Attorney Recognized with Community Service Award

Loza received the Community Service Award at the Hispanic Issues Section Reception

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) attorney Richard Loza has been awarded the Pete Torres, Jr. Community Service Award from the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas.

The award was presented yesterday, June 18th, at the Hispanic Issues Section reception held during the State Bar’s Annual Meeting. The award is given to an individual or organization who has demonstrated a history of service and commitment to the Hispanic community. It is named after Pete Torres, Jr., the first Chair of the Hispanic Issues Section. Continue reading

Success Story: Pursuing Higher Education and Helping Others

Krystal shares a moment with her daughter at her college graduation.

Krystal had aged out of the foster care system determined to build a good life. So she got into college and started pursuing her degree. But shortly into her education, she encountered a problem with her financial aid. Her school’s financial aid office had contacted her claiming that they miscalculated the support she needed by $1300. They demanded she repay the money before she could continue going to school or have her transcript released to another institution. Not knowing what to do, Krystal turned to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)’s Foster Youth Justice Project for help. Continue reading

Legal Aid Helps Victims of Central Texas Floods

TRLA advocates help disaster victims at St. John’s Catholic Church in San Marcos.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has activated its disaster assistance hotline and advocates have begun conducting free legal clinics in response to the devastating floods that hit Central Texas over the Memorial Day holiday.

In the aftermath of the flooding, residents can encounter a variety of legal issues including denials of insurance claims, problems with a landlord or mortgage company, and price gouging.  Residents may also need legal assistance to replace copies of important legal documents, apply for disaster assistance through FEMA, or obtain disaster-related unemployment or public benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security. Continue reading

Attorneys Honored with Pro Bono Award

Lauren Joyner (left) and Claire Antonelli (Right) at the 2015 Law Day Gala

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) attorneys Claire Antonelli and Lauren Joyner have been honored by the Hidalgo County Bar Association (HCBA) with the John E. Cook Pro Bono Award.

The award was presented Friday, May 15th at the HCBA Law Day Gala. The award is presented to a bar association member who has done exceptional pro bono work by providing free legal services to the poor.  Antonelli and Joyner were recognized for coordinating pro bono legal efforts to help with the influx of undocumented immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley in 2014. Continue reading

Easy-to-Understand Court Orders Improve Outcomes and Save Money

An evaluation of a test project in Texas and California has shown that plain language court forms can save money in court costs and increase protections for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, particularly among low-income and Spanish-dominant individuals.

The evaluation, done by NPC Research, reviewed pilot projects in Travis County, Texas and Sonoma County, California and found that the use of easy-to-understand legal documents reduces the number of no-shows at important court hearings and contempt filings in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. In Texas, this resulted in an estimated savings of $4,600 per case and saved both court and county resources. Continue reading

Reed Honored with 2015 Public Interest Award

TRLA attorney Mary Christine Reed with the 2015 Public Interest Award

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) attorney Mary Christine Reed has been honored by the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association and the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation with the 2015 Public Interest Award.

The Public Interest Award is intended to honor an individual practicing law in Travis County who shows their merit in their work, their volunteer activities, and the atmosphere they create in the workplace. The award was presented on Friday, May 1st as part of the Annual Grants and Awards Luncheon held by the groups.

Reed is currently the director of TRLA’s Foster Youth Justice Project. She has been with TRLA for more than 20 years and was previously the director of TRLA’s Telephone Access to Justice (TAJ) program. She is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.

Fuchs Recognized with Noble Award

Fred Fuchs (left) accepts the Noble Award from fellow TRLA attorney Nelson Mock (right).

Last night the Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas recognized Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) attorney Fred Fuchs with the Noble Award.

Fuchs is an attorney and the housing group coordinator with TRLA. He teaches a Housing Clinic through the University of Texas at Austin each spring and is a Vietnam-era veteran. Continue reading