Press Releases
December 12, 2012

Nashville Pro Bono Program bestows top volunteer and leadership awards at annual banquet

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

by Perry Happell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Pro Bono Program, a joint venture of the Legal Aid Society and Nashville Bar Association (NBA), recently honored Perry Happell and Stites & Harbison PLLC with the “Volunteer of the Year Award” and “Leadership Award,” respectively, at the NBA’s annual banquet.

“These awards reflect the work done and legal contributions made individually by Perry and collectively by Stites & Harbison to the Nashville Pro Bono Program,” said Lucinda Smith, director of the Nashville Pro Bono Program. “Their efforts make a world of difference in the free legal help we are able to provide the Nashville community.”

Stites & Harbison received the Leadership Award for their unemployment casework and work promoting access to justice. Stites has been instrumental in promoting pro bono work done by “Pillar Firms,” firms committed to taking referrals based on substantive areas of expertise.

“Stites & Harbison has been a leader in providing assistance to clients, handling 148 cases since 2008, and in promoting substantive specialization among Nashville law firms,” said Smith. “We are grateful for the support and work they provide to our organization.”

Perry Happell was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Happell has been an active pro bono panel member since 1989, taking an average of more than five cases each year. In 2012, Happell represented 19 clients referred to him by the Nashville Pro Bono Program.

“Perry is the consummate pro bono volunteer, and there will never be enough ways to thank him for the tremendous work he’s provided to so many,” said Smith. “One of Perry’s pro bono clients recently said about his work, ‘Perry and his team were not just good to me, they were perfect. I just don’t see how it could work out any better for me. They made the world make sense for me again, they gave me a chance in life.’ That’s the kind of attorney that Perry is, and we thank him for his continued pro bono work.”

The Nashville Pro Bono Program provides support to the Legal Aid Society through volunteer attorneys. In 2011, the program had more than 800 lawyers handle 2,670 cases and provide free legal help worth almost $3 million.

For more information about the Nashville Pro Bono Program, visit