As part of its longstanding commitment to pro bono work with systemic impact, in April 2019, the firm established the Pro Bono Fellow program, which allows attorneys to be paid their full compensation and benefits while working for up to six months full-time in a pro bono capacity within the community. To date, the firm has sponsored a Fellow in Nashville with Choosing Justice Initiative, a Fellow in Memphis with Tennessee Innocence Project, and a Fellow with the Nashville General Sessions Court.
With Choosing Justice Initiative, Angie Bergman worked with multiple stakeholders litigating issues relating to money bail in Davidson County and filing a federal court, pre-trial habeas corpus petition to challenge the constitutionality of setting bail outside a defendant’s ability to pay. Angie also represented the Nashville Community Bail Fund in ongoing litigation in the Davidson County Criminal Courts. Read a recap of Angie’s fellowship experience here.
As a result of this work, our attorneys have provided, and will continue to provide, pro bono advocacy on these issues, including representation of individuals on bail appeals and supporting federal court challenges to the constitutionality of bail practices.
Danielle Dudding Irvine completed her six-month as a Pro Bono Fellow with the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) in June 2020. In addition to serving as co-counsel with TIP’s Executive Director on a Shelby County claim of wrongful identification and actual innocence, Danielle reviewed applications for future representation, developed relationships with experts and attorneys across the country, established support for TIP at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School, and supported a cadre of pro bono lawyers at Bass, Berry & Sims who continue the work of representing the incarcerated innocent. Read a recap of Danielle’s fellowship experience here.
On August 31, 2020, Marc Tahiry became the third Pro Bono Fellow when he was appointed by the General Sessions Court of Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson County to serve as a law clerk dedicated to assisting with eviction proceedings. Marc will provide pro bono legal services to help the Court fully and fairly address the ongoing surge in eviction filings stemming from the loss of jobs due to COVID-19.He will provide the Court with legal and administrative counsel to help ensure compliance with state and federal laws and that all cases are fully and fairly heard. He will also assist parties in eviction proceedings in attempting to reach settlements that keep residents in their homes, as well as provide litigants information about resources for rental payment assistance.