A $150,000 gift made by a Bristol, Tenn., native will support community members in need of estate planning through the wills clinic at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law.
The clinic, which gives law students real-world experience in trust and estate matters through their work with economically disadvantaged clients in the area, will be renamed the Homer A. Jones Jr. ACTEC Wills Clinic in honor of Jones’ contribution.
“This gift by Mr. Jones supports a valuable service to members of the community who are in need of estate and trust legal services,” said Doug Blaze, dean of the College of Law. “Reaching out to those in need in our community, while offering our students opportunities to practice their craft, makes the wills clinic one of our best offerings at UT Law. We’re grateful for this support.”
Jones, a third-generation Bristolian, died in January 2011 at the age of 90. His gift to the UT College of Law was one of his final philanthropic efforts in a lifetime marked by service to his state and community.
Jones received his juris doctor and his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in the early 1940s. He was self-employed in the practice of both law and accounting.
His interests over the years extended into both banking and real estate. Jones held several leadership roles in prominent banking institutions from the 1960s through the 1980s, from president to chairman of the board. Along with partners in the area, he built the first two Holiday Inn hotels in Bristol and went on to grow the chain across the region. He designed, constructed and operated several nursing homes in the Tri-Cities.
In the mid-1970s, Jones devoted his attention to the practice of estate planning and trust administration law. He was the first lawyer in the upper east Tennessee region to become a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a nonprofit association of trust and estate lawyers peer-elected to membership based on substantial contributions to the field of trusts and estates law. There are only two other ACTEC members from the Tri-Cities and both hail from the trusts and estates firm Jones founded, Jones, King, Downs and Peel, P.C.
He was a lifelong supporter of his community, giving to charitable organizations both privately and through his foundation work in the areas of health, education and the arts.
The wills clinic is funded by a grant from the ACTEC Foundation, an organization that promotes scholarship and education in trust, estate, tax and related areas of the law by supporting scholarship to improve the law and by encouraging teaching, careers and lifelong learning in the area. The foundation also encourages civic engagement through programs and activities that serve the general community, including the at-risk and underserved.
The Homer A. Jones Jr. ACTEC Wills Clinic at the UT College of Law is overseen by Professor Amy Hess and taught by Adjunct Professor Barbara Johnson.