News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
August 12,  2020
 

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Sponsors Five Equal Justice Works Fellows in Public Interest Law Projects

Fellows will spend two years at legal aid organizations working to increase access to justice

AUSTIN, Texas––The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF), which provides grant funding for civil legal aid in Texas, today announced its sponsorship of five Fellows in the 2020 Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowship program, a national opportunity for law school graduates to launch their careers through public interest law projects of their own design.

Over the next two years, the five TAJF-sponsored Fellows will complete their projects in various cities across Texas and will be hosted by civil legal aid organizations funded by TAJF. These projects were personally designed by each Fellow to address a specific need in the community they will be serving in.

“Each year, Equal Justice Works Fellows create innovative projects that help address legal issues for Texas communities in need,” said Betty Balli Torres, executive director at TAJF. “We’re proud to sponsor five Fellows this year as they begin their careers as civil legal service leaders.”

This year, EJW received 432 Fellowship applications. Of those, 78 were chosen, including the five from Texas. As graduates of Baylor School of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law or The University of Texas School of Law, the TAJF-sponsored Fellows will join the statewide effort to assist Texans in need, as well as the larger national effort to respond to legal issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

"Equal Justice Works is grateful to TAJF for their outstanding commitment to helping fulfill our nation's promise of equal justice for all," said Sara Morello, executive vice president at Equal Justice Works. "For more than 20 years, Equal Justice Works has partnered with TAJF to launch the careers of more than 65 passionate public service leaders, many of whom continue to deliver critical legal services to underserved communities in Texas."

The five TAJF-sponsored Fellows, their service area and the focus of their individual projects are:
 
  • Alicia Alvarado, American Gateways, Waco – Represent immigrants in the Waco area who are detained or who have been recently released

  • Leslie Alvarez, Disability Rights Texas, McAllen – Represent South Texas children with disabilities to ensure access to specialized services

  • Chase Porter, Lone Star Legal Aid, Houston – Fight for environmental justice and community development in Texas Gulf Coast communities

  • Laura Tucker, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Alpine – Increase access to civil legal aid to rural residents of Far West Texas

  • Caitlin Machell, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Dallas – Promote housing stability and income maintenance for persons with serious mental illness in Dallas County.

Caitlin Machell’s fellowship is co-sponsored with Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

For a complete list of the 2020 Equal Justice Works Fellows, host organizations and sponsors, please click here.

 

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About the Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.tajf.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 150,000 Texas families each year.

 

About Equal Justice Works
Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. We bring together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice. Following their Fellowships, more than 85% of our Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities across the country.

 


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

 

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