News

LSC Funding Threatened, Despite Bipartisan Support

For the third year in a row, the White House has proposed eliminating all federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation. The American Bar Association and LSC yesterday responded with a call for increased funding for LSC and noted the organization's "broad bipartisan support in Congress." LSC is the largest funder of civil legal aid to low-income Americans, and last year received $410 million in federal funds, a $25 million increase from the previous year. For the 2020 fiscal year, LSC is requesting $539 million to be distributed across 132 independent legal aid organizations serving every county in the U.S. The ABA also urged opposition to the Trump administration's proposal to do away with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which provides student loan forgiveness to qualified participants after 10 years of public service work.
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Alaska Supreme Court Issues Call for Pro Bono Earthquake Relief Work

Following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the state late last year, the Alaska Supreme Court has issued an order allowing out-of-state lawyers to provide volunteer legal services to low-income Alaskans affected by the earthquake. The ABA Journal reports that the Alaskan legal community hopes to have the participation from at least one lawyer in every state. Lawyers can volunteer at a time and place convenient to them through ABA Free Legal Answers, an online portal that remotely connects pro bono lawyers with low-income individuals. The Alaska version of the site now accepts out-of-state registrations.
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TJC Names Barry to Board of Directors

The Tennessee Justice Center has named Jim Barry to its Board of Directors. Barry retired in 2018 as Chief Counsel Corporate Litigation for International Paper Company. He came to International Paper in 1999 from Union Camp Corporation, where he was Assistant General Counsel. He currently serves as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and is a member of the Memphis Bar Association Access to Justice Committee. Barry is also co-chair of the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative.
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Belmont University and Legal Aid Seeking Volunteers for a Clinic in Nashville

Legal Aid Society has scheduled a free legal help clinic in Nashville on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Belmont Ministry Center, 2005 12th Ave. South. 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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Legal Aid Society Hosting Clinic in Franklin in Partnership with Mercy Health

Legal Aid Society has scheduled a Free Legal Help Clinic on March 7 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 908 Murfreesboro Rd, Franklin 37064, in collaboration with Mercy Health Clinic. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic in Williamson County. To volunteer or for more information, contact Jorge Salles Diaz at jsallesdiaz@las.org or at 615-780-7131.
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Recent UTK Law Grads Can Receive Student Debt Assistance for Public Interest Work

Recent graduates working in public interest law can receive assistance repaying their student debt through a program being offered by the University of Tennessee College of Law. Four graduates each received $4,000 in 2018 through the Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz PC Loan Repayment Assistance Program. Qualified applicants employed in legal positions that benefit non-profit organizations, or local, state or federal government entities may receive up to $10,000 through the program. Applications are due March 15.
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Federal Judge: DOE Changes to Loan Forgiveness Program 'Arbitrary, Capricious'

In a case filed by the American Bar Association, a judge ruled Friday that the U.S. Department of Education improperly changed the terms of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) for some men and women who have dedicated their careers to public service. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly said changes to the eligibility requirements made several years after the program began were “arbitrary and capricious.” Kelly ruled in favor of three individual plaintiffs who worked several years in public service and were initially approved for loan forgiveness, only to be notified years later that the approval was retroactively denied by the Department of Education based on new rules.
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CEO McIver to Retire After 20 Years with MALS

Harrison D. McIver III, CEO of Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS), is retiring after leading the organization for more than 20 years. During his tenure, MALS' budget nearly doubled, staff grew to 50, the firm expanded to include partnerships with Methodist Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, and it implemented programs addressing the needs of homeless veterans as well as seniors.
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Office on Aging to Host Knoxville Legal Clinic on March 9

The Community Action Committee's Office on Aging will host a Free Legal Advice Clinic on March 9, 9 a.m. to noon at the Knoxville-Knox County CAC, located at the LT Ross Building, WATE reports. The Office on Aging Pro Bono Legal Service Clinic is sponsored by the Rise Above Crime program of the Office on Aging, and Legal Aid of East Tennessee along with the Knoxville Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee.
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Polly to Chair LAS Campaign for Equal Justice

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has announced that Erin Palmer Polly will serve as the chair for its 2019 Campaign for Equal Justice annual fundraiser, The Nashville Post reports. The campaign, held annually since 1987, will launch in March with a goal of $830,000. Polly works in the Nashville office of Butler Snow and is the immediate past president of the Nashville Bar Association.
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Volunteers Needed for Legal Help Clinic in Gallatin

The Legal Aid Society has scheduled a free clinic on Feb. 12 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Gallatin Civic Center, 210 Albert Gallatin Ave. Lawyers in all practice areas are invited and encouraged to help at this advice-only clinic in Sumner County. To volunteer or for more information please contact Krista Scruggs, 615-451-1880.
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Immigrant Rights Group Seeking Volunteers for Feb. 16 Nashville Clinic

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) will host a clinic offering family preparation plans to the immigrant community to help keep their children safe in the case of deportation or other unexpected event. TIRRC is asking for help at this Power of Attorney Legal Clinic on Feb. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hillcrest United Methodist Church, 5112 Haywood Lane in Nashville. Register for the clinic at this link.
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Volunteers Needed for Thursday Legal Clinic in Franklin

Legal Aid Society needs volunteers for a free legal help clinic on Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at 908 Murfreesboro Rd. in Franklin, in collaboration with Mercy Health Clinic. To volunteer or for more information contact Jorge Salles Diaz, 615-780-7131.
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Watch 2019 Public Service Luncheon Online Now

Were you not able to attend Saturday's annual Public Service Luncheon? Check out everything you missed in a new video posted to the TBA's YouTube channel. The event honored Angie Bergman with the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award, Adrienne Kittos, who was named the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award, and Law Student Volunteer of the Year Amber Vargas. Former American Bar Association President Robert J. Grey, Jr. delivered the keynote address.
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January TBJ Includes 'War Stories,' Family Law, Pro Bono Heroes

Former TBA President Landis Turner is interviewed in this issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, in which he recounts helping pass the bill that would create Public Defender offices statewide, a bill that lead to the availability of liquor-by-the-drink, and a few other "war stories" from early practice. Let's face it, you just don't want to miss this issue -- which showcases Pro Bono Heroes, and also includes ethics in family law mediation, by Marlene Eskind Moses and Ben Russ, and a book review by Jason R. Smith.
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TBA to Honor 3 for Public Service

The Tennessee Bar Association will honor three attorneys at its upcoming Public Service Luncheon for their commitment to public service. Angie Bergman, an attorney at Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville, will receive the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award. Adrienne Kittos, legal director at Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors in Nashville, will received the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award. Amber Vargas, a new attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands in Cookeville, will receive the Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award. The luncheon will be held on Jan. 19 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Nashville.
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January TBJ: Our 'Pro Bono Heroes' Honored

The January issue focuses on Tennessee lawyers who have given their time to help others, our "Pro Bono Heroes," along with updates on the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice initiatives, and profiles of those honored by the TBA with Public Service Awards. There is also a personal account, by Memphis lawyer Buck Lewis, of an encounter at a pro bono clinic that changed lives, plus how technology can help even more. TBA President Jason Pannu discusses the importance of the Legal Services Corporation and Legal Aid. The issue also covers comparative fault and the "get out of jail free" cards available to certain special interest groups. Read the Tennessee Bar Journal!

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Report: More than Half of Tennessee Attorneys Provide Pro Bono Services

More than half of Tennessee attorneys provided pro bono legal services during 2016, according to an annual pro bono report from the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission.  The report showed that nearly 9,000 practicing Tennessee attorneys provided over 650,000 hours of pro bono service, with an estimated value of over $130 million. The full 2017 Pro Bono Report includes data reported by individual attorneys, bar associations, law firms, law schools, legal service providers mediators and other organizations.  

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Volunteers Needed for Saturday Legal Clinic in Nashville

Lipscomb University's Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society will host a free legal clinic in Nashville at 9 a.m. on Saturday 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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LexisNexis Launches Law360’s ATJ Newswire

Law360, a division of LexisNexis, announced yesterday that it is officially launching a weekly newsletter completely focused on Access to Justice. The newsletter will exist outside of the Law360 paywall and will cover topics including “trends affecting the justice gap and efforts of legal aid organizations, pro bono programs and other difference makers to help citizens with the fewest resources gain much needed access to the courts and systems.”
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CLC Memphis to Host Fashion Fundraiser on Nov. 15

Join the Community Legal Center of Memphis on Nov. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz of Memphis for "STRUT: The Final Catwalk," a fashion fundraiser. The live fashion show will be put on by Laurelwood Shopping Center and also include food, drinks, a silent auction and other ways to give to the Community Legal Center. Tickets are $50 prior to the event, $60 at the door. VIP Tickets $75, including front row seats to the fashion show.
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TJC to Host Insure Our Kids Training Webinar

The Tennessee Justice Center is hosting an Insure Our Kids Enrollment webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 8. The webinar will cover coverage options, eligibility and the enrollment process. Insure Our Kids is a statewide campaign to enroll every uninsured child who is eligible for health insurance.

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LAET to Host Debt Relief Legal Advice Clinic Nov. 3

Legal Aid of East Tennessee is partnering with the Knoxville Bar Association's Bankruptcy Section to host a Debt Relief Legal Advice Clinic for pre-screened individuals on Nov. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The clinic will be held at the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office, 1101 Liberty St. Those who wish to volunteer should contact LAET’s Knoxville office at 865-637-0484.
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MALS Seeking Chief Advocacy Officer, Staff Attorney Positions

Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. (MALS) is seeking to fill two positions. One is a staff attorney for its Fair Housing Unit; a HUD-approved housing counseling agency offering a variety of services, including mortgage delinquency and default/loss mitigation as well as fair lending issues. The other is a chief advocacy officer to design, strategically grow and direct MALS’ litigation and advocacy programs to effectively address the issues of people and communities living in poverty. For a detailed description of key responsibilities, click here. Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, writing sample, and resume to HR@malsi.org.

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Shelby County DA Stops Prosecuting Cases of Driving with Revoked License

The Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office has stopped prosecuting cases involving drivers whose licenses are revoked for oweing fines, The Commercial Appeal reports. The DA’s office says it has eliminated about 43 percent of the docket in the General Sessions Criminal Court with the change. The county’s policy change came shortly before the recent ruling that the state can no longer revoke driver’s licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic tickets.
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