The mission of Legal Aid of East Tennessee is to ensure equal justice for elderly, abused, and low income persons, providing a wide range of civil legal assistance and advocacy.
LAET has been part of the community structure of East Tennessee for over 40 years, serving 26 counties from Chattanooga to Johnson City.
With offices in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Knoxville, Johnson City, Maryville, and Morristown, LAET provides civil legal representation to East Tennesseans who otherwise have no one to help them secure their basic legal rights.
Two Tennesseans with disabilities are asking a federal court to block cuts in home health care resources that would force them to leave their communities and spend the rest of their lives in a nursing home. The two men, Justin Cochran of Knoxville and Glen Barnhill of Nashville lead active lives in their communities.
Justin Cochran, 27 years old, lives in an apartment in Knoxville. When he was 22, he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. He is quadriplegic and requires a ventilator 24 hours a day. Because of life-threatening spasms and other problems, he cannot be left alone for any period of time. Despite this disability, he has completed the first three years of an aerospace engineering degree and wants to be a productive worker. He also gives peer support to others with recent disabling injuries. Tennessee’s decision to deny home based services will not only force him into a nursing home but make it difficult for him to complete his education, and cause him to lose any chance of getting a job or having a family.
Client came to see Legal Aid about a conservatorship over her sister. Her sister was in a nursing home and her doctors had stated that it would be long term.
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Retired attorney Dick Ruth is the architect of the Pro Bono Emeritus Rule, which will allow inactive attorneys to provide pro bono services without having to pay the requisite fees. Maeghan Jones, pro bono coordinator at Legal Aid of East Tennessee, says Ruth provided over 800 hours of volunteer work in 2009. - David Laprad
When attorney Dick Ruth’s wife passed away in 2002, he retired and settled into a comfortable routine of watching The History Channel. A few years later, his oldest son said, “Dad, it’s time to pay up. Go downtown and get busy.”
Former Chief Justice William M. Barker was recently presented the Equal Access to Justice Award by Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Young Lawyers Division of the Chattanooga Bar Association. The award cites Barker's leading role in efforts to open the Tennessee court system to low income citizens. Legal Aid is planning to name the award in honor of Justice Barker moving forward.
Two Tennesseans with disabilities are asking a federal court to block cuts in home health care sources that would force them to leave their communities and spend the rest of their lives in a nursing home. The two men, Justin Cochran of Knoxville and Glen Barnhill of Nashville lead active lives in their communities.
After helping “Angela” obtain an Order of Protection against “James”, her abusive husband, LAET agreed to represent Angela in obtaining a divorce as well.
“Ben’s” obesity reached a critical level when his doctor diagnosed a variety of related medical issues and he found himself forced to walk with a cane.
“Frances” inherited her home worth $70,000 from her mother; and although the house had no mortgage against it, she owned $4,500 in delinquent property tax.
As the number of families losing their homes to foreclosure increases, a growing number of people turn to
LAET for help.
“Sandy” was a server at a local restaurant, working between 70 and 80 hours per week.
When “Adam” immigrated to the United States, he used an international driver's license; and when it expired, he applied for a Tennessee license.
Mr. and Mrs. “Brown” were afraid that when they passed away, their three children would not be able to divide their estates, so they decided to give the children their inheritance in advance.