Thursday, April 2, 2020
Are you working remotely but your copy of the Tennessee Bar Journal is headed for your office? Not to worry: You can read all of it online! This issue focuses on access to justice, leading with a riveting account of lawyer Katie Blankenship volunteering her time — through the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative — at an ICE detention center in Georgia. This may not be your strength or area of interest, but there are many, many ways to get involved to help people with pro bono services. An update from the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission will tell you more.
The Tennessee Bar Association each year recognizes outstanding service by attorneys and law students who have dedicated their time to helping others. This year, the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year is given to Knoxville attorneys Bill Coley and Ian Hennessey; the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year goes to Tim Hughes; and the Law Student Volunteer of the Year is given to Vanessa Zapata. You are going to want to read their stories — they've all been doing good stuff.
The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative (CCPBI) recognizes outstanding service by law firms and legal departments that best exemplify extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals. This year, HCA Healthcare and Bass, Berry & Sims were honored.
The TBA's online pandemic resource center includes information, collected from both public and private sources, to keep members of the legal community informed about the impact COVID-19 is having on events, meetings and court proceedings in Tennessee. There is also information on health, mental health, and links to many related legal resources.
"In the clear light of day I was shocked," TBA President Sarah Sheppeard writes, that "a vicious series of tornadoes caused significant damage across the state, barreling through downtown Nashville and Wilson, Putnam and Smith counties, among others. These caused inconceivable damage and killed at least 26 people. As a girl originally from Kansas who has had the bad fortune of enduring those trips to the basement for tornadoes, but the good fortune of surviving even the worst ones, I cannot convey to you the emotional impact of tornado damage." Sheppeard writes about the devastation, how bar groups jumped in to offer assistance and the need for lawyers to help. That need continues, and she offers easy ways to get involved.
Also in this issue, Dan Holbrook and Anne McKinney detail retirement plan post-death distributions after the SECURE Act, and John Day reviews the book, Deposition Obstruction. See pictures of back when groups could gather freely, including when the Tennessee Supreme Court and its Access to Justice Commission honored former TBA President George T. “Buck” Lewis for his long-standing commitment to access to justice, including his vision and dedication to building and launching the virtual clinic model Free Legal Answers.
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