News Release

September 6, 2022

Statement from Hon. Deborah Hankinson, Chair, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

On the Passing of Harold Kleinman, Founding Chair

AUSTIN, Texas –  The following statement was issued today by Hon. Deborah Hankinson, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation:

We join family and friends as they mourn the passing of Harold Kleinman, the founding chair of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.  Mr. Kleinman was a legendary lawyer at Thompson & Knight in Dallas, a leader in many legal and civil organizations, and a faith-filled public servant. Respected by his peers in his profession, he was chosen by the Supreme Court of Texas to lead the newly formed Texas (Equal) Access to Justice Foundation in January 1985 and served as our visionary Chairman until June 1991.

Mr. Kleinman was critical in creating the Foundation and setting it on a path to its success to help the many disadvantaged Texans who cannot afford legal services. He led by example and established the highest standards of fairness, objectivity, compassion, resourcefulness and competence in his pioneering role.  He also ushered the Foundation through it’s conversion from a voluntary program to the current comprehensive structure that remains today. The Foundation honored Mr. Kleinman by creating an award bearing his name in 1995 that is bestowed on those exhibiting his outstanding character, commitment and dedication to legal services for the poor.

Mr. Kleinman was a trusted mentor and role model to me, personally and professionally.  I am so very honored, as Chair of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, to follow in his footsteps and to continue his work serving those in need of civil legal help.


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 100,000 Texas families each year.


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


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