The firm’s commitment to impact social justice is reflected in the types of matters our attorneys handle and the organizations we partner with across our communities. Our pro bono representation includes matters related to adoption, death penalty defense, asylum and immigration proceedings, Medicaid and disability-income eligibility appeals, veterans’ representation, representation of artists and arts organizations, and others.
We partner with many organizations to provide legal help 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) Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, Nashville Conflict Resolution Center, and Community Legal Center, among others.
BBS Fellows Program
As part of the new pro bono initiative launched in 2019, Bass, Berry & Sims created the BBS Fellows program which allows 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 2019, Angie Bergman spent six months working with Choosing Justice Initiative where she advocated for bail reform in Nashville’s criminal courts, federal court, and alongside the Nashville Public Defender’s Office. You can read a recap of Angie’s experience here. Beginning in January 2020, Danielle Irvine began a fellowship with Tennessee Innocence Project, establishing a presence in Memphis and pursuing a claim of innocence for a client.
In addition to our work through the BBS Fellows program, our attorneys are hard at work making a difference in our communities, and the following is representative of some of that work:
Since 2008, the firm has partnered with Legal Aid to represent families 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.
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.
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.
Our attorneys partner with the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, the Community Legal Center, and Immigration Equality to represent individuals in immigration claims, including asylum cases for LGBTQ refugees and other refugees seeking asylum in the United States, cancellation of removal cases, and support for petitions for naturalization.
In 2019, our attorneys dedicated more than 2,500 pro bono hours to upholding the constitutional rights of indigent criminal defendants including federal habeas corpus actions and state post-conviction matters. We have represented several individuals on Tennessee’s death row, helping one client obtain clemency from the governor and vacating another death sentence in the client’s state appeal court.
Click below to read more about how our attorneys are impacting our communities.