Bass, Berry and Sims provides pro bono work for multiple organizations including the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Memphis Area Legal Services, local bar associations and nonprofit groups, with a commitment to providing free legal services for low income and disadvantaged people.
Our associate attorneys receive billable hour credit for up to 50 hours per year of pro bono work. Based on the priorities established by the Tennessee Supreme Court and the recommendations of the Court's Access to Justice Commission, Bass, Berry & Sims believed it was important to create more opportunities for attorneys to work on pro bono cases. The firm encourages all attorneys to meet or exceed the expectation of the American Bar Association and Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct that lawyers spend 50 hours each year engaged in pro bono work, primarily by providing direct representation to low income people.
Bass, Berry & Sims' pro bono representation is focused on a variety of efforts, including social entrepreneurship and death penalty defense, as well as:
- Landlord-tenant cases – In coordination with the Legal Aid Society, Bass, Berry & Sims takes a substantial number of referrals related specifically to landlord-tenant cases involving private landlords. Prior to Bass, Berry & Sims' landlord-tenant initiative, the Legal Aid Society could not offer pro bono services to tenants other than those in government-operated housing. As part of this initiative, our firm assists clients in defending eviction proceedings, demands for rent and damages, and retrieval of security deposits.
- Uncontested adoption cases - In 2008, the firm formed an adoption initiative – BBS Cares – through which we take uncontested adoption cases referred by Legal Aid and assist prospective parents with limited financial means in the preparation, filing and completion of adoptions.
- Veterans' claims - For almost 10 years, we have joined with other law firms around the country through the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) to represent military veterans who have been denied benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- TennCare eligibility/benefits – In coordination with the Tennessee Justice Center, a team of attorneys is available to work with clients to provide legal counsel to individuals who have been denied TennCare coverage or benefits for various medical conditions. As part of this initiative, Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys have already helped several clients receive much-needed reimbursement for their medical care.
For the past 10 years, the firm has partnered with AutoZone and Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) to host the annual "Give a Little, Help a Lot" pro bono clinic at Orange Mound Senior Center. Attorneys, paralegals and volunteers from the organizations assist seniors with the preparation of advance care plans, healthcare directives, durable power of attorney forms and wills and provide other essential legal advice. A recap of the 2018 event with photos can be found here.
Click on the images below to read stories about our pro bono activities in the community.