Pro Bono

Public service is part of who we are as a firm. Bass, Berry & Sims is a recognized leader for pro bono work, and we strive to consistently go above and beyond to provide free legal services to low income or underrepresented people in our communities.

Pro Bono Program

As part of its longstanding commitment to pro bono, the firm recently launched a comprehensive new initiative that will provide opportunities and incentives for the firm’s attorneys to give back to the community. One of the key components of the program is the BBS Fellows program, which will allow up to two attorneys across the firm’s four offices to spend up to six months serving full-time in a pro bono capacity within the community.

In addition, Bass, Berry & Sims created the Pro Bono Member position, allowing a partner of the firm to dedicate half of his/her work to pro bono activities and administration of the firm’s program. David Esquivel – a long-time advocate of pro bono and access-to-justice initiatives – will serve in this capacity. David is a founding member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and has served as its chair since 2013.

The new initiative also allows for increased hours or credit for all attorneys to dedicate to pro bono activities. For non-member attorneys, the firm will increase billable hour credit from 50 to 100 hours annually. For members, the firm will provide pro bono credit to those individuals that devote significant time to pro bono work. These hours will be counted toward the annual billable hour requirement and allow attorneys to devote more time to serve in pro bono capacities.

We are proud of the way our attorneys donate their time, knowledge and energy to a variety of efforts, making a real impact in the lives of those we serve.  The firm and our attorneys have been recognized by various organizations and associations on behalf of pro bono activities, including the following highlights:

 

Margaret Dodson and Jeff Gibson
Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year (2019)

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee

Angie Bergman
Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award (2019)
Tennessee Bar Association
Sehrish Siddiqui headshot
Sehrish Siddiqui
J. Michael Cody Access to Justice Award (2018)
Memphis Area Legal Services

Bass, Berry & Sims
Law Firm Award (2018)
Tennessee Justice Center
David Esquivel headshot
David Esquivel
Liberty Bell Award (2018)
Nashville Bar Association

Taylor Gray
J. Michael Cody Access to Justice Award (2017)
Memphis Area Legal Services

Jeff Gibson
Pro Bono Attorney of the Year (2017)
Tennessee Justice Center
Brian Roark | Healthcare Fraud attorney | Bass, Berry & SimsBrian Roark
Pro Bono Champion (2014)
American Health Lawyers Association
Bass, Berry & Sims
Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala Award (2011)
Tennessee Bar Association

In 2016, Bass, Berry & Sims became the first law firm in Tennessee to receive the state Supreme Court’s innovative pro-bono designation as an “Approved Legal Assistance Organization,” which enables the firm to offer its attorneys up to three Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit hours for time worked on pro bono cases. Read more about this innovative designation here.

Read about our Pro Bono Updates See how our attorneys are impacting our communities

Bass, Berry & Sims’ pro-bono representation spans adoption, death penalty defense, asylum and immigration proceedings, Medicaid and disability-income eligibility appeals,  veterans representation, representation of artists and arts organization, and other matters — with a commitment to providing free legal services for low income and disadvantaged individuals.

Pro Bono Work

Bass, Berry & Sims partners with several organizations to provide various legal counsel to lower income individuals in the communities where we live and work. This includes partnerships with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, Tennessee Volunteer Professionals for the Arts, Safe Haven Family Shelter, Tennessee Justice Center, Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS), and others.

 Adoptions

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. In 2017, Bass, Berry & Sims agreed to be the first point of contact in MALS’ efforts to place pro bono cases with private attorneys, agreeing to represent clients who need assistance with adoptions.

 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 our 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, the firm assists clients in defending eviction proceedings, demands for rent and damages, and retrieval of security deposits.

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). We also have worked with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and the Wounded Warrior Project, providing assistance with disability claims, employment disputes and mental health support.

Medicaid 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.

Asylum representation

Our attorneys partner with Human Rights First to represent refugees seeking asylum in the United States.