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Faith Held

About Faith Held

Faith Held’s parents had a profound effect on her belief system that she could never escape. Her first memories are of attending city council meetings and marching in rallies alongside her father, a local community organizer who has worked for the last twenty years in Knoxville’s low-income communities. “I hated it at the time, because it involved a lot of sitting quietly in church basements and listening to the grownups talk,” she says. “But I picked up important lessons along the way about giving everyone a voice, even if it sometimes means yelling on their behalf.”

Meanwhile, she watched her mom build a law firm from the ground up. “There,” she says, “I saw firsthand why it was important to fight the good fight, practice honesty at all costs, and stick up for the little guy.”

At the age of 18, Faith married a man in the military and had a baby. At 20, she got divorced. She remembers, “As a stay-at-home mom up to that point, I saw how hard it was to get back on my feet as a single parent, even with loads of family support. But I also knew a lot of people were way worse off than I was. I wasn’t any more deserving than they were; I was just lucky. I wanted to pay it forward.”

Faith began her education in social work. She earned admission into the accelerated honors program and multiple scholarships for her academic work and undergraduate research. Still, she was frustrated by the lack of her ability to help people on the scale she had imagined. She heard from caseworkers who admitted feeling ineffective because their hands were tied by the agency they worked for. She knew countless people being denied assistance due to outdated policies and public servants who refused to do their job. Frustrated by this, she wanted to learn how to change the broken parts of the system. So, she re-directed her studies toward communications and political organizing.

Now, Faith leads Held Law Firm’s Advocacy Project. She connects clients with information and resources, and identifies where those resources should to be better developed to meet their needs. While Held Law Firm’s lawyers focus on representing individual clients in the courtroom, Faith develops solutions to problems faced by clients outside the courtroom by working with community allies to effect policy change.

Meanwhile, as the firm’s paralegal, she helps clients collect evidence to strengthen their case. She helps them show the court that they are doing everything possible to help themselves and their family. Her days involve everything from connecting them with housing and employment resources, to organizing their files.

Faith works to paint a larger picture of clients’ needs by working with both the larger community and individual people. Doing this helps ensure that everyone gets the representation that they deserve; and that’s the very reason that she loves what she does.

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