For over 20 years, the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has been standing with vulnerable Tennessee families and helping them access basic necessities of life. After Congress placed restrictions on legal services programs, effectively creating a two-tier justice system, community and bar leaders from all parts of our state and from every part of the political spectrum, came together to form TJC to fill the gap. You can read more about our co-founders Michele Johnson and Gordon Bonnyman here.

TJC has made an incredible impact for families from Memphis to Mountain City, for moms and children with special needs, for older adults and caregivers, for people with disabilities and those who need long-term care, and many, many more. We help our neighbors one-by-one to cut through red tape to access vital, sometimes life-saving services like health care and nutrition benefits, and then use what we learn to improve systems affecting many more. Whether in the courtroom, newspaper, or capital, TJC advocates for a state that reflects our communities’ shared values, that protects the dignity and opportunity of every person, and that supports the health care and economic infrastructure on which all our communities depend.


clients served
in health care secured
unemployed workers able to eat
Tennesseans won right to appeal when HMO denies care
kids have improved access to care
single mothers gained employment
enrolled in affordable coverage by trainees
app built to share TJC’s knowledge across the state (AskJane!)


Our clients inspire us and drive the work that we do. They are hardworking moms, advocating for their children with autism. They are caregivers of aging parents, finding one-on-one help to keep their independence in the community. They are parents who face losing everything they’ve built for their families after illness or injury. Every day, their courage and love and willingness to speak out for a better state for all of us is a privilege to witness. Watch some of them tell their stories below.


TJC uses legal tools to improve the lives of millions of Tennesseans and hold government accountable. Some of our legal successes include:

  • Winning tens of thousands of Tennesseans whose TennCare applications are delayed (some for many months) the right to appeal. (Wilson v. Gordon)
  • Securing and defending for decades appeal rights for individuals whose TennCare HMOs denied services ordered by their doctors. (Binta B. v. Gordon)
  • Winning extensive improvements to TennCare services for over 750,000 children, ensuring they had access to all medically necessary services ordered by their doctor. (John B. v. Emkes)
  • Ensuring that thousands of Tennesseans were granted notice and appeal rights when the State sought to terminate their TennCare eligibility. (Rosen v. Goetz)
  • Protecting the health and independence of older adults and people with disabilities by ensuring access to comparable services at home rather than a nursing home. (Newberry v. Goetz)


Stroll down memory lane and see what TJC was up to in past years by reading our year-end letters. See how much we’ve grown and how far we’ve come.

2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 20162015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007