Lawyers Giving Back

Communication Access Fund

The Communication Access Fund is a new service provided by the State Bar of Texas to its members. The fund will reimburse attorneys for sign language interpreters, Computer Assisted Real-Time Transcription (CART), braille documents, and other auxiliary aids and services that they need in order to serve clients with disabilities.

The State Bar is providing this service to help attorneys meet their obligations under the American with Disabilities Act. Although most attorneys know they must provide auxiliary aids or services if they are necessary to communicate effectively with clients that have disabilities, the costs of these services can be burdensome. These costs can be especially burdensome for solo practitioners and small firms because these costs cannot be passed on to the client. When the Disability Issues Committee suggested that the State Bar establish a Communication Access Fund, it was immediately apparent that this was an exciting opportunity to serve our members and the community all at once. The Fund will help lawyers by defraying the costs of these services, and it will help the community by making legal services more accessible to clients with disabilities.

In order to make the program a success, the State Bar is collaborating with the Disability Issues Committee. The State Bar’s Legal Access Division will administer the Fund. Meanwhile, the Disability Issues Committee will help to develop training and resources to help attorneys understand their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and how to reduce costs when using auxiliary aids and services. Stay tuned for more information about that soon!

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