News Release

Texas Access to Justice Commission
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
April 19, 2010

Texas Access to Justice Commission Hosts Gala Benefiting Legal Services for Veterans

AUSTIN, TexasThe Texas Access to Justice Commission will host the Champions of Justice Gala for Veterans benefiting civil legal services for veterans on Tuesday, May 4, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin. Host committee chairs for the gala include prominent Texas attorneys who are donating their time for the effort: David J. Beck of Beck, Redden & Secrest, L.L.P. in Houston, Hon. Deborah G. Hankinson of Hankinson Levinger LLP in Dallas, Joseph D. Jamail of Jamail & Kolius in Houston; and Charles W. Matthews of Dallas.  Sponsorships and individual tickets are available for purchase at

Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill will serve as master of ceremonies and renowned Texas trial lawyer Joseph D. Jamail is the keynote speaker.  Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:15 p.m.   A U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard will begin the evening’s events and the new Texas Supreme Court Liaison to the Commission, Justice Nathan L. Hecht, will give concluding remarks.

As the economic crisis continues to drastically affect funding for legal aid, it has also increased the number of people desperately needing basic civil legal services – among those are many veterans of our nation’s wars.   Veterans returning from tours of duty can be beset by legal problems, including marital problems, difficulties in getting medical or disability benefits, wrongful foreclosures, or unscrupulous people who have taken advantage of their absence. 

“We owe access to justice to those in the armed services who are defending our country and to the families of those who did not return,” Harry M. Reasoner, Commission chair, said. “Legal assistance can change lives and enable them to get disability payments, housing or medical care which is rightfully theirs.”

The Champions of Justice Gala for Veterans coincides with the efforts of incoming State Bar of Texas President Terry Tottenham, of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in Austin, focused on assisting veterans.  Tottenham’s “Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans” initiative, modeled on a successful program of the Houston Bar Association, will develop a network of lawyers to assist veterans with civil legal issues who otherwise could not afford counsel. 

Top-tier sponsors for the Champions of Justice Gala for Veterans include: David J. Beck, ExxonMobil and Charles W. Matthews, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Jamail & Kolius, Vinson & Elkins LLP, AT&T, King & Spalding LLP and Shell Oil Company.  Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Texas Access to Justice Foundation for the provision of civil legal aid for veterans.  The Foundation provides funding to nearly 40 nonprofit legal aid organizations throughout the state.  Currently in Texas, more than 5.3 million people qualify for legal aid.

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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


The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (, 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 more than 100,000 Texans each year.

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104


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