The Tennessee Supreme Court has approved a retired attorney to be the first to take part in the court's new pro bono emeritus program, according to court spokesman Laura Click.
On Tuesday, Richard R. Ruth, of Chattanooga, received pro bono emeritus status, meaning he will provide services under the supervision of Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Click said.
The Supreme Court program allows retired attorneys to provide pro bono legal services through legal assistance organizations that offer free services to Tennesseans who are unable to afford legal counsel.
The pro bono emeritus rule gives retired attorneys the authority to perform all legal work, without pay, on behalf of a client. Pro bono emeritus attorneys may represent the client in court with the approval of the judge hearing the case.
The program became effective Jan. 1.