FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2013
Supreme Court of Texas Issues Order for Distribution of $1.02 million in Voluntary Access to Justice Contributions
AUSTIN, Texas—The Supreme Court of Texas today ordered the disbursement of more than $1 million in Voluntary Access to Justice Contribution funds raised through the 2013 ATJ Campaign, a partnership of the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the State Bar of Texas membership dues statement.
The $1,023,967 disbursement represents the first time donations have exceeded $1 million since 2003. The donations, which help fund civil legal services for the poor, are in addition to an annual $65 legal services fee Texas attorneys are required to pay.
“The State Bar of Texas is strongly committed to ensuring all Texans have equal access to the justice system, even if they cannot afford legal help,” State Bar President Lisa M. Tatum said. “It is exciting and moving to see Texas attorneys giving so generously to support this commitment.”
Annually, approximately 7 percent of Texas attorneys voluntarily contribute. A total of $9,232,244 has been raised through the ATJ Contribution since 1999.
The order of the Supreme Court, after receiving input from the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and the Texas Bar Foundation, calls for the 2013 Voluntary Access to Justice Contribution funds to be distributed as follows:
—$200,000 to the Texas Bar Foundation for use as follows: $50,000 for a grant to the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), $20,000 to provide stipends for law students participating in the Access to Justice Summer Internship Program, and $130,000 for civil legal services for low-income Texans; and
—The balance to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation for operational support to its grantees.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission develops and implements policy initiatives designed to expand access to, and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for low-income Texans. The Supreme Court of Texas created the commission to identify and assess the legal needs of low-income Texans and to coordinate services for people who need legal help but may not be able to afford it or find it.
The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, visit www.texasbar.com.