Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 28, 2013

Burch, Porter & Johnson and BlueCross to receive awards at gala event in Nashville Saturday

NASHVILLE, Feb. 28, 2013 -- The Memphis law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson and Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will be recognized for their commitment to providing free legal services at the 7th Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala Saturday in Nashville.

The event will feature remarks by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade and Doug Blaze, dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law. Awards will be presented by Tennessee Bar Association President Jackie Dixon along with Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Co-Chairs Jim Barry with International Paper and Andy Branham with Counsel On Call.

The 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 its beginning, the initiative has raised more than $300,000 to help bring legal services to the poor. This year, the gala raised over $50,000 to support pro bono activities in the state.

Law Firm Award
This year's law firm award will be presented to Burch, Porter & Johnson for a partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital that is meeting critical needs for low-income families managing treatment of their children at the hospital.
For the past year, the Memphis firm has helped patients and their families cope with a unique but critical issue: what to do when a minor child reaches the age of majority but is too neurologically impaired to consent to his or her own treatment in an informed manner. The firm has responded to that challenge by helping low-income families establish conservatorships for the benefit of the patient, which allow parents and other caring family members to direct treatment for the patient.

Firm lawyers represent the families during court proceedings and make sure they understand the process and the requirements for establishing a conservatorship.

In announcing the law firm award, Dixon praised Burch, Porter & Johnson for identifying and meeting a real need in its community, saying, "This assistance has been crucial for families who would otherwise face a significant barrier to obtaining medical treatment for their children."

Each year, the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Law Firm Award is given to a Tennessee law firm that best exemplifies extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals, pro bono service and the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service.

Legal Department Award
This year's corporate legal department award will be presented to Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which has been a consistent supporter of the Pro Bono Initiative and is one of the top overall donors to the cause, contributing more than $30,000 in the past seven years. The company is being recognized this year for its ongoing partnership with the law firm of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC to host a Street Law program at a local high school as well as for a new pro bono clinic initiative.

Since 2010, the company has worked with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel to present the Street Law program at Brainerd High School. Through this partnership, lawyers teach students about law, democracy and human rights worldwide as well as offer mentoring activities. The overall goal of the program is to increase diversity in the legal profession by encouraging students to pursue legal careers. The sponsors also hold a one-day conference to provide students with interactive, real-world examples of various careers in the law.

In addition, the company is being recognized for its newest initiative: the Hamilton County Legal Clinic, which was the largest single legal clinic held in Chattanooga last year. The clinic took place at BlueCross in September 2012 and involved 10 corporate attorneys. It served 29 clients. The company partnered with Legal Aid of East Tennessee and law firm Miller & Martin PLLC to hold the event.

In announcing the legal department award, Dixon said, "The work of the BlueCross legal department exemplifies the mission of the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative - not only providing free legal services to those who cannot afford a lawyer but also sowing seeds among what could be the next generation of lawyers who will be needed to provide these services in the future."

When notified of the recognition, BlueCross Senior Vice President and General Counsel Tony Hullender said, "We are very honored to receive the award and I am proud of our attorneys and non-attorneys for their efforts."

Each year, the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Legal Department Award is given to the legal department of a Tennessee corporation that best exemplifies extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals, pro bono service and the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service.

About the Honorees

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its three million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at

Burch Porter & Johnson PLLC
Burch Porter & Johnson PLLC, one of the oldest law firms in Tennessee, engages in a highly diversified litigation and business practice. Since its founding over 100 years ago, the firm has maintained a tradition of involvement in the legal and community affairs of the region. Burch, Porter & Johnson's principal office is located in downtown Memphis in buildings named to the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more about the firm at