We are passionate about family! It is who we are and what we do. Our team is a seasoned group of professionals with a wealth of experience in law. Our board of directors bring many varied talents and life experiences to the table. We believe in diversity and community! Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is here to serve the community with legal services in the area of Family Law, to help those who otherwise might not be able to afford quality legal services in all aspects of Family Law. Who we are…
Lauren Henderson: Board President and Executive Director
Lauren Henderson, president, founder, and executive director of the Legal Tree, weds nearly a decade of experience in the nonprofit and legal sectors with a lifelong desire to catalyze equity in her community in her role at The Legal Tree. Driven by the motto, “don’t work to live, live to do meaningful work,” she started The Legal Tree after “hearing so many stories about people unable to get the child support they needed, or adopt a child, because they couldn’t afford an attorney but didn’t qualify for government support. It broke my heart. I saw a need that I can help meet.”
Lauren holds a B.A. in English and History and an M.E. in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University. She earned her J.D. from Belmont University in 2014.
Lisa Abel: Board Treasurer and Executive Assistant
Lisa Abel has a rich professional history in legal and administrative services. She earned her paralegal degree from The Brown Mackie College in 2002 and has served the legal and consumer industries with expertise as a law clerk, document technician, paralegal, and administrative assistant for more than 10 years.
“I joined The Legal Tree for a couple of reasons. I literally had a dream one night that we started a law office. So, I thought it a good idea to tell Lauren and she laughed at me. Well, a little while went by… Then, one day, Robbie and Lauren asked me to be a part of this Nonprofit. And here we are! Secondly, I remember looking around my brother’s neighborhood at night with all of the houses’ windows lit up. And I’d wonder: I hope the babies are safe. I hope families are safe. What can I do to help them if they do need help? I’m so proud to be a part of The Legal Tree and excited to help families grow, restoring safety and finding perfect permanence for those that reach out to us.”
Lisa’s organizational acumen, in tandem with her unerring ability to recognize, assess, and meet each client’s unique needs, make her an indispensable member of every team.
Robbie Bell: Board Secretary and Director of Legal Services
One of The Legal Tree’s most seasoned legal experts, Robbie Bell has been licensed to practice law in Tennessee since 1984. She received her J.D. from the Nashville School of Law, after which she dedicated more than 30 years’ of service to the state of Tennessee, serving variously as Deputy General Counsel to the Bureau of Health Licensure and Regulation, Director of Health Related Boards, Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Children’s Services, Special Counsel to the Commissioner for the Department of Employment Security, and General Counsel for the Department of Personnel.
Robbie entered private practice in 2007. She provides general counsel and services in practice areas including juvenile law, family law, administrative law, wills and estate planning, health law, contracts, and LGBT issues. She joined The Legal Tree “because stability for a family and permanence for a child should not impacted by the lack of access to legal services. Having worked for the Department of Children’s Services and practicing in the Juvenile Court, I have seen the need for legal services at a reduced rate or free. I am excited to be a part of The Legal Tree, Inc. I know we will make a difference in the lives of children and families.”
Stephen Nix: Board Member
As a professional musician, entrepreneur, and Director of Music at Hillsboro Presbyterian Church, Stephen Nix contributes an aptitude for budgets, strategic public outreach, and management to The Legal Tree. His 20 years as a church staff member, combined with his experience mentoring songwriters and fellow musicians, also render him an adept interpersonal communicator, dedicated to helping other people achieve through personal care.
Stephen holds a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Alabama and an M.A. in Piano Pedagogy and Arranging from Louisiana State University. He joined The Legal Tree because he believes that “having affordable legal help and representation is a necessity. There are many legal issues that can’t be addressed without proper professional help. Everyone deserves a right to quality legal counsel and guidance.”
Mary A. Coleman: Board Member
Mary A. Coleman holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of South Carolina and an M.A. in Psychology from Antioch University. She has been in private practice as a psychotherapist since 2001, during which time she also spearheaded the establishment of the Counseling Center at the Art Institute of California and served as the center’s Director of Counseling Services. Her additional professional accomplishments include the supervision and training of interns seeking licensure through the Clare Foundation.
Mary joined the The Legal Tree because, “Having worked as a teacher and therapist in both public and private school settings, I have witnessed firsthand the injustice of a legal system geared only to those who can afford it. From excellent foster parents unable to adopt a child they love to women and children trapped in abusive family systems, The Legal Tree will enable all families to utilize resources to make much-needed changes in their lives.”
Andrei Ellen Lee: Board Member
Highly skilled in litigation, nonprofit operations, community outreach, fundraising, and education, Judge Andrei Ellen Lee has been a practicing attorney for more than 33 years. She is currently retired from the Davidson County, Tennessee Division II Court, where she served as a General Sessions Court Judge after becoming the court’s second judge in 2003. Judge Lee has been a practicing attorney in her own firm since 1980 while maintaining an active career as an educator, teaching criminal justice at Kaplan Career Institute, ITT Technical Institute, and Cumberland University.
Judge Lee is a graduate of Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Chemistry. She earned her J.D. from the University of Detroit in 1979.
Steven Gregory: Board Member
Steven Gregory’s robust career history of client service, negotiations strategy, professional mentorship, and conflict de-escalation inform his work with The Legal Tree. Since 2012, he has worked in various positions of increasing responsibility at Verizon Wireless, where he currently serves as Technical Expert, troubleshooting all Verizon products and providing ongoing customer consultation and care.
Steven earned a B.A. in Music with a minor in Secondary Education from Middle Tennessee State University in 2010.