Free Legal Assistance Offered, Celebrated Each October in Tennessee
October is “Celebrate Pro Bono Month” and Tennessee lawyers are joining their colleagues across the country to provide free legal services to those in need and honor the good work performed by lawyers every day as part of the annual National Pro Bono Celebration. Now in its twelfth year, the 2020 statewide Celebrate Pro Bono Month will bring together legal services providers with local bar associations, law schools, law firms and individual lawyers to offer free services to those unable to afford a lawyer. Hundreds of volunteers are expected to participate in dozens of events and activities across the state that will offer assistance to Tennesseans in need. Activities include legal advice clinics, education programs, public presentations, celebrations and other events. Hosting or volunteering at a Celebrate Pro Bono Month event? Be sure share to share it on social media with the hashtag #CelebrateProBono.
The 2019 National Celebration of Pro Bono encouraged events focused on disaster preparation and resiliency, in recognition that advance planning and education are critical to providing an effective response when disaster does impact a community. Disasters, both natural and manmade, can result in large populations in immediate need of legal assistance on a number of topics. Disaster survivors face countless legal issues — from insurance disputes to FEMA appeals, landlord tenant disputes, consumer fraud, health and education issues, and so much more. TBA and our partners have resources and materials available that can assist in responding to their needs.
Over the past few years, Tennesseans have been called on to provide legal support and assistance in response to disasters within our own state and across the country. Fortunately, technology provides great opportunity for lawyers to deliver assistance remotely, eliminating barriers of distance, scheduling and limited access to those in need. Services such as HELP4TN.org and ABA Free Legal Answers have proven incredibly valuable in increasing connections during times of emergency. Although it is difficult to know when disaster may strike, legal services providers can have a plan in place to mobilize community attorneys to provide pro bono assistance when necessary.
Pro Bono Recognition Programs
Tennessee Supreme Court Pro Bono Recognition Program for Attorneys, Law Students & Firms
The Tennessee Supreme Court launched an initiative in 2014 to honor attorneys and law students who complete 50 or more hours of pro bono service each year. Those who meet the goal are named “Attorney for Justice” or “Law Student for Justice” by the court, are listed online and are honored at events across the state. Law firms that averaged 50 or more hours of pro bono service per attorney also may apply for recognition. The program is entirely voluntary and based on self-reporting using individual attorney annual registration or this form. Law firms should apply using this form. Attorneys and law offices recognized for their pro bono service will be listed on the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice website.
2020 Celebrate Pro Bono Month Events
Celebrate Pro Bono Month events will be promoted in TBA Today and on the TBA website throughout the month.
AWA - Association for Women Attorneys
MALS - Memphis Area Legal Services
MBA - Memphis Bar Association
YLD - Young Lawyers Division