Legal advice clinic offering free services to veterans

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East Tennessee Legal Aid and the Knoxville Bar Association offer free in-person legal counseling to East Tennessee veterans.

Knoxville, Tenn. – For many, getting legal help is financially out of reach.

Knoxville attorneys currently charge an average of $225 to $250 an hour for their services, according to East Tennessee Legal Aid.

East Tennessee Legal Aid and the Knoxville Bar Association offer free in-person legal counseling to East Tennessee veterans.

The free clinic takes place every second Wednesday of the month from noon to 2 p.m. at the Knox County Public Defender’s Office.

“As long as you’re a veteran or a family member of a veteran, you can come in and we’ll talk to you and kind of get you started,” London Amburn said attorney Chuck Sharrett.

Veterans and their family members can get legal advice on most issues. Examples include veterans benefits, contract disputes, estate planning, criminal defense, landlord or tenant issues, and child support.

“I think there was an acknowledgment that a lot of veterans may have legal issues and don’t know where to start,” said Pro Bono Project Chief Counsel Caitlin Torney.

Over 800 veterans have been helped through this program since 2016.

“During COVID, we’ve been running virtual clinics exclusively to protect veterans and pro bono attorneys. We’ve reverted to an in-person model, but we’re happy to provide counseling over the phone as well,” Torney said.

Those unable to attend in person can call (865) 637-0484 to access the telephone clinic.

Torney said the attorneys who volunteer for this clinic are passionate about helping area veterans.

“My dad was in the navy. He was actually disabled and that’s how he got honorably discharged on that basis and kind of seeing him go through that process, it’s really nice to be able to help people out” , Sharrett said.

Torney also has a personal connection to this work.

“My brother was a Marine, and he toured Iraq and toured Afghanistan,” Torney said. “I know he and a lot of his friends have had legal issues, and they really like coming to a veteran-friendly place. Many of our volunteers have either family members who are veterans or veterans. fighters themselves.”

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