2013 to 2014 MALS News Article Highlights

August 20, 2014 – The Commercial Appeal: Judge Grants 15-Day Injunction To Keep Utilities On At Leahy’s Trailer Park

A judge granted an injunction Tuesday prohibiting Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division from shutting off utilities to residents of Leahy’s mobile home park for 15
days. Residents paid Leahy’s for utilities, but the park failed to pay more than $51,000 to MLGW.  Residents received a letter July 23 from manager John Leahy alerting them
that their water and electricity would likely be turned off July 29, affecting an estimated 65 families. Attorneys Bruce Harris and Frank Cantrell of Memphis Area Legal Services argued that shutting off services to the park and its low-income residents would cause immediate harm.
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August 14, 2014 – Memphis Daily News: McIver Makes Push for Legal Aid Into Broader Community

For Harrison McIver, receiving the American Bar Association’s Dorsey Award this month at the ABA’s annual meeting in Boston was a special honor. The award goes annually to attorneys who have worked in legal aid or legal services corporations representing indigent citizens. It is named for the late Charles H. Dorsey Jr., the Washington-area attorney and longtime executive director of Maryland’s Legal Aid Bureau Inc. And McIver, who has been executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. for 15 years, worked as executive director of National Legal Services Organization in Washington when Dorsey was on the organization’s board of directors.
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May 28, 2014 – MALS Press Release: Harrison McIver To Receive Dorsey Award From ABA

Harrison D. McIver III, long-time Executive Director of Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. (MALS), will receive the Dorsey Award from the American Bar Association (ABA). The award recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or civil legal aid lawyer. It was established as a tribute to the late Charles H. Dorsey, Jr., Executive Director of Maryland’s Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., a champion of the poor and underprivileged and, at the time of his death, the Chair-Elect of the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division. As Executive Director of MALS since 1998, McIver has raised the bar on the quality of legal services in the MALS service area. His focus on client service is relentless.
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April 17, 2014 – Memphis Daily News: ABA President Silkenat Shares Notion Of Civil Gideon

The president of the American Bar Association sees at least a discussion on the way about a “civil Gideon” – a requirement that a citizen who cannot afford an attorney in a civil court proceeding should have one appointed by the court. It would mirror the requirement of an appointed attorney for criminal defendants guaranteed by the 1963 landmark U.S. Supreme Court “Gideon” case. “Look at how long it took us to recognize Gideon on the criminal side,” James Silkenat said after a speech Tuesday, April 15, at the Memphis Rotary Club. Before speaking to the Rotary, Silkenat also toured Memphis Area Legal Services, which has been a key part of the local and state bar association efforts to improve access to justice.
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April 15, 2014 – Memphis Daily News: American Bar Association President Visits Memphis

American Bar Association President James Silkenat is in Memphis Tuesday, April 15, for a speech at the Memphis Rotary Club and to visit Memphis Area Legal Services. Silkenat is a partner in the New York law office of the national law firm of Sullivan & Worcester. The ABA president’s annual Memphis visit is coordinated by attorney Shep Tate of Martin Tate Morrow & Marston PC. Tate is a former president of the American Bar Association. Silkenat will meet with the staff at Memphis Area Legal Services to talk about the ABA’s national work on improving access to justice for clients as well as more pro bono representation of clients who cannot afford an attorney.
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November 14, 2013 – Memphis Daily News: Kelly Garners Accolade for Pro Bono Work

To wrap up October as Pro Bono Month, Pamela Williams Kelly of the Law Offices of Pamela Kelly was presented with the Celebrate Pro Bono Award from the Memphis Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and the Memphis Area Legal Services Pro Bono Project. Kelly received the award for working on extended cases on behalf of indigent clients through the clinics offered by MALS. “They said I had accepted the greatest number of cases, that’s either by volunteering my time for those clinics and just answering questions from people,” she said, adding, “I was just doing my part. … I was so surprised and so grateful.”
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July 23, 2013 – WREG Memphis News: Memphis Area Legal Services Feeling The Funding Pinch

Memphis Area Legal Services is the answer for thousands of people who are seeking justice, but who can’t afford their own attorney. Memphis Area Legal Services’ Linda Warren Seely is the director of Pro Bono Projects and the Campaign for Equal Justice. “We help protect them in wrongful evictions or in domestic violence situations or where a senior has been taken advantage of,” Seely says. In the last two years, she says Memphis Area Legal Services lost more than $300,000 in state, federal and local funding. Sequestration and lower interest rates on trust accounts have led to fewer dollars. Once busy offices are now empty and the staff has gone from 50 to 38. “It means the number of people we are able to serve has just plummeted because we don’t have the staff,” said Seely. So community leaders are coming up with a strategy for a community wide fundraising campaign. An online auction is planned to support legal services and raise crucial dollars so it can continue to help those in need get justice.
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June 11, 2013 – Fox News Memphis: Memphis Legal Services Group Is Losing Funding

On the second floor, of this brown almost non-descript building at the corner of Adams and Main sits the heart of justice for many in the Midsouth. Harrison McIver, Executive Director of the Memphis Area Legal Services says, “We provide legal assistance without cost, we don’t charge a fee to low income individuals primarily seniors.” He says the program operates with a constantly dwindling budget and a staff of forty people to handle thousands of clients who can’t afford to pay an attorney. McIver says, “We get over 20,000 calls a year, and we can only entertain, really entertain a third of those.” He says his office doesn’t operate in luxury with the sheer volume of clients, it operates with basic necessities including pro-bono attorney’s, staff and volunteers. McIver also admits, “If our staff is not paid, there is no Memphis Area Legal Services because there is nobody here to staff, we have to do everything, everybody else does in a law firm, we’re just salaried and we don’t charge a fee.”
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March 26, 2013 – The Commercial Appeal: Department of Veterans Affairs Starts Program Giving Free Legal Help

Patricia Hines decided to bring out the big guns after getting calls at the Department of Veterans Affairs from former servicemen and women who would ask her legal questions she couldn’t answer. Hines, veterans justice coordinator for the VA, enlisted the help of Memphis Area Legal Services, the Memphis Bar Association and other officials to help veterans with their legal problems Tuesday at the VA’s off-site campus on Union Avenue. “I wanted to open this clinic so they could have that professional legal counsel,” said Hines. “They need help with expunging records, dealing with fines and child support, and other legal matters. We want to help them fix anything that can keep them from progressing in the future.”
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March 21, 2013 – Memphis Daily News: Bradley, Burch Porter Recognized for Pro Bono Work in Community

Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC and probate attorney Beth Bradley have been honored for giving back to the community. The firm and the lawyer were recently recognized at the seventh annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala in Nashville with the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Law Firm Award for a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that involves helping low-income families manage treatment of their children at the hospital. The collaborative effort with St. Jude began when Linda Seely, president of the Memphis Bar Association and director of private attorney involvement with Memphis Area Legal Services, “perceived there might be a need at St. Jude for legal services,” Bradley said. “Once they (patients) become adults, they need a legal representative to give permission on their behalf to continue the treatment.”
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March 14, 2013 – Memphis Daily News: McIver Celebrates 15 Years at MALS

Harrison McIver has entered his 15th year as executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. with a daunting challenge that’s as constant as it is acute. Funding is as critical to the organization as it’s ever been right now, for a host of reasons. Outside funding sources have been pulling in their reins, but the need for the services of MALS, which exists to provide legal help for needy Memphians, has grown considerably as the economy tanked. Access to justice even for – really, especially for – people with limited means is something that’s close to McIver’s heart, and he frequently points to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution as justification.
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March 14, 2013 – Memphis Daily News: Purifoy’s Police Aspirations Evolve Into Legal Career

Shayla Purifoy majored in urban studies – a mixture of history, political science and sociology – at Rhodes College. Her senior seminar was on community policing. “It was so much fun, it was so exciting,” she said about her time spent shadowing police officers on the job. “They were helping people and they really were impacting that area, which was the Madison Heights area.” With this experience, and the mentorship of Mike Kirby, her professor at Rhodes, a goal was realized. “I decided that I was going to be a cop and no one could tell me any differently,” she said. “I started gun training, I started doing pushups and sit-ups, I was crawling over the wall at the police academy so I could run on their track to be prepared. And then I changed my mind.”
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February 27, 2013 – The Commercial Appeal: Rise Foundation seminar benefits seniors

More than 350 Memphis-area seniors turned out at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library to learn about everything from banking to benefits and burial during the RISE Foundation’s Key End of Life Financial Decisions seminar on Feb. 8. There, they received vital information about a topic that’s often hard to discuss, preparation for death. “This critical part of life should be of dignity, comfort, sound decisions, controlled cost, and community support. But it will require planning,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, who joined representatives from the Department of Human Services, Probate Court and Memphis Area Legal services in speaking to attendees. For over 10 years, RISE has helped empower people to become self-sufficient by building and sustaining human and financial assets. Their programs provide assistance to low-income working families, youths and seniors. The recent event was an extension of that work under their existing grant through the National Neighbors Silver program.
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