Alumnus recognized for advancing pro bono efforts

A College of Law alumnus and co-founder of the Institute of Professional Leadership has been recognized by the American Bar Association for his role in developing an online platform to provide legal assistance to those in need.

Buck Lewis, a shareholder at Baker Donelson in Memphis and the College of Law’s Larry Wilks Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, is being given the American Bar Association’s Frances Perkins Public Service Award for his commitment to providing pro bono legal services, primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, to people of limited means.

Lewis helped develop and promote what has become ABA Free Legal Answers, an interactive pro bono website that acts as a virtual legal advice clinic. Qualifying users pose their civil legal question to attorneys in their state. Lawyers then provide basic legal advice and information about non-criminal legal matters for those who cannot afford a lawyer.

The website, first introduced in Tennessee more than 10 years ago, has expanded beyond the state to serve 44 jurisdictions through a pool of more than 8,300 volunteer attorneys. As of September, the site had received more than 127,000 inquiries.

Lewis will receive the award on Nov. 12 via a Zoom presentation as part of the 14th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference.