Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 22, 2021

LAET appoints House as interim executive director

Legal Aid of East Tennessee has appointed Debra (Deb) House as interim executive director.

“Deb is a seasoned attorney and a proven leader who will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion to her new position,” says Keith Alley, LAET board of director’s president. “The LAET Board looks forward to working with Deb as she continues to lead the organization in providing the highest quality legal services to its clients.”

LAET is a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services to low-income, elderly, disabled, abused or otherwise vulnerable East Tennesseans. LAET’s mission is to strengthen communities and change lives by providing high-quality legal services to low-income East Tennesseans. The firm serves eligible residents of 26 counties from offices located in Blountville, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Knoxville, Johnson City, Maryville and Morristown.

House, a graduate of Western Michigan University and the University of Tennessee College of Law, joined LAET in 1988 as a staff attorney in the firm’s Cleveland office.

In 2007, House moved to LAET’s  Knoxville office. She has served in various roles at LAET over the past 32 years, most recently as the director of Development and Compliance. In that capacity, she was responsible for LAET’s Development Department, Pro Bono Program and marketing and branding efforts.

She also acted, in essence, as the firm’s general counsel for grant compliance. House has led several important projects at LAET in collaboration with other statewide partners, including development of the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance and Cycles of Success projects.

In addition to the many teams, initiatives, and project she has managed for LAET, House also has served in leadership roles for many organizations, including the Knoxville and Tennessee Bar Associations, the Family Resource Agency in Cleveland, the Knoxville Family Justice Center, and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. She currently is a member of the House of Delegates of the TBA and co-chairs the KBA Access to Justice Committee.

“I am incredibly excited about leading LAET as we continue to surmount the many new challenges presented by the COVID pandemic,” House says.

“In 2020, we served our clients without missing a beat, finding new ways to deliver the essential legal services that are so desperately needed by low-income, elderly and abused East Tennesseans. This would not have been possible without the work of our dedicated staff and board of directors, the critical financial support of our funders and donors, and the volunteers who so generously devote their time, talent, and treasure to LAET every year. As we look embark on the new year, I am more confident than ever that LAET will continue to grow and prosper while providing outstanding service to our clients and our community.”