News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation
February 28, 2012

Awards Presented to Laredo Judges and Lawyers During Historic Texas Supreme Court Visit

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Access to Justice Foundation will honor several Laredo judges and lawyers on Feb. 28, at approximately 6:45 p.m. at the LaPosada Hotel for outstanding pro bono efforts benefiting the local community.   The Pro Bono Star Awards will be presented by the Supreme Court of Texas, in conjunction with their historic visit to hear oral agruments in Laredo. 

Those receiving recognition for their support of the local Social Justice Night Court program, a successful pro bono court where litigants are represented by pro bono attorneys in uncontested civil cases, include:

  • Judge Oscar J. Hale, Jr. 406th District Court
  • Judge Joe Lopez, 49th District Court
  • Judge Monica N. Notzon, 111th District Court
  • Judge Elma Teresa Salinas Ender, 341st District Court
  • Judge Jesus "Chuy" Garza, County Court At Law No. 2
  • Judge Alvino "Ben" Morales, County Court at Law  No. 1
  • Esther Degollado, District Clerk

Local attorneys receiving the Pro Bono Star Award for outstanding pro bono efforts that benefit the local community include:

  • Jose L. Arce, II
  • Martha Cigarroa de Llano
  • Richard Gonzalez
  • Israel M. Reyna
  • Luciano Adrian Rodriguez

“Pro bono work is increasingly important as we find ways to join together in helping the millions of Texans who cannot afford basic legal services,” said Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the court’s liaison for access to justice issues.   “As the number of those in need increases, and our legal aid funding sources decrease, pro bono efforts are tremendously vital to delivering access to justice to all, not just for those who can afford it.” 

Visit to Local Legal Aid Office

In addition to the Pro Bono Star Award presentations, the justices of the Supreme Court of Texas will be visiting the local office of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at approximately 1 p.m., following their oral arguments that morning at Texas A&M International University.

Legal aid organizations funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation help more than 120,000 low-income Texas families each year with their civil legal needs. Yet, for every person who is helped with legal aid, a qualifying Texan is denied assistance due to a lack of resources. Currently, only one legal aid lawyer is available to provide assistance for every 11,152 Texans who qualify.

# # #

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the leading 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 120,000 Texans each year.

 


 

 

 

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