Community Legal Center is a non-profit organization providing legal services to those with limited means.
The Community Legal Center has evolved over the past 20+ years into a legal aid agency offering a number of civil legal services to those of limited financial means and those at risk, including populations not served by other legal aid agencies.
Those who call us speak with a sensitive, bilingual intake coordinator. Each caller is treated with respect and, after detailed questioning, is either placed with the appropriate Community Legal Center program or referred out to another legal aid provider or appropriate social service agency. If callers do not meet our income restrictions, we refer them out to private attorneys. We offer the following programs to accomplish our vision of improving the lives of those we serve by giving them access to justice.
The Community Legal Center’s mission is to provide civil legal services to those with limited means and those at risk, including populations not served by other legal aid agencies.
This comes from our conviction that regardless of ones’ circumstances in life, each person deserves the opportunity to seek justice.
Only when other basic needs have been met do most people have sufficient income to pay for a private lawyer.
Since its inception in 1994, the Community Legal Center has provided civil legal services to Memphians of modest means. Community Legal Center’s civil law program serves Memphis’ “working poor” whose income falls below the living wage level.
The Immigrant Justice Program (IJP) serves persons in Memphis Immigration Court’s geographic jurisdiction whose income falls below a living wage. We represent our immigrant clients in a variety of immigration matters.
The Community Legal Service also works extensively with victims of elder abuse and provides assistance to those seeking to represent themselves in divorce proceedings through its Pro Se Divorce Clinic.
Incorporated in May as AWA Family Mediation Center, the Community Legal Center’s original mission was to provide free mediation services to people of limited means. The idea was to assist Memphis Area Legal Services by mediating family law cases. The Community Legal Center obtained initial funding through an IOLTA grant from Tennessee Bar Foundation, along with a generous donation from the Association for Women Attorneys (AWA).
The Board of Directors adopted a plan of action to establish a legal services program and clinic to provide legal representation, as well as mediation, for the “working poor”, the same population whose medical needs were being provided for by the Church Health Center. The Community Legal Center was born.
Established the Community Legal Center pro se clinic in collaboration with MALS and the University of Memphis’ Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Staffed with a part-time staff attorney, the Pro Se Clinic helps self-represented litigants prepare and make their own divorce filings, saving them the cost of a private attorney.
Started the Immigrant Justice Program (IJP) in conjunction with the Memphis Immigration Bar and the University of Memphis’ Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. This program provides pro bono legal services to low-income immigrants who live within the jurisdiction of the Memphis immigration Court.
Expanded the IJP through LAV grant funding obtained in collaboration with the YWCA Immigrant Women’s Project, Memphis Area Legal Services, and the Family Safety Center. This founding paid for a new Community Legal Center staff attorney who provided legal services for immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and human trafficking.
Immigrant Justice Program received accreditation from the U.S. Board of Immigrant Appeals (BIA) which allows certain accredited individuals to represent immigrants applying for affirmative immigration relief before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Began work with a group of area organizations to provide a coordinated response to elder abuse. Through a grant from the Plough Foundation, the Community Legal Center, along with the other grant recipients, offers a holistic suite of services to victims of elder abuse through the Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse (CREA) which provides emergency housing, counseling, medical attention, and legal services.
In collaboration with Latino Memphis, the IJP received a grant to work with remotely located unaccompanied immigrant children, providing them representation in immigration court proceedings and assistance in applying for immigration relief.
Board of Directors
James Barry, Board Chair
Solo Practitioner, Attorney at Law
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkoweitz, P.C.
Butler Snow, LLP
Kristin Ellis Kurtz
Bass Berry & Sims
Nigel Lewis, Esq.
Shelby County Government
Jason Bland, Treasurer
First Alliance Bank
Mary Jo Miller, Esq.
Robert Winfield, CFP
University of Memphis Cecil C.
Humphreys School of Law
Margaret Brakebusch, Esq.
St. John’s United Methodist Church
Caren Creason CPA, CVA
The Marston Group, PLC
Darker & Associates, PLLC
- Administrative Staff
- Staff Attorneys