VOL. 117 | NO. 177 | Thursday, October 2, 2003
Law Talk - Meg Jones, Community Legal Center
Nonprofit Legal Center Good Fit for Jones
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
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
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
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
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.