The State Bar Poverty Law Section honored five attorneys at its annual conference, which concludes today. The section awarded its Noble Award for Lifetime Achievements in Poverty to Texas Legal Services Center attorney Randall D. Chapman, which was presented by Texas Access to Justice Commission Chair Jim Sales. Sales lauded Chapman for his work in the Texas Legislature and his work on behalf of poor Texans.
Impact Awards, which honor Texas attorneys or poverty law professionals for a significant poverty law case, were given to Kevin Paul Dietz of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, John W. Kennedy of Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, attorney and Texas Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin), and Susanne C. Seré of Lone Star Legal Aid. Dietz and Kennedy were honored for their work representing families of the Yearning to Zion Ranch in the FLDS case last year. Seré was championed for her efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Ike obtain housing. Naishtat was awarded for his work in the Texas Legislature on behalf of poor Texans.
Legal aid attorneys from around the state who attended the conference received presentations on such subjects as dealing with ethical dilemmas in everyday practice, debt collection, and assisting identity theft victims. The conference featured speakers Gerald McIntyre, a directing attorney at the National Senior Citizen Law Center in California, and Houston attorney Rich Tomlinson.