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Texas Pro Bono Legal Information, Resources and Assistance

The Preamble to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct states that "every lawyer ... should find time to participate in or otherwise support the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged. The provision of free legal services to those unable to pay reasonable fees is a moral obligation of each lawyer as well as the profession generally."

Texas Pro Bono Summary: Providing equal access to justice and quality legal representation to all Texans is central to the State Bar's mission. The State Bar of Texas promotes pro bono representation and encourages Texas lawyers to support legal services programs by meeting the SBOT Aspirational Standard for Pro Bono.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) is the leading funder of legal aid in Texas. The vision of TAJF is that all Texans, regardless of income, will have equal access to the civil justice system. With TAJF funding, legal aid organizations provide assistance in civil matters to more than 100,000 low-income Texans each year. Texas is served by three legal aid programs funded by Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which together cover every county in the state.

  1. Lone Star Legal Aid (Nacogdoches) serves the East Texas Service Area.
  2. Northwest Texas Legal Aid (Fort Worth) serves the Northwest Texas Service Area.
  3. Texas Rural Legal Aid (Weslaco) serves the Southwest Texas Service Area.

These programs provide a range of civil legal services. More than half the cases handled are family law cases; other cases are primarily in the areas of housing, consumer law and public benefits. LSC programs are generally prohibited from accepting cases that are likely to generate attorney’s fees from the opposing party.

A limited number of non-LSC staff-based programs operate in Texas. The majority of these programs serves a specific client group or addresses a specific type of issue.

Examples include:

  • Advocacy, Inc. (disability-related issues),
  • Texas Civil Rights Project (civil rights & discrimination) and
  • Immigration projects (immigrants & asylees).

Texas Pro Bono Contacts:

Betty Balli Torres
Executive Director
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
P.O. Box 12886
Austin, Texas 78711-2886

Pro Bono Awards:

Frank J. Scurlock Award: This award honors an individual attorney, in good standing, who has provided outstanding pro bono work. The award is named for the late Frank J. Scurlock, the first chair of the Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee.

Pro Bono Award: This award honors a volunteer attorney organization that has made an outstanding contribution toward guaranteeing access to the legal system by the poor.

J. Chrys Dougherty legal Services Award: This award recognizes an outstanding legal services staff attorney.

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