In response to the commands of Jesus and the obvious need of those unable to pay for legal services, Compassionate Counsel exists as a Christian legal aid ministry to offer free legal advice, guidance, and in select cases, representation to those unable to pay for such service in middle Tennessee.
The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission reported that nearly 70% of the poorest Tennesseans had at least one civil legal problem in 2003 and that 1 in 5 Tennesseans cannot afford to pay for even basic legal assistance.
With the number of those living in poverty rising, the need for legal services is now greater than ever. Despite the hard work of legal aid societies and pro bono legal clinics across the State of Tennessee and the country, the number of people needing legal assistance is staggering and more help is needed.
Therefore, on February 14, 2011, on a day when the country celebrates “love,” Compassionate Counsel, a Christian legal aid ministry, was legally formed as a non-profit corporation to help meet these overwhelming legal needs. Several months later, Compassionate Counsel received approval from the Internal Revenue Service as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) entity.
In response to the two greatest commandments as given by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39 to: 1) love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind and 2) to love your neighbor as yourself, Compassionate Counsel exists to share and show the love of Jesus by offering free legal advice, guidance, and in select cases, representation to those unable to pay for such service.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Compassionate Counsel?
Compassionate Counsel is a nonprofit Christian legal aid ministry which exists to share and show the love of Jesus by offering free legal advice, guidance, and in select cases, representation to those unable to pay for such service in middle Tennessee. The organization was founded in 2011 to meet the overwhelming need for legal services among those living in poverty in Tennessee.
Compassionate Counsel is an official Gospel Justice Center with the Gospel Justice Initiative, a nationwide network of gospel-focused legal aid ministries. Compassionate Counsel is also the official legal aid affiliate of the Christian Legal Society of Greater Nashville.
What does Compassionate Counsel do?
Over the last six years, Compassionate Counsel has touched more than 500 lives by providing free counsel in clinics, free legal workshops, and referrals to attorneys willing and able to help further with their specific needs. We also offer to pray with those we serve, and are unashamed, when appropriate, to proclaim the Gospel message that inspires us to service.
Compassionate Counsel does not undertake any criminal defense cases and would only get involved in divorce proceedings in certain Biblically supported and extremely limited cases.
You can learn more about what we do here.
How does Compassionate Counsel work?
Compassionate Counsel provides legal services by coordinating a network of volunteers able to help and then connecting that network with those in need by working alongside established ministry partners.
We partner with ministries such as the Nashville Rescue Mission, to provide legal clinics to the homeless men and women going through their Life Recovery Program, and the Babb Center, to provide legal clinics to the men and women who come through their doors for counseling who need legal assistance. We also provide free legal workshops for programs such as The Gift, an annual event for single moms orchestrated by Long Hollow Baptist Church.
Who works for Compassionate Counsel?
The work of Compassionate Counsel is made possible by the grace of God and the generous work of a network of compassionate individuals willing to donate their time, talents, and treasure to the cause of the poor and downtrodden. Our network of volunteers is made up of Christian attorneys, paralegals, law students, ministers, counselors, and concerned citizens willing to step up to the plate to meet the great and tangible needs for legal services in our community.
The administration of Compassionate Counsel is handled by its Executive Director, Nick Tidwell, and its Board of Directors. Mr. Tidwell helped to found the organization back in 2011 and has led it ever since, even as he has transitioned from the full time practice of law to full time ministry as Executive Pastor of Administration and Discipleship at First Baptist Church in Gallatin, TN. The other board members are Chuck Cline, Jeremy Bussell, Robert Pautienus, III, Rick Barnette, and John Key.