Pro Bono College members, Champion of Justice law firms honored at reception

The Texas Access to Justice Commission kicked off Pro Bono Week on Monday with a reception honoring law firms and individual attorneys that support access to justice efforts in Texas. 

Gov. Rick Perry and the Supreme Court of Texas both issued proclamations designating this week as Pro Bono Week in Texas. The commission’s annual reception, held at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins in Austin, started off the week by celebrating the supporters of the commission’s Access to Justice Campaign, as well as those who support access to justice throughout the year by providing pro bono legal services.

“Every person deserves access to the courts,” said Jenny Smith, the Texas Young Lawyers Association liaison to the commission. “If we as lawyers don’t provide that, no one will.”

 

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Dallas lawyer selected for ABA award

Kim J. Askew, partner in K&L Gates in Dallas, was recently named as the recipient of a 2015 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Askew, one of four winners, will receive the award during a Feb. 7, 2015, ceremony at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston.

The Spirit of Excellence Award is presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and demonstrate a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Askew, the 2003-2004 chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, specializes in complex commercial and employment litigation. She is a longtime leader in the State Bar, ABA, and Dallas Bar Association.

Pro Bono Spotlight: Taylor Lamb

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the National Pro Bono Celebration (Oct. 19-25). Pro bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more people in the legal community to get involved. Today, we feature Taylor Lamb for her invaluable work in the Houston legal community.

The Houston Bar Association, the Houston Bar Foundation, and the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers established the Veterans Legal Initiative in 2008 to serve the legal needs of Houston’s large veteran population. In 2011, a Texas Access to Justice Foundation grant allowed the initiative to partner with other bar associations to establish Saturday legal clinics in a 17-county area where low-income veterans had little access to pro bono legal services.

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Foundation celebrates pro bono week, honors legal aid advocates

Texas access to justice leaders marked the start of the weeklong National Pro Bono Celebration on Monday with tributes and awards to attorneys, legislators, and organizations that make legal aid a central part of their work.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation presented the awards during a luncheon with the Texas Supreme Court in Austin. The event coincides with national pro bono week (Oct. 19-25), an American Bar Association initiative to highlight the need to protect and expand access to justice through volunteer civil legal services.

Attorneys provide more than 2 million hours of free legal or indirect services to low-income Texans each year, the equivalent of about $500 million, according to the University of North Texas Survey Research Center. But for every 11,000 Texans who qualify for legal aid, there is only one legal aid lawyer, according to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. The luncheon honored those who are working to address that need.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Texas C-BAR, Texas CASA, and Patrick Maher

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the National Pro Bono Celebration (Oct. 19-25). Pro bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved. Today, we feature Texas C-BAR, Patrick Maher, and Texas CASA for their invaluable work.

Texas C-BAR is the only project of its kind in Texas. Texas C-BAR provides free legal resources and pro bono transactional legal services to organizations working to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods and for high-risk populations. One such organization is Texas CASA.

Texas C-BAR pro bono volunteers and Texas CASA have a longstanding working relationship. CASA trains volunteers throughout Texas to become Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children as they navigate the court system.

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Corporate Counsel and Litigation sections award grants

For 17 years, the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas has provided grants to legal service organizations that help encourage and train in-house counsel to participate in pro bono work. Several other State Bar sections—including the Real Estate, Probate, & Trust Law and Immigration sections—have similar programs.

Supported by funding from its annual Corporate Counsel Institute and Lexology, the Corporate Counsel Section’s pro bono grants program has provided approximately $437,000 over the years. In the 2013-2014 bar year, the section gave $43,500 in grants to the following groups:

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Rocío García

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the National Pro Bono Celebration (Oct. 19-25). Pro bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. Today, we are featuring Rocío García for her invaluable work in the Dallas legal community.

Rocío García, an attorney at Perkins Coie, is a pro bono champion and longtime volunteer with Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc. (CCD).

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National Black Pre-Law Conference celebrates decade of inspiring black lawyers

The National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair will host its 10th annual celebration in honor of empowering aspiring black lawyers.

The free event will be held Friday and Saturday in the Houston Marriott Westchase. Late registration begins today and ends Wednesday.

The conference brings together aspiring lawyers, parents, supporters, friends, law students, judges, and law school representatives to help students begin their law school career with “insider” information and encouragement on their journey to become successful attorneys.

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Casemaker and Fastcase: Reviews from the trenches

This summer, the State Bar of Texas became the first bar association in the nation to offer its members access to both Casemaker and Fastcase. While this is no doubt exciting for those attorneys who already know the benefits offered by these two legal research products—others might be wondering how it affects their daily practice and how the two products differ.

At $2,000, the State Bar has estimated that access to Fastcase and Casemaker is the most valuable benefit it provides for its members. Deciding which of the two to use largely depends on personal preferences as the platforms have distinctive designs and user experiences (for example, some liken Fastcase to using a Mac and Casemaker to using a PC).

Here’s what two lawyers—one a fan of Fastcase and the other preferring Casemaker—have to say about their experiences. To get more information on all the differences between Fastcase and Casemaker, read the September Texas Bar Journal’s Technology column.

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Texas lawyers, legal organization to receive ABA Difference Makers Awards in San Antonio

Three Texas attorneys and a San Antonio legal services organization will receive national awards for breaking down barriers through community service, pro bono work, and service to the legal profession, the American Bar Association announced today

The list of 2014 Difference Makers Awards recipients includes State Bar of Texas Immediate Past President Lisa M. Tatum, former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Houston immigration lawyer Harry Gee Jr., and RAICES, a San Antonio-based legal services and education organization for refugees and immigrants.
 

 

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