July 31, 2018

Catherine Galloway
Program Developer
Texas Access to Justice Commission | 512-427-1855

Amy Starnes
Public Information Director
State Bar of Texas | 512-427-1706

Bar leaders, associations celebrated for improving
legal assistance to low-income Texans

AUSTIN—Bar associations from around the state were honored for their commitment to access to justice issues during the State Bar of Texas 2018 Bar Leaders Conference July 21-22 in Austin.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission, presented the Deborah G. Hankinson awards on behalf of the. Photos of the award recipients are available upon request. Contact Amy Starnes at

The Deborah G. Hankinson Award honors 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 2018 Hankinson Award winners are as follows:

Division I (fewer than 500 members)
The L. Clifford Davis Legal Association for its access to justice efforts including the bi-annual Expunction & Non-Disclosure clinics and the annual fundraising dinner. The clinics have helped hundreds of low-income Tarrant County residents obtain employment, better housing, and educational opportunities that were not previously attainable due to their criminal records. The LCDLA’s annual dinner, in existence for nearly 40 years, has raised tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money for minority law students in the Fort Worth area.

Division II (501 to 900 members)
The Smith County Bar Association for its access to justice efforts including the bi-annual Settlement Week, when association members volunteer to help litigants settle their cases by serving as mediators. Approximately 85 percent of the cases presented during each event are resolved, decreasing the number of cases needing attention through the court system. Many of the SBCA’s ongoing programs are linked to Constitution Day, Law Day, National Adoption Day, and Texas Attorneys for Texas Veterans and provide educational and legal services to Smith County residents.

SCBA President John Hardy, Executive Director Cristy Arscott, and member Danny Noteware accepted the award on behalf of the bar.

Division III (901 to 5,000 members)
Houston Bar Association for its access to justice efforts including their annual Golf Tournament and Harvest Celebration, which collectively raised more than $750,000 for pro bono legal services for low-income Houstonians this year. The HBA and the Houston Volunteer Lawyers organization provided extensive pro bono services for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, including staffing shelters, legal clinics, and a daily LegalLine to answer questions. Bar association members work tirelessly to remove barriers to justice through various HBA initiatives, including the Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Veterans Legal Initiative, and the Juvenile Records Sealing Program.

Benny Agosto, president-elect of the Houston Bar Association, accepted the award on behalf of the association.


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 or visit

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, or visit

We use cookies to analyze our traffic and enhance functionality. More Information agree