Local Pro Bono Program Receives Support from Bar Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EL PASO, Texas – September 14, 2010 – El Paso’s Community Justice Program, the newest local volunteer opportunity for private attorneys, has received funding and support from the El Paso Bar Foundation to promote pro bono opportunities and help pair low-income Texans in need with free legal services.

The Community Justice Program (CJP), a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), aims to help alleviate the high demand for free legal services by encouraging private attorneys to volunteer their time to help those in desperate situations.  Because there is only one legal aid attorney for every 11,000 low-income Texans, TRLA has to turn away one-third of the people that ask for help.  The Community Justice Program tries to eliminate that problem locally.

According to Pablo Almaguer, Private Attorney Involvement Coordinator for TRLA, “Volunteer private attorneys are vital to meeting the legal needs of low-income El Pasoans.  With the support of the El Paso Bar Foundation, we have an amazing opportunity to make sure that low-income Texans receive the help they desperately need but cannot afford.”

The CJP began operations earlier this year with recruitment sessions and an inaugural clinic held in June.  At the clinics, low-income residents are matched with pro bono attorneys who guide them through the legal process and stay with them until their issues are resolved. Additional clinics are being planned for the remainder of the year.

Added Almaguer, “It is because of partnerships with groups like the El Paso Bar Foundation and private attorneys that these programs are able to succeed.  With their support we are going to make a significant impact in the lives of El Pasoans in need.”

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.

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