Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 4, 2015

Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, Medtronic to receive awards Saturday in Nashville

NASHVILLE, March 4, 2015 — The Memphis office of law firm Wyatt Tarrant & Combs and global medical technology giant Medtronic will be recognized for their commitment to providing free legal services to Tennesseans at the Ninth Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala this Saturday in Nashville.

This year’s event will feature remarks by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee, Corporate Counsel Bono Initiative Co-Chairs Andy Branham and Jim Barry, and TBA President Jonathan Steen. Judge Bernice Donald with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which hears federal appeals from Tennessee, will give the keynote address.

Law Firm Award
Wyatt Tarrant & Combs is being honored with the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Law Firm Award for its support of Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS), the primary provider of civil legal representation to low-income families in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties.

In nominating Wyatt Tarrant & Combs for the award, MALS’ Director of Pro Bono Projects Linda Warren Seely, detailed the many ways the firm supports the agency. These activities include:

  • Contributing financially to MALS at the highest giving level;
  • Designating MALS as the recipient of any funds raised through the firm’s section activities;
  • Hosting MALS’ phone-a-thon fundraiser, in which more than one-third of firm attorneys volunteered to participate;
  • Sponsoring a Saturday legal clinic where members of the public meet with volunteer lawyers and obtain free legal advice;
  • Supporting two of its attorneys who served as chair of the MALS Campaign for Equal Justice, the organization’s annual fundraising effort;
  • Providing MALS the opportunity to speak to attendees at an annual education program for corporate counsel in the Memphis area; and
  • Encouraging firm attorneys to routinely handle pro bono cases.

Corporate Legal Department Award
Medtronic’s regional legal department will receive the Corporate Counsel Bono Initiative Award for a number of pro bono activities in the Memphis area. In nominating the company for the award, Memphis lawyer Andy Branham with Counsel on Call highlighted three activities undertaken this past year.

The company’s legal department participated in a Wills for Heroes clinic, which provided free wills and other end-of-life legal documents for first responders and their families. It also hosted an outreach clinic at the Bickford Senior Center to help senior citizens understand and execute advance directives, which allow individuals to make decisions about end-of-life care before that care is needed.

Finally, the department launched a medical-legal partnership initiative, which included hosting an educational seminar about medical-legal partnerships and exploring ways to fund a new partnership in Memphis. Medical-legal partnerships bring civil legal aid to health care locations and train medical staff to recognize legal issues that can adversely impact patients’ health. Increasing awareness about the success of these partnerships is one of TBA President Jonathan Steen’s goals for the year.

Corporate Counsel Gala
The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala, which includes a dinner and ceremony, is part of the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative – a partnership between the TBA and the Association of Corporate Counsel that encourages and supports pro bono activities by lawyers serving as in-house and corporate counsel in the state. Since it’s beginning, the initiative has raised nearly $425,000 to help bring legal services to the poor. Last year, the gala raised over $55,000 to support pro bono activities in the state. The initiative also recognizes a law firm and a corporate legal office each year that demonstrate extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals, pro bono service and the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service.

Sponsors of this year’s gala include:

  • Association of Corporate Counsel – Tennessee Chapter
  • Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC
  • Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust
  • Counsel on Call
  • Eastman Chemical Company
  • International Paper Company
  • Miller & Martin PLLC
  • Nissan USA
  • State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company
  • Stites & Harbison PLLC
  • Thomas & Betts Corporation
  • Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP