Valuing their Community for More than 30 Years

“Thank you for being here for me.” – Client of WTLS

Woman providing legal assistanceWest Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) has provided civil legal services across 17 counties in West Tennessee for more than 30 years. This nonprofit law firm represents individuals, families and communities in need through outreach and education, civil legal representation, and program collaborations.

WTLS prides themselves on serving their clients by integrating their community’s self-identified needs into their program priorities. Each year, they mail more than 5,000 surveys and conduct diverse focus groups, comprised of everyone from clients to lawyers and ministers to nurses, to discover the needs of West Tennesseans. The identified priorities then guide which cases take precedence, which informational brochures are developed, and what program collaborations are initiated.   

In 2010, in tune with the needs and requests of their community members, WTLS updated their already extensive collection of informational brochures about consumer, family, housing, and benefits issues available on their website and created a Senior Activity Booklet. Through community outreach opportunities and collaborations with other agencies’ programs, such as Family First Workshops and Head Start Parenting Classes, WTLS provided information about many current issues including SNAP benefits, unemployment, and housing and consumer issues at agency fairs and workshops. In addition, WTLS provided legal services to 2,400 individual clients. The greatest areas of legal need in 2010 were found to be housing issues, especially foreclosure and fair housing, consumer and benefits.

Clients and community members feel valued when they work with WTLS. As one WTLS client put it, “[The] paralegal is very sweet & personable.  She made the interview [about my domestic violence case] very comfortable. You all are doing such a great job & I really appreciate all the help you all are providing for me.” The Tennessee Alliance for legal services is proud to support the work of civil legal service providers who greatly value their community, such as those at WTLS, through training opportunities, advocate support, and legislative activities

Source: West Tennessee Legal Services website

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