August 24, 2015 7:05 PM | Posted by Baker Donelson | Permalink

This blog has moved to an all-new address. All new updates will be posted there. Visit One Good Turn at

If you subscribe to blog updates via RSS, the address for the new feed is

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August 13, 2015 4:27 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink
Amazing news here in Alabama this week, as the Southern Poverty Law Center announced that 54 towns across the State are ending their contracts with private probation company Judicial Correction Services. read more
August 12, 2015 1:46 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink
Over the last several years, we've been proud to assist our pro bono client, River City Capital Investment Corporation, in its work to provide loan funding for small businesses in low income communities in the Memphis area. In addition to forming the entity and representing it in obtaining its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, Carla Peacher-Ryan and others working with her in our Memphis office have had the opportunity to document and close all of the important, life altering loans River City Capital has made. read more
July 6, 2015 2:34 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink

This happy group of folks was very honored recently to accept Baker Donelson's second NLADA Beacon of Justice Award in Washington, DC.  We were so proud to be included in the same company as firms who have been doing great work on important issues like immigration detention, housing, and serving those with mental illness through medical-legal partnership.  A full list of the award winners is available here.

For Baker Donelson's part, this year's award came as a result of sustained firmwide efforts in the fight against homelessness. 

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May 21, 2015 5:29 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink
I love it when a law firm mover and shaker, a legal profession mover and shaker, is also a pro bono mover and shaker. That's why I am especially thrilled that Nancy Degan is the winner of Baker Donelson's Firmwide Pro Bono Award for 2015. Nancy has long been a force to be reckoned with, at Baker Donelson and in the profession. read more
February 17, 2015 11:56 AM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink
Recently, I drove about 300 miles round trip to attend traffic court in a rural Black Belt county in Alabama.

My client is a homeless veteran of the US Army. He served honorably, returned home and worked hard at a relatively low wage job, but unfortunately became involved with drugs and alcohol and his life went off the rails. During his decade long addiction, he got into a fair amount of minor trouble - traffic infractions mostly, including a misdemeanor DUI. He lost his job and became homeless.
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January 2, 2015 3:30 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink

It's a great pleasure for a law firm to have the opportunity to partner with a nonprofit organization to provide pro bono services to both the organization itself and to the community it serves.  These are pro bono relationships we treasure, and that offer fulfilling opportunities to attorneys in varied practice areas. 

Baker Donelson has long had the privilege of partnering with the Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Orange Grove is a private, non-profit organization serving adults and children with developmental disabilities. Orange Grove was established in 1953 by families of children with intellectual disabilities in Hamilton County, Tennessee who desperately needed educational services. Notably, Baker Donelson's long-time (now retired) shareholder Tom Caldwell was one of the founders of this organization and served on its board since its inception.

A team of Baker Donelson attorneys led by Jim Levine spent many hours in the last couple of months helping Orange Grove Centers refinance several of their HUD homes using tax credits provided under the community development tax credit program administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Authority. These homes offer 24-hour support for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

In addition to vital transactional work, our Tennessee attorneys also frequently offer direct services to Orange Grove clients and their families, providing help with estate planning, conservatorship and guardianships needed to provide long-term care and support.

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December 29, 2014 10:39 AM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink

There has been a great deal of sorely needed discussion lately about issues of racial inequality, racially disparate justice, and white privilege. I have always been one to think about these matters in my own life and work. In the world of pro bono, race is an ever present concern. Whether our society wants to admit it or not, it is obvious to those of us who do pro bono work regularly that the playing field is far from level in our justice system and otherwise.

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August 11, 2014 11:30 AM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink
During the time I have been managing Baker Donelson's pro bono programs, I've been impressed and gratified to see lawyers and bar associations and groups across the country step up en masse to tackle some very important legal issues. The death penalty is an issue that has received a great deal of attention for many years, and more recently the focus on immigration has increased dramatically. Civil rights cases, including issues like marriage equality, voting rights and human trafficking have made the news, and helping veterans is a mainstay. I've gotten involved in many of these issues myself, especially death penalty cases.  But I find myself increasingly frustrated. read more
May 14, 2014 3:14 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa | Permalink
Pro bono has come a long way in the last decade or two. More and more law firms have effective, structured pro bono programs, and many corporate legal departments either have pro bono programs or are working on developing them. It's a particular thrill for me to learn about the pro bono interests of a client, especially when I have the opportunity to help the client advance those interests.

Still, some business clients may wonder whether they are really footing the bill for work that is given away by their outside counsel. While it is certainly true that we would not be in a position to do pro bono work if not for our paying clients (for whom we are exceedingly grateful), I would argue that the work we do without charge for low income people and non-profit organizations does not come at the expense or detriment of the clients who pay our bills. In fact, I would argue that it benefits those clients.

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