George T. “Buck” Lewis (’80), the Larry D. Wilks Practitioner-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee College of Law’s Institute for Professional Leadership, was recently awarded the William Reece Smith Jr. Special Services to Pro Bono Award last month at the American Bar Association (ABA) Equal Justice Conference.
The award “recognizes the efforts of those who generate support for, provide assistance to or have other positive influence on the systems or networks of providing pro bono legal services.” It is awarded by the ABA in conjunction with the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals.
Lewis received the award for his role in developing Online Tennessee Justice, a joint project by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association, which allows users to ask volunteer lawyers legal questions for free. To date, more than 12,500 low-income Tennesseans have been served by the website.
Lewis is a shareholder with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC in Memphis. He was president of the Tennessee Bar Association from 2008 to 2009 and was also chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission from 2012 to 2014. Additionally, Lewis is co-chair for UT Law’s Journey to the Top 25 fundraising campaign.
The success of Online Tennessee Justice prompted Lewis to aid in the development of similar websites for sixteen other states. In August, the ABA will launch a national online version of the tool, which will serve forty states.