scales
Harry Williams
Attorney and Counsellor at Law

Professional, Practical, Prompt
220 East King Street, Suite 110
Johnson City, TN 37601-0110
Tel 423.773.3382
Fax 423.328.8434
Email: harrywilliams@charter.net
pro bono

Free or "Pro Bono" Legal Services

pro bonoShort for pro bono publico [Latin, For the public good]. The designation given to the free legal work done by an attorney for indigent clients and religious, charitable, and other nonprofit entities.

As members of a profession, lawyers are bound by their ethical rules to charge reasonable rates for their services and to serve the public interest by providing free legal service to indigent persons or to religious, charitable, or other non-profit groups. A lawyer's free legal service to these types of clients is designated as pro bono service.

Notice

We provide free (pro bono) legal services for certain qualified individuals and organizations. We reserve the right to refuse free service in any circumstances. To inquire further contact us:
423.773.3382 or email: harrywilliams@charter.net

On Line Tennessee Justice

online justiceOnlineTNJustice is a joint project of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association. Special thanks to Microsoft, Dell, and to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission for their critical support of this project. These entities share the goal of increasing access to legal advice to those who cannot afford it.

The system screens clients for eligibility and, if qualified, allows them to post a question to a private messaging system. The questions are answered by private attorneys volunteering their time. A OnlineTNJustice client has the ability to check the system for answers at any time. Only the name of the client is shared with the volunteer attorney assisting them. All other information is anonymous to insure complete privacy.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee

Home

The mission of Legal Aid of East Tennessee is to ensure equal justice for elderly, abused, and low income persons, providing a wide range of civil legal assistance and advocacy.

LAET has been part of the community structure of East Tennessee for over 40 years, serving 26 counties from Chattanooga to Johnson City.

With offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City, Maryville, and Morristown, LAET provides civil legal representation to East Tennesseans who cannot afford a private attorney.

Private Pro Bono

Pro Bono BrochureLawyers have always donated a portion of their time to pro bono work, but in the United States the demand for legal services from people who cannot afford to hire an attorney has grown since the 1960s. Lawyers previously donated time on an ad hoc basis. The establishment of legal aid organizations to serve indigent persons in the 1960s changed the way attorneys obtained pro bono work. Legal aid attorneys, who were unable to satisfy all the legal needs of poor people, created programs to recruit private attorneys willing to donate some of their time. These programs recruit attorneys and then train them to handle common types of cases.

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association (ABA) has become a national leader in the effort to enhance pro bono legal services. The ABA Center for Pro Bono assists ABA members and the legal community in developing and supporting effective pro bono legal services in civil matters as part of the profession's effort to ensure access to Legal Representation and the justice system. The center helps create, design, and implement pro bono programs. It sponsors an annual conference for bar leaders, pro bono program managers, legal service staff, and others involved in the delivery of pro bono legal services to poor people.

Tennessee Bar Association

The Tennessee and Washington County bar associations also assist in the creation and maintenance of pro bono programs. Despite these efforts, the need for legal services outstrips the pro bono services provided. Tennessee State court systems have explored ways to get more lawyers involved in donating their time and skills.

State of Tennessee

 tn state flagThere are several legal aid organizations in Tennessee. These organizations are not-for-profit law offices that give certain types of free legal help to people who cannot afford to pay a lawyer:

Memphis Area Legal Services

West Tennessee Legal Services

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

Southeast Tennessee Legal Services

Legal Aid of East Tennesse

Community Legal Center

Tennessee Justice Center

Disability Law and Advocacy Center

Southern Migrant Legal Services

Justice for Our Neighbors of Tennessee

American Bar Association

Rule 6.1 Voluntary Pro Bono Public Service

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:

(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:

(1) persons of limited means or

(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and

(b) provide any additional services through:

(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee to individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate;

(2) delivery of legal services at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or

(3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.

In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.

In Tennessee, for example, the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers state, "A lawyer should aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono public legal services per year" (rule 6.1).

Harry Curtis Williams, 220 East Millard St. Suite 110, Johnson City, TN 423.773.3382 harrywilliams@charter.net

Copyright 2014 Harry Curtis Williams, Attorney at Law