Firm alumna Danielle Dudding Irvine completed a six-month Pro Bono Fellowship with the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) at the end of June 2020. The Fellowship was supported by the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, which provided office space and opportunities to engage law students with TIP.
Recognizing Danielle’s work, TIP Executive Director and Lead Counsel Jessica Van Dyke said, “Compared to other states, Tennessee has a disproportionately low number of exonerations. Pro bono services can make a critical difference in these complex and time-consuming cases. During her Fellowship, Danielle not only provided pro bono representation for a client but also created resources to support TIP’s work in the future.”
In addition to serving as co-counsel with Jessica 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 School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School, and supported a cadre of pro bono lawyers at Bass, Berry & Sims representing clients making innocence claims. Danielle’s work has been instrumental in establishing a foundation for TIP in West Tennessee that will serve innocent incarcerated individuals for years to come.
Danielle worked with law students to conduct legal research and she led the University of Memphis School of Law’s inaugural Pro Bono Summer Program, working remotely with a group of students who assisted TIP on post-conviction issues, innocence claims, and the crucial role pro bono attorneys can play in advocating for the incarcerated innocent.
About Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP)
TIP was established in February 2019 to focus on representing wrongfully convicted men and women in the state of Tennessee with the goal to help exonerate these innocent individuals. Until the official launch of TIP, Tennessee was only one of two states without an organization investigating and litigating innocence claims in the United States. More information can be found at https://www.innocenceproject.org/policy/tennessee/.
About the Bass, Berry & Sims Pro Bono Program
In April 2019, Bass, Berry & Sims launched a comprehensive Pro Bono Program to provide opportunities and incentives for the firm’s attorneys to give back to the community. In addition to the Pro Bono Fellowship, the program allows for increased hours or credit for all attorneys to dedicate to pro bono activities. The Program also created a Pro Bono Member position – to which David Esquivel was appointed to dedicate half of his work to pro bono activities and administration of the firm’s program. Read more about the firm’s Pro Bono Program here.