NASHVILLE, TN — Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit legal services firm, announced recently that longtime employee Lucinda Smith, director of the firm-wide Volunteer Lawyers Program, is leaving the firm after 16 years. Andrae P. Crismon Sr., managing attorney of Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro office, has been promoted to take over Smith’s role.
Smith has led Legal Aid Society’s pro bono work since joining the firm in 2003. She initiated the firmwide Volunteer Lawyers Program in 2014, helping to expand pro bono support from two to 48 counties in Middle Tennessee by developing and strengthening partnerships with law firms in Nashville. In this position, she created partnerships with law firms and lawyers that provided volunteer lawyer resources to represent up to 2,500 clients annually.
“Lucinda has been a bedrock of our firm for the past 16 years, and we have nothing but gratitude for the crucial work she’s done to make free legal advice more accessible to low-income Middle Tennesseans,” said DarKenya W. Waller, executive director of Legal Aid Society. “We wish her all the best and thank her for her years of dedication.”
Smith joined in 2003 as the first attorney director of the Nashville Pro Bono Program Inc., a position she served in until 2013. In 2008, she also took on the role of managing attorney of Legal Aid Society’s Nashville office, serving in that role until 2011.
Before coming to Legal Aid Society, Smith was an attorney with Dodson, Parker, Behm & Caparella from 1991 to 2003. She also served as an adjunct family law professor at Vanderbilt School of Law from 2007 to 2010. She received her J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law and her B.A. from Southern Methodist University.
“I’m very proud of what we have accomplished in working with volunteer lawyers at Legal Aid Society and am looking forward to the next chapter in my career,” Smith said. “I’m privileged to have worked beside so many talented and intelligent people who’ve dedicated themselves to achieving equal justice for all Tennesseans.”
Andrae Crismon has served as managing attorney of Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro office since 2011. During that time, he restarted and managed a student internship program with MTSU’s School of Social Work, allowing the office to better serve its Rutherford and Cannon County service area. He joined Legal Aid Society in 2007 as an attorney. During his time working at the firm, Crismon has helped hundreds of families maintain their homes through his housing work, saved his clients over $100,000 through his tax advocacy and helped many deserving clients gain SSI benefits.
Before coming to Legal Aid Society, Crismon was a contract attorney in the law offices of J. Houston Gordon in Murfreesboro. He earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Vanderbilt Law School in 2003 and his bachelor of science from Middle Tennessee State University in 2000. He is a member of several professional and civic organizations, including the Rutherford-Cannon County Bar, the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Alliance of Legal Services.
“Andrae has served in a key role as a managing attorney of our Murfreesboro office, and we know he’ll be the ideal person to take over as director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program, one of our most important initiatives,” Waller said.