TN Free Legal Answers Clinic
What is a TN Free Legal Answers Clinic?
A TN Free Legal Answers Clinic is a civil legal clinic that features volunteer attorneys answering civil legal questions posted to the TN's virtual legal advice clinic website, TN Free Legal Answers (TFLA) (formerly www.onlinetnjustice.org). Clinics can be made up of volunteer attorneys only, like at a law firm or at a corporate counsel setting or volunteer attorneys can work with law students to answer questions together in a setting that facilitates collaboration.
What is TN Free Legal Answers?
TN Free Legal Answers is a web-based pro bono clinic for low-income Tennesseans who might otherwise fall through the cracks of receiving legal assistance. Qualifying users can post questions about their civil legal needs to the site and receive basic legal information and advice from attorneys. The website is easy-to-use and is convenient for both volunteer attorneys and low-income client/users. The goal of this project is twofold: to increase access to justice for low-income Tennesseans, particularly in rural areas, and to remove barriers to attorneys providing pro bono services.
Tennessee law schools and TN Free Legal Answers
Law students love participating in TN Free Legal Answers clinics! Volunteer attorneys get the opportunity to participate in pro bono services and work with law students. Students get to network with attorneys and assist with genuine issues under the supervision of a licensed Tennessee attorney. Besides real word experience, both volunteer attorneys' and law students' service qualifies for pro bono recognition from the Tennessee Supreme Court and Tennessee Bar Association recognition programs. Volunteer attorneys can also earn CLE credit for their time and are covered by the site’s malpractice insurance for their work done on TFLA. Most importantly, law school students and volunteers assisting Tennesseans who might not otherwise connect with an attorney.As site host, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) has developed a tool-kit to help Tennessee law schools host virtual legal advice clinics.
How does a law school host a clinic?
Follow our step-by-step instructions found here.
Ready to get started? Have questions?
Where did the Virtual Legal Advice Clinic idea come from?
When the state of South Carolina created their own online justice website using the TN Free Legal Answers software donated by Baker Donelson law firm, they explored ways to use their website - www.sc.freelegalanswers.org - to facilitate collaboration. First, they created a partnership with the University of South Carolina's School of Law: law students and volunteer attorneys worked together to answer the civil legal questions posted to their site. Next, they conducted a Pro Bono-Thon with a local firm where attorneys with the firm answered over 65 questions in just two hours! In the spirit of collaboration, the South Carolina Bar shared best practices with Tennessee and other states that have launched their own online justice sites. Tennessee used that information to create the TN Law School Virtual Legal Advice Clinic Project.