(Memphis, TN / September 10, 2014) George T. "Buck" Lewis of the law firm Baker Donelson was recognized by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) during the 2014 Access to Justice Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at its annual Equal Justice University. The awards honor legal professionals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the cause of expanding access to civil legal services.
"More than one million Tennesseans' incomes are 125 percent under the federal poverty guideline, so it's critical for legal professionals to offer access to their services for those in need," said Ann Pruitt, executive director of TALS. "The award honorees went above and beyond as advocates for expanding civil legal services to low-income Tennesseans."
Mr. Lewis received this year's inaugural Janice M. Holder Award, named for retiring Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder. The Holder Award honors an individual who has advanced the quality of justice statewide by ensuring that the legal system is open and available to all.
Mr. Lewis said, "I am honored to be associated with an award named after Justice Holder. It is a privilege to work side by side with so many great Tennesseans who care so deeply about our cause."
Mr. Lewis, a shareholder in Baker Donelson's Memphis office, is immediate past chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission, immediate past chair of the American Red Cross Mid-South Chapter and past president of the Tennessee Bar Association. He was recently appointed by American Bar Association (ABA) President William C. Hubbard to the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service.
The Equal Justice University conference is hosted by TALS and co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association. The annual conference is a forum for Tennessee's legal services providers, pro bono attorneys and access-to-justice advocates, providing them with an opportunity to attend substantive law training and to share best practices.
About Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS)
TALS is a statewide nonprofit organization that strengthens the delivery of civil legal support to vulnerable Tennesseans. TALS is an alliance of the federally funded legal aid programs, independent providers of civil legal services and supporting agencies that are committed to increasing equal access to justice in Tennessee. TALS hosts 1-888-aLEGALz, a free legal services referral and information helpline, as well as a free, email-based legal advice clinic at www.onlineTNjustice.org.