MEMPHIS – Today, Everytown Law, the largest and most experienced team of litigators in the U.S. working full-time on advancing gun violence prevention in the courts, announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the University of Memphis School of Law to fund the creation of an innovative clinical position to support pediatric victims of gun violence.
The University of Memphis School of Law, through the support of a grant provided by the Everytown Law Fund, will establish an Everytown Legal Fellow at the law school who will supervise between eight and ten law students working at the law school’s Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Clinic at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
The Everytown Legal Fellow and law students enrolled in the MLP clinic will serve the immediate civil legal needs of victims and their families. Cases may cover a wide range of issues, including housing relocation, domestic violence and firearm surrender matters. The Everytown Legal Fellow will also help to educate the next generation of attorneys to address gun violence through the legal system in a region where gun violence rates are historically high.
“This first-of-its-kind program will ensure that Memphis children and their families who have been impacted by gun violence have the support and resources that they need – it can and will change their lives,” said Len Kamdang, Director of Litigation Strategy and Trials at Everytown Law. “For so many of the families who will be supported through this new partnership, it will be their first opportunity to receive free legal services, especially at such a crucial moment following tragedy.”
“One of the most unique aspects of our law school is our ability to make an important impact, not only within the legal community, but also throughout the city of Memphis as a whole,” said Katharine Schaffzin, Dean of the University of Memphis School of Law. “Through our partnership with Everytown Law, the incredibly impactful work being done through our MLP Clinic at Le Bonheur will be enhanced and broadened to help improve the lives of the children in our community. At the same time, our law students, as well as the medical community at Le Bonheur, will learn about innovative new ways to address some of the problems created by gun violence and the toll it takes upon the well-being of all of those in our city, especially our children.”
Tennessee has the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation. In Memphis, gun homicide rates have risen considerably over the past five years and research shows that Black people in Memphis are 3.5 times more likely to die by gun homicide than white people. Of all cities in Tennessee that reported data to the FBI in 2021, Memphis had the highest gun homicide rate, at nearly 50 deaths per 100,000 people. This was the second highest gun homicide rate among cities that reported data to the FBI in the entire South. Memphis also experienced the largest increase of any city in Tennessee in gun homicide rate from 2020 to 2021, at 5 percent.
So far in 2023, there have been 6 unintentional shootings by children in Shelby County, 5 of which took place in Memphis and led to 4 injuries and 1 death – and one which occurred in a suburb of the city, in Collierville, which led to one death. These 6 incidents make up more than one-third of the total of unintentional shootings by children in Tennessee in 2023.