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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Oct 17, 2013

Sessions to help librarians serve members of the public seeking legal information

NASHVILLE, Oct. 17, 2013 - Young lawyers with the Tennessee Bar Association and the Chattanooga Bar Association will hold two training sessions on Oct. 25 to educate local librarians and court clerks about free services available to members of the public seeking legal assistance. The training will be offered at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Chattanooga Downtown Library Auditorium, 1001 Broad St., Chattanooga, TN 37402.

To attend, please RSVP to Ellie Hill with Patrick, Beard, Schulman & Jacoway at or (423) 756--7117.
Chattanooga lawyer David McDowell, president of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (TBA YLD), has announced that the TBA YLD will focus its service activities this year on one specific project: training librarians and clerks across the state how to use free resources to help members of the public in need of legal information and advice. These tools include:

  • OnlineTNJustice, which allows qualified individuals to post a legal question to a private online messaging system and receive an answer from a volunteer lawyer.
  • LIFT, a website that provides general information about a number of different legal issues as well as links to other pro bono resources.
  • aLEGALz, a toll-free hotline that provides legal information and referrals to low-income Tennesseans.

The goal of the project is to educate at least one librarian in each county, and have at least one library in each county equipped with a computer the public may use to access these free legal resources. McDowell also is challenging young lawyers to volunteer to answer questions posted on OnlineTNJustice, volunteer at legal aid clinics across the state and take pro bono cases from their local legal aid agency.

In cooperation with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), the YLD has created a PowerPoint presentation and a resource page so volunteer lawyers have the information they need to make presentations on these services. The website also has handouts and signs that can be downloaded and used by librarians as needed.

McDowell is an attorney with Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon. He will serve as president of the YLD through June 2014.