At Miller & Martin, we believe that lawyers possess unique skills and abilities to serve the disadvantaged and to promote the public interest in ways that members of no other profession can. Pro Bono service is an essential element of every attorney's professional responsibility. Our attorneys have a duty, as professionals and as members of our communities, to contribute to the welfare of the community; to assist in the development of the legal profession; and to broaden the overall commitment to access to justice for all people.
The firm's involvement in and commitment to pro bono service is overseen by the Firm's Pro Bono Committee. Members of the committee serve as liaisons for each of the firm's offices to the senior management of the firm. We encourage our lawyers to perform at least 50 hours of pro bono legal service per year. To encourage our lawyers to meet this goal, the firm gives its lawyers billable hour credit for a number of the pro bono hours each works.
Many leaders of the firm have taken an active role in pro bono efforts, setting a strong example not just for our own attorneys, but also for attorneys throughout Georgia and Tennessee. Examples of our pro bono efforts include Marcy Eason as Vice-Chair of the Access to Justice Commission's Advisory Committee on Unmet Legal Needs; Dick Crotteau recognized for his efforts by the Legal Aid of East Tennessee's (LAET) Southern Region, which awarded him the Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award. Additionally, firm attorneys have been inducted into LAET's Hall of Fame and the firm was named Pro Bono Firm of the Year by Legal Aid of East Tennessee.
Miller & Martin is the first law firm in Chattanooga to be part of a new initiative, in conjunction with Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) known as the Pillar Law Firm Model. This program originated in another venue when a firm determined that a more formalized way to accept referrals or requests for services from Legal Aid would be more effective. The idea developed to allow an individual firm to volunteer through accepting pro bono assignments related to a specific substantive area of law. This process streamlined intake for Legal Aid, as it directs cases to the law firm under Pillar Model, rather than attempting to match a volunteer from a list of attorneys offering pro bono services with needs of a pro bono client. This process and program came to be called the Pillar Law Firm Model. As a result of this effort, the Access to Justice Commission, appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court, has adopted an informal goal to have a Pillar Law Firm in each major Tennessee city. In the autumn of 2013, Chattanooga became the next Tennessee city to implement the Pillar model. Miller & Martin spearheaded this effort and chose to focus on Housing as its specific area of law, and we are very proud to be the first firm in Chattanooga to be a Pillar Firm. Miller & Martin attorney, Marcia Eason, Vice-Chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court appointed Access to Justice Commission continues work with Attorney Charlie McDaneil at LAET to engage other firms in similar programs or initiatives to provide legal assistance to those in need for civil matters.