Professors Lucy Jewel (center left) and Joy Radice (center right) accept the Pro Bono of the Year award from Tennessee Justice Center's Michele Johnson and Chris Coleman.

Legal Clinic honored for excellence in pro bono work

The University of Tennessee Legal Clinic’s pro bono work has been recognized by the Tennessee Justice Center. 

Director Michele Johnson presented the UT Legal Clinic with the Pro Bono Firm of the Year award earlier this month. It’s the first time the honor has been given to a university group rather than to a private law firm.

“For years, the UT Legal Clinic has provided pro bono representation to Tennessee children and families,” Johnson said. “The result of their work has made a tremendous difference in the lives of numerous Tennessee children and families in need of vital health care services.”

So “this year we wanted to recognize and celebrate the valuable pro bono contributions of the faculty and students of the UT Legal Clinic,” Johnson said.

Under the supervision of Professors Lucy Jewel and Wade Davies, students in the Legal Clinic’s Appellate Litigation Clinic hone their practice skills and develop persuasive case theory through writing and oral advocacy. The students handle all aspects of the TennCare appeals including the initial hearing, pre-hearing motions, discovery, and post-hearing briefs. 

“Through the representation, students make a huge difference for these highly vulnerable clients, who are faced with losing vital healthcare services,” Jewel said.

This year, the clinic helped a disabled man keep the treatment services he required to maintain a good standard of living; resolved a billing dispute and obtained reimbursement for medical services for a client with a high-risk pregnancy; and represented a child appealing a reduction in in-home healthcare services.

Through this work, “students experience the unique power that lawyers have to resolve cases. They then take this spirit of service with them into their own legal career.” Jewel said. “Being able to use their legal skills to give the client a real voice is one of the most rewarding aspects of taking on these kinds of cases.”

Legal Clinic Director Joy Radice said she’s proud of the students and faculty who were recognized for their excellence.

“It is amazing to receive this recognition for our advocacy and service in Tennessee, and it reflects so well on the determination and commitment of our students,” Radice said.