Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation in Austin, has been recognized with the American Bar Association (ABA) Grassroots Advocacy Award. The award, which honors her efforts in securing legal aid funding and ensuring access to justice for low-income Americans, will be presented April 18 during a reception at the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Every day, families go without much-needed protection from abuse, benefits to which they are entitled, and they lose homes because they are unable to access the justice system due to inability to afford a lawyer," Torres said. "As lawyers, we each have a role to play to ensure that everyone has access to our judicial system. That access is not possible without critical funding of legal aid programs that do the day-to-day work and provide the infrastructure and support to thousands of lawyers doing pro bono work in this country."
Torres will receive one of five ABA Grassroots Advocacy Awards. Among the other recipients is the Texas Supreme Court, which is being recognized for its key role in obtaining funding for legal services during the last legislative session.
"The justices of the Supreme Court of Texas deserve special recognition for their outspoken support of legal services. Every community in Texas is a beneficiary of their dedication to equal access. The justices demonstrate yet again their commitment to be the ultimate guardians of our liberty,” said ABA President William T. "Bill" Robinson III.