Our Mission

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.

Our Mission

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.

Background

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.

Our History

blue-circle-clc 1994 

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).

1995  blue-circle-clc

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.

blue-circle-clc 2004 

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.

2006 blue-circle-clc

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.

blue-circle-clc 2012 

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.

 2013 blue-circle-clc

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.

blue-circle-clc 2015 

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.

2016 blue-circle-clc

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, Esq.
Board Chair

Matt Mulqueen, Esq.
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz P.C
Vice Chair

Jason Bland
First Alliance Bank
Treasurer

Zachary R. Ferguson
Workforce Investment Network
Secretary

Peter Blumberg, Esq.
Federal Express Corporation

April Bostick, Esq.
Bostick Law, PLLC

Margaret Brakebusch, Esq.

Caren Creason
The Marston Group

Linda Holmes, Esq.

Lani Lester, Esq.
Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC

Nigel Lewis, Esq.
Shelby County Public Defender’s Office

Steve Mulroy, Esq.
University of Memphis School of Law

Erica Tamariz, Esq.
Darker & Associates PLLC

Shea Wellford, Esq.
Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston, P.C.

Robert Winfield

The Team

  • All
  • Administrative Staff
  • Staff Attorneys
  • Anne Mathes
    Anne Mathes
    Executive Director
  • Jerri Green
    Jerri Green
    Director of Community Engagement
  • Hayden Lait
    Hayden Lait
    Senior Staff Attorney, Civil Program
  • Emily Stotts
    Emily Stotts
    Director, IJP
  • Kerry Avens Krauch
    Kerry Avens Krauch
    Staff Attorney, IJP
  • Lauren Prater
    Lauren Prater
    Joint Immigration Pro Bono Coordinator, IJP
  • Tina Lum Perrusquia
    Tina Lum Perrusquia
    Staff Attorney, Pro Se Divorce Clinic
  • Karen Henson
    Karen Henson
    Staff Attorney, Elder Law Program
  • Adolfo Bermudez
    Adolfo Bermudez
    BIA Accredited Representative, IJP
  • Andres Flores
    Andres Flores
    Office Manager
  • Lucy Boateng
    Lucy Boateng
    Staff Attorney, IJP
  • Miriam Romero
    Miriam Romero
    Bilingual Intake Coordinator
  • Tania Munoz
    Tania Munoz
    Bilingual Interpreter

Connect

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Anne Mathes
Executive Director

Anne Mathes has served the Community Legal Center as Executive Director since August 2015, following a 30 year legal career. Ms. Mathes, a 1976 honors graduate of Rhodes College, received a Masters of Science degree in Education from the University of Memphis in 1981 while working as a medical technologist at UTHSC and the VA Hospital. A 1984 graduate of Fordham University School of Law, she began her legal career at Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine, in New York City, following which she returned to Memphis to take a position at what was then Heiskell Donelson Bearman Adams Williams & Kirsch, predecessor to Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C.

After 5 years, she became a Vice President in the Corporate Trust Department of Union Planters Bank (which subsequently merged into Regions Bank), returning to Baker Donelson in 1995 to resume private practice in bank lending, commercial real estate and tax-exempt finance. During her legal career, she served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. At present, she is on the Board of Directors of Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, and is a member of the Access to Justice Committees of the Memphis Bar Association and Tennessee Bar Association. She is married and the mother of a 22 year old son who is a senior at Rhodes College.

Jerri Green
Director of Community Engagement

Jerri is the Director of Community Engagement for the CLC where she engages with local partners to advance the presence and mission of the Community Legal Center, through events. fundraisers, and various media outlets. She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she graduate summa cum laude with majors in English and Political Science. She has practiced in public interest law in areas ranging from international human rights to criminal defense, in Washington, D.C., Nashville, and Memphis. She also taught criminal law and juvenile justice for almost a decade through the University of Phoenix. She is a licensed attorney in the state of Tennessee and a member of the Memphis Bar Association. She is the married mother of three children and enjoys racing for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Hayden Lait
Senior Staff Attorney, Civil Program

Hayden Lait has been in the private practice of law for since 1975 with an emphasis on commercial, personal injury, and domestic relations litigation. He has been serving as a neutral in the capacity of a mediator and arbitrator since 1995. He is a Honorary Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and served as President from 2005 to 2007. Hayden is a certified arbitrator and mediator by FINRA/ National Association of Securities Dealers. He is listed by the Tenn. Supreme Court as a Rule 31 mediator and is a member of the mediation panel for U.S. District Courts, Western District of Tenn. Since 1997 Hayden has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis School of Law teaching negotiation and ADR skills. He has served as part-time staff attorney at the Community Legal Center since 2004. Focus is on divorce, landlord-tenant, & debtor creditor cases. In 2014 he was selected as Best Lawyers’ 2014-15 Memphis Mediation “Lawyer of the Year.” Hayden is a past president of the Univ. of Memphis School of Law National Alumni, of the Harbor Town Homeowners Association, and a past member of the board of directors of the Memphis Bar Association. He is an Emeritus member of the Leo Bearman Inns of Court and of the Memphis Bar Foundation.

Emily Stotts
Director, IJP

Emily Stotts is the Director of the Community Legal Center’s Immigrant Justice Program. Emily joined the Community Legal Center shortly after graduating from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2013. She represents clients in a variety of immigration proceedings ranging from affirmative applications before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, such as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and U-visas, to deportation defense before the Executive Office of Immigration Review. Emily is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Tennessee Bar Association.

Kerry Avens Krauch
Staff Attorney, IJP

Kerry Krauch has been with the Community Legal Center since 2009, first as volunteer and then as a staff attorney. Ms. Krauch is a proud lifelong Memphian, she received both her undergraduate and JD from the University of Memphis. In law school, Ms. Krauch clerked at Shelby County Probate Court for Judge Karen Webster. As an attorney, she has practiced in the areas of immigration, elder law, and general civil law. Ms. Krauch has a passion for representing disenfranchised and underserved clients.

Lauren Prater
Joint Immigration Pro Bono Coordinator, IJP

Lauren Prater is a 2011 graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and a licensed Tennessee attorney. Prior to attending law school, Lauren was a social worker. She joined the CLC as the Joint Immigration Pro Bono Coordinator in January 2017. She has experience in family law, probate and elder law, and she has attended numerous trainings on immigration law since joining the Community Legal Center.

Tina Lum Perrusquia
Staff Attorney, Pro Se Divorce Clinic

Tina Lum Perrusquia has served as the staff attorney for the Pro Se Divorce Clinic since 2016. Prior to joining the Community Legal Center, Ms. Perrusquia practiced in the areas of family law, juvenile law and insurance defense. Ms. Perrusquia is a 1991 graduate of Christian Brothers University, and a 1998 graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of law.

Karen Henson
Staff Attorney, Elder Law Program

Karen Henson is he Elder Law Attorney at the Community Legal Center and partner in Shelby County’s Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse (“CREA”). A 2012 graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Ms. Henson initially focused her practice on general civil legal issues and volunteered pro bono services for the CLC. In 2016, Ms. Henson took over as the full-time Elder Law Attorney at the CLC, working with the CREA team in protecting vulnerable adults in Shelby County from abuse and neglect. In her free time, Ms. Henson enjoys reading, supporting animal rescues, and all things Memphis.

Adolfo Bermudez
BIA Accredited Representative, IJP

Adolfo “Fifo” Bermúdez was born in Managua, Nicaragua and grew up in San Salvador, El Salvador, where he attended bilingual schools that gave him a foundation in the English language. In 2005, Fifo received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, from Ave Maria College, then returned to San Salvador where he worked for Dell Computers. Fifo later moved back to Nicaragua to work as a houseparent at an orphanage in the outskirts of the capital of Managua. Fifo met and married a Memphian at this position, and they moved to the United States in the summer of 2013. Since that time, Fifo has worked the Community Legal Center, where in November 2015 he became a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative. When he is not assisting the immigrant population of Memphis, Fifo enjoys playing the ukulele, painting, drawing and riding his skateboard.

Andres Flores
Office Manager

Andres I. Flores was born and raised in Talca, Chile. In 2003 he moved to the United States with his family. Andres is a graduate of the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he received his Bachelors of Science in Finance. In 2012 Andres moved to Memphis. Andres joined the Community Legal Center in 2016 as the Intake Coordinator. Andres is currently our Office Manager. He is also a Graduate of the Embark program at New Memphis.

Lucy Boateng
Staff Attorney, IJP

Lucy Boateng joined the Community Legal Center in September 2017, following an AmeriCorps Fellowship with Legal Aid of Arkansas where her work was focused primarily on housing law. Ms. Boateng is a 2013 graduate of the University of Tennessee and a 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. At present, she serves on the University of Tennessee’s Young Alumni Council and University of Tennessee’s Memphis Alumni Chapter Board.

Miriam Romero
Bilingual Intake Coordinator

Miriam Romero is a dedicated and cheerful professional with a passion for language, teaching, and communications. Ever since the start of her teaching career in 2013, Miriam has worked to provide a space where our community’s language needs are met. She has an education in International Business Administration from Christian Brothers University and a background in program planning and communications. Aligning with her core values of Justice and service, Miriam is currently the CLC Immigration Justice Program Intake Coordinator.

Tania Munoz
Bilingual Interpreter

Tania Munoz Cervantes is currently a student at Southwest Community College majoring in Criminal Justice. She plans to transfer to Christian Brothers University to obtain her Bachelor’s degree. She is currently a bilingual interpreter at the Community Legal Center where she assists with intake and other tasks.