Access to Justice

Contrary to popular belief, people are not guaranteed access to an attorney when they encounter civil legal issues. As a result, people who cannot afford an attorney are left to handle a variety of legal issues on their own.

In response to this growing problem, the Tennessee Supreme Court made access to justice its number one strategic priority and formally announced their Access to Justice Initiative in December 2008.

In April 2009, the Supreme Court formed the 10-member Access to Justice Commission.

2015 Pro Bono Report
2014 Pro Bono Report

2013 Pro Bono Report
2012 Pro Bono Report

2016 Strategic Plan
2014 Strategic Plan
2012 Strategic Plan
 2010 Strategic Plan


Justice Janice Holder and Access to Justice Commission Member Sean Hunt share information with Memphis-area television viewers
August 23, 2016

Former Access to Justice Chair Lewis Receives National Pro Bono Award
June1, 2016

Legislators, Courts, Legal Community Join to Promote Availability of Expungements
April 12, 2016

Tennessee Attorney Pro Bono Hours Increase, Report Shows
September 21, 2015

Legal Community Mourns Loss of Francis Guess
July 25, 2105

ABA Profile Features Supreme Court Justice Holder
May 22, 2013

Margaret Behm, Former Chairperson of the Access to Justice Commission, Receives Award from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS)
September 26, 2012

Supreme Court Awards Pro Bono Emeritus Status to Two Attorneys
March 1, 2012

Universally Accepted Court Forms for Use in Certain Divorce Cases Now Available
September 1, 2011

Supreme Court Adopts Universally Accepted Forms for Use in Certain Divorce Cases
July 27, 2011


Chattanooga Attorney Becomes First Pro Bono Emeritus Attorney in State
February 8, 2011

Supreme Court Hosts First Statewide Pro Bono Summit
January 25, 2011


Supreme Court Establishes Pro Bono Emeritus Program

September 8, 2010

Supreme Court Announces Access to Justice Goals and Unveils Plans for Pro Bono Summit, Access to Justice Website
June 22, 2010

Supreme Court Amends Rule 43 to Require Participation in Tennessee IOLTA Program
July 8, 2009

Tennessee Supreme Court Creates Access to Justice Commission
April 3, 2009

Tennessee Supreme Court Adopts Rule Changes to Encourage More Pro Bono Work
April 3, 2009

Access to Justice Announcement
December 8, 2008

October 20, 2016
The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission’s recently released annual report shows Tennessee attorneys are donating more than 500,000 hours of their time annually worth more than $100...
September 21, 2016
From the Chattanooga Times Free PressThe city of Chattanooga on Monday launched a website aimed at helping people with criminal histories regain the right to vote and expunge their records.The...
September 9, 2016
All five Tennessee justices were honored at the annual Knoxville Bar Association Supreme Court Dinner.The Court recognized 54 attorneys from the Knoxville area on the Attorney for Justice Pro Bono...
August 30, 2016
Chief Justice Sharon Lee recently presented the Tennessee Supreme Court’s initiatives to Chief Justices from supreme courts across the country at the National Conference of Chief Justices during...
August 25, 2016
The 10-year anniversary committee of the Justice A.A. Birch Building will dedicate a statue of Chief Justice A. A. Birch, Jr. a state Supreme Court judge, who served 37 years as a judicial stalwart,...
August 17, 2016
The 2016 edition of the Criminal Justice Handbook is now available from the Administrative Office of the Courts. The handbook contains more than 600 pages of Tennessee criminal statutes and court...
August 10, 2016
An expungement clinic in Davidson County attracted several hundred people hoping to clear criminal records that can present obstacles to getting jobs, homes or other opportunities.The event was held...
August 5, 2016
The Eastern Grand Division of the Tennessee Appellate Courts will hold a blood drive on Wednesday, August 10 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the courthouse at 505 Main Street in downtown Knoxville.Anyone is...
August 4, 2016
Kirsten Jacobson, a 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, was recently awarded a competitive, two-year postgraduate fellowship by the nonprofit Equal Justice Works, whose...

Justice for All Website

As part of the Supreme Court's Access to Justice initiative, the Court has launched a website with forms, information and other resources for people who need legal assistance and attorneys and community members who wish to volunteer. Click the button above or visit

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For more information about the Acess to Justice program, please contact:

Anne-Louise Wirthlin
Access to Justice Coordinator