G. Gordon Bonnyman, 2018 Kutak-Dodds Prize Winner

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For 45 years, Gordon Bonnyman has practiced poverty law, focusing for much of his career on improving access to healthcare for the poor and uninsured. Gordon lives by his vision of working with dedicated colleagues to bring about positive change for low-income families.

During the first 23 years of his career, Gordon served as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee. He was part of a team that, through individual representation and class action advocacy, enhanced human dignity and quality of life for people unable to afford legal representation in a wide variety of cases.

In collaboration with visionary Legal Services colleagues and bar leaders, Gordon co-founded the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC), a public interest law firm. TJC is part of Tennessee’s Equal Justice network advocating on behalf of vulnerable Tennesseans. Gordon served as executive director from TJC’s founding in 1996 until 2014, when he returned to full time practice as a staff attorney at TJC. Gordon uses his decades of legal knowledge and connections to serve individual clients and support efforts to protect and improve Medicaid in Tennessee and nationally. In addition to Gordon’s work in Tennessee, his commitment to human dignity extends beyond his community. During sabbaticals, he and his wife, Claudia, lived in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where they worked for human rights organizations.

Gordon has addressed a variety of cases such as nursing home regulations, prison conditions, hospital pricing abuses, home health care, confinement of children with disabilities, due process for Medicaid recipients and many others. Gordon’s work has given due process rights to juvenile defendants, freedom to children in state custody, and healthcare to many people who would not be able to afford it on their own.

NLADA is proud to recognize Gordon’s achievements for the rights of those who cannot afford legal representation in his community and nationally with the 2018 Kutak-Dodd’s Civil Prize.