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Cole named legal services pro bono coordinator

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Jackson attorney, Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) member and Crockett County resident Andy Cole has been promoted to Pro Bono Coordinator at West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS).

Cole joined WTLS a year ago after working in private practice. He previously worked in the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance at WTLS advocating for seniors in West Tennessee.

Cole described his role at WTLS as almost a happy accident.

The position came available for someone to work with seniors and he applied in hopes of serving a group of people who needed assistance more than they normally realize. He described his time working with seniors as challenging because along with taking on the new role, the COVID-19 pandemic required many changes that ensured the safety of his senior clients while also providing the assistance they needed.

The position of pro bono coordinator became available recently and he saw it as an opportunity to help more people in other ways.

“I really love what I do by helping people who can’t afford an attorney get legal assistance,” said Cole. “It’s been great working with seniors and helping them.

Cole is excited and optimistic about his new role with WTLS.

“I’m excited to change the program internally in hiring other pro bono attorneys,” he said. “I hope to be as good as I can be. It’s challenging right now because there isn’t as much face-to-face contact but I’m going to do everything I can. I’m excited for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to help even more people in West Tennessee.”

Cole is a 2010 Crockett County High School graduate and a graduate of Belmont University College of Law, where he served as the Web Editor of the Health Law Journal.

While WTLS attempts to help everywhere they possibly can for those who can’t afford legal services, they are state, federal and private grant funded. Anything they can’t handle internally with their grant services, they try to place externally to assist those who reach out for help.

“There is such a wide variety to what we do,” said Cole.

WTLS offices are closed to the public due to the pandemic but everyone is still working. They are still able to do anything that’s been done in the past. The major change clients may notice would be simply not being able to do walk-in intakes. These are now being done by phone or Internet.

“We are still moving at full capacity,” said Cole.

Jackson and Dyersburg are the closest locations to Crockett County.

“It doesn’t hurt to contact the office if help is needed. The worst that could happen is that we can’t provide the help needed,” said Cole. “We would rather you speak with us if you feel you need help than to not reach out at all.”

West Tennessee Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm that offers free civil legal representation and educational programs to help people in 17 West Tennessee counties receive justice, protect well-being, and support opportunities to overcome poverty.

Counties served from offices in Jackson, Dyersburg, Huntingdon, and Selmer are Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Madison, McNairy, Obion, and Weakley. WTLS is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation and state, federal, and local funding, including United Way in Dyer, McNairy, and Weakley counties.



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