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VOL. 117 | NO. 177 | Thursday, October 2, 2003

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Law Talk - Meg Jones, Community Legal Center

Nonprofit Legal Center Good Fit for Jones

MEGAN CATHEY

The Daily News

Meg Jones, whose background is in nonprofit administration, has worked with the Community Legal Center for more than two years. CLC, which was chartered in 1994, was started by the Association for Women Attorneys and provides legal advice and representation in civil matters for low-income clients. Among its resources, CLC offers legal advice, seminars and referrals for pro bono legal representation.

 

Q. To whom and for how many does CLC provide services?

We help clients whose income is between 125 percent and 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, which is basically the working poor. Seventy-five percent of our clients are female.

We assigned 200 cases to attorneys and referred over 1,000 people to attorneys last year. We also provide seminars for our clients to prevent (legal) problems. We had 350 people in seminars last year.

 

Q. Why is it important for attorneys to provide pro bono legal services?

Its a way to give back to the community. (Attorneys) get continuing legal education hours for pro bono work, and it helps the image of attorneys in the public eye.

Also, its required now. Last October, the Tennessee Bar Association set requirements that attorneys must either provide pro bono work or donate money to centers that provide pro bono resources.

And, its rewarding. One attorney said that one of his pro bono clients told him hes a blessing. He said, None of my paying clients tell me that.

 

Q. How much pro bono work does CLC ask attorneys to do?

There is no set amount. Its up to them and what they can do. The TBAs goal is 40 hours per year.

 

Q. What are some challenges in helping low-income clients in the Memphis legal community?

Getting the funding to provide enough services. Most of what comes in goes to client services. Its a real struggle right now, with the economy and funding for nonprofits being so low, to get enough funding.

 

Q. Whats the biggest challenge for the low-income clients?

Their biggest obstacle is being able to access services. There are still not enough services around. We had over 2,700 calls for services last year. When were getting 2,700 calls in a year, there is lots of demand out there.

 

Q. How did you get into the legal field?

My background is in nonprofit administration I worked with abused women. I felt like this was a continuation of that work because CLC removes the obstacles women encounter on the way to self-sufficiency.

Justice for all is an empty phrase if its not available to everyone. CLC helps rectify things that happen to low-income people who dont have another way to justice.

 

 

Name: Meg Jones

Position: Executive director

Company: Community Legal Center

Basics: Community Legal Center provides legal services for low-income and pro se litigants.

 

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 16 53 275
BUILDING PERMITS 0 569 5,701
BANKRUPTCIES 0 87 993
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 110 491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0