Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Supreme Court Appoints New Members to Access to Justice Commission

April 3, 2012

Nashville, Tenn.The Tennessee Supreme Court recently announced new appointments to the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission. The commission is a dedicated group of volunteers who work to help improve access to legal services or representation in Tennessee. 

“The Court is honored that these professionals are willing to commit to such a worthy cause,” Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark said. “We look forward to working with the new members as we continue the great work of the commission.” 

The new members include J. Houston Gordon, Sharon R. Ryan, Anthony “Tony” Alan Seaton, David Esquivel and Marcia “Marcy” Meredith Eason. They replace former commission members, Margaret L. Behm, the inaugural chair, Kathryn Reed Edge, A. Gregory Ramos, Maura Abeln Smith and Dr. Frank Anthony Thomas. University of Tennessee Law School Dean Douglas A. Blaze was reappointed for another three-year term. George T. “Buck” Lewis, III, of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Memphis, was appointed to chair the commission. 

“I’m thankful for the time and energy the outgoing members put into this commission. They are an inspiration to all of us for what we can achieve when we bring dedicated professionals together to address the growing concern of ensuring all Tennesseans have access to justice,” Clark said. 

The Tennessee Supreme Court announced its Access to Justice campaign in Dec. 2008. This was in response to a growing legal needs gap in Tennessee as indigent and working poor families faced more legal problems caused by unemployment, predatory loans, uninsured medical bills, domestic violence, evictions and foreclosures. As part of the campaign, the Court created the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission. Members are appointed by the Supreme Court to serve staggered terms of 1-3 years. The Commission is made up of 10 members from all three grand divisions of the state. Nine of the commission members are lawyers and one member is an entrepreneur who is a former public servant and civil rights activist. 

For more information on the Access to Justice campaign, visit www.justiceforalltn.com/

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View photos from the Access to Justice Luncheon

Chief Justice Clark with Access to Justice inaugural chair Margaret L. Behm