AUSTIN ATTORNEYS SING, STRUM, DANCE ON STAGE On a hot summer night, around 200 people gathered at Austin’s Highball karaoke bar to watch 21 attorneys put on a variety of artistic performances, from guitar and lyric dance to haiku battle poetry and storytelling. The sold-out event, held on July 30, was the Austin Asian American Bar Association’s second annual Evening of Attorneys in the Arts, which the organization hopes will connect lawyers in different segments of the legal industry (the bench, Big Law, solo practice, boutique firms, government employees, etc.), as well as strengthen the bond between the legal and arts communities. The night also featured LuckyChaos Theater’s improv comedy skits highlighting the event’s 15 sponsors, as well as AAABA President Chad Anson, patent and intellectual property legal director at Dell, who was the master of ceremonies. Proceeds benefited Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas and the Austin Asian American Film Festival. Guzman presents access to justice awards Several local bars were recognized for their access to justice efforts during the State Bar of Texas Bar Leaders Conference on July 25 in Houston. Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman presented awards on behalf of the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The 2015 Deborah G. Hankinson Award recipients—honored for creating initiatives that increase access to legal aid services, increase awareness of access to justice issues, or raise funds for local or statewide legal aid providers—included the Houston Lawyers Association, the El Paso Bar Association, the Austin Bar Association, and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. The 2015 Pro Bono Service Awards went to the Smith County Bar Foundation and Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services for their efforts toward creating self-sustaining pro bono projects that motivate lawyers. TAJF awards more than $63 million to nonprofits The Texas Access to Justice Foundation announced that it will distribute more than $63 million in grants over the next two years to 30 nonprofits that provide legal aid to disadvantaged Texans. The funds are substantially supported by the 84th Texas Legislature’s $17.56 million biennium appropriation in general revenue for basic legal aid. The foundation reports that more than 5.6 million Texans qualify for legal aid, but less than 20 percent of their civil legal needs are being met. TAJF has awarded more than $480 million since its inception in 1984. For more information, go to teajf.org. Baylor Law and firm with Texas offices receive ABA pro bono awards Baylor Law School was the only legal education institution to receive a 2015 Pro Bono Publico Award from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service at the ABA Annual Meeting on August 1 in Chicago. The ABA committee said that it selected Baylor Law School because of its pro bono opportunities for students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Immigration Clinic, and People’s Law School program where volunteer lawyers educate the community about their legal rights. Jones Day, a global firm with offices in Houston and Dallas, also received an award, partly for its efforts focused on detained migrants in Texas, which included sending lawyers to military bases and detention facilities where immigrants were held and conducting “know your rights” presentations.
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