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LegalAid - Texas Access to Justice Commission

I was recently appointed to serve a three year term on the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The purpose of this organization, also known as LegalAid, is to provide legal aid to the poor in civil matters. Its mission is to develop and implement policy initiatives designed to expand access to, and enhance the quality of, justice in civil legal matters for low income Texans. Due to the economy and the historic low interest rates, there is an epic economic crisis that threatens a devastating blow to the funding of our legal aid offices in Texas.

Created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 2001, the Texas Access to Justice Commission coordinates services for people who need legal help but may not be able to afford it or find it. Appointments to the Commission are made by the Texas Supreme Court and the State Bar of Texas, with the program being staffed by Texas Lawyers in Care. For almost twenty-five years, the largest source of state funding for legal aid on civil matters has been through the Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program. Under this program, which is overseen by the Texas Supreme Court, lawyers are required to hold clients' funds in a segregated bank account. The interest earned in those accounts is swept up and administered by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to provide legal aid to the poor in civil matters. However, during this current economic cycle, the Federal Reserve Board lowered the federal fund rate 15 times to its present range of 0.25% interest. In fact, funding is expected to drop to less than $1.5 million dollars in 2009, down from $20 million dollars in 2007.

The Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, and the State Bar of Texas are working together to address this funding crisis. Please email me or call me with any input or suggestions you may have. This is one cause that is worth fighting for.

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Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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