News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
August 10, 2020

American Bar Association appoints executive director of Texas Access to Justice Foundation to three new positions

Betty Balli Torres oversees Texas’ largest funding source for civil legal aid and selected for new ABA commissions

 AUSTIN, Texas––The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF), the leading funding source for civil legal services to the poor in Texas, today announced its executive director, Betty Balli Torres, has been appointed by the American Bar Association (ABA) to three new positions within the organization. Balli Torres will serve as the chair to the ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities; a special advisor to the ABA Commission on Immigration; and a member of the ABA Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Her terms on each will last for one year and began on Aug. 4 of this year.

“Betty is a dedicated advocate for low-income Texans and a champion of legal aid,” said Deborah Hankinson, incoming TAJF board chair. “She works tirelessly to ensure that everyone has access to justice system and the American Bar Association is gaining a valuable voice.”

Since joining TAJF as executive director in 2001, Balli Torres has supported the nonprofit’s vision of justice for all through various campaigns and programs. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, she started her career as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Central Texas, where she saw first-hand the work of pro-bono attorneys and organizations she would later help fund. She has held various public interest law positions and has served on many local, statewide and national committees, boards and task forces related to access to justice. She has also been engaged in activities related to racial equity and diversity.

 Balli Torres has earned many accolades for her decades of commitment to equality and justice. In 2018, the Austin Bar Association named her the Distinguished Lawyer of the Year and honored her with the Regina Rogoff Award and Grassroots Advocacy Award. She is also a recipient of the Tower of Justice Award (Texas Legal Services Center), Outstanding Public Interest Attorney Award (Travis County Women Lawyers Association), the “Nonny” Award for Outstanding Nonprofit Leadership in Austin, the “Star of Justice” Award (Texas Access to Justice Commission), the prestigious Harold Kleinman Award, and the Community Service Award and Chair’s Award (Hispanic Issues Section-State Bar of Texas).

As the first in her family to graduate high school, Balli Torres experienced the effects of inequality as she moved often throughout the country, which contributed to her to desire to study law in the first place. After attending a legal aid clinic while in law school at the University of Texas, Balli Torres knew that this would be the type of law she wanted to pursue. Her professional accomplishments, including these new appointments by ABA, reflect her dedication and drive.

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About the Texas Access to Justice Foundation: The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the largest 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 150,000 Texas families each year. For more information, please visit:

About the American Bar Association: The American Bar Association (ABA) is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.  


Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104


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