Free Legal Help Offered Statewide in October - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 20, 2010

More than 30 events planned during the month for those in need

NASHVILLE, Sept. 20, 2010 — Tennessee attorneys will offer free legal services to those unable to afford a lawyer throughout the month of October as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. More than 30 events are planned across the state.

This year's initiative builds on the success of two previous pro bono campaigns in 2009. In commenting on the 2010 effort, Tennessee Bar Association President and Chattanooga lawyer Sam D. Elliott said, "For the third time in two years, Tennessee lawyers are making a concerted statewide effort to provide pro bono legal services to the hundreds of citizens who need, but cannot afford, these services. In doing so, lawyers not only contribute to individual needs, but to the overall administration of justice and the betterment of a free society."

In recognition of the TBA's efforts to serve those in need, Gov. Phil Bredesen has proclaimed October to be "Tennessee Celebrates Pro Bono Month." The proclamation commends the volunteer legal services provided by Tennessee lawyers and encourages attorneys to continue providing such services.

While serving many, Celebrate Pro Bono Month also is designed to highlight the need for additional legal assistance in the state. Statistics show that even before the economic downturn, Tennessee was experiencing a legal services crisis. The current troubled economy has only compounded the problem. In Tennessee today:

  • More than one million individuals are unable to afford needed legal services;
  • 700,000 people face legal problems each year; and
  • Four out of five requests for legal aid are turned down due to lack of resources.

The Celebrate Pro Bono initiative is designed to increase public awareness of these realities, and encourage Tennessee lawyers to continue volunteering to meet these growing needs.