Groups offer free legal clinics for Central Texas flood victims

The Austin and Hays County bar associations, in partnership with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), are providing free legal clinics for victims of the Memorial Day floods, addressing issues such as denials of insurance claims, problems with a landlord or mortgage company, price gouging, and replacing important legal documents.

The free clinics are offered from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at St. John’s Catholic Church, 624 E. Hopkins, San Marcos, TX 78666. Attorneys and paralegals will be on hand to answer questions.

Flood victims can also call TRLA’s Disaster Assistance Hotline at (866) 757-1570 for answers to basic legal questions and to be connected to local legal aid providers.

Texans who were affected by the disaster can also call the State Bar of Texas legal hotline, available in both English and Spanish, at (800) 504-7030. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. For more information regarding the State Bar’s flood relief resources, click here.

Other resources available for flood victims can be found at texaslawhelp.org, trla.org/centexfloods, and irs.gov.

Rutgers Law spring breakers help the poor in Austin

A group of New Jersey students spent their spring break not at the beach, but in Austin helping Texas RioGrande Legal Aid provide legal services to the poor .

The trip was funded by the Association for Public Interest Law at Rutgers-Camden School of Law, which sends students on a legal services spring break trip every year. The bill for this years' trip was about $20,000, raised through a series of fundraisers at the school.

The students left Austin this afternoon after completing 10 projects planned for them by TRLA volunteer coordinator April Kubik on cases involving home foreclosures, child custody, and more. "It was great having them in our office," said TRLA communications director Cynthia Martinez. "They were here today at 8:00 a.m. to be sure they had everything done."

New digs for TRLA

On March 5, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) will mark the completion of renovations to its Edinburg office with a special grand-reopening and dedication ceremony.

Originally built in 1980, the office was in serious need of an update. Over the last year the project doubled the work area for TRLA staff (pictured here in the new building), replaced the plumbing, and created a new waiting area for clients.

"To say that this has boosted morale among staff would be a big understatement," related TRLA communications director Cynthia Martinez.

The office, which serves more than 1,800 low-income residents of the Rio Grande Valley each year, will be dedicated to the memory of John E. Cook, a former TRLA employee and long-time champion of legal rights for the poor.

Read TRLA's press release