General Brochure — Veterans Brochure
The Community Justice Program (“CJP”) is a collaborative effort by the San Antonio Bar Association and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid to provide free neighborhood-based legal services to individuals who may not otherwise have access to the legal system. It is alarming to realize that fewer than 20 percent of low-income residents of South Texas can obtain access to legal assistance when faced with a civil problem. That means that four out of five people arrive at the courthouse door to find that they cannot afford the price of admission. Through our volunteers’ generous donation of their time, the CJP is striving to make a difference in those numbers. The CJP also hosts an annual Golf Tournament fundraiser in the spring.
Hon. Phylis Speedlin
Community Justice Foundation President
Judge Lisa Jarrett
Judge Larry Noll
Amanda Reimherr Buckert
The mission of the Community Justice Program is to support legal representation for indigent residents of San Antonio. A closely related purpose is to provide local attorneys with the opportunity to engage in pro bono work within a comprehensive and efficient clinic setting. The participation of attorneys and volunteers helps open the doors of the Courthouse to those in need. The CJP asks each volunteer to please come back each year and "Just Take One" pro bono case. With this motto and each case an attorney takes through the CJP, that many more Bexar County residents have received the important legal help they needed but could not afford. We welcome individual attorneys to volunteer, and we highly encourage firms or legal organizations to “adopt” a clinic night each year and send as many attorneys as they can. Knowing that we can count on a firm’s yearly participation allows us to ensure that we can continue operating clinics on a regular schedule.
• Alamo Area Paralegal Association
• Association of Corporate Counsel South/Central Texas
• AT&T Legal Department
• Attorney General of Texas HEROES Project
• Bexar County Court Reporters Association
• Bexar County District Clerks Office
• Bexar County Women’s Bar Association
• Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation
• Catholic Charities
• Catholic Lawyers Guild
• Christian Legal Society
• JP & Municipal Courts Committee
• Mexican American Bar Association
• Paralegal Division, District 5
• San Antonio Bankruptcy Bar Association
• San Antonio Bar Association District Courts Committee
• San Antonio Bar Association Elder Law Section
• San Antonio Bar Association Family Law Section
• San Antonio Bar Association Construction
• Law Section
• San Antonio Bar Auxiliary
• San Antonio Bar Foundation
• San Antonio Black Lawyers Association
• San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
• San Antonio Legal Secretaries Association
• San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association
• San Antonio Young Lawyers Association
• South Texas Organization of Paralegals, Inc.
• St. Mary’s Center for Legal & Social Justice
• St. Mary’s University School of Law
• Texas Veterans Commission
The CJP accepts uncontested civil matters including divorce, name changes, simple landlord/tenant disputes, probate matters and wills. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid prescreens each client before they come to the clinics to determine their eligibility for our program. Each client must be below certain federal poverty guidelines in order to be accepted by TRLA.
Currently, the CJP holds several types of legal clinics or “court” in various locations. The family law clinics are held at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the Wesley Community Center. These clinics provide complete legal service for uncontested civil matters (mostly simple, uncontested divorces) including attorneys, district clerks, notaries, interpreters, support staff, and judges (all working on a volunteer basis). The first neighborhood clinic met at the Carver Academy on San Antonio’s east side in October of 2002. This clinic was relocated in June 2007 to the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) offices near downtown. The second CJP clinic opened on San Antonio’s west side at St. Mary’s University’s Center for Legal and Social Justice in April of 2003. On January 24, 2006 the CJP opened its third clinic on San Antonio’s south side at the Wesley Community Center.
The clinics at St. Mary’s Center for Legal & Social Justice are our Wills Clinics, which provide wills and ancillary documents for low-income individuals. We are pleased to have recently added two new, different kinds of clinics. The Veterans Clinic at the Audie L. Murphy Veterans Hospital serves indigent veterans in an advice-only setting about a wide variety of legal issues. This clinic also prepares wills for the veterans. The Special Education clinic is an advice-only clinic for parents of special needs children that are trying to understand their rights when navigating the school system.
To date, we have matched more than
8,500 pro bono cases to volunteer attorneys.