Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Tennessee Supreme Court Recognizes Middle Tennessee Attorneys for Volunteer Work

October 25, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently recognized attorneys and law students who performed over 50 hours of pro bono service in the previous calendar year as 2017 Attorneys for Justice. The ceremony was held in front of family and friends at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins welcomed the crowd, highlighting that Tennessee attorneys not only donate their time and expertise at home, but also to those suffering outside the state. Tennessee attorneys responded to Texans devastated by Hurricane Harvey and provide pro bono assistance through the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers program.

Former Tennessee Representative Frank F. Buck, of Smithville, TN, was one of the attorneys recognized as a 2017 Attorney for Justice. The law firm of Dodson Parker Behm and Capparella PC, was also acknowledged as the firm performed an average of 50 or more hours of pro bono service per attorney. The Court recognized May 2017 law school graduates who performed 50 or more hours of pro bono service during their law school career as 2017 Law Students for Justice. Law student graduates from the Belmont University College of Law, Nashville School of Law, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, University of Tennessee College of Law, and Vanderbilt Law School participated in the ceremony. Over 35 attorneys and law students were recognized at the event.

Dean Alberto Gonzales of the Belmont University College of Law noted it is the obligation of law schools to support pro bono efforts. “Lawyers are a force of good, giving a voice to those people who otherwise are without one,” Gonzales said.

Chief Justice Bivins was assisted by Justice Cornelia Clark in presenting each recipient with a certificate signed by all five members of the Tennessee Supreme Court.   

The Board of Professional Responsibility and the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization were recognized at the event for their instrumental roles in providing access to justice to all Tennesseans.  Justice Clark presented Sandy Garrett, executive director of the Board of Professional Responsibility, with a certificate of appreciation. She also acknowledged Lucinda Smith, the Volunteer Lawyers Program Director at Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, for her dedication and leadership.

Justice Clark closed the recognition ceremony by emphasizing that lives can be helped through civil legal help and expressing the Court’s enjoyment at having the opportunity to publicly recognize each attendee for their work to better Tennessee by serving those in need.

To date, over 330 attorneys across Tennessee have applied to be recognized by the Supreme Court this year. Additional attorneys will be added to the Pro Bono Honor Roll as they report their pro bono work with the Board of Professional Responsibility throughout the remainder of the calendar year. Attorneys may also apply using the application available on the Administrative Office of the Courts website. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2017. The pro bono recognition program was created by the Access to Justice Commission. 

Photos of the event are available on flickr.