The Kingsport Bar Association, Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association are hosting monthly free legal advice clinics to assist low-income individuals. The monthly clinics are held on the third Thursday of the month from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in downtown Kingsport. The location is 243 East Charlemont Avenue in Kingsport.
The legal clinic is a walk-in only clinic and is open to the public; no appointments are necessary. Volunteer attorneys and paralegals from the Kingsport Bar Association, Legal Aid and the Young Lawyers Division will offer legal counsel free of charge. Individual cases will not be accepted, but may be referred to individual volunteers or legal aid agencies.
Johnson City attorney Tony Seaton has been working with a similar clinic in Johnson City for the past several years. According to Seaton, the clinics are about lawyers helping people. “Legal matters can be intimidating for many, and our goal is to remove that intimidation and give people sound direction and counsel,” he says.
The Access to Justice Commission appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court has initiated similar programs in different areas of Tennessee to provide better access to the court system. Johnson City began a legal clinic in 2011 and Bristol is expected to launch a program in October.
Kingsport Bar Association officers Andy Wampler and Mike Forrester have been instrumental in launching the new Kingsport clinic. According to Forrester, “This gives the legal community a great opportunity to give back to our community. It is the lawyers’ equivalent of ‘Habitat for Humanity’ or ‘Doctors without Borders’.”