HBA expands veterans clinic

Each Friday, the Houston Bar Association’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers provide free legal advice in all areas of civil law to veterans and spouses of deceased veterans at the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. Thanks to a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, beginning in July, the clinic’s operating hours will expand to 1 to 5 p.m. The funding will also allow an additional staff attorney to join the project.

“We are incredibly proud of our Veterans Legal Initiative,” HBA President Laura Gibson said in a press release. “Now, thanks to the Texas Bar Foundation, the VLI will be able to assist even more of our nation’s heroes and better their experience overall.”

The VLI began in 2008 and now serves more than 2,500 veterans annually. For more information, go to hba.org.

Texas Bar Foundation will invest $23,500 in protective order initiative

Last year, the Texas Advocacy Project provided legal services to 9,718 Texans, including hundreds of callers seeking information about protective orders for victims of abuse. According to the group, those who receive protective orders are 80 percent less likely to be re-victimized than those who do not.

But for various reasons, victims don’t always receive them.

In an effort to confront the issue, the Texas Advocacy Project’s Protective Order Call Back Initiative enlists retired attorneys to call back victims who have previously worked with the group but have experience obstacles in obtaining protective orders. In support of the cause, the Texas Bar Foundation has announced plans to invest $23,500 in the Protective Order Call Back Initiative.

“Often times, the legal system can be intimidating and challenging,” said Heather Bellino, executive director of the Texas Advocacy Project. “But the Protective Order Call Back Initiative will give us the opportunity to make sure our clients are able to get safe.”

For more information, to go texasadvocacyproject.org or txbf.org. If you or someone you know needs help, call (800) 374-HOPE.

Scholarship luncheon to benefit Hispanic law students

The Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas Foundation will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Houston for its annual scholarship luncheon, which provides financial support to six law students who best exemplify leadership, commitment, justice, and equality. Each Houston-based law school selects two scholarship recipients.

“It is important that we encourage a new generation of lawyers to not only be great lawyers but to also give back to the legal community,” said attorney Benny Agosto Jr., founder of the MABATx Foundation and partner in Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston.

Now in its ninth year, the luncheon will honor community pioneers who demonstrate the ideals of the foundation, including Michael and David Cordúa of Cordúa Restaurants (Outstanding Service as Entrepreneurs); Daniel Velasco, marketing manager of the Houston Texans (Outstanding Service in the Media); Harris County Sheriff Deputies (Outstanding Service as Public Servants); and Judge Elsa Alcala of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (Outstanding Service to the State of Texas).

Judge Denise Collins of the 208th Criminal Court will deliver a keynote address.

Established in 2006, the MABTx Foundation is a nonprofit organization that encourages justice and leadership within the Hispanic community. Since its beginning, the foundation has hosted the annual scholarship luncheon as its principal fundraising effort for the year. To date, the group has raised over $150,000 to benefit law students and further the organization’s purpose.

For more information on the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas Foundation, contact Benny Agosto Jr. at bagosto@abrahamwatkins.com, (713) 222-7211, or by letter at 800 Commerce St., Houston 77002.

Texas Bar Foundation provides grant to design education center

The Texas judiciary has plans to develop a Judicial Civics and Education Center and, because of a $50,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, the project is now in the design phase.

Anticipated to be located in the entry-level corridor of the Tom C. Clark Building within the Capitol Complex, the education center is expected to include interactive civic displays, historic exhibits, and a conference space for lectures and forums.

“The center will be a game changer for the Texas Judiciary,” said Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. “It will tell the fascinating judicial history of Texas through compelling stories.”

The Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Office of Court Administration, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, and all 14 Courts of Appeals collaborated to create a vision for the center.

“Numerous studies have shown that a lack of civic education is a growing problem in our country,” said David Slayton, administrative director of the Office of Court Administration. “Having a proper understanding of the judicial branch and its role in government is essential to enhancing the administration of justice.”

For more information, contact Megan LaVoie at Megan.LaVoie@txcourts.gov.