Texas Bar Associations Celebrated for Improving Legal Assistance to Low-Income Texans

Monday, July 25, 2022
Press Release


Texas Bar Associations Celebrated for Improving
Legal Assistance to Low-Income Texans

Houston – Bar associations from around the state of Texas were honored for their commitment to access to justice issues on July 23 during the State Bar of Texas 2022 Local Bar Leaders Conference in Houston.

Harriet Miers, Chair of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, presented the Deborah G. Hankinson awards on behalf of the Commission during the Local Bar Leaders Conference.

The Deborah G. Hankinson Award honors local bar associations and young lawyer affiliates that demonstrate a commitment to access to justice by creating initiatives that increase access to legal aid services, increase awareness of access to justice issues, or raise funds for legal aid providers on a local and statewide basis. 

The 2022 Hankinson Award winners are as follows: 

Division I (fewer than 500 members) – The Amarillo Area Bar Association 

The Amarillo Area Bar Association was selected for its access to justice efforts including the integration of legal aid presentations by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas at every member meeting. The AABA teamed up with the Amarillo Area Bar Foundation and the Amarillo Young Lawyers

Association to develop “A Beef with the Bench,” a fundraiser event showcasing judges in a friendly contest of “Judicial Family Feud” and featuring huge steak dinners. The event raised $27,000 to help provide low-income families with free civil legal assistance.

Division II (501 to 1,999 members) – The Jefferson County Bar Association

The Jefferson County Bar Association (JCBA) has been called “The Best Little Bar in Texas That Does Big Things.” It was selected for its full-time pro bono program that provided legal services to over 100 community members, a Veterans Legal Initiative that provided pro bono services to veterans, a National Adoption Day collaboration program that provided for adoption services at reduced costs, and piloting a program, Second Chance SETX, that sealed criminal records or offered expunctions, and is now a full-time program serving Jefferson, Hardin, and Orange Counties. 

Division III (2,000+ members) – The Tarrant County Bar Association

The Tarrant County Bar Association was selected for launching, developing, and sustaining numerous pro bono programs, which include working with the Legal Resource Center serving the homeless and low-income communities, working with the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans program, which provided over 1,000 hours of pro bono representation, and collaborating with Legalline, helping almost 1,000 residents with their legal issues in the last year.

Young Lawyers Association, Division II – The Houston Young Lawyers Association

The Houston Young Lawyers Association was selected for participating in the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Intake Clinic, which provides legal resources to indigent Houstonians, and organizing presentations by HYLA’s Know Your Rights Committee to youth in underserved communities.


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 and legal matters for low-income Texans. The Commission has created several initiatives to increase resources and awareness of legal aid. For more information, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TexasATJ or visit www.texasatj.org

The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @statebaroftexas, like us on Facebook at facebook.com, or visit texasbar.com