TexasBar.com

Texas Access to Justice Foundation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2011

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

Richard L. Tate Reappointed Chair of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation Board of Directors

AUSTIN, Texas - The Supreme Court of Texas has reappointed attorney Richard L. Tate of Richmond, to chair the board of directors of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF).  Tate was reappointed to a three-year term as chair through August 2014.   He is a founding partner in the Richmond law firm of Tate, Moerer & King, L.L.P.

Tate was appointed to the board of directors of TAJF in 1993, and was first appointed chair of the board in 1999.  The Texas Access to Justice Foundation is the largest state-based funding source for civil legal aid in Texas, and has awarded more than $300 million since its inception. The Foundation board of directors consists of 13 attorney and public members, seven of whom are appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas and six by the State Bar of Texas.

“We are pleased to have the leadership of Mr. Tate in this Foundation that helps thousands of disadvantaged Texans receive the legal services they desperately need,” Justice Nathan Hecht, the Supreme Court’s liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said. “As we continue to face the economic challenges of providing more basic legal services for more people in need, we are confident the experience and commitment of Mr. Tate will help us meet those fiscal challenges responsibly and conscientiously.”

Tate is a former president of the Fort Bend County Bar Association and has been in private practice for 32 years, with a principal concentration in civil litigation.  He earned his law degree from the University of Houston, his undergraduate degree from Pan American University, and a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Supreme Court of Texas created the Texas Access to Justice Foundation in 1984 to provide funding for the civil legal needs of poor and low-income Texans. The Foundation annually awards grants to approximately 40 nonprofit legal aid organizations throughout the state that help struggling Texans in matters involving foreclosures, employment, domestic violence and family law issues.

The Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program is a primary funding source for the Foundation and for civil legal services to Texans in need. IOLTA funding has decreased nearly 75 percent since 2007 due to an overall decline in interest rates. In addition to IOLTA, the Foundation collects and administers other private and public funding and works closely with partners in the banking industry to manage and increase the funding for IOLTA.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the largest state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to approximately 100,000 Texas families each year.