The Tennessee Bar Foundation is an organization of attorneys from across the state, active since 1982. The Foundation has a three-fold purpose:

  1. to honor attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the profession by electing them to membership as "Fellows,"

  2. to use the contributions of these Fellows to support selected, law-related public interest projects, and

  3. to administer Tennessee's IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts) program.

Tennessee Legal Initiatives Fund

The Foundation has awarded 12 grants, totaling $1,122,735, from the Tennessee Legal Initiatives Fund or “TLIF.”  These awards will support projects that provide innovative, system-change approaches to the civil legal challenges faced by vulnerable Tennesseans.  Click below for the list of grant recipients.

The Latest News

IOLTA Grant Applications 2020

August 14, 2019

  On August 14, the Foundation will begin the 32nd annual selection process for IOLTA grants.  The recipients will be announced in December.  Their selection will bring total IOLTA awards to $22,890,937. Application forms for awards to be paid during 2020 are now available.  Completed applications must be submitted by U.S. Mail and be postmarked…

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Legal History Project interviews available on the internet

September 12, 2017

ALL 100+ interviews conducted by the (continuing) Legal History Project are now on YouTube to be viewed on any device. The interviewees, from across the state, recount personal biographical information, significant legal topics dealt with during their careers as well as the important social and political issues of their day. The YouTube-linked list of interviews…

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IOLTA program welcomes participation by Tennessee credit unions

November 4, 2016

Rules amendments ordered by the Tennessee Supreme Court now allow lawyers to establish IOLTA trust checking accounts at eligible credit unions. The Foundation is contacting Tennessee credit unions to educate them about the program and about the law-related community organizations supported by IOLTA grants. Lawyers should watch the list of Eligible Financial Institutions (here) for…

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“Chattanooga-area” Reception

May 18, 2016

The Foundation’s sixth, annual, outreach event was held this month in Chattanooga. Judge Barbara Holmes, Chair of the Board of Trustees, travelled from Nashville to welcome Fellows from southeast Tennessee. The executive directors of local, law-related organizations which receive funds from the IOLTA grant program also attended. See the slideshow of photographs below.

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“Knoxville-area” Reception

April 27, 2015

On April 21, the Foundation held its fifth spring reception, this year for Knoxville-area Fellows. Judge Pam Reeves (past chair of the Board of Trustees), served as the host, amidst the lovely spaces of the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Federal Courthouse. Current Board Chair, Judge Creed McGinley, travelled from Savannah to Knoxville to welcome the 55 guests and…

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Memphis Reception

May 15, 2014

The Foundation’s fourth, annual, outreach reception was held this month in Memphis. Fifty Fellows attended, including those newly-elected as members of the Class of 2013, who were honored. The festive event was sponsored by law firms Ballin, Ballin & Fishman and Lewis Thomason and local member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Irma Merrill Stratton.…

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“Lower Middle” Reception

May 12, 2013

On May 7, the Foundation held a reception at historic Rippavilla Plantation in Columbia (Maury County) for Fellows and judges from “lower middle” Tennessee. Guests from six area cities attended, along with Supreme Court justices Connie Clark (Franklin) and Bill Koch (Nashville) and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, who met earlier in the afternoon in…

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“Upper East” Reception

May 15, 2012

The Foundation’s outreach reception was held this spring in Kingsport, for Fellows and judges in “Upper East” Tennessee. Members from seven area cities attended, as well as Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade from Sevierville. Contributions from these law firms supported the event: Arnold, Haynes & Sanders (Johnson City); Hunter, Smith & Davis, LLP (Kingsport); Milligan…

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Legal History Project video collages available online

September 15, 2011

All seven collages that compile the “best of” moments of the video interviews conducted by the Legal History Project may be viewed online. Click here to enjoy the preserved memories, wit and wisdom of Tennessee’s senior lawyers!

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Participant Members

March 15, 2011

Any lawyer licensed in Tennessee who participates in the IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts) program, whether as an individual or as a member (principal, employee, or other member) of a law firm, and who is not currently a Fellow of the Foundation, is eligible to serve as a voting “Participant” member of the Foundation.…

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