Texas Lawyers Helping Military Veterans

Many Texas veterans, including those returning from overseas missions in Iraq and elsewhere, often face legal needs that are difficult to meet on a military paycheck. From assistance with family law matters to securing health benefits for injuries incurred during military service, the men and women who protect our country regularly require legal attention they typically can’t afford.

For the past five years, the Texas Access to Justice Commission (TAJC) and the State Bar of Texas have joined together in a fundraising effort to help benefit Texas veterans and other deserving Texans, including the disabled, victims of natural disasters, the elderly and children.

As part of this effort, members of the TAJC and the State Bar recently gathered in Austin for the Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans, which included the announcement of more than $338,000 raised during the past year to help provide legal aid for military veterans in the Lone Star State. The State Bar and TAJC have helped raise more than $1.3 million to benefit deserving Texans since the first gala event.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht served as master of ceremonies at the Champions of Justice Gala, with Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson presenting the Emily C. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award to Fulbright & Jaworski Houston partner Stewart Gagnon and the James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award to James Harrington, Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) in Austin. Gagnon was lauded for a lifetime of pro bono work, including handling more than 50 pro bono cases in 2012 alone. Harrington, who founded the TCRP, earned high praise for his work on behalf of Rio Grande Valley farm laborers and other low-income residents in free speech, privacy and equal rights cases.

With existing legal aid programs unable to cover 80 percent of the 5.7 million Texans who qualify, the efforts made by members of the TAJC and State Bar to provide basic legal services to those who can’t afford them – especially those who have put their lives on the line for our country – is more critical than ever. 


 

Posted: 5/15/2013 12:00:00 AM by TCLE Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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