(Memphis, TN / August 24, 2016) George T. "Buck" Lewis of Baker Donelson has been appointed as chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.
As chair of the committee, Mr. Lewis leads a group whose mission is to ensure access to justice through the expansion and enhancement of the delivery of legal and other law-related services to the underserved through volunteer efforts of legal professionals nationwide. The committee fosters the development of pro bono programs and activities by law firms, bar associations, corporate legal departments, law schools, government attorney offices and others; analyzes the scope and function of pro bono programs; and proposes and reviews policy that affects lawyers' ability to provide pro bono legal services.
Mr. Lewis, a shareholder in the Firm's Memphis office, is past chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission and past president of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA). During his term as president of the TBA, Mr. Lewis launched the "4ALL" campaign to bring much needed legal services to Tennesseans of modest means. The campaign resulted in significantly increased pro bono participation by Tennessee attorneys as well as eight separate court rules and legislative changes that have been instrumental in enhancing the delivery of pro bono services in Tennessee.
After his tenure as TBA president, Mr. Lewis spearheaded the development of OnlineTNJustice.org, a website that allows Tennesseans to seek free legal advice from volunteer lawyers. Since the website's launch in 2011, OnlineTNJustice.org has responded to more than 12,500 questions with the assistance of 500 lawyer volunteers. Its success led to the American Bar Association establishing a national online legal advice platform using the Tennessee model. "ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org," the country's first national online pro bono website will launch in 39 states between now and November 11. Mr. Lewis recently received the William Reece Smith Jr. Special Services to Pro Bono Award from the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals in recognition of his work chairing the ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org project.