Helping those in need
Wyatt lawyers give freely of their time in pro bono representations and the Firm requires lawyers in the first three years with the Firm to donate 60 hours of pro bono services each year. We support and lead local programs in our communities that ensure everyone has access to legal representation.
Our leadership in pro bono work in our communities shows:
Wyatt received the Tennessee Bar Association's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Law Firm Award in honor of its commitment to provide free legal services to low-income families in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties. The Firm hosts a phone-a-thon fundraiser in which more than one-third of Wyatt's attorneys volunteer to participate; sponsors and participates in a Saturday legal clinic so people in need can obtain free legal advice; and contributes financially to Memphis Area Legal Services at the highest giving level.
- Harris Gilbert, a lawyer in our Nashville office and a founder of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, has helped launch the Gilbert Family Fellowship, a program that provides free legal services to children and young adults. The program is made possible by a $100,000 donation from Mr. Gilbert along with support from his children. The fellowship is the first legal assistance program in the state of Tennessee specifically targeting children and young adults in both urban and rural communities. Gary Housepian, executive director of the Legal Aid Society, said “We could not do this important work without the generosity of Mr. Gilbert and his children, and we look forward to building healthier, successful lives for some of our region's youngest citizens."
Wyatt lawyers have been named pro bono lawyer of the year by the Louisville Bar Association, the Fayette County Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association and the National Legal Aid and Public Defender Association.
Wyatt is the only firm in Louisville, Kentucky that has established a fellowship program with Legal Aid that fully funds the salary of a staff attorney. In addition, Wyatt makes yearly donations to Legal Aid, with the donation this year in excess of $30,000. Legal Aid programs are directed at those in need who cannot afford legal representation and the organization is heavily involved in efforts supporting minorities and others who are disadvantaged. Wyatt is also a major financial supporter of Memphis Area Legal Services which provides those services in Memphis.
- The annual Pro Bono award given out by the Tennessee Bar Association is the Harris Gilbert Award, named after one of our partners in our Nashville office.
- Wyatt lawyers founded and established the public defender program in Louisville and Jefferson County and one of the lawyers is now President of the corporation which operates the program. That lawyer also serves as Chair of the Kentucky Public Advocacy Commission that oversees the operation of the public defender program for the entire state.
- In Memphis, one of our Partners, Bob Craddock, served as chair of the annual Memphis Area Legal Services campaign.
- Wyatt's Jackson office handles all adoptions for Catholic Charities, Inc. of Mississippi, on a pro bono basis, and last year donated over 100 hours of service.
In Memphis, two of our lawyers, Kristen Wilson and Byron Brown, recently represented a prisoner who filed a lawsuit after he was beaten. At the successful conclusion of the case, the Firm donated its fee, over $13,000, to Memphis Area Legal Services. Harrison McIver, executive director of the organization, said "The significance of this is that the Wyatt firm is committed to access to justice, and has been and continues to be very supportive of the work we do at Memphis Area Legal Services."
On March 7, 2015, Wyatt was honored with the Tennessee Bar Association's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Law Firm Award for its strong and consistent commitment to pro bono service and access to justice initiatives including ongoing support of Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS). The gala at which Wyatt received its award is part of the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative, a partnership between the Tennessee Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel that encourages and supports pro bono activities by lawyers serving as in-house and corporate counsel in the state.
On October 29, 2012, Wyatt's John Woodard received the Indiana Bar Foundation's "President's Award" for his efforts in organizing volunteer lawyers and paralegals to assist victims of the March 2nd tornados that struck Southern Indiana. Other Wyatt lawyers and paralegals who gave time to this effort included Jeff Wallace and Connie Bueter.
On October 18, 2010, Wyatt was honored by Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in recognition of the Firm's lawyers who have provided assistance to low-income individuals and families through pro bono and other volunteer activities. LSC grants are distributed to 136 nonprofit legal aid programs across the nation, including four in Kentucky - Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, Legal Aid Society, Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky and Kentucky Legal Aid.
Also in 2010, the Fayette County Bar Association named Wyatt the 'Outstanding Firm of the Year' at its annual Pro Bono Recognition Luncheon in Lexington, Kentucky.