2009 News Articles

December 31, 2009 – The Daily News: Law School Ready For Downtown Move

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will reach a huge milestone Jan. 11 at 8 a.m. when it opens for classes at its new location Downtown inside the former U.S. Customs House and Post Office at 1 N. Front St. With help from two local architecture firms, Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects Inc. and Fleming Associates PC, the school revamped the building, vastly increasing the law school’s size and offering creative new amenities for students, faculty and staff. The bottom level, Level Zero, will house the law school legal clinic, which is held in conjunction with Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. Read More

December 17, 2009 – The Daily News: Local Musicians, Artists Soon Will Have Legal Outlet

Musicians and artists in the Memphis area are now able to seek legal help through a new partnership among the Memphis Music Foundation, ArtsMemphis, Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. and others. The Memphis Area Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (MAVLA) met for the first time about three weeks ago, said Memphis Music Foundation President Dean Deyo, and the wheels have been spinning ever since. Linda Warren Seely, director of pro bono projects for MALS, has offered to help the startup project and already has referred one client, an urban hip-hop group, to a local attorney for advice. Seminars and workshops are also planned to help local artists and musicians. Read More

December 7, 2009 – The Daily News: Memphis Bar Assn. Elects New Officers, Board Members

At the Memphis Bar Association’s Annual Meeting Thursday at The Peabody hotel, the MBA announced its 2010 officers and new members of its board of directors. Immediate past president Art Quinn passed the gavel to incoming president Ricky E. Wilkins of the Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins. John Cannon of Shuttleworth Williams PLLC and Gary K. Smith of Apperson Crump & Maxwell PLC automatically move to the positions of vice president/president-elect and treasurer, respectively. Linda Warren Seely, director of pro bono projects at Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., was chosen as secretary. [Frank Cantrell of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. was anounced as a 2010 board member.] Read More

November 12, 2009 – Conway Brings Compassionate Nature, Diverse Interests To Memphis Area Legal Services

Liz Conway has joined Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. as director of development. In that capacity, she will oversee MALS’ annual Access to Justice Campaign. Previously, Conway served as marketing director for Accelerated Community Oncology Research (ACORN) and its affiliated companies, ACORN CRO, Supportive Oncology Services and World BioBank. For 13 years, Conway provided marketing communications services for various local nonprofit agencies, including the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis Food Bank, the National Civil Rights Museum, Wonders International Culture Series, Memphis Partners and the Hyde Foundation. Conway has served as a grant writer, project manager and catalogue exhibition editor. Read More

November 02, 2009 – The Daily News: TennCut: Why The State Medicaid Program Is Slashing Services To Thousands Of Disabled People

Thyroid disease, congestive heart failure, blood clots, anemia and rheumatoid arthritis are just some of the health problems Memphian Ann B. wakes up to every day. For 11 years, she has been covered under a class of TennCare called Supplemental Social Security, or the “Daniels” class. Ann asked that her last name be kept anonymous. Ann didn’t know the name of the class she was in. Like many people, she just knew she had TennCare. At 62, Ann relies on 12 to 15 medications a day plus regular laboratory visits and doctor’s appointments to stay not just healthy, but alive. Ann said losing her TennCare coverage is “like a sentence to die.” Ann knew nothing about the local legal clinics Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. was offering in conjunction with the Tennessee Health Care Campaign and TJC. Read More

October 15, 2009 – The Daily News: U of M Students Get Head Start On Pro Bono Service

Students at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law have formed an organization encouraging volunteer work – even offering the chance to work on actual cases supervised by licensed attorneys. PALS students, once they reach a level of comfort with working on legal cases, can actually serve as co-counsel for certain clients. “We have a fair amount of students who are guardian ad litems, and they work with (Memphis Area Legal Services) for conservatorships,” Whiting said. “There are also a fair number of students who participate in (the Community Legal Center”s) Tuesday night legal clinics and their pro se divorce clinics.” Read More

October 15, 2009 – The Daily News: Court Attorney Coupé Earns Juvenile Law Certification

Thomas W. Coupé, a staff attorney at the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, has been certified as a juvenile law and child welfare specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. He is one of only 10 attorneys statewide certified in this specialty by the Tennessee Commission. Coupé also serves as the coordinator of the court’s Judge’s Action Center and is certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children as a child welfare law specialist. Read More

October 1, 2009 – The Commercial Appeal: Program Aims To Transform Domestic-Abuse Victims Into Survivors

When Lia White was asked to paint a T-shirt to represent the domestic violence she survived, she made it look like a Memphis tourism shirt, but with a few twists. Instead of barbecue ribs, it depicts “Southern-style broken ribs.” Instead of the House of Blues, her shirt portrays the “House of Black and Blue.” White’s shirt is one of 90 to be displayed as part of a “Clothesline Project” today with six community organizations presenting a 5:30 p.m. program on turning domestic-abuse victims into survivors. The program at Lindenwood Christian Church is a kickoff of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The collaborative presenting the program is made of the Memphis Area Women’s Council, Operation Safe Community, the Family Safety Center, Memphis Area Legal Services, the Shelby County Crime Victims Center and the Memphis and Shelby County Domestic Violence Council. Read More

September 3, 2009 – The Commercial Appeal: Gray Knights – Attorneys Over 65 – Will Help Poor Fight Legal Dragons

When lawyers turn 65, they are no longer required to take the 15 hours of continuing legal education courses annually to keep their licenses. That consideration for elderly attorneys gave lawyer Allen Malone an idea for providing legal help to residents who can’t afford it: Form a group of lawyers 65 and older who pledge to volunteer at least 15 hours a year to help the poor with their legal problems. The Memphis Bar Association includes about 200 members who are 65 or older. The 68-year-old Malone huddled with Memphis Area Legal Services to organize the Gray Knights. Read More

August 27, 2009 – The Daily News: Lewis’ Access to Justice Work Extends Past Bar Presidency

George “Buck” Lewis, a shareholder at the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, earlier this year passed the gavel of the Tennessee Bar Association presidency to Nashville attorney Gail Ashworth. But he isn’t finished promoting access to justice. Now, Lewis is starting a new chapter as an access to justice provider after his 4ALL campaign has garnered state and national awards and as the Tennessee Supreme Court urges attorneys, legal service providers and local bar associations to make access to justice a primary objective. So many people get turned away at legal clinics that this service would be a boon for those who can’t get help through a legal aid provider, such as Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. Harrison McIver, MALS’ executive director, recently told The Daily News the organization gets 80 to 100 calls a day. Read More

August 20, 2009 – The Daily News: MBA Seeks More Applicants For Leadership Forum

The Memphis Bar Association’s Leadership Forum, which began in 2004, offers attorneys in their third to eighth year of practice opportunities to network, meet nationally known legal icons and create projects to serve the community. Participation covers 25 hours of continuing legal education credit, and tuition is $550. The forum kicks off Sept. 18 with a retreat at the Lichterman Nature Center. Past participants include Lang Wiseman and Van Turner, chairs of the local Republican and Democratic parties, respectively; Judge Camille McMullen, the first black woman to serve on a Tennessee appellate court; Paul Morris of Martin Tate Morrow & Marston PC, who currently chairs the board of directors at Memphis Area Legal Services Inc.; and Assistant District Attorney General Chris Lareau. Read More

August 13, 2009 – The Daily News: State Amends Client Funds Program To Boost Charitable Grants

The Tennessee Supreme Court in July amended court Rule 43 and Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct to require attorneys holding eligible client funds to participate in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program. The rule also was amended to require lawyers to maintain these accounts at financial institutions that pay the same dividends or interest rates to IOLTA accounts as to non-IOLTA accounts. The application for 2010 grants went up on the TBF’s Web site Friday. Recipients of the 2009 grants include six Memphis-area organizations, including Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., which received the largest grant of more than $150,000. (See box for a breakdown of the 2009 recipients.) Read More

July 23, 2009 – Memphis Business Journal: Shelby County Sheriff, Memphis Area Legal Services Partner To Educate Renters On Foreclosure, Eviction

As a result of the rise in foreclosures and evictions in the city, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Memphis Area Legal Services are working to educate citizens on the subject. Webb Brewer, director of advocacy for Memphis Area Legal Services, said the most important part of the process is that renters or homeowners open and read all letters about the properties they inhabit. Legal services will offer assistance to anyone who asks. Read More

July 13, 2009 – LawFuel.com: Adams and Reese Ranked Among Nation’s Top Pro Bono Firms

Over the last two years, Adams and Reese LLP has increased its pro bono hour output by almost 500 percent, and the firm’s concentrated efforts in community service are recently garnering national attention. In addition to the American Lawyer ranking, Adams and Reese has received several pro bono accolades since 2007, including pro bono awards from the Tennessee Bar Association (recognizing law firms with mandatory pro bono policies in place); Memphis Area Legal Services (outstanding pro bono work); Houston Bar Foundation (outstanding contribution award in pro bono for a mid-size firm); and the Houston Bar Association (Equal Access Star). Read More

July 5, 2009 – The Jackson Sun: Jackson Lawyers Honored For Service

Linda Warren Seely, a Jackson resident who works as a managing attorney with Memphis Area Legal Services, received the TBA President’s Award for her service to the association and the legal community. Seely was recognized for her work on the 4/4 Pro Bono Public Service Day, which made free legal advice available to Tennesseans across the state on April 4. The 4/4 service day served more than 1,300 Tennesseans in need of legal counsel and involved more than 800 volunteers around the state. Read More

May 25, 2009 – The Commercial Appeal: Appraisals Find Neighborhoods Of Shelby County Homes In Decline

In prior reappraisals, the assessor has weathered criticism for inflating the values of these small and inexpensive properties, while undervaluing the appraisals of million-dollar mansions. Concerns linger for Webb Brewer, director of advocacy for Memphis Area Legal Services, who worries these low-end homes may continue to be overvalued because of a controversial state policy requiring the assessor to exclude foreclosure and bank sales in the reappraisal. Read More

May 25, 2009 – The Commercial Appeal: Practicing Law Just Natural For Members Of Donati Family

Donald Donati, who graduated from law school at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, worked at Memphis Area Legal Services under its former director, A C Wharton, who is now Shelby County mayor. Donati opened his private practice in 1980 after Wharton moved on. The firm, which specializes in areas of employment, Social Security disability and worker compensation, also employs one lawyer who’s not in the family. Read More

May 14, 2009 – The Daily News: Brown Joins Jackson Lewis In Of Counsel Capacity

Larry Brown, former MALS managing attorney and most recently, Chief Human Resources Officer for FedEx , joins law firm of Jackson Lewis LLP. Read More

May 13, 2009 – The Daily News: Shelby County To File Lawsuit On Banks About Foreclosures

Millions of dollars will be at stake as the Shelby County government files a lawsuit against major banks in an effort to remedy a rash of foreclosures.
County Atty. Brian Kuhn has said the county may work with the Montgomery, Ala.-based Beasley Allen law firm as well as with Webb Brewer, director of advocacy at Memphis Area Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm for the poor. Brewer said he may act in a role that’s separate from his position at the nonprofit. Read More

April 26, 2009 – Commercial Appeal: First Signs Of Foreclosure Crisis Loomed In ’05

“None of the lenders was servicing their own mortgages,” said Webb Brewer, director of advocacy for Memphis Area Legal Services, who has been examining subprime lending practices in anticipation of a possible lawsuit against lenders. “It’s kind of like the Wizard of Oz — you don’t know who you’re dealing with.” Read More

April 3, 2009 – Commercial Appeal: Pro Bono Clinics Will Offer Valuable Legal Assistance This Weekend

Legal Services and the Tennessee and local bar associations are organizing dozens of free legal clinics this weekend, including five in Memphis. “The need for free legal services has become more critical as our community’s economic conditions have worsened along with the national economic crisis,” said Linda Seely of Memphis Area Legal Services. Her agency is leading the clinic at the library. Read More

March 30, 2009 – WMC Channel 5 News: STAND YOUR GROUND: Renters & Foreclosure

Sapna V. Raj, managing attorney for the Memphis Fair Housing Center with Memphis Area Legal Services (http://www.malsi.org/), says the only way a renter can fight a foreclosure is if the mortgage is with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the stockholder-owned and government-chartered purchaser and lender of home loans. She says renters can negotiate with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to stay in those homes for the remainder of their leases. Read More, Video Included

March 24, 2009 – Normal Station News: April 4th- Race Judicata 5K Run/Walk, Healthy Kids Day

University of Memphis Law School is hosting Race Judicata, a 5K Run/Walk benefitting the Memphis Area Legal Services. The race will begin and end at the Mason YMCA at 3548 Walker Avenue. Memphis Area Legal Sercies (MALS) is a non-profit organization that has been providing legal services to the elderly and low-income families in Shelby, Fayette, Lauderdale and Tipton counties for 30 years. Read More

March 14, 2009 – The Commercial Appeal: Salute: Women of Acheivement 2009

Three of the women are being honored for work involving domestic abuse victims. Gonzalez’ award is for courage. Nancy Williams, executive director of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, will receive the award for determination for her work with children who may have been sexually abused. Sonja White, managing attorney for the domestic violence and family law unit of Memphis Area Legal Services, will receive the award for vision for her work through the courts with women seeking protection from abusers. Read More

(note: Africa Gonzalez is a member of the Memphis Area Legal Services Board of Directors)

March 12, 2009 – The Commercial Appeal: Public Defender’s Office Guides Northaven Students

Northaven is also working with Hope Community Credit Union, Memphis Area Legal Services and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to provide mentors for students and assistance for parents. Read More

March 11, 2009 – WREG Channel 3 News: Renters Evicted; Experts Investigate Possible Scam

It’s a growing problem that WREG News Channel 3 first exposed last week. After our first story, the property managers promised the tenants that they would not get evicted. But now, the entire group of duplex renters off Yale in Binghamton is getting shown the door… “I think it would be illegal for someone who is no longer the legal owner or an agent of the legal owner to continue to collect rents,” says Webb Brewer with the Memphis Area Legal Services. Read More, Video Included

March 5, 2009 – The Daily News: Morris Discusses Intellectual Property Issues

Morris is the chairman of the Memphis Center City Commission and is the president of the board of directors for Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. He has been selected as a member of the Leo Bearman Sr. American Inns of Court. Read More

March 5, 2009 – The Daily News: Legal Community Preps For ’4All’ Blowout

The “4 All” statewide service day is April 4, the 41st anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. To mark the anniversary, the TBA, along with the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services, has come up with a schedule of legal clinics that address several areas of law. Read More

February 20, 2009 – McIver’s Remarks During Tennessee Supreme Court Public Meeting to Receive Input on the State of Access to Justice in TN

“That’s what the Access to Justice’s effort is all about: to give a voice to people like Dorothy Holiday, who suffered from a massive brain tumor that left her with little memory and without the ability to write. She was unfairly denied her SSI benefits, so her mother turned to Memphis Area Legal Services. Our paralegal under an attorney’s supervision represented her before the Social Security Administration and she now receives those benefits.” To learn more about the insights of Harrison D. McIver, III , Executive Director of MALS, in the public meeting in Memphis , convened by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice initiative , please read his remarks. Read More

February 4, 2009 – Bird on a Wire: Good News for Renters!

Landlords must now protect tenants against major energy-wasting defects such as leaky pipes and holes in walls, according to new ordinance passed unanimously by the Memphis City Council on Tuesday. Read More

February 2, 2009 – WMC TV News: Officials Work to Slow Memphis’ Foreclosure Rate

Memphis Area Legal Services is earning high marks for helping residents re-structure loans and avoid foreclosure. But there are many more homeowners facing foreclosure than there are attorneys willing to help them for free. Read More

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