Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters
Standing Committee of the State Bar of Texas


To concern itself with creation and means of implementation of programs, such as legal aid or pro bono efforts, to assure delivery of legal services to persons who are unable to afford counsel to represent them in civil matters. The composition of the committee shall include members of legal aid, legal services and pro bono programs, including at least one director from a Legal Service Corporation-funded field program.

For questions related to the Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Standing Committee, please contact the Legal Services Support Division, the State Bar’s pro bono department:

  • Cathryn Ibarra, Program Attorney, (800) 204-2222, ext. 1839.
  • For information about low-income legal services providers in Texas, please visit www.TexasLawHelp.org or call the Lawyer Referral Information Program at
    (800) 252-9690.


History and Partners

The Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Standing Committee of the State Bar of Texas is Texas’ oldest statewide organization devoted to increasing low-income Texans’ access to civil justice. The Committee was organized as a standing committee of the Bar in 1972. The Committee strives to work closely and at common purpose with a number of organizations, including the Texas Access to Justice Commission (http://www.texasatj.org/) and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation (http://www.teajf.org/).


The Committee’s volunteer members help the Board of Directors carry out one of the Bar’s core missions, to “assure all citizens equal access to justice.”

An important part of the Committee’s job is to study and recommend suitable policy initiatives for Board consideration. Accordingly, for the past three decades, the Committee has served as the source for many of the Bar’s successful civil pro bono initiatives. For example, in the area of funding alone, the Committee helped develop the IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) program and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation in 1984, convert the IOLTA program to a comprehensive one in 1988, and initiate filing fee legislation in 1993 (passed into law in 1997).

The Committee has also served as the initial screening stage for the Bar’s pro bono awards, and as a clearinghouse to monitor developments in, and facilitate coordination of efforts with, federally-funded LSC (Legal Services Corporation) providers and a variety of private organizations and local bar initiatives. With the TATJC, the Committee sponsors, and through its budget helps to fund, the ATJ track at the State Bar’s annual Bar Leaders Conference.

Recently, the Committee has been highly involved in Hurricane Ike disaster relief efforts through its spearheading of LiveHelp, an online service that allows low-income persons impacted by Hurricane Ike to conduct online chats with volunteer attorneys. See www.texaslawhelp.org.

Committee appointment terms commence after the annual meeting at which the President-Elect becomes President. Unless otherwise noted, appointment terms are for three years and no member may serve on more than one committee at a time. Participation is important and failure to contribute in the work of the committee may result in removal from the committee. The State Bar of Texas will accept requests for committee member positions for the upcoming 2011-2012 bar year until December 3, 2010. Appointment requests received after the deadline will be considered for the 2012-2013 bar year. If you are interested in helping lead the Texas legal profession into the future, and would like to be considered for an appointment to a State Bar standing committee, visit the Committees web page for more information or contact committees@texasbar.com or by telephone at (512) 427-1516.


  • Chair: Matthew B. Probus
  • Vice Chair: Peggy Montgomery
  • Board Advisor: Cindy Venise Tisdale
  • Alt. Board Advisor: Susan I. Nelson
  • Staff Liaison: Cathryn Ibarra

Terms Ends 2013

Mayra Castro
Stewart Miller
Peggy Montgomery
Judge Mario Ramirez
Israel Reyna
Andrea Sloan
Frances Valdez
Va Lita Francine Waits
Jessica Warren

Terms Ends 2014

David Gray Hall
Patrick S. Metze
Judy Crowder Parker
Jane Gordon Parreiras-Horta
Jane E. Perelman
Hon. Rick G. Strange

Terms Ends 2015

Kayla Dawn Dreyer
Vinh Ngoc Ho
Matthew B. Probus
Barbara Jean Rice Stalder
Jamye Boone Ward
Jerri Lynn Ward
May Yia Yang
Aida Ann Zaragoza


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