Tennessee lawyers to offer free services to the poor in October
NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Many Tennessee lawyers will offer free legal services to those unable to afford a lawyer throughout the month of October as part of the national Celebrate Pro Bono initiative.
Activities will include legal advice clinics, education programs, public presentations and other events. The initiative kicks off with four legal clinics on Oct. 2, with more than 40 events planned across the state during the month.
This years celebration builds on the success of the 2011 initiative, in which 350 volunteers including lawyers, law students, paralegals and language interpreters assisted more than 1,100 clients with issues ranging from domestic violence protection to estate planning.
In announcing this years events, TBA President Jackie Dixon said, Celebrate Pro Bono Month provides a unique opportunity to publicize the free legal services provided by Tennessee lawyers. Though the legal community generously donates pro bono services year-round, this special focus is designed to ensure that those in our communities who need free legal help know where to find it.
Dixon also noted that, Celebrate Pro Bono Month provides a wonderful opportunity to recognize the work of those in the legal profession who give their time and unique talents to help those who are less fortunate.
The need for free legal assistance is evident given that:
- One in five Tennesseans is living at or below the poverty line;
- One in five Tennesseans cannot afford to pay for basic legal assistance;
- There are only 81 paid legal aid lawyers in the state, which means that for every 12,658 low-income Tennesseans eligible for assistance, there is only one legal aid lawyer; and
- Less than 30 percent of those living below the poverty line are aware that assistance is available to help them with their legal problems.
Tennessee lawyers are helping to meet this need and raise awareness of the resources available by volunteering during Celebrate Pro Bono Month and throughout the year.