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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, February 23, 2018

Help needed to root out UPL offenders




The annual meeting on Jan. 31 at The Westin had the largest attendance in the Chattanooga Bar Association’s 121-year history. Our association is strong.

At the meeting, we recognized members who have worked to make our wonderful community a better place. Thank you, Matt Brock, Sheri Fox, Nora McCarthy, the Hon. William Brown, Bill Colvin (immediate past president) and Frank Pinchak for all you have done.

Our board of directors and the board of our Young Lawyers’ Division recently met to brainstorm about how our association may better serve our community.

Immediate Past YLD President Brittany Faith and Vice President Stephanie Rogers are spearheading an initiative with YLD President Drew Reynolds, Jay Elliott, me and everyone else who wants to help the minorities in our community.

We want to help protect minority community members from the people who are taking advantage of them through the unauthorized practice of law.

We also want to educate and assist community members in the areas of immigration, family law, landlord-tenant law, employment law and wills and estates.

We’re planning a special event in each of these areas on Saturday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). We’re working with La Paz Chattanooga to ensure our outreach is maximized.

Details on how you can help and connect to our minority community will be emailed in the next two weeks.

Thanks to Paige Evatt, who’s chairing our Access to Justice Committee, whose mission is to foster, encourage and facilitate the CBA’s efforts to ensure access to the justice system by those who cannot afford it and to provide pro bono services to low income residents of Hamilton County.

Thanks to Frank Pinchak, chair of our Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, and Sam Elliott, who have been working especially hard to stop offenders engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

These UPL offenders have neither the expertise nor the knowledge to provide appropriate services. They take money from the disadvantaged and provide nothing of value in return.

If you want to assist the CBA in stopping UPL offenders, let us know by visiting www.chattanoogabar.org and accessing either the “For Attorneys” or “For the Public” section.

This year, the YLD will hold the second annual Expungement Clinics, where first-time offenders who qualify for expungement of a criminal offense may have the offense expunged with our aid. Look for notices and check out this column on the last Friday of each month.

Our annual Law Day Luncheon will be held in May. More will be announced in the coming weeks.

We’re also working to update our publication, “When You Become 18,” which is given to every high school senior in Hamilton County. Thanks especially to Rob Carden for his work on updating this publication. Haley Moody, Frank Clark and Andrew Godbold also deserve credit. A downloadable PDF version of the booklet is available on the Chattanooga Bar Association’s website (www.chattanoogabar.org).

Also exciting: The Hamilton County High Schools Mock Trial Competition, led by the YLD, is underway. Special thanks to the Hon. Alex McVeagh, who’s in charge this year.

The benefits

Barret Albritton is chairing our CLE and Sponsorship Committees, which will ensure we continue to offer excellent and affordable continuing legal education.

To service both our bar and the citizens of Hamilton County, the CBA arbitrates fee disputes. Thank you, Barry Abbott and Paul Hatcher, for chairing the Fee Dispute Committee.

If you’re an attorney struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, the CBA is here to help. We thank Art Grisham for the confidential and supportive counseling and guidance he’s given to our members who are working to overcome this issue. He will continue to chair our Chattanooga Lawyers Assistance Program.

Jimar Sanders is chairing our Diversity Committee. We thank her for her work. Wade Hinton is also working with our bar and local businesses in this area.

Nicole Osborne is chairing our legislative committee, which keeps us in touch with our members and other committees to help them consider and address legislative issues.

Finally, we will continue to honor our members who have passed on at our annual memorial service to be held Friday, March 2 at 11 a.m. in the County Commission Room of the Hamilton County Courthouse. Thank you, Nora McCarthy, for chairing this committee. Our history and members need to be remembered.