Emeritus Attorney Program

The Tennessee Supreme Court created the pro bono emeritus attorney program to allow retired attorneys to provide pro bono legal services. Under the authority of Supreme Court Rule 50A, retired attorneys can work with approved legal assistance providers that offer free services to Tennesseans who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

The pro bono emeritus rule gives retired attorneys the authority to perform all legal work, without pay, on behalf of a client. Pro bono emeritus attorneys may represent the client in court with the approval of the judge hearing the case.

Information for Attorneys:
Retired attorneys who wish to participate in the program must file a petition with the appellate court clerk’s office. Download the petition here.  The Supreme Court will review all applications and provide a written approval to the attorney.

Information for Legal Aid Organizations:
Rule 50A states that emeritus attorneys can only provide services in conjunction with an approved legal assistance provider.  An organization which receives funding from the Legal Services Corporation is presumptively approved under this section.  If your organization does not receive funds from the Legal Services Corporation, you must file an application with the clerk of the Tennessee Supreme Court to become an approved legal assistance provider. Download the application here.