News Release

Texas Access to Justice Commission
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Nov. 15, 2011

Statement from Harry M. Reasoner and Richard L. Tate on Funding Cuts to Texas LSC-funded Legal Aid Programs

Austin, Texas – The following statement was issued today by Harry M. Reasoner, chair of the Texas Access to Justice Commission and Richard L. Tate, chair of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation board of directors:

“We learned today that a House-Senate conference agreement cuts funding to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) by $56,190,000, or 13.9 percent.  The entire cut comes from funding for basic field programs, amounting to 14.8 percent of the critical funding used by LSC grantees to provide access to justice in the United States

In Texas, the three largest providers of civil legal services – Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Lone Star Legal Aid, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid – will face a combined reduction of 15 percent, approximately $4.8 million, for Fiscal Year 2012 in funding from the LSC.  This is in addition to the four percent cut these programs received earlier this year, and will result in significantly fewer services available to those most in need.    Legal Services Corporation funding comprises approximately one-third of the funding for legal aid in Texas.  These cuts are exacerbated by the precipitous decline of revenue from the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, a primary source of legal aid funding, due to historically low interest rates.

Clearly, this is a challenging environment for fiscal decisions, as it is also for the more than six million low-income Texans who qualify for legal aid. This funding cut will directly affect the families who desperately seek representation in cases like those involving child abuse, domestic violence, foreclosures, and denial of disability benefits to veterans.

We are extremely grateful for the leadership and support of /span> Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in this arduous budget process, as this cut represents a compromise that splits the difference between the Senate and House appropriations bills.  We also are fortunate to have the support of the Texas Legislature, which provided critical state funding to help deal with some of the gap resulting from the IOLTA funding crisis.  Regrettably, the LSC cuts further widen the already existing gap.

We must continue our work in finding solutions for funding legal aid at the national, state, and local levels. We will continue to support the State Bar of Texas in efforts to increase the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of pro bono representation now being given and to enhance alternatives such as self-representation for those who cannot obtain any kind of legal representation.  We will also continue to inform lawmakers, lawyers and the public about the critical need for legal services and the role of the rule of law in these very difficult economic times.”

# # #

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 or 512-944-4021


Recent News


Sept. 2, 2020

TAJF Adds Houston Attorney Travis Torrence to Board

Aug. 25, 2020

TAJF Names Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Deborah Hankinson as Board Chair

Aug. 12, 2020

TAJF Sponsors Five Equal Justice Works Fellows

Aug. 10, 2020

American Bar Association Appoints TAJF Executive Director to New Positions

June 25, 2020

Nearly 50 Prime Partner Banks Remain Committed to Funding Civil Legal Aid

June 9, 2020

No Justice, No Peace - By Betty Balli Torres

May 21, 2020

Jamail Endowment Supporting Legal Services for Texas Veterans Reaches $1M  

May 2020

Join us for Justice Jam - May 20  A musical fundraiser for the Emergency Legal Aid Fund

April 16, 2020

Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault Essential and Readily Available During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 9, 2020

TAJF Establishes Emergency Legal Aid Fund to Help with COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar. 24, 2020

Statement on COVID-19 and the Impact on Legal Aid

Feb. 10, 2020

Keystone Bank Joins Prime Partner Bank Program

Dec. 23, 2019

TAJF Awards Grants in Honor of John Grisham, 35th Anniversary

Nov. 6, 2019

Texas Veterans Legal Aid Week is Nov. 10-16

Oct. 28, 2019

Best-selling author John Grisham highlights TAJF's 35th Anniversary: Richard Tate Honored with Kleinman Award

Oct. 8, 2019

TAJF Adds Three New Members to Board of Directors

Sept. 12, 2019

David Insley Awarded Randall Chapman Fellowship

Aug. 12, 2019

John Grisham Will Be Special Guest at TAJF 35th Anniversary Dinner

June 10, 2019

Texas Capital Bank Joins Prime Partner Program



More news

© 2020 Texas Access to Justice Foundation