Pro Bono

Discover new information and volunteer opportunities within our pro bono program.

A Message from David Esquivel and Lucinda Smith

Bass, Berry & Sims remains committed to pursuing systemic change to address inequality. In 2019 we adopted a comprehensive pro bono initiative encouraging attorneys to tackle significant legal issues. The goal was to increase our 6,000 hours of pro bono work per year to 10,000 by the end of 2020. We far exceeded that goal, with our lawyers supporting 15,200 hours of pro bono work in 2020. The firm’s commitment to pro bono focuses on three primary areas: strengthening families, empowering communities, and protecting civil rights. Focusing on these core areas, the firm developed projects to respond to the pandemic, fight racial injustice, and advocate for criminal justice reform.

Some of our most successful work happens when we are able to collaborate on various matters including work with our clients—Envision Healthcare, AutoZone, and International Paper—on projects as varied as Tennessee Innocence Project litigation and wills clinics. As we expand on our success, we’d like to invite interested alumni to join these efforts. If you would like to get involved, please register here to receive information about Bass, Berry & Sims’ pro bono opportunities.

You can read about our work for social justice, and you can follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to learn more.

Register to Volunteer

Interested in getting involved? Register here to receive regular email communications containing information about pro bono opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities

Discover pro bono opportunities in your community.

Featured Opportunities

Signature Pro Bono Initiative

Bass, Berry & Sims has joined International Paper and other allies in launching the Signature Pro Bono Initiative – a state-wide effort to deliver equal justice to Tennessee residents. Bass, Berry & Sims alum Michael Moore, now in-house at International Paper, notes the synergy of the initiative, “International Paper and Bass, Berry & Sims have always supported the community. This alliance is an exciting opportunity to work with my current and former colleagues and friends to help deliver equal justice.”

In addition to International Paper and Bass, Berry & Sims, the alliance includes Just City, Memphis Area Legal Services, and Butler Snow LLP. The initiative will focus on criminal justice issues, initially providing pro bono representation for the expungement of criminal records, voting rights restoration, and driver’s license reinstatements. The firm’s pro bono work with the initiative to remove barriers adjacent to criminal conviction will be a meaningful addition to our work for criminal justice reform.

This work is open to all lawyers. If you are interested in attending a training session, you can register here.

If you missed the kickoff event, you can watch it here to learn more about the program, and if you would like more information regarding the initiative please reach out to Lucinda Smith.

Law Firm Antiracism Alliance

Support research on racial injustice and criminal justice reform.

Bass, Berry & Sims has joined with more than 250 firms across the world to form the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance. Its mandate is to “leverage the resources of the private bar to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism, to better use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color and to promote racial equity in the law and in government institutions.” Our lawyers are working to develop research and policies addressing wrongful convictions, sentencing reform and bail reform.

For more information or to join with us, contact David Esquivel.

Tennessee Higher Education in Prison Initiative

Bass, Berry & Sims has a partnership with Tennessee Higher Education in Prison Initiative (THEI). THEI is an organization that brings degree-bearing college programs to prisons in Tennessee. Attorneys at Bass, Berry & Sims have undertaken foundational research for THEI and provided representation to individuals in obtaining parole. Working with law students from Belmont University, the firm has developed a guide for THEI’s students that helps identify professional licensing requirements in Tennessee. This work assists THEI staff by directing THEI students toward their best employment opportunities. The firm has also reviewed laws and practices that govern the parole process in Tennessee, and subsequently developed a practice manual for attorneys to represent individuals eligible for parole and a self-help guide for THEI students unable to obtain counsel.

Representation of individuals eligible for parole occurs over a brief time frame, which makes this pro bono work accessible for all attorneys. We invite you to partner with us on these issues and get involved with our pro bono program. If you would like to be notified about training opportunities for these cases, or want to receive information or get involved in our pro bono program, please register here.

East Tennessee

Legal Aid of East Tennessee
Monthly Veterans’ Legal Advice Clinic
The second Wednesday of every month
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST
Click here to volunteer or call (865) 637-0484.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee
Saturday Bar Clinic
The first Saturday of every month
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST
607 W. Summit Hill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37902
Click here to volunteer or call (865) 637-0484.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee
Saturday Bar Clinic
The third Saturday of every month – Blount County
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST
212 Cates Street
Maryville, TN 37801
Click here to volunteer with or call (865) 637-0484.

Middle Tennessee

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) hosts legal advice clinics 13 times each month at multiple locations. All clinics are currently held by telephone because of the COVID-19 restrictions. For dates and times when you can volunteer click here. To volunteer, email Kendra Cheek.

West Tennessee

Memphis Area Legal Services 
Monthly Saturday Clinics
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CST
Benjamin Hooks Main Library
3030 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111
Please click here to see dates and information.

Memphis Area Legal Services
Bi-Monthly Saturday Clinics
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST
First Presbyterian Church,
403 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Please click here to see dates and information.

Pro Bono News

Firm News | July 14, 2021
Music City Community Court’s Work During Pandemic Recognized with National Access to Justice Award

Firm News | May 20, 2021
Bass, Berry & Sims Joins International Paper Signature Pro Bono Initiative

Firm News | March 15, 2021
Angie Bergman Discusses Bail Reform Issues in Tennessee

Firm News | February 24, 2021
David Esquivel Discusses Case Before Tennessee Supreme Court Challenging Mandatory Juvenile Sentencing Law

Firm News | February 19, 2021
Pro Bono Team Helps Form Mosaic Changemakers

Firm News | December 10, 2020
Nashville Community Bail Fund Wins Federal Suit

Firm News | September 1, 2020
David Esquivel Discusses Firm Response to COVID-19 and Tidal Wave of Eviction Filings

Firm News | August 31, 2020
Marc Tahiry Appointed Law Clerk to Provide Court Pro Bono Counsel for Heightened Eviction Filings in Nashville

Firm News | June 25, 2020
Bass, Berry & Sims Joins the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance

Firm News | June 10, 2020
David Esquivel Presents Oral Argument in Death Penalty Resentencing Based on Claims of Racism in Jury Selection