event features sports car enthusiasts driving a timed precision course. All proceeds benefit Knoxville Family Justice Center and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. For general event information, call (865) 637-0484.

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Stay or Pay: When Criminal Offenders Can't Pay Fines

In the July issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, out today, the Hon. Walter Kurtz writes about the incarceration of minor criminal offenders when the offense is the inability to pay fines and fees. Also, when can you compensate a fact witness? Craig P. Sanders and Brandon J. Stout explain. In Bill Harbison's first column as Tennessee Bar Association president, he writes about the many ways lawyers give their time to champion justice for others.

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ACA Ruling Spurs Renewed Calls for Insure Tennessee

Health advocates are renewing their push for Insure Tennessee in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. Supporters gathered at Nashville’s Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital yesterday to urge state legislators to approve Gov. Bill Haslam’s alternative Medicaid expansion plan, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Those on hand for the event included representatives from the hospital, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee Justice Center and a number of federal, state and local elected officials.

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Speakers Announced for 2015 Equal Justice University

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services has announced several national speakers for the 2015 Equal Justice University scheduled for Sept. 2-4 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. This year’s featured speaker will be Ramón P. Arias, former executive director of Bay Area Legal Aid in California and a member of the Equal Justice Works board. Other presenters include Rebecca Dixon with the National Employment Law Project, Eric Carlson with Justice in Aging and Georgetown University law professor David Super. The annual conference is cosponsored by the TBA.

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Services Pending for Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate

Jean Crowe died today (June 22). Considered by many to be the Mother of the Domestic Violence Movement in Nashville, Crowe founded the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence while an employee of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. The Jean Crowe Advocacy Center was named in her honor. In 2013, she was named the TBA Public Service Attorney of the Year. Information on funeral services is pending.

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ABA President Pushes Online Models for Civil Disputes

The president of the American Bar Association told Tennessee lawyers that the traditional method of providing pro bono legal services in civil matters isn’t working, the Memphis Daily News reports. “People are migrating en masse to these online services,” William C. Hubbard told a group of 200 attorneys and judges Thursday at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual meeting in Memphis. “We need to make sure we don’t have perhaps two justice systems that operate independently – one totally online and totally unregulated and one highly regulated but not innovative enough. We need to synthesize those two systems.”

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LAET Sets Pro Bono Night

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host Pro Bono Night & the Donald F. Paine Memorial Pro Bono Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 28 at 5:30 p.m. Learn more about it.

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