TBA Recognizes Corporate Contributions to Pro Bono Efforts in Tennessee - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 26, 2010

Miller & Martin and International Paper to receive awards for commitment to providing free legal services to the poor

NASHVILLE, March 26, 2010 — The law firm of Miller & Martin PLLC and International Paper will be recognized for their commitment to providing free legal services to the needy at a dinner and ceremony Saturday evening in Nashville.

The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Gala is part of the Tennessee Bar Association's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative, which encourages and supports pro bono activities for lawyers serving as in-house and corporate counsel in the state.

In addition to the presentation of awards, the dinner will feature a keynote address by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice M. Holder. Following the address, Nashville attorney and Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) President Gail Vaughn Ashworth will join Holder in presenting the 2010 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala Award to the two companies.

Award recipients are selected each year from nominations submitted by attorneys across the state. Nominees are judged on their commitment to the ideals of access to justice, actual pro bono service performed and adoption of the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service, which states that corporate attorneys have an ethical obligation to provide pro bono legal services to the poor and underserved.

Law Firm Award
Miller & Martin, with offices in Chattanooga and Nashville, is being recognized for its commitment to providing pro bono legal services to the poor and disenfranchised in Chattanooga and Nashville. Firm attorneys volunteer with the Nashville Pro Bono Program, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) and Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET). Specific projects include LAS' Second Tuesday Pro Bono Legal Advice Clinic, a legal clinic for the homeless through the Room in the Inn program and LAET's Saturday Advice Clinic. In addition, the firm serves as special counsel to the Legal Aid Society, providing free legal advice to the organization, which in turn serves indigent clients.

In addition to these firm-wide activities, many leaders of the firm have taken an active role in pro bono efforts, setting a strong example not just for their own attorneys, but also for attorneys around the state. In Nashville, member Katie Edge is one of 10 individuals serving on the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and is chair of its Education Committee. Firm member Harold Pinkley has a long history of involvement in pro bono, including chairing the TBA's Access to Justice Committee from 2000 to 2002. He currently serves as pro bono coordinator for the Nashville office. In the Chattanooga office, member Marcy Eason serves on the Access to Justice Commission's Advisory Committee on Unmet Legal Needs. Firm member Trey Harris is president of the LAET Board of Directors and is pro bono coordinator for the office. Finally, firm member Dick Crotteau is active in pro bono work and was recognized for his efforts last year by the LAET Southern Region, which awarded him the Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award.

Legal Department Award
Memphis-based International Paper (IP), which will receive the corporate legal department award, is being honored for the commitment of its individual attorneys, as well as its corporate commitment to pro bono work. As a company, IP has demonstrated support for pro bono through adoption of an office-wide pro bono policy, which calls on attorneys to complete 50 hours of pro bono work each year; financial and logistical support for the TBA's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative (CCPBI); and involvement in a number of Memphis-area legal education programs, including Street Law, which provides practical legal advice to young people. This past year, firm attorneys presented the program "Don't Borrow Trouble" - which explores the perils of buying a car, especially a used car, on credit - to area high school students.

Individual attorneys at the company also demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to pro bono. Chief counsel Jim Barry has been a driving force behind the CCPBI initiative, is involved in a variety of access to justice and pro bono activities, and has served in leadership positions with both the Memphis and Tennessee Bar Associations and their Access to Justice Committees. In addition, general counsel Maura Smith has been a strong supporter of and featured speaker at CCPBI events; was the major force behind the company's pro bono policy; and, most recently, agreed to serve on the Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission.

For more information about the CCPBI, the gala awards or this year's recipients see below:

Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative - The TBA's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative was launched in 2006 as a joint effort between the TBA Access to Justice Committee, the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Association of Corporate Counsel. The goal of the initiative is to help foster a coordinated approach to pro bono work in Tennessee, and generate support for the access to justice community from corporate counsel in the state. The group helps corporate attorneys find ways to serve, raises funds for pro bono project grants, and holds an annual reception and dinner to recognize outstanding pro bono service. Learn more about the initiative

The Tennessee Bar Association - The TBA is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 10,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA’s dedication to serving the state’s legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys. For more information visit the TBA website at tba.org.

Miller & Martin PLLC - Established in 1867, Miller & Martin PLLC today is a full-service regional law firm. Miller & Martin offices are located in Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville with almost 200 attorneys practicing in over 35 areas of law. More information can be found on the firm's website at millermartin.com. Press inquiries should be directed to marketing director Hanna Legg at hlegg@millermartin.com or (423) 785-8321.

International Paper - International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global paper and packaging company with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include uncoated papers and industrial and consumer packaging, complemented by xpedx, the company's North American distribution company. Headquartered in Memphis, the company employs more than 54,000 people in more than 20 countries and serves customers worldwide. 2009 net sales were approximately $23 billion. For more information about International Paper, its products and stewardship efforts, visit internationalpaper.com. Press inquiries should be directed to communications director Patty Neuhoff at patty.neuhoff@ipaper.com or (901) 419-4052.