News

MALS Plans Pro Bono Awards Luncheon for Oct. 15

The Memphis Area Legal Services will host its annual Pro Bono Awards Luncheon on Oct. 15. The luncheon will take place at International Paper, 1740 International Drive, Tower 4, and will begin at 12:30 p.m. Find out more here
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LSC Awards More Than $14M in Disaster Relief Grants to Legal Aid Organizations

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that it is awarding 11 disaster relief grants to legal aid organizations in California, Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the Virgin Islands totaling $14,145,055. Earlier this year, Congress enacted an $89.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations law that included $15 million for LSC to support the delivery of legal services related to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017. The grants support projects that mobilize pro bono attorneys, enhance online resources for survivors, and improve communication and cooperation among legal aid clients, pro bono attorneys and partner organizations.
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Volunteers Needed for Legal Clinic in Nashville Oct. 16

The Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice and Society's regular legal clinic at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville will be held Oct. 16. Those interested in volunteering should meet upstairs in the rear of the building at 5:30. It will be an advice-only clinic with no expectation that volunteers take on continuing representation. Volunteers will be provided an informational packet that addresses common legal clinic questions. Those interested should contact Randy Spivey at 615-966-2503.
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Tennessee Supreme Court Launches Oral Argument Video Initiative

The Tennessee Supreme Court began last week videotaping oral arguments taking place in Nashville and making them available to the public. The video will give lawyers, students and others a more realistic feel of the interaction between the court and attorneys during oral argument, which often includes unscripted questioning and debate. The video system includes three separate cameras, allowing the view to toggle between the attorney at the podium and the individual justices on the bench during the oral argument. 
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Washington State Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Violates Constitution

Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled today that the death penalty violates its Constitution, USA Today reports. The court was unanimous in its order that the eight people currently on death row have their sentences converted to life in prison. “Given the manner in which it is imposed, the death penalty also fails to serve any legitimate penological goals,” the justices wrote.
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Faith & Justice Alliance to Host Pro Bono and Faith Days

The Tennessee Faith & Justice Alliance (TFJA) is hosting its second annual statewide Pro Bono & Faith Days (#PBFDays) this month as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. Faith & Justice Universities will be held in each grand division so that attendees can learn about existing free legal resources in their communities and how to get more involved: Events will be in Memphis on Oct. 16, Knoxville on Oct. 18 and Nashville on Oct. 23. The TFJA is part of the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. It is an alliance of faith-based groups in Tennessee who commit to providing legal resources to their congregations and communities.

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Legal Aid to Host Clinic for Seniors on Oct. 16

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has scheduled a Free Legal Help Clinic for seniors on Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Life Church, 2223 N Washington Ave., Cookeville, TN, 38501. The event will be coordinated through the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance, and in partnership with the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information please contact Matt Silvey, 931-528-7436.

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Race, Clinic Highlight Events to Celebrate Pro Bono

All across Tennessee events are taking place this weekend as part of the Celebrate Pro Bono month. On Saturday, the Memphis Law Student Bar Association and Memphis Bar Association are joining together to host the Race Judicata (The Run for Justice!) in downtown Memphis. This event, which also features an afterparty with food, drink and live music, benefits the Memphis Bar Association’s Access to Justice program. To the east, Knoxville lawyers will be providing free legal advice at the Knox County Super Saturday Bar Advice Clinic, hosted by Legal Aid of East Tennessee. That event runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Find out more about other Celebrate Pro Bono events taking place across Tennessee.

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Legal Aid Society’s Nashville Office Names New Managing Attorney

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands’ Nashville office has hired Emma Sholl as its new managing attorney. Sholl has been a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society since 2014, focusing on health, benefits and special education issues. Her accomplishments at the firm include securing coverage of life-saving medications and services for Medicaid clients, advocating for special education services for children with disabilities and obtaining home health care and nursing services for elderly clients. She co-chairs Legal Aid’s Gilbert Family Fellowship program.
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Vanderbilt, Bass Berry, CLC Join to Host Immigration Training

Bass, Berry & Sims in conjunction with the Community Legal Center and the Vanderbilt Immigration Practice Clinic is hosting a CLE called "How To Help Immigrants In Tennessee: Beyond Rapid Response" on Oct. 9. Participants will be trained on the basics of litigating removal defense cancellation of removal cases, with the goal of placing cancellation cases with attendees to provide pro bono assistance. The training will take place at Bass, Berry & Sims' Nashville office from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Space is limited, so registration priority will be given to individuals who sign up to a pro bono case.
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October TBJ Highlights Online Sales Tax, Celebrate Pro Bono Month

What does a South Dakota case have to do with us here in Tennessee? After Wayfair, our cover story points out, there will be significant impact on commerce and tax collection in our state, too. Also, it is the 10th anniversary of Celebrate Pro Bono Month! Read about its impact and how you can get involved; a word from TBA President Jason Pannu on the legal needs of low-income Tennesseans; and the remembrance of pro bono lawyer and historical hero, Lutie Lytle. Read the whole October issue here.

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TBA YLD Seeking Volunteers for Nashville Expungement Clinic

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is seeking volunteers for an expungement clinic on Oct. 27 at Nashville's Cathedral of Praise, 4300 Clarksville Highway. The event will be hosted by the National Prison Summit. Registration for pre-registered participants will take place from 8 - 9 a.m. and the clinic will start at 9:30 a.m. All volunteer attorneys are asked to arrive at 9 a.m. for orientation and the run of the day. The Criminal Court Clerk’s office will have computers and the ability to process the expungement paperwork right on the spot. The clinic is expected to end around noon. Those who wish to volunteer should contact Amber Floyd.
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Legal Aid Society Seeking Volunteers for Oct. 6 Clinic in Nashville

Legal Aid Society has scheduled a Free Legal Help Clinic on Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, 819 33rd Ave. North in Nashville. The clinic will be held in partnership with OneNashville and students from Belmont College of Law. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information please contact Jorge Salles Diaz, (615)780-7131.
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ATJ Commission to Hold Family Law Summits Across Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission is sponsoring a series of Regional Family Law Summits. The summits will bring together judges, court clerks, lawyers, mediators, law students, educators, and anyone interested in innovative ways to help Tennesseans with family law issues. West Tennessee's will be held Sept. 24 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library in Memphis from 2 - 5:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee's will be held Sept. 25 at Nashville School of Law from 1:30 - 5 p.m. East Tennessee's will be held at the United Way in Knoxville from 1:30 - 5 p.m.
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Attorney Volunteers Needed for ‘Become a Citizen’ Workshop

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Hillcrest United Methodist Church and the Nashville Mayor’s Office of New Americans are seeking attorney volunteers for their “Become a Citizen Now!” workshop, held on Sept. 22 in honor of National Citizenship Day. Local families who are legal permanent residents will receive assistance in applying for naturalization at the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Interested attorneys should complete this form to take part.
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LAS to Host Open House for New Nashville Office

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will host an open house for its new office on Thursday. The Sweet Soiree Open House will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at 1321 Murfreesboro Pike, Suite 400. RSVP here.
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TBA Seeking Public Service Award Nominations

The TBA is seeking nominations for three prestigious access-to-justice-related awards. The TBA Public Service Awards recognize service in three categories: work performed by an attorney employed by an organization providing indigent legal representation; pro bono work performed by a private attorney; and pro bono commitment demonstrated by a law student volunteer. Nominations for the Public Service Awards are due Sept. 21. Awards will be presented at TBA’s Annual Public Service Awards Luncheon on Jan. 19. For more information about these awards, contact Access to Justice Director Liz Todaro.

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Lipscomb Seeking Volunteers for Free Legal Clinic Next Week

Lipscomb University's Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society will host a free legal clinic in Nashville at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Schrader Lane Church of Christ, 1234 Schrader Lane, Nashville, 37208. It will be an advice-only clinic with no expectation that volunteers take on continuing representation. For more information or to volunteer, contact Randy Spivey, 615-966-2503.

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Outgoing Nashville Public Defender Plans New Project

Outgoing Metro Nashville Public Defender Dawn Deaner is embarking on a new mission with a new project – the Choosing Justice Initiative. The Nashville Scene reports that the program will see Deaner taking on clients who can’t afford an attorney but can’t get a public defender either. In an effort to give poor defendants more say in the process, Deaner says she’ll seek to be appointed to cases after clients choose her to represent them. Deaner served in the Public Defender's Office for more than 20 years. Martesha Johnson was sworn-in as her replacement last week.
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ATJ Community Gathers to Learn and Honor Leaders for Service

More than 200 lawyers, law students and advocates gathered this week for the 2018 Equal Justice University (EJU) in Murfreesboro. The conference is sponsored by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and TBA is an event co-sponsor. TBA President Jason Pannu today spoke to those gathered for EJU via videotaped remarks. Pannu thanked the legal service staff and volunteers for their role as first responders, providing life-changing assistance to Tennesseans in need, and also acknowledging the strong collaborations that make this work possible. TBA YLD President Christian Barker introduced Pannu’s video by expressing appreciation for the access to justice community and sharing his own experience with an opportunity for unexpected pro bono service. See pictures and more here.
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Equal Justice University Kicks Off Tomorrow in Murfreesboro

The 2018 Equal Justice University Conference begins Wednesday in Murfreesboro. The three-day event, hosted by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) and co-sponsored by the TBA, is an annual gathering of 200 lawyers, advocates, social work professionals and pro bono attorneys involved in providing civil legal assistance across the state. Speakers this year include Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, Rhodes College Professor Charles McKinney, TBA President Jason Pannu and TBA YLD President Christian Barker. Session topics include the opioid epidemic, immigration relief, legal support for veterans and legal technology innovations. 
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Equal Justice Initiative Founder Delivers MTSU Convocation Speech

Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, spoke in Murfreesboro on Saturday as a part of the 17th Middle Tennessee State University Convocation, The Daily New Journal reports. Stevenson addressed the incoming and returning students with a message calling to promote social justice. He also authored “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” which served as the Class of 2022’s summer reading assignment.
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Memphis CLC to Host ‘Jam for Justice’ Fundraiser

The Community Legal Center in Memphis will host the second annual “Jam for Justice” concert fundraiser on Sept. 29. The event will kick off at 6 p.m. at Railgarten, 2166 Central Ave. It’s free to attend but donations of any amount are accepted. 
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Grant to be Legal Aid President Through 2020

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has named Charles K. Grant as its new board president, The Tennessee Tribune reports. Grant succeeds Bob Martineau Jr., who served as president since 2016. Grant, a Nashville litigator with Baker Donelson, was first vice president of the Legal Aid board. His term as president lasts through 2020.
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Volunteers Needed for Legal Clinic Nashville

Lipscomb University's monthly legal clinic at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, 600 28th Avenue North, will be held Aug. 21 at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed. It will be an advice-only clinic with no expectation that you take on continuing representation. An informational packet that addresses common legal clinic questions will be provided. If you are interested, contact Randy Spivey.
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