JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Contacts:

Amy Starnes
Public Information Director State Bar of Texas
800-204-2222 ext. 1706 or 512-427-1706
astarnes@texasbar.com

Clarissa Ayala
Communications Director
Lone Star Legal Aid
713-652-0077
CAyala@lonestarlegal.org

Shelby Jean
Director of Communications
Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
817-339-5384
jeans@lanwt.org

Robert Elder
Communications Director 
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.
512-374-2764
relder@trla.org

Free assistance available for low-income individuals grappling with civil legal problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

AUSTIN—The State Bar of Texas and legal aid providers across the state remind Texans that a toll-free legal assistance hotline is available to low-income individuals and families confronted with civil legal problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legal aid providers are already witnessing:

  • increased evictions as individuals are unable to pay rent,

  • employment law concerns as petitioners are denied unemployment benefits, and

  • family law matters as COVID-19 impacts child visitation and support.

People may call 800-504-7030 toll-free to be connected with legal service providers in their area. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who can provide free legal help. One number connects callers with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas serving North and West Texas; Lone Star Legal Aid serving Northeast, East, and Southeast Texas; and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid serving South and West Texas. Callers should be aware there are some limitations on the legal services available.

Online Resources
A webpage of COVID-19 resources is available at TexasLawHelp.org including information on eviction and tenants’ rights, unemployment benefits, family law matters, estate planning, and other matters. The website's LiveChat feature can assist low-income individuals with their legal questions. The website is operated by Texas Legal Services Center.

Barratry or improper solicitation
The State Bar of Texas reminds the public that in many cases it is a crime in Texas for a lawyer or someone representing a lawyer to contact a person for purposes of legal representation if the person has not first requested the call or personal visit. The contact is not illegal if the attorney is not seeking payment or has a preexisting professional-client or family relationship with the person being contacted.

If you witness something you believe to be improper solicitation, or barratry, please get the name and phone number of the person making contact and report it to your local law enforcement authority or the State Bar of Texas Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office toll free at 866-224-5999.

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Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (lanwt.org) — Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas is a nonprofit organization that strives to meet the legal needs of more than 1.5 million eligible clients in its 114-county service area. The fifth-largest legal aid program in the United States, LANWT provides a wide variety of broad-based legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients including family law, landlord/tenant cases, public benefits, wills, foreclosure prevention, consumer issues, and community revitalization matters.

Lone Star Legal Aid (lonestarlegal.org) — Lone Star Legal Aid is the fourth largest service provider of free legal aid in the United States. LSLA serves 72 counties in Texas and four in Arkansas, from Texarkana, to the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast state-line, down to Matagorda Bay, an area with over 2 million Texans eligible for free legal services. LSLA has 14 offices throughout east, southeast, and northeast Texas; covering consumer, housing, environmental justice, disaster recovery, tax relief, family law, domestic violence, sexual assault, crime victim rights, veterans benefits, and more.

State Bar of Texas (texasbar.com) — 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.

Texas Legal Services Center (tlsc.org) — Texas Legal Services Center is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide high-quality legal representation, advice, advocacy, and education at no cost to underserved people across the state. With more than a dozen practice areas, our work touches almost every aspect of civil law that impacts low-income Texans.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (trla.org) — Texas RioGrande Legal Aid provides free legal services to approximately 23,000 low-income Texans in 68 southwestern counties including the entire Texas-Mexico border. TRLA attorneys specialize in more than 45 practice areas, including disaster assistance, family, employment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, subsidized housing, education, immigration, farmworker, civil rights, and environmental law.

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