Austin Bar to offer free veterans legal clinic April 14

Austin-area veterans can receive free legal advice through a clinic offered by the Austin Bar Association.

The association hosts a free legal advice clinic for veterans each month, and the next clinic is 1-4 p.m. April 14 at the new Austin VA Outpatient Clinic at 7901 Metropolis Drive.

Sign-in will take place from 1 to 3:30 p.m. No appointments or reservations are necessary.

Attorney volunteers will provide brief legal advice but will not offer services such as wills or divorce filings at the clinic. If participants need further legal assistance, the association will provide local legal resources.


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Free legal clinic for veterans set for Jan. 18 in Conroe

A free legal advice clinic for veterans will take place Saturday, Jan. 18 in Conroe, the Houston Bar Association announced Thursday.

The clinic will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Conroe VA Outpatient Clinic at 800 Riverwood Court, Suite 100. No appointment is necessary.

The clinic will provide an opportunity for any veteran or spouse of a deceased veteran to receive counsel from a volunteer attorney in any area of law—including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate, and tax law—as well as disability and veterans benefits.

Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid will be assigned a pro bono attorney through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers.


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Champions of Justice Gala raises $338,000 for veterans

The Champions of Justice Gala benefiting veterans was held on Tuesday, April 23, at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center in Austin. Some of Texas’ most prominent lawyers, members of the Texas Supreme Court, members of the Texas Legislature, and State Bar of Texas leaders gathered for the special event. Texas Access to Justice Commission Chair, Harry Reasoner, thanked them for their continued support to expand access to justice for the underserved.

Guest speakers included Paul Melton, President of Board of Directors of the Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation and Lt. Michael E. Thornton, U.S. Navy Seal (Ret.), Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

Lt. Thornton is the only Medal of Honor recipient in over a century to save the life of another Medal of Honor recipient. He reads the U.S. Constitution once a month to ensure he continues to understand its meaning. He thanked the State Bar of Texas and its members for leading the way nationwide to help veterans, and for helping to open the eyes of other state bars about what lawyers can do to help. Lt. Thornton noted how important this mission is to him, “Giving back to the greatest nation in the world that has given me everything in the world.”

Melton spoke about the debt we have to the men and women who are fighting for our country. "We are returning veterans at a faster pace than has been seen since 1945," Melton said. He referred to the people in attendance as the best in the Texas legal profession and emphasized that there is no higher calling than pro bono efforts on behalf of veterans.

The Emily C. Jones Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Stewart W. Gagnon of Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston for his years of pro bono work. Gagnon advocates for the most vulnerable Texans through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers program, veterans’ legal clinics, and legal helplines. Gagnon thanked the Access to Justice Commission for honoring those who rush to help those in need. 

James C. “Jim” Harrington, executive director of the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin, received the James B. Sales Boots on the Ground award for his singular contributions that have made an extraordinary impact. He has dedicated 40 years to legal service, working tirelessly for equal rights for migrant workers, the handicapped, children’s privacy, and battered women. Harrington said that his clients’ faith in the system gives him the faith to move forward — access to justice is a group effort and all of those in attendance are one community who believe in equal access to justice.

The awards were presented by Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. Chief Jefferson acknowledged Chief Justice Jack Pope's 100th birthday last week, and noted that Chief Pope is responsible for inaugurating Texas IOLTA.

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TAJF grant application deadline for legal aid to veterans extended to May 1

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) has extended the application due date until May 1, 2013 for proposals to fund legal aid programs that provide civil legal services for low-income Texas veterans. Proceeds from the Champions of Justice Gala for Veterans have been designated to fund these grants. 

These funds are to address the increased demand for legal services at a time when many veterans are returning from the war in Afghanistan. Selected applicants will help increase, support and deliver free civil legal services that help low-income Texas veterans with many critical civil legal services in matters such as family law, employment, housing, consumer, bankruptcy and probate as well as including filing claims for compensation or pensions from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Legal assistance is also needed for representing veterans in filing claims for indigent veterans suffering from service-connected disabilities. The scope of work to be funded can also help family members of living or deceased veterans apply for VA benefits. 

Grant applications will be submitted online through the TAJF web grants online system which will require applicants who are not existing grantees to register and once approved, complete the online application and submit it by the due date of Wednesday May 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm. You can access the online grants system by going to For more information, contact Jonathan Vickery at or 1-800-252-3401 ext. 110

Bastrop Country Veterans Benefit Fair

The Bastrop County Veterans Service Office will host a veteran’s benefits fair and outreach even on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bastrop County Courthouse Annex. This event is open to all veterans, active duty, reserve and National Guard military members and their families.

Learn about veteran health care, compensation, pension, education, employment, survivors’ benefits, home and land loans, life insurance, burial honors and many other potential benefits in addition to free legal consultation and guidance for filing claims and appeals. No appointment is necessary and the event is free.

For more information contact the Bastrop County Veterans Service Office at 512-581-4006 or via email at

Bastrop County Courthouse Annex
Second Floor Conference Room
804 Pecan St., Bastrop