The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, or TAJF, and the Texas Access to Justice Commission honored Texas senators and representatives with the Legislative Hero Award for their contributions to improving access to justice for Texans during the 88th legislative session at a luncheon on October 31.

The TAJF and the Texas Access to Justice Commission launched the Legislative Hero Award program in 2010 to recognize legislators who, through their efforts, significantly advanced access to justice in Texas by assisting with the appropriation of funds or other substantive activities related to the provision of legal aid in the state. The awards were presented by Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. This year’s keynote speaker was Ron Flagg, president of the Legal Services Corporation, one of the largest nationwide funders of civil legal aid for low-income Americans.

Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini, of Laredo, and State Rep. Joe Moody, of El Paso, were recognized for their efforts in passing a bill related to the payment of certain court costs associated with interpreters. Texas Sen. Charles Perry, of Lubbock; State Rep. Jeff Leach, of Plano; and State Rep. Lulu Flores, of Austin, were recognized for a bill creating a mechanism for utilizing unclaimed IOLTA funds in lawyers’ accounts for civil legal aid.

“We are grateful for the efforts and noteworthy accomplishments made by these Texas leaders in advancing access to justice in Texas,” said TAJF Board of Directors Chair Deborah Hankinson in a press release. “We are honored to recognize these elected officials, as they are changing the lives of Texans in need of legal aid.”

Arnold & Itkin, and the State Bar of Texas Hispanic Issues Section were honored with the Access to Justice Award, which recognizes these organizations for hosting fundraisers this year benefiting legal aid.

For more information about the TAJF, go to For more information about the Texas Access to Justice Commission, go to

PHOTO: Supreme Court of Texas Justice and TAJF Liaison Brett Busby speaks during the TAJF luncheon. Photo courtesy of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.