Charlie H. Warfield (1924 – 2020) was a champion for equal rights and social justice in the Tennessee legal community for over 50 years. Charlie valued the development of young attorneys as capable professionals devoted to public service and advancing justice for all; his accomplished career reflects just how tirelessly he worked to support legal aid lawyers in the state. His supporters have chosen to honor his legacy by bringing the Charlie Warfield Fellowship to the Tennessee Justice Center.
As a Charlie Warfield Fellow, a budding attorney will work with TJC’s Independence Team for twelve months, working to help low-income seniors and adults with disabilities get the nursing home or community-based health services they need through TennCare. Their time will be spent on CHOICES cases, TennCare’s long-term care program. CHOICES clients come to the Fellow from a place of feeling overwhelmed and underinformed. This opportunity gives the Fellow an opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of countless individuals who have been left behind due to a lack of healthcare accessibility. At the conclusion of their fellowship, they will be taking with them the skills of a social justice advocate and the values that will shape their legal careers, values Charlie shared. This opportunity is available to all third-year law students across the country, believing that Charlie’s legacy is too great to be contained to one single state.
The cases worked on by the Fellows do more than help individuals – they help the system. The individual cases inform our broader policy advocacy on how to improve life for many others. This has led to an improved ruling on state regulations affecting community services for seniors and has led to recommending amendments that would make senior services more available and effective. Margaret Danko and her daughter Jay – a survivor of congenital heart disease and Leukemia – did not expect to face a crisis when they moved to Tennessee to be closer to Jay’s specialist at Vanderbilt. Due to bureaucratic red tape, Jay lost the Medicaid coverage she relied on. Luckily, the Tennessee Justice Center’s Warfield Fellow was ready to help. Emily Quinlan, the Fellow at the time, guided them through the appeals process and together they won back her coverage.
The fellowship was generously fostered by Frank and Amy Garrison in 2015, and now it has been embraced by the love of the public. All funding for this position comes from donations. With your help, we are making the Warfield Fellowship a distinguished opportunity for students ready to launch a career in service to those who are suffering.