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Texas Access to Justice Foundation Awards More Than $24 Million to Nonprofits Across the State for Legal Aid to Poor
Date:9/3/2008

An additional $350,000 in law student loan grants will be awarded to Texas

public interest attorneys

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) has announced that its 2008-2009 allotment of grants, totaling more than $24 million, will be distributed to 40 nonprofit organizations throughout Texas that provide civil legal aid to the poor.

TAJF was created by the Supreme Court of Texas and is the largest Texas funder for legal services to the poor. The board of directors is appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas and the State Bar of Texas; TAJF has awarded nearly $207 million in 24 years of existence. TAJF collects and administers several funds including: Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA), Basic Civil Legal Services (filing fees, fees assessed to out-of-state attorneys practicing in Texas, and other public funding), crime victims' funds and private donations.

Each year, TAJF grantees help more than 100,000 low-income individuals with their civil legal needs. With the help of grants from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, public interest lawyers give free legal advice and representation to low-income Texans with civil legal problems, such as landlord-tenant issues, family law matters, employment law, access to earned benefits and consumer issues. Unlike the criminal justice system, low-income Texans facing civil legal problems are not guaranteed an attorney. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, Texas is the eighth-poorest state in the country, with 3.9 million Texans living below the poverty level.

"Many times, access to a lawyer can be a lifesaver to low-income families," Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said. "As the number of poor Texans continues to increase, it is imperative that we provide them the civil legal representation they need and deserve." To qualify for legal help from a program
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SOURCE Texas Access to Justice Foundation
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