Community Legal Center
910 Vance Avenue
Memphis TN 38126
Contact Information
Address 910 Vance Avenue
Memphis, TN 38126
Telephone 901 543-3395
Mission Statement

The Community Legal Center’s mission is to provide civil legal services to those with limited means and those at risk, including populations not served by other legal aid agencies. This comes from our conviction that regardless of ones’ circumstances in life, each person deserves the opportunity to seek justice. Only when other basic needs have been met do most people have sufficient income to pay for a private lawyer.

Web and Social Media
Other ways to Donate, Support, or Volunteer

Throughout our history, the Community Legal Center has provided legal assistance to our community’s working poor, the abused elder, the immigrant child, and other vulnerable people not served by other legal aid providers. Each of these deserve to seek justice regardless of their circumstances, and that is where our mission lies. Become a donor to the Community Legal Center today. Consider making a Tax Deductible donation. 


Other Ways to Make a Difference

  • Become a monthly contributor
  • Make a gift in honor or memory of someone
  • Make a gift in celebration of an event or occasion
  • Give a donation of in-kind services, products or equipment

To provide in-kind services or donate products, supplies or equipment, please call us at (901) 543-3395 or visit our website


Make check payable to:

Community Legal Center
910 Vance Avenue., 

Memphis, TN 38126
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Anne Mathes
Board Chair Mr. James Barry
Board Chair Company Affiliation International Paper
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1996
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $550,449.35
Projected Expenses $515,416.49

The Community Legal Center’s mission is to provide civil legal services to those with limited means and those at risk, including populations not served by other legal aid agencies. This comes from our conviction that regardless of ones’ circumstances in life, each person deserves the opportunity to seek justice. Only when other basic needs have been met do most people have sufficient income to pay for a private lawyer.


Since its inception in 1994, the Community Legal Center has provided civil legal services to Memphians of modest means. Community Legal Center’s civil law program serves Memphis’ “working poor” whose income falls below the living wage level. The Immigrant Justice Program (IJP) serves persons in Memphis Immigration Court’s geographic jurisdiction whose income falls below a living wage. We represent our immigrant clients in a variety of immigration matters.

The Community Legal Service also works extensively with victims of elder abuse and provides assistance to those seeking to represent themselves in divorce proceedings through its Pro Se Divorce Clinic.
Our work in immigration, elder law and civil law allows those without resources to seek justice regardless of ability to pay.   

The fundamental goal of the Community Legal Center is to empower people of limited means (between 125% of the federal income guidelines and a living wage) to better access civil legal services, including the services of lawyers and mediators, as well as other appropriate social service agencies, and to provide information to prevent legal problems that are avoidable.

Other goals include contributing to:

A better understanding of and respect for our system of justice, laws, and the role and reliability of lawyers and mediators in that system;
More knowledgeable individuals with an increased awareness of their rights and the law, resulting in increased economic self-sufficiency of the working poor;
A greater number of resources available to the working poor population to remove roadblocks in their path to economic self-sufficiency.

Donor/volunteer management software.

Having a sophisticated software platform to manage volunteers and donors will allow CLC to improve our ability to provide pro bono legal services via volunteer attorneys and to increase our financial donations.

Part-time Bilingual Attorney

CLC is known in the community as a place where Spanish speaking residents in Shelby County can look for help. Due to limited volunteer attorneys who are bilingual, we are limited in our ability to respond. CLC would like to hire a part-time, in-house staff attorney who can respond to civil legal needs of both Spanish and English speaking residents in Shelby County.

Additional space

CLC currently rents 670 square feet of office space from MIFA which is shared between staff, volunteers, and interns. With expanded space, CLC can host additional staff and volunteers. Renting more space from MIFA will require an additional $4,500.00 per year.

Discretionary Fund

On occasion, individuals who seek services through our office cannot pay court costs associated with their legal needs. A discretionary fund of approximately $2,000.00 per year would allow CLC to help clients with their court costs due to extenuating circumstances in which other solutions are not available.

Client Management Software

Software created specifically for legal aid organizations would allow CLC to streamline its intake process and track client cases and social referrals. These processes are all currently being done through labor intensive excel spreadsheets.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Shelby County

The Immigrant Justice Progran offers a variety of legal services to low-income immigrants who live within the jurisdiction of the Memphis Immigration Court (Tennessee, Arkansas, and northern Mississippi).

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. James Barry
Company Affiliation International Paper
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2019
Board of Directors
Board Members
James Barry International Paper
Jason Bland First Alliance Bank
Margaret Brakebusch Community Volunteer
Caren Creason The Marston Group
Kimbrely Dandridge Butler Snow, LLP
Zachary Ferguson St. Johns United Methodist Church
Angelica Fortney Bass Berry & Sims
Linda Holmes Attorney
Kristin Ellis Kurtz Federal Express
Nigel Lewis Shelby County Public Defender
Mary Jo Miller Attorney
Melisa Moore Burch Porter and Johnson
Matthew Mulqueen Baker Donelson
Steve Mulroy University of Memphis School of Law
Erica Tamariz Darker & Associates PLLC
Robert Winfield Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 9
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 57
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 8
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Institutional Advancement
Project Oversight
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Anne Mathes
Experience Prior to joining the Community Legal Center as its Executive Director in August, 2015, I practiced law in the areas of banking, commercial finance and real estate for over 30 years, most of that time at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. During my professional life, I also engaged in a number of community/nonprofit activities. While my legal career was satisfying in many respects, the opportunity to combine my legal background with my desire to work with a nonprofit led me to accept this position. Having significant nonprofit board experience has been an excellent background for this position. Since joining the CLC I have seen the daily struggles of those we serve. Also, I am humbled by the dedication of our staff and am grateful for the chance to help them put the goals of the CLC into practice. We believe each person should have access to the legal system no matter their circumstance in life.     
Full Time Staff 8
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 75
Contractors 1
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted July 2015
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Under Development
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

This program provides access to civil legal counsel for Shelby County residents for as little as a $5, $10, or $15 intake fee, provided they have an income between 125% and 200% of the federal poverty level as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After meeting meet with a CLC staff attorney at our weekly legal clinic, clients are assigned either to a staff attorney or placed with an appropriate pro bono attorney. We handle many types of civil cases (lease disputes, garnishments, wills/probate matters, conservatorships, adoptions, and uncontested divorces without children, among others). Those whose income falls below our guidelines are referred to Memphis Area Legal Services.

Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Budget $62,350.00
Short Term Success

The CLC cannot guarantee that our clients will receive a favorable outcome in their cases. Providing justice means giving people who would otherwise not be able to access our court system that opportunity. Short-term success can be measured in the number of calls we receive, the advice we are able to give, the clients we are able to place with an attorney and the satisfaction they express with their experience at the CLC. We track all of those measures each month; our statistics show that during the last year, we fielded 4,266 calls for help, provided legal advice to 258 callers, referred 1,238 callers to other service agencies, and represented 336 clients.

Long Term Success

A recent study (2015) for the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Commission showed that more than 60 percent of low-income Tennessee households have at least one civil legal problem a year; the average is 3.6. Less than a quarter of survey respondents were aware of any free legal services. The majority of low-income individuals do not take action to solve their legal problems. They may have no recourse if they are cheated on a contract, need a divorce, or are being evicted by their landlord. The same study showed $11 of economic benefit in Tennessee for each $1 of funding to civil legal aid organizations – solving legal problems for the poor has a direct financial benefit on their communities. Long-term success for the CLC’s Civil Legal Aid Program would consist of a reduction in the poverty rate in Memphis.

Description The CLC is part of CREA (Community Response to Elder Abuse), a large consortium of service agencies assisting victims of abuse who are over 60 and live in Shelby County regardless of economic status. CREA’s services for abused or neglected elders include: 24 hour emergency services, advocacy, healthcare, housing, and legal aid. A CLC staff attorney is brought into a CREA case by intake coordinators at Family Safety Center to provide legal assistance, such as orders of protection, powers of attorney, or conservatorships for elders who are unable to manage his or her affairs. In addition to working with the CREA project, the CLC engages in frequent outreach to lower income elders about advance directives and preparation of wills.
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Budget $89,015.00
Short Term Success The Elder Law Program at CLC measures short-term success by measuring the numbers of lower income seniors able to have end of life matters addressed by a qualified attorney.  Our staff attorneys engage in frequent outreach activities to make lower income seniors aware of our services.  Under the CREA program, our staff attorney has obtained more than 20 contested conservatorships in the last year and a half, helping each of those abused elders have a more safe and secure life.   
Long Term Success The CLC’s Elder Law Program is relatively new, although legal work with the elderly in the areas of advance directives, powers of attorney, wills and conservatorships has gone on for years in the Civil Legal Aid Program.  Nationally, as many as 1 in 5 seniors will be a victim of abuse. However, only 1 in 23 cases of abuse is reported.  The goal of the CREA group is detection and intervention, and action to address the abuse and to get the victim into a safe and secure living situation.  With the aging population in Shelby County, long-term success for the CREA group will be measured by a reduction in the number of seniors who are victims of abuse.  

Staff and pro bono attorneys provide a variety of immigration legal services to low-income immigrants who live within the jurisdiction of the Memphis Immigration Court. In addition to our work on immigration removal matters, we assist with claims for asylum, applications for U visas for victims of violent crimes, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and naturalization, among others. CLC frequently collaborates with other local agencies in this work. A modest sliding scale fee is charged for immigration cases handled by staff attorneys with the exception of work representing unaccompanied children whom we represent free of charge. The CLC also serves as a fingerprinting facility for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the background check performed on potential sponsors of unaccompanied migrant children, and provides referrals to other service agencies should they need assistance in the care of children placed with them. 

Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Budget $120,018.00
Short Term Success

We measure short-term success by our metrics for this program, such as number of calls, client meetings, files opened, and case dispositions.  As an example, concerning immigration removal proceedings for adults and children, during 2015, the IJP represented a total of 68 clients in removal proceedings, resulting in 35 such cases being terminated, 12 being administratively closed pending other action, and the balance pending.  Of the 68 clients represented in removal proceedings this past year, 57 were children.  Our metrics are driven in some cases by what grant is funding our immigration work at any time -- at present, we are largely limited to work with unaccompanied children more than 100 miles from the Memphis Immigration Court.   With additional funding, we can again place more emphasis on other practice areas.  

Long Term Success
In 2006, the Memphis Immigration Court and Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) approached the CLC about it taking on representation of undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief, as federal law requires the Court to provide those appearing before it the names of local pro bono attorneys, and MALS is prohibited by federal statute from handling immigration matters for undocumented individuals.  So, for 10 years, the CLC has filled this gap, and now is able to offer the entire spectrum of immigration assistance through staff and pro bono attorneys.  Of course, we have statistics for each month of those 10 years showing successes.  But perhaps long-term success of the IJP is best measured by the continued strength and reputation of the program.  Clients are turned away daily due to lack of resources, but we are diligently pursuing a grant to hire an immigration lawyer who can also manage pro bono attorneys assisting int his area.   

For over 10 years, the CLC has run a clinic each morning at the county courthouse to assist parents with minor children who are residents of Shelby County and meet our income requirements obtain divorces as self-represented litigants. An experienced divorce attorney is available to help qualified people sent to the clinic by judges, referees, and clerks, and those who learn about the clinic on their own, with preparation of a parenting plan and divorce pleadings at no cost to the litigant, other than the filing fee which is currently $303.50.  

Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Budget $58,100.00
Short Term Success Many people are referred to the Pro Se Divorce Clinic, and only a fraction are within the target population the Clinic is designed to help.  That does not mean the calls are wasted, however -- each month, we track such things as the number of calls, number of referrals to other social service agencies, number with unresolved child custody issues, number of divorces that are contested and number who do not meet our income requirements, among other metrics.  The CLC attorney who staffs the clinic is working to educate our referral sources to reduce inappropriate referrals, and working to improve the success of child support agreement negotiations.  She is taking mediation training so she can assist in resolving child support conflicts both before and after the divorce is granted.  Short-term success will be measured in improving our metrics at the Clinic.         
Long Term Success The grant which funds the Pro Se Divorce Clinic expressly requires those who qualify to have children and for the divorce sought to be consensual. The assistance provided requires a parenting plan, and the goal is to increase child support and visitation rights for the non-custodial parent, thus strengthening family ties and financial security. One Urban Institute study from December 2010 reported that child support constitutes 23% of the income of poor families.  In 2015, our efforts yielded $235,044 of child support.  Long-term success of the program could be measured if there is a reduction of the rate of poverty among the children in the families served by the clinic.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2017
Projected Revenue $550,449.35
Projected Expenses $515,416.49
Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$28,327$44,560$38,220
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,526$1,397$1,653
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$268,933$217,598$156,760
Administration Expense$40,517$30,528$29,463
Fundraising Expense$11,061$8,342$8,137
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.051.070.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses84%85%81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue5%4%6%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$284,837$279,284$254,087
Current Assets$229,596$226,825$209,320
Long-Term Liabilities$0$5,111$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$284,837$274,173$254,087
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%2%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit
TN State Charitable Solicitations RegistrationView
TN State Charitable Division Extension for 2017View
Address 910 Vance Avenue
Memphis, TN 38126
Primary Phone 901 543-3395
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Anne Mathes
Board Chair Mr. James Barry
Board Chair Company Affiliation International Paper


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