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 immigrant 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.
Established the Civil Immigrant Justice Program to provide legal services and educational workshops to low income immigrants. This program was made possible by International Paper sponsoring our Equal Justice Works Fellow. It addresses legal needs including adoptions and guardianship, divorces, landlord tenant disputes, and consumer rights cases. CLC also started working with Asha’s Refuge to help refugees from all over the world apply for permanent residence in the United States. This collaboration will facilitate safe new lives for people who escaped dangerous home countries.