The State Bar of Texas was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to support the Texas Access to Justice Commission’s ongoing Access to Justice Internship Program. The ATJIP, in existence for more than a dozen years, pairs currently enrolled law students with civil legal aid programs in Texas. Internships offered during the spring and fall semesters require 200 hours of work with a civil legal aid organization, while internships offered during the summer require 400 hours of work. The grant provided by the TBF allows a modest stipend to be awarded to each ATJIP participant to offset living costs while working with their legal aid provider.
Throughout the internship, ATJIP participants learn about access to justice issues and attorney-client relationships, gain hands-on legal experience and mentorship, develop legal decision-making and advocacy skills, and provide direct legal services to low-income clients while under the supervision of civil legal aid attorneys. At the same time, legal aid providers receive skilled law students eager to apply legal skills learned in the classroom to help members of the local community resolve their legal issues, expand community outreach, and relieve some of the workload of the legal aid provider.
The Commission is grateful for the grant awarded by the Texas Bar Foundation and its longstanding support of civil access to justice efforts in Texas. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $24 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation.
Texas Legal Aid
More than 5.4 million Texans qualify for civil legal aid but only 10 percent of the legal needs are actually met due to inadequate funding resources. Legal aid organizations help more than 100,000 Texas families each year.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission was created in 2001 by the Supreme Court of Texas 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. The Commission has created several initiatives to increase resources and awareness of legal aid. For more information, please visit www.TexasATJ.org.