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VOL. 121 | NO. 30 | Thursday, February 2, 2006

Halijan Receives Top Honor From Community Legal Center

By Lane Gardner Camp

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"We live in a community where a disproportionate number of people simply cannot hire a private lawyer when they have a legal problem, and it is an obligation on all lawyers to insure that everyone, regardless of income, has fair access to the civil justice system."
- Douglas F. Halijan
Name: Douglas F. Halijan
Position: Partner at Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC
Basics: Halijan recently received an award from the Community Legal Center for his volunteer work. The nonprofit organization offers legal services to the working poor.

Douglas F. Halijan, a partner at Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC, recently received the 2005 Elmore Holmes Award from the Community Legal Center, which is housed inside the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association at 910 Vance Ave.

Named for the late Elmore Holmes III, the award honors a CLC board member who has made the most significant contribution to the nonprofit organization during the past year. Halijan has been a member of the board since 2000, and served as chairperson in 2003 and 2004.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Halijan moved to Memphis in 1985 to attend Rhodes College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1989. He received his law degree in 1992 from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Halijan has been with Burch, Porter & Johnson since 1994. He practices primarily in the areas of intellectual property and commercial litigation with an emphasis on trademark, trade secret, copyright and computer law. He also works on franchise and dealer/distributor disputes.

Q. Who was Elmore Holmes?

A: (He) was one of the organization's founding board members. (He) passed away last year, but not before receiving the award himself in 2004. He was one of the hardest-working and most committed pro bono advocates and volunteers I have ever seen. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with him at the CLC.

Q. What is the CLC?

A: Founded in 1994, its mission is to provide legal assistance through the services of one part-time staff attorney and a large network of private lawyers who volunteer their time to individuals who cannot afford to hire private counsel in civil cases. To be eligible for CLC services, clients must meet federal poverty guidelines. The population served by the CLC is often referred to as the working poor. They earn enough that they do not qualify for services provided by Memphis Area Legal Services.

Q. What keeps you interested in the CLC's work?

A: It is a worthwhile organization with an extremely important mission. We live in a community where a disproportionate number of people simply cannot hire a private lawyer when they have a legal problem, and it is an obligation on all lawyers to insure that everyone, regardless of income, has fair access to the civil justice system.

Q. What is the most important lesson you have learned at the CLC?

A: While it is not always easy to spare the time, you get back more from working with volunteer organizations like the CLC than you put into them. Until you serve on the board or work closely with a nonprofit entity, you have no idea how much work goes into maintaining the level of services that a group like the CLC provides.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0