Who We Are

Across 26 counties — from Chattanooga to the Tri Cities — Legal Aid of East Tennessee provides civil legal representation free of charge for those who need it most. The elderly. Victims of domestic violence. Low-income families. All those who face a legal challenge yet don’t have the vital legal help they need. Every day, we proudly answer the call for high-quality legal services that help change lives and improve communities.


Strengthening communities and changing lives through high-quality legal services.

OUR Vision

An East Tennessee where justice is a community value and no one faces a legal problem alone.



For over 50 years, Legal Aid of East Tennessee has worked to build stronger communities and improve lives by providing high-quality legal services free of charge to qualifying individuals.

Each year, we serve over 6,000 neighbors and help them access vital legal help. But there are thousands more to serve. With an estimated 300,000 eligible individuals in our service area, we know that the need is great. Our limited resources make it impossible to help everyone, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

Like many of the legal services programs that advocate for under-served communities across our country, Legal Aid of East Tennessee was initially funded by the Legal Services Corporation, a federal agency. In recent years, however, that funding has been drastically cut and we have scaled up our efforts to increase and diversify funding to ensure we can continue to make good on our mission and vision.

Today, thanks to over 40 key funding sources and the support of local bar associations and community members, we can continue to advocate for the elderly, victims of domestic violence, and low-income families. Interested in supporting our mission with your time or money?

Learn more about how you can help.

Board of Directors

Aaron Chapman, Esq., President

Christina Magrans-Tillery, Esq., Vice-President

Stephen Barham, Esq., Secretary

Joanie Sompayrac, J.D., M.Acc., C.P.A., Treasurer

Keith Alley, Esq.

Marsha Bryant

Sarah Carpenter

Greg Easterling, Esq.

Nancy Linkous

Jessica Malloy-Thorpe, Esq.

Henry Molter

Anna Penland, Esq.

Karissa Range, Esq.

Laura Robles

Jared Smith 

What We Do

Legal Services

LAET provides high-quality civil legal services free of charge for qualifying individuals, including areas such as consumer, housing, family, public benefits, and a range of other miscellaneous matters. We are advocates for the elderly, for families, and for victims of domestic violence and work closely with our clients to help navigate legal challenges and seek out justice.

Family Justice Centers

LAET provides services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking through offices at four Family Justice Centers in our service area. If you need help in obtaining an order of protection against an abuser, or have other legal issues related to abuse, call one of our Family Justice Center

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

You may seek an Order of Protection if you are a victim of domestic abuse or violence. Contact your county’s Circuit Court or General Sessions Court Clerk’s office. You should also contact law enforcement.

Knoxville Family Justice Center – (865) 215-6830
400 Harriet Tubman
Knoxville, TN 37914

Chattanooga Family Justice Center – (423) 643-7600
5705 Uptain Road
Chattanooga, TN 37411

Johnson City Family Justice Center – (423) 722-3720
196 Montgomery St.
Johnson City, TN 37604

Branch House (Sullivan County) – (423) 574-7233
Family Justice Center
313 Foothills Dr
Blountville, TN 37617

Medical Legal Partnerships pair lawyers with medical professionals to address the legal issues that stand in the way of achieving good health outcomes. Often there are underlying legal issues that impact a patient’s health, issues that only a lawyer can address. LAET is a partner in three Medical Legal Partnerships within our service area. These partnerships are for patients being treated at the health care facility that need legal help.

McNabb Center Mental Health Law Partnership

(McNabb Patients Only | Knox and Blount County Adult Residents Only)

If you are a patient with the McNabb Center and believe you have a legal problem, please speak with your McNabb Center caregiver who can make a referral to Legal Aid for help.

Ballad Medical Legal Partnership –  (276) 244-1289
Identify yourself as a Ballad Patient or Patient Guardian/Care Giver

(Patients at Bristol, Holston Valley, Mountain City, and Johnson City Medical Center Facilities Only)

Self-help information

We believe in empowering our communities with the legal information they need to navigate life’s challenges, and most importantly, learn when and how to seek help. It’s our vision to create an East Tennessee where justice is a community value, and we do this by promoting legal literacy.

Who We Can Help

From obtaining orders of protection for victims of domestic violence to preventing homelessness for families, LAET’s efforts have ensured that thousands of individuals in our community are given the chance they deserve. Who do we help? We represent low-income individuals and families, as well as victims of domestic violence and seniors without regard to income.

In order to qualify for services, clients must be United States citizens or in this country legally. Because our funding is not enough to assist every individual in need of legal help, we have to make hard decisions in determining the merit of each case. With our current resources allowing us to meet about 20% of the legal need in our community, we must often turn away those seeking our help.