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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2020
Contact: Trish McAllister
Texas Access to Justice Commission
tmcallister@texasatj.org
(512) 427-1855

Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans raises $422,800

AUSTIN – The Texas Access to Justice Commission with its co-sponsor, the State Bar of Texas, honored veterans throughout the state at the Virtual 2020 Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans. More than $422,000 was raised to help provide civil legal services to low-income Texas veterans.

Proceeds are distributed by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and dedicated to the provision of civil legal services for low-income Texas veterans.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Gala was held as a virtual event. The Gala featured video remarks from guest speakers Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Supreme Court of Texas Justice Brett Busby, Mr. Terry Tottenham, and the distinguished keynote speaker, General Raymond A. Thomas III. Throughout the evening, the speakers underscored the importance of welcoming our veterans home into a community of support.  

The Champions of Justice Gala was pleased to welcome the 11th Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, General Raymond A. Thomas III as keynote speaker for the event. Justice Brett Busby, Deputy Liaision to the Texas Access to Justice Commission, introduced General Thomas and thanked him for dedicating his time to honor and support Texas veterans.

General Thomas spoke with conviction about his past experience in military service and how he has a profound understanding of the issues facing our veterans. General Thomas delivered his remarks with kidness, levity, and care as he discussed the grave reality for veterans in Texas as they return from deployment and seek help with their legal issues. A particularly noteworthy part of General Thomas’ speech was a story he shared about Mary, a veteran who was denied housing assistance after hurricane Harvey but was able to secure housing through the help of a legal aid lawyer. General Thomas’ address underscored the importance of the Champions of Justice Gala and reminded attendees that their support unites us all during a difficult time.

General Thomas touched on the role of the Texas Access to Justice Commission in helping veterans tranisition to civilian life by saying, “The vast majority of them (veterans) are extremely proud and vibrant human beings who want to contribute to society, just like they did in the armed forces. Some of them are returned worse for the wear and tear and have special needs and requirements. That’s where this effort and this Commission plays significant role.”

Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans
Gala co-chairs include prominent Texas attorneys who donated their time and talents for the 2020 effort: Jerry K. Clements with Locke Lord LLP; Randall M. Ebner with Exxon Mobil Corporation; Thomas S. Leatherbury with Vinson & Elkins LLP; David R. McAtee II with AT&T Inc.; Richard W. Mithoff with the Mithoff Law Firm; Stephen C. Mount with H-E-B; and Carlos M. Zaffirini, Jr. with AHCV.

Harry M. Reasoner, of Vinson & Elkins LLP, serves as chair of the Texas Access to Justice Commission.

Texas Legal Aid
Approximately 5.6 million Texans qualify for civil legal aid, but only 10 percent of the legal needs are actually met due to inadequate funding resources. Since its inception in 2001, the Texas Access to Justice Commission has steadily championed efforts to increase financial and pro bono resources to improve access to civil justice for vulnerable Texans. Legal aid organizations help more than 150,000 Texas families each year.

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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.

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