Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Tennessee Supreme Court Helps Celebrate Access to Justice in Shelby County

December 19, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court recognized Memphis-area 2017 Attorneys for Justice on at the Memphis Bar Association Annual Dinner. Justice Holly Kirby publicly thanked attorneys who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono work in the prior calendar year. Over 30 attorneys and two law students were recognized at the event in front of a crowd of over 200 of their family, friends, and colleagues.

“There is probably at least one person at each table here this evening who qualified as an Attorney for Justice but did not report their pro bono hours to be recognized out of a sense of modesty,” noted Justice Kirby. “The long list of attorneys being recognized reminds us that the law is indeed a noble profession and I encourage you to sign up to be recognized next year.”

The out-going President of the Memphis Bar Association, Dean Decandia, presented one of his President’s Awards as part of his farewell address to Amber Floyd. Ms. Floyd, of Wyant, Tarrant, and Combs, LLP, was presented with an award for her leadership in pro bono work. She has been an instrumental partner in the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance, an initiative of the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission. Floyd was recognized by Justice Kirby as a 2017 Attorney for Justice

The Memphis Bar Association presented B. Taylor Gray with the 2017 W. J. Michael Cody Access to Justice Award. The award recognized a private attorney who has furthered the vision of “Justice for Those in Need” and has supported the Memphis Area Legal Service’s mission of providing excellence in legal advocacy for those in need. Gray is an attorney at Bass, Berry & Sims and was instrumental in establishing the firm as a Pillar Law Firm, meaning the firm agreed to be MALS’ first point of contact in efforts to place pro bono cases with volunteer attorneys. 

Retired Judge Robert L. Childers was honored for his 33 years of service on the bench. The Memphis Bar Association awarded him with the inaugural Robert L. Childers Wellness Award. Retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder presented Judge Childers with the award. Justice Holder highlighted Judge Childers’ involvement in the creation of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program and his national expertise on attorney well-being. Judge Childers was recognized by Justice Kirby as a 2017 Attorney for Justice

This is the third year that the Memphis Bar Association has worked with the Tennessee Supreme Court to recognize area attorneys at the Annual Dinner. The event is part of the Court’s statewide pro bono recognition program, Attorneys for Justice. Other events were held in Kingsport, Nashville, and Knoxville in 2017. Attorneys may choose to have the pro bono hours reported to the Board of Professional Responsibility forwarded to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for recognition purposes. Attorneys may also apply using an application on the AOC website.

Law students who perform 50 or more hours during their law school career may also be recognized as Law Students for Justice. Each law school submits the names of those students who qualify just before graduation.

Photos from the event are available online at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tncourts/albums/72157690484938834

To see the full list of attorneys and law students who have been recognized in 2017 to date and for more information on the recognition program, go to http://www.tncourts.gov/ProBonoRecognition. The pro bono recognition program was developed by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission.

Justice Kirby and Amber Floyd