VOL. 115 | NO. 193 | Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Equal Justice campaign on
Area Legal Services Inc. is in the midst of its annual fund raiser, The
Campaign for Equal Justice, this year.
in 1992 with financial support from the private bar, the campaign now reaches
out to corporations, foundations and the community. As a comprehensive
nonprofit law firm in the Mid-South area, MALS provides free civil legal
assistance to the poor and elderly in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale
as an interim campaign this year due to the recent hiring of the programs
director of development and communications, Diana Fedinec, the campaign is well
underway with the full endorsement of all former campaign chairs.
for MALS this year are board president, Andrew C. Branham of the Lalor law
firm, and Harris P. Quinn of Williams & Prochaska. The campaign wraps up at
the end of the year.
Our program is at the point of turning a new
corner in the volume of services and outreach it offers to the community,
Branham said. Not since its early days
has the leadership of MALS been so committed to exploiting the opportunities to
serve the client-eligible community of Memphis.
this year, especially when there is so much turbulence in America, sends a message
that the private bar is committed to the full and fair access of our poorer
citizens to legal counsel, and that fairness and due process are not just
ideals but a reality to those who cannot afford a private attorney.
events of Sept. 11 have generated a surge of American spirit in charitable
giving to the families of the victims the World Trade Center and Pentagon
attacks. Yet prior to Sept. 11, the need for MALS services was growing
fast. The program received more than
7,000 calls for help and experienced a 64 percent increase in people helped
from the previous year.
attacks have further increased the demand for services as layoffs are hitting
harder resulting in insufficient unemployment benefits, mortgage defaults and
even domestic abuse.
more than 30 years, MALS has helped children, families and individuals solve
legal problems that affect their basic needs through legal advice and counsel,
legal representation in the courts and community education and outreach. MALS handles a variety of civil cases
including consumer and housing issues, family law, public benefits and income
maintenance, health, employment, education and individual rights.
organization operates the University of Memphis Legal Clinic, two senior
programs, the Memphis Fair Housing Center and the Domestic Violence
Project. Three new collaborative
programs begun this year were the creation of an Urban-Rural Consumer Telephone
Clinic with West Tennessee Legal Services; the design of a high-school
curriculum in partnership with International Papers legal department that
provides young adults with a knowledge of basic legal principles; and
involvement as the only legal services program around the state to jointly
participate in the University of Tennessee Kinship Care pilot project.
to the Campaign for Equal Justice are needed to sustain the continued growth in
programs and client services.
have participated in the campaign for many years, Quinn said. Over that time,
it has been extremely gratifying to see how the continuous support of the legal
community has enabled MALS to expand its programs and services. Of all people,
attorneys especially are aware of the need to provide legal representation to
all members of our community.
Contributing to the campaign allows each attorney to be a part of that
of the campaign committee participating in the effort to raise funds are
volunteer attorneys Jeff Atchley, Rehim Babaoglu, Jim Barry, Sarah
Flowers-Dent, J. Michael Fletcher, T. Darnell Flowers, Anne Fritz, Odell
Horton, Rhynette Hurd, Samuel Jones, Bruce McMullen, Arthur Quinn, Earle
Schwarz, Lea Hall Speed and Dorothy Sanders Wells, and community
representatives Charlie Morris Sr. and Shelvie Rose.
campaign is asking attorneys to contribute the traditional one billable hour,
which has been established as $175 this year. Any level of contribution from
the private bar and the community-at-large is welcome.
make a donation, or for information, call Fedinec, 523-8822, Ext. 252.