Access to Justice

Contrary to popular belief, people are not guaranteed access to an attorney when they encounter civil legal issues. As a result, people who cannot afford an attorney are left to handle a variety of legal issues on their own.

In response to this growing problem, the Tennessee Supreme Court made access to justice its number one strategic priority and formally announced their Access to Justice Initiative in December 2008.

In April 2009, the Supreme Court formed the 10-member Access to Justice Commission.

2015 Pro Bono Report
2014 Pro Bono Report

2013 Pro Bono Report
2012 Pro Bono Report

2016 Strategic Plan
2014 Strategic Plan
2012 Strategic Plan
 2010 Strategic Plan


Pro Bono Attorneys Provide Free Legal Advice to Victims of East Tennessee Wildfires
December 20, 2016

Supreme Court Honors Attorneys and Firms for Pro Bono Service
December 13, 2016

Nehemiah Missionary Baptist Church TFJA Expungement Clinic
November 22, 2016

Justice Janice Holder and Access to Justice Commission Member Sean Hunt share information with Memphis-area television viewers
August 23, 2016

Former Access to Justice Chair Lewis Receives National Pro Bono Award
June1, 2016

Legislators, Courts, Legal Community Join to Promote Availability of Expungements
April 12, 2016

Tennessee Attorney Pro Bono Hours Increase, Report Shows
September 21, 2015

Legal Community Mourns Loss of Francis Guess
July 25, 2105

ABA Profile Features Supreme Court Justice Holder
May 22, 2013

Margaret Behm, Former Chairperson of the Access to Justice Commission, Receives Award from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS)
September 26, 2012

Supreme Court Awards Pro Bono Emeritus Status to Two Attorneys
March 1, 2012

Universally Accepted Court Forms for Use in Certain Divorce Cases Now Available
September 1, 2011

Supreme Court Adopts Universally Accepted Forms for Use in Certain Divorce Cases
July 27, 2011

Chattanooga Attorney Becomes First Pro Bono Emeritus Attorney in State
February 8, 2011

Supreme Court Hosts First Statewide Pro Bono Summit
January 25, 2011


Supreme Court Establishes Pro Bono Emeritus Program

September 8, 2010

Supreme Court Announces Access to Justice Goals and Unveils Plans for Pro Bono Summit, Access to Justice Website
June 22, 2010

Supreme Court Amends Rule 43 to Require Participation in Tennessee IOLTA Program
July 8, 2009

Tennessee Supreme Court Creates Access to Justice Commission
April 3, 2009

Tennessee Supreme Court Adopts Rule Changes to Encourage More Pro Bono Work
April 3, 2009

Access to Justice Announcement
December 8, 2008

April 12, 2017
Justice Cornelia Clark kicked off the first Music City Legal Hackers’ Hackathon for Justice at Vanderbilt University Law School on April 8, 2017. Speaking to a group of lawyers, law students, coders...
April 3, 2017
April 1 was HELP4TNDAY in Tennessee. Legal clinics, expungement clinics, continuing legal education and other events occurred across the state. The day was to raise awareness of the Tennessee Supreme...
March 14, 2017
The Tennessee Supreme Court will kick off Help4TNDay with five press conferences in five cities across Tennessee on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.  The event will educate the public about free legal...
March 6, 2017
The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala was held March 4. Among the speakers was Co-Chairman of the TBA Corporate Counsel Committee, Andy Branham, who...
December 22, 2016
The Memphis Bar Association hosted its inaugural Expungement Clinic and Resource Fair in Shelby County on Saturday, December 10, 2016. The event was held at The Healing Center Full Gospel Baptist...
December 20, 2016
Pro Bono attorney volunteers from East Tennessee and law school student volunteers participated in a free legal clinic in Gatlinburg, Tenn. on Monday, December 19, 2016, providing legal advice to...
December 13, 2016
The Supreme Court honored Attorneys for Justice in the Tri-Cities and Memphis this week as part of its pro bono recognition program.  Attorneys from East Tennessee were recognized by Chief...
November 22, 2016
The Access to Justice Commission's Tennessee Faith & Justice Alliance partnered with the Music City Community Court to host an Expungement Clinic in Davidson County on Saturday, November 19, 2016...
October 31, 2016
The Tennessee Supreme Court has adopted a set of plain-language forms and instructions for use in uncontested divorces between parties with minor children in an effort to simplify divorce proceedings...
October 29, 2016
On Tuesday, October 25, the Tennessee Supreme Court hosted an event at the Belmont College of Law to recognize attorneys in front of their families and colleagues who performed over 50 hours of pro...

Justice for All Website

As part of the Supreme Court's Access to Justice initiative, the Court has launched a website with forms, information and other resources for people who need legal assistance and attorneys and community members who wish to volunteer. Click the button above or visit

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For more information about the Acess to Justice program, please contact:

Anne-Louise Wirthlin
Access to Justice Coordinator