Texas Access to Justice Commission
October 13, 2011

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

New Commissioners Appointed to the Texas Access to Justice Commission

AUSTIN, Texas - The Supreme Court of Texas and the State Bar of Texas have appointed three new commissioners to the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The Court created the Commission in 2001 to expand civil legal aid services for low-income Texans.

The appointments, each for a three-year term, are as follows:

Supreme Court of Texas Appointments

C. Kay Caballero, Lubbock
Caballero has served as the executive director and managing attorney of the Legal Aid Society of Lubbock, Inc. since 2003.  During her tenure, the nonprofit that provides basic civil legal services to low-income Texans has expanded from one county to serving 12.  She also established, with the District Attorney, a Domestic Violence Taskforce in the Lubbock-area to deal with the overwhelming problem.

Carlos Eduardo Cárdenas, El Paso
Cárdenas is a lawyer in private practice with the Law Office of Joseph (Sib) Abraham, Jr.  He serves on council of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas and is a past president of the El Paso Bar Association.  While bar president, Cárdenas focused on access to justice issues, including implementing a state and national award-winning access to justice fair project for the public and coordinating the El Paso Lawyers for Patriots which provided free legal clinics for veterans and military personnel.

State Bar of Texas Appointment

Ike Vanden Eykel, Dallas
Vanden Eykel is the CEO and managing partner of KoonsFuller and a renowned family law litigator.  He currently serves on the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas.  Vanden Eykel is the immediate past president of the Dallas Bar Association and during his term dedicated his efforts to increasing legal aid services to the poor.

“We are delighted to have these outstanding new Commissioners join us, representing the wide geographic diversity of those we serve. They will make a great contribution to the Commission's mission to provide access to justice to the millions of Texans who cannot afford to hire lawyers,” Harry M. Reasoner, chair of the Texas Access to Justice Commission and partner in Vinson & Elkins LLP in Houston, said.

The Supreme Court of Texas created the Texas Access to Justice Commission to increase services for people who need legal help but may not be able to afford it or find it. Legal aid organizations in Texas serve more 100,000 Texas families each year with their basic civil legal needs; however, only approximately 20-25 percent of those who qualify for legal aid are able to receive it due to lack of resources.  The Commission’s goals include reducing barriers to the justice system and increasing resources and funding for legal aid. The Commission consists of 21 commissioners, including attorney and non-attorney members.

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.