News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Texas Access to Justice Commission
October 22, 2013

National Pro Bono Week is October 21-27

Kickoff Event Honors New Supreme Court Chief Justice and Access to Justice Supporters

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Access to Justice Commission (TAJC) and Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) kicked off Texas Pro Bono Week yesterday during a reception honoring new Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht and numerous law firms, organizations and banks that support access to justice efforts in Texas.   

The event is part of the National Pro Bono Celebration that focuses the nation's attention on the increased need for pro bono services during these challenging economic times and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year.  Governor Rick Perry and the Supreme Court of Texas both issued proclamations designating this week as Pro Bono Week in Texas.

During the Pro Bono Week reception, the Commission and Foundation recognized the outstanding efforts of recently retired Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. 

The TAJC and TAJF also presented the following awards to supporters and partners in access to justice:

Champion of Justice Law Firm Awards

This year's Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign raised more than $1,020,000 from more than 7,000 attorneys across the state.  Awards were presented to 16 Champion of Justice Law Firms. The six firms recognized for raising the most dollars were: Vinson & Elkins; Norton Rose Fulbright; Andrews Kurth; Baker Botts; Jackson Walker and Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody. Ten other firms received awards for having the highest amount of participation: Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta; Beirne Maynard & Parsons; Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell & Mehl; George, Brothers, Kincaid & Horton, LLP; KoonsFuller; Lynch, Chappell & Alsup; Slack & Davis; Wood Boykin & Wolter; Zelle Hoffman Voelbel & Mason; and Davidson Troilo Ream & Garza.

20-Year Pro Bono College Honoree – Kelly R. Harrington

Flower Mound attorney Kelly R. Harrington was honored for 20-year membership in the Pro Bono College.  The Pro Bono College recognizes attorneys who have far exceeded the State Bar of Texas’ aspirational pro bono goal in their efforts to address the vast unmet legal needs of the poor by providing more than 75 hours of eligible pro bono service a year.  

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Resolution – Construction Law Section

The TAJF Board of Directors presented a resolution commending the tremendous financial support of the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas to legal aid in Texas.  Since 2007, the Construction Law Section has donated more than $205,000 to the Foundation for civil legal services to disadvantaged Texans.

Legacy of Justice Award – Greenberg Traurig LLP

The law firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP received the Legacy of Justice Award for their partnership in sponsoring Equal Justice Works Fellows in Texas.  The firm has co-sponsored three fellows with TAJF since 2010; launching the careers of public interest lawyers.  Fellows are recent law school graduates that develop new and innovative legal projects that impact lives and serve communities in desperate need of legal assistance.

Prime Partner Bank Recognition

Also recognized were the Austin-area Prime Partner Banks who provide extraordinary interest rates through the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program.  Those banks include:  Bank of the Ozarks, Commerce National Bank, Horizon Bank, Northstar Bank of Texas, PlainsCapital Bank, and Southwestern National Bank.  

A complete list of events taking place in Texas during Pro Bono Week can be found by visiting: http://www.probono.net/celebrateprobono/events/location.2013-10-01.Texas.

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The Texas Access to Justice Commission was created in 2001 by the Supreme Court of Texas to develop and implement policy initiatives designed to expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for low-income Texans. The Commission has created several initiatives to increase resources and awareness of legal aid. For more information, please visit www.TexasATJ.org.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the primary state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to approximately 100,000 Texas families each year.

 

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104
kschmitt@teajf.org

 

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