Pro Bono Spotlight: Jeremy Coe

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 Jeremy Coe for his invaluable work in East Texas.

Jeremy Coe, the founder of the Coe Law Firm, has volunteered with both the Smith County Bar Foundation and Lone Star Legal Aid for several years. There is always a shortage of attorneys to handle contested divorce cases, especially those that have domestic violence components, in East Texas counties.

 

Coe stepped up to the plate to meet this need. He not only handles complex divorce cases, he also takes a pro bono case at a moment’s notice and regularly has more than one pro bono case on his docket. His dedication to pro bono is an integral part of his law practice; his firm has 100 percent pro bono participation.

Coe received the 2013 Smith County Volunteer Attorney of the Year award for his extensive work with litigating domestic violence cases. He is fluent in Spanish, which makes him invaluable as a pro bono attorney for clients with limited English proficiency.

Coe is a fourth-generation East Texan who studied law at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He is a member and former president of the Rusk County Bar Association.

 

Pro Bono Week Spotlight Day 2: Vicki Carlson

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the celebration of National Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26). 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 Vicki Carlson for her invaluable work in the Waco-Killeen legal community.

Vicki Carlson of Killeen is an attorney at the Carlson Law Firm. In addition to running the firm’s growing bankruptcy department, she is a former Waco Bankruptcy Bar president and current member. Carlson was presented the 2013 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year award by Nicolas Serna, managing attorney of the Belton branch office of Lone Star Legal Aid, at the annual Bell County Bar Association’s Law Day Banquet on May 9. The award plaque reads, “For outstanding contributions toward making legal services possible for low-income families and individuals.”

Upon receiving the award, Carlson said that out of all the clients she has served, the ones referred by Legal Aid’s pro bono program have been her most enjoyable.

 

Lone Star Legal Aid is one of three legal services providers, federally funded through the Legal Services Corporation, that serve every county in Texas. Lone Star Legal Aid serves 72 Texas counties with a service area of nearly 1.5 million income-eligible residents. Legal Services Corporation, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and multiple grants generously fund Lone Star Legal Aid.

Show You Care: If you would like to find out why Carlson feels pro bono clients are her most enjoyable, please contact the State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division at (800) 204-2222, ext. 1855, or probono@texasbar.com to connect with a pro bono provider or program.

 

State Bar of Texas, ABA, Lone Star Legal Aid and Local Bar Associations Stand Ready to Assist Texans Impacted by the Disaster in West, Texas

The State Bar of Texas has established a disaster legal hotline – 800.504.7030 – to assist people with basic legal questions following the devastating plant explosion in West, Texas.

The hotline – answered in English and Spanish by Lone Star Legal Aid – is intended to help low-income persons affected by the disaster with such issues as replacing lost documents, insurance questions, landlord-tenant issues, and consumer protection issues such as price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process. Residents can call and leave a message any time. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. 

A partnership between the State Bar of Texas, Texas Young Lawyers Association, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Lone Star Legal Aid, local bar associations, and other legal services providers throughout Texas is making a range of assistance available.

Additional resources are available at www.texasbar.com/disasterresponse and www.texaslawhelp.org.

The State Bar of Texas reminds the public that solicitation of a potential legal case is a crime unless the lawyer has a family relationship with you or you have been a client of the lawyer in the past or are currently a client. Solicitation of you is also a crime if perpetrated by a non-lawyer employee or representative of the lawyer, unless the previous conditions exist. Please report any prohibited contacts by lawyers or their representatives, whether in person, telephone or otherwise, to your local law enforcement authority or the State Bar of Texas at 877.953.5535.

Attorneys who want to volunteer to help may visit our Disaster Relief and Attorney Resources page.

Free clinics to help service members obtain stop loss pay

Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) will conduct two free clinics to help veterans and active military apply for RetroActive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) before the current deadline of April 8, 2011. Service members who believe they are eligible for RSLSP are encouraged to attend LSLA free help clinics on April 4 and April 5 in Killeen, Texas. Both clinics will take place at the Killeen Community Center from 9 am – 4 pm located at 2201 East Veterans Memorial Boulevard, in Killeen. LSLA attorneys and staff will be there to assist the eligible service members with the application process.

Service members, veterans, (and their beneficiaries) whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss, a forced extension of active duty military service, between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 may be eligible for RSLSP. Congress has extended the deadline several times to allow eligible persons extra time to apply for the pay and recently extended the deadline through April 8 under the Continuing Resolution the federal government is operating under.

The RSLSP additional payment of $500 for each month of involuntary service, results in average payments to service members of $3,700, an amount that could make a difference for a service member and their family now. This money could be especially important for families who qualify for free legal services. The average veteran or service member who qualifies for free legal services with Lone Star Legal Aid is living under the Federal poverty guidelines; this money could absolutely change their lives. 

Service members who plan to attend the April 4 or April 5 free clinics should bring all required forms to the clinics. For a complete list of the required forms visit your branch of military’s website or http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0710_stoploss/.


For more information please contact Rebekah Mason, Staff Attorney, at (713) 652-0077 or at rmason@lonestarlegal.org.
 

Next Texas Legislative Hero Award will go to Texas Senator Steve Ogden

The next Texas Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award will be awarded to Texas Senator Steve Ogden during a special ceremony on Friday, September 24, at 1 p.m. at the Lone Star Legal Aid office in Bryan, Texas.

The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Texas Access to Justice Foundation Legislative Hero Award recognizes legislators who have significantly advanced access to justice in Texas by assisting with the appropriation of funds and/or other substantive activities related to the provision of legal aid in the state.

Steve Ogden is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives before he was elected Senator for District 5.