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Co-Founders of Tennessee Justice Center

For over 28 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.

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 Capitol, 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.


  • TJC advocates for Tennessee’s most vulnerable families and children, so that all Tennesseans can enjoy the dignity, security and opportunity that is every person’s right.

  • TJC’s skilled legal and policy advocacy improves the lives of tens of thousands of Tennesseans every year, from infants with special health care needs to frail seniors struggling to maintain their independence.

  • Since opening our doors in 1996, TJC has used lawsuits, legislation and coalition building to overcome injustice, winning $2 billion in health care and hundreds of millions in financial and nutrition assistance for Tennesseans.

  • TJC’s work is grounded in, and inspired by, the daily representation of individual families from Memphis to Mountain City. Our advocacy agenda is informed by our work with Tennesseans who battle injustice in their lives and in the lives of those they love.


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 or read about them in our Story Bank.



TJC uses legal tools to improve the lives of millions of Tennesseans and hold government accountable. To learn about our legal impact over the last 25 years, you can read below or click here for more. 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)

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