Vol 55 No 1

Legal Aid Ensures Access to Justice

When a veteran is facing the improper denial of benefits, legal aid lawyers are there to help. When a victim of domestic violence needs protection, legal aid lawyers are there to obtain court orders. When a family is facing an illegal eviction or poor housing conditions, legal aid lawyers are there to protect.  

In 1974, Congress established the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) based on “a need to provide equal access to the system of justice in our nation for individuals who seek redress of grievances.” President Richard M. Nixon signed the law creating LSC. LSC is a national nonprofit that provides grants, support and oversight to more than 130 nonprofit legal aid organizations with more than 800 offices across the country, including Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., and West Tennessee Legal Services Inc.

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Pro Bono Heroes

Celebrating the Intrepid Volunteer Lawyers of Tennessee

Compiled by the TBA Access to Justice Committee

Tennessee attorneys have a solid record of commitment to pro bono service, among the highest in the country. Attorneys in the state reported performing an average of 53.1 hours of pro bono in 2016 — the second highest rate among all states taking part in an American Bar Association survey.[1] The report also found that just shy of 67 percent of attorneys in the state reported having done at least some pro bono in 2016, and Tennessee was a leader in the proportion of attorneys offering reduced fee services. Tennessee also had the second lowest percent of attorneys who had never performed pro bono among the 24 states that participated in the survey. Results also showed that four out of five attorneys believe that pro bono services are important, although finding the time to provide free or low-cost legal services to the needy and charitable groups remains the biggest challenge for many.

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