News

Volunteers Needed for Expungement Clinic Next Weekend

The Music City Community Courts, in partnership with the TBA’s Young Lawyers Division, is seeking volunteers for an expungement clinic in Nashville on March 4. A high turnout of clients is expected as this series of clinics has been very well-attended in the past. The clinic will take place at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Antioch, 2261 Murfreesboro Pike, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Those who are able to volunteer should contact Amber Floyd.
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Clinic for Wildfire Victims Planned for Monday

Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Sevier County Bar Association will work together to again host a free legal clinic for the survivors of the Gatlinburg wildfires on Monday, Knoxnews reports. The clinic will take place at the conference center of the Greystone Lodge on the River, located at 559 Parkway, from 1 – 5 p.m. For more information, contact LAET’s Knoxville office at (865) 637-0484.
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ABA President Supports LSC Amid Reports of Cuts

After the Legal Services Corporation was included in a “hit list” of programs named by the White House budget office, American Bar Association President Linda Klein issued a statement to express her staunch support of the program, The ABA Journal reports. Klein said that “our nation’s core values are reflected in the LSC’s work in securing housing for veterans, freeing seniors from scams, serving rural areas when others won’t, protecting battered women, helping disaster survivors back to their feet, and many others.”
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Volunteers Needed for Nashville Legal Advice Clinic

Volunteers are still needed for the Lipscomb/St. James Legal Advice Clinic on Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The clinic will be held at the St. James Missionary Baptist Church, 600 28th Ave. North in Nashville. It will be an advice-only clinic with no expectation that volunteers take on continuing representation. Contact Randy Spivey to volunteer or learn more.

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Tennessee Supreme Court Promotes Statewide #HELP4TNDAY

The Tennessee Supreme Court announced today a series of free legal advice events as part of its Access to Justice Initiative, in which all Tennesseans are invited to get free civil legal help online or in person at walk-in clinics near them. #HELP4TNDAY, as it's called, will kick off in mid-March with press conferences in Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Jackson and Chattanooga, where communities will hear from Tennessee Supreme Court justices as well as Tennesseans who have been helped through the program. The events will continue through mid-April. Visit www.help4tn.org to learn more.

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TJC to Host Open House on Monday

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) will celebrate 21 years of legal service as well as a new office space on Monday, and attorneys are invited to attend and join the festivities. TJC will host an Open House and Happy Hour from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the new office, located at 211 7th Ave. N., Suite 100, in downtown Nashville. RSVP to dwhaley@tnjustice.org.

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Gatlinburg Disaster Recovery Center to Close Tomorrow

The Gatlinburg disaster recovery center will cease operations tomorrow, though survivors of the Sevier County wildfires will have until Monday to register with FEMA for assistance. After the center closes, survivors can still get updates online or via the FEMA hotline or mobile app. Those in need of legal aid, however, will have options through Legal Aid of East Tennessee for at least the next six months, including a clinic tomorrow in Pigeon Forge.
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TBA Mashup: LawTech, Mini-Hackathon and More

The TBA will host a one-day conference called TBA Mashup: Opportunities Unlocked on Feb. 17. On the schedule are Pro Bono in Action training sessions, presentations about TBA member benefits as well as CLE programs covering technology updates, cybersecurity, drone law, e-discovery and more. Also planned is a Mini-Hackathon, in which lawyers will learn how a variety of professions find technology-assisted solutions to everyday problems. Finally, TBA staff will be taking up donation items for CASA. Find out more details, a list of items for the CASA donations as well as registration information here.

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LAET Hosts Legal Clinics for Wildfire Victims, More Planned

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) has two legal clinics in the pipeline to assist those impacted by the Sevier County wildfires, with plans for more down the road. The first will be held this Friday at the Boyd’s Bear Donation Center in Pigeon Forge, located at 149 Cates Lane, from 2 – 6 p.m. The second is on Feb. 27, with location details still begin locked down. “We expect legal issues to continue to appear for at least six months. Our plan is to continue holding monthly clinics so wildfire survivors have access to legal advice as issues arise,” LAET’s Knoxville Pro Bono Director Kathryn Ellis says.  Those who can help at either clinic should email Ellis.
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KBA to Host Regular Free Clinics for Vets

The Knoxville Bar Association will host a free legal advice clinic for veterans tomorrow at the Knox County Public Defender’s Office, reports Knoxnews. This year, the association plans to host free clinics for veterans on the second Wednesday of each month. They are expected to serve 20-30 veterans at each event. For questions about how to get involved, email tchain@knoxbar.org.
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WTLS Scores Seniors Grant

In addition to Legal Aid of East Tennessee, West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) has received a “Serving Tennessee’s Seniors” grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The one-time grant of $15,300 will help WTLS expand senior-friendly access to legal help by creating a SeniorLAW website, which will include videos about legal issues affecting seniors, as well as printed instruction cards for using the website.
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Story Examines State Funding for Indigent Defense

The Nashville Scene today examines claims that a lack of funding has left the Nashville Public Defender’s Office understaffed to the point its case load is unmanageable, and it will no longer take on misdemeanor cases in which the defendant has made bond. The article also touches on similar problems in Shelby County, additional funding for public defense proposed by Gov. Haslam, the Indigent Defense Representation Task Force and more.

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Legal Aid Awarded Serving Seniors Grant

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) was one of 121 state nonprofits and government organizations to receive a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee as a part of the Serving Tennessee’s Seniors program. Funding for the $25,000 grant to LAET was provided by the Chancery Court and administered by the Community Foundation through the settlement of a lawsuit against SeniorTrust and ElderTrust. The program is available to seniors in the following counties: Carter, Cocke, Grainger, Green, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington.
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TACIR Approves Report on Study of Court Fees

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations submitted its report on court fees in the state, concluding that costs in both civil and criminal cases “accumulate and can become overwhelming, preventing people from filing civil cases or creating large amounts of debt in both civil and criminal cases.” The report reviewed existing research and suggested additional data that could be gathered and reported to help address concerns and better inform recommendations. 
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Legal Aid to Host Free Valentine’s Day Clinic

Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will host a free legal clinic on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Family Justice Center in Chattanooga. The clinic will specialize in offering advice on family law and domestic violence issues, but individuals with any non-criminal issue are invited to attend. For more information or to volunteer, please contact LAET’s Chattanooga office at (423) 402-4758.
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Wildfire Claims Approach $1 Billion

Insurance claims resulting from the Sevier County wildfires have risen more than $100 million from previously reported figures, and now total nearly $1 billion, Knoxnews reports. The most recent report from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance shows total claims from residential and commercial property at upwards of $943 million, nearly double the losses initially estimated by Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters in December. Tennessee attorneys can still volunteer to help with relief effort by signing up via the TBA website.
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Tennessee Justice Center Celebrates 21 Years with Open House

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) will celebrate 21 years of legal service as well as a new office space next month, and attorneys are invited to attend and join the festivities. TJC will host an Open House and Happy Hour on Feb. 13, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the new office, located at 211 7th Ave. N., Suite 100, in downtown Nashville. RSVP to dwhaley@tnjustice.org.
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Legal Aid Society Celebrates Leadership Cabinet

The Legal Aid Society (LAS) celebrated this year’s Leadership Cabinet at a Tuesday breakfast. The Cabinet is composed of 43 firms that contributed $400 per attorney towards the 2017 Campaign for Equal Justice. The campaign has raised $460,501 towards its $826,000 goal, with its official kick-off still almost six weeks away. Firms throughout LAS’s 48-county service area that wish to join the Leadership Cabinet should contact director of development Cindy Durham.
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40th Annual Equal Justice University Planned for Late Summer

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) will host its annual Equal Justice University on Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. TALS is currently requesting that former attendees of the conference share their photos from previous years, in honor of the conference’s 40th anniversary. If you have questions or would like to submit a photo, please contact Samantha Sanchez.
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Inmates Graduate Higher Ed Program

Eighteen Tennessee inmates graduated on Thursday from a program run by Tennessee High Education Initiative, a nonprofit that works with the Tennessee Department of Corrections to bring higher education to prisoners. The Jackson Sun reports the graduates completed their 41-Hour General Education certificates, which denotes the completion of the core requirements of an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in Tennessee. The program currently includes 115 men at two prisons, Turney Center Industrial Complex and Northwest Correctional Complex, and boasts more than 300 graduates. 
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Free Legal Clinic in Gatlinburg Monday for Fire Victims

Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Sevier County Bar Association will offer a free legal advice clinic on Monday for those impacted by the wildfires. The clinic will be held at the Courtyard Gatlinburg, 315 Historic Nature Trail, from 1 to 5 p.m. To volunteer or for more information, contact LAET’s Knoxville office at (865) 637-0484.
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ABA Center for Innovation Accepting Fellowship Applications

The American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation is accepting applications for a full-time fellowship in Chicago, which focuses on developing and launching “new projects to address critical needs in the legal sector." The program aims to attract those interested in technology and access to justice. Recent law school graduates (within five years) can apply for a NextGen Fellowship, and all attorneys are invited to apply for an Innovation Fellowship. Applications are due Jan. 31.
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Video Now Available from Public Service Awards Luncheon

The TBA recognized its Public Service Award honorees Saturday during a luncheon at its 2017 Leadership Conference. Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year winner Susan Gruber, Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year winner Richard Taylor and Law Student Volunteer of the Year winner Kirsten Jacobson were recognized for their public service contributions and achievements. TBA President Jason Long emceed the event, which also featured a keynote address from former Nashville Mayor and Public Defender Karl Dean. Watch the program now.

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Federal Funding Approved for Wildfire Legal Hotline

A toll-free legal assistance hotline, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is now available for those in Sevier County who need wildfire-related legal assistance but are unable to afford an attorney. The toll-free line is "piggy backing" on TALS’ existing legal help line 1-844-HELP4TN (1-844-435-7486). Callers may leave a message between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST and receive a return call from a volunteer attorney. A press release from the TBA and a number of legal partners highlights the type of assistance available, as well as limitations on assistance; details for an upcoming legal clinic on Jan. 23; and instructions for registering with FEMA and applying for federal and state disaster aid.

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January TBJ Focuses on Access to Justice

There are pro bono opportunities that fall within many practice areas, including specialties not typically associated with volunteer legal service. The January Tennessee Bar Journal looks at the varied areas of law in which attorneys can perform pro bono. This story leads off the issue, which includes an update from the Tennessee Supreme Court’s ATJ Commission, features on this year’s Public Service Award honorees, and a look back more than 800 years when Henry II crafted a novel judicial system. In addition, TBA President Jason Long thanks the many volunteers who continue to help with the aftermath of the wildfires in East Tennessee – another example of attorneys giving their time to help others.

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