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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2011

Texas Access to Justice Commission Honors Two Individuals, University of Texas School of Law for Commitment to Legal Services

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Access to Justice (ATJ) Commission presented the Law Student Pro Bono Award today to Sarah Loeffler, a student at the University of Houston Law Center, and Robert Brothers, a recent graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, during the New Lawyers’ Induction Ceremony in Austin.  The Commission also honored the University of Texas School of Law with the ATJ Law School Commitment to Service Award.

ATJ Law Student Pro Bono Award
The ATJ Law Student Pro Bono Award was established in 2007 to recognize a Texas law student who has demonstrated his or her commitment to the delivery of legal services to poor and low-income Texans. Nominations for the award were solicited from each of the nine Texas law schools, legal services programs and law students themselves.  The award includes a $2,000 stipend from the Commission.

After graduating from college, Sarah Loeffler worked as a paralegal with several family law pro bono projects in New York.  She decided to go to law school in order to better assist those often denied the legal help they need.  While a student at the University of Houston Law Center she interned at the Montgomery County Women’s Center in Conroe, and in January began working as a student attorney in the Civil Practice Clinic at the U of H Law Center.  She continues to be a strong advocate for the underserved and plans to continue working in the field after graduation.

Robert Brothers dedicated countless hours to the Domestic Violence Clinic at the University of Texas where he volunteered for three semesters and continued providing help even after completing the bar exam.  Brothers demonstrated a strong commitment to helping victims become thriving survivors.  He also served as vice president of the Survivor Support Network, a law school organization that supports victims with non-legal needs such as providing emergency funding and moving assistance.  

ATJ Law School Commitment to Service Award
The ATJ Law School Commitment to Service Award recognizes a law school that most prominently advances the delivery of legal services through clinics, public interest programs, student involvement and other initiatives. Nominations for the award were solicited from each of the nine Texas law schools, legal services programs in Texas, local bar associations, alumni and law students.

The University of Texas School of Law was honored for significantly expanding its access to justice efforts through the creation of financially supportive initiatives, expansion of clinical courses, and by establishing a pro bono program designed to educate students about public service and instill a commitment to work toward equal justice long after graduation.

UT School of Law created the Justice Corps, a post-graduate fellowship program that sends new alumni to work with non-profit legal organizations serving under-represented individuals and communities across the world.  The law school also implemented a loan repayment assistance program, conducts one of the largest clinical programs in the country involving over 450 upper-class students, and created a Pro Bono Program in 2009 that now includes a pro bono pledge during new student orientation.

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 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.

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt, 512-320-0099 x 104, kschmitt@teajf.org

 
   
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