Annual Shelter Conference Held in San Antonio

Conference participants listen to Justice ONeill speak to the importance of their work.

Conference participants listen to Justice O'Neill speak to the importance of their work.

For the ninth year in a row, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) held our annual Legal Access to Rural Shelters (LARS) Conference and joined with local domestic violence shelters to share the latest developments in helping victims rebuild their lives.

Held at the Omni Hotel in San Antonio, participants began the conference by hearing from prominent legal aid supporter and Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill. O’Neill, who has been a powerful voice for legal aid funding issues in recent months, spoke to the importance of providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence.

According to O’Neill, the work of both shelters and TRLA is of the utmost importance to victims of domestic violence. As she stated in her opening, the work that advocates do is vital to a victim’s future as “Legal aid can mean the difference between life and death.”

Throughout the three-day conference participants heard from TRLA attorneys and representatives from other public interest groups on issues including protective orders, preparing clients for court, helping domestic violence victims in the military, and pro se options.

“This was another great conference for TRLA and our partner shelters,” said LARS director and TRLA attorney Maricarmen Garza. “Every year we are able to do more good work to help us provide the best services possible to people in desperate times of need.”

At the conference TRLA also presented its annual Private Attorney Involvement awards to ten attorneys who have given their time to helping victims of domestic violence at no cost. A special look at their work can be found in this edition of the TRLA Times.

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