Institute hosts Access to Justice faith-based summit Monday

By Janel Shoun-Smith on 4/3/2014

  
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In an effort to bring together the legal and faith communities to promote access to free legal aid for the disadvantaged, the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is hosting its first faith-based summit on Monday, April 7, in Lipscomb University’s Ezell Center.

The free gathering of faith leaders and volunteers will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include sessions on the ins and outs of creating and operating partnerships between the faith-based and legal communities.

The summit will be coordinated by the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance, a project of the Access to Justice Commission and a collection of faith-based groups in Tennessee committed to providing legal resources to their congregations and communities.

“Church members have traditionally turned to their place of worship for help when they are in need or have a problem,” wrote Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder in a letter to invitees. “The TFJA was created to connect those church members with nearby legal resources, possibly resources in the same congregation. At this meeting, we will provide you with more information about this resource available to you to assist the members of your congregation.”

At the summit, information will be offered on how attorneys can serve their church, synagogue or mosque through a pro bono program with discussions on needed approvals, marketing and volunteer recruitment.

“With one in five Tennesseans unable to afford legal assistance when they need it, this summit seeks to open up new avenues to address this problem,” said Randy Spivey, academic director of Lipscomb’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society and a member of the Access to Justice Commission’s Faith-Based Committee. “Faith-based organizations can be a key conduit to reach those in need who may not be able to be accessed any other way.”

If you are interested in attending the Tennessee Faith & Justice Alliance Summit, contact Christina Magrans at 615-741-6285 or at christina.magrans@tncourts.gov.

The summit is free except for attorneys desiring continuing legal education credit. Such attorneys should bring a check for $15 made payable to the Administrative Office of the Courts.