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Holiday Gift of Technology to Help Legal Aid Increase Services to Poor Texans

 Partnership between Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to
 Justice Foundation and international law firms results in donation of
 computer hardware and software to Texas legal aid groups
 AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Access to Justice
 Commission and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, with support from
 several noted law firms, have made a major donation of technology equipment
 worth $680,000 to 37 nonprofit legal aid organizations in Texas. The
 donation, including computers, software and peripherals, will allow for
 increased productivity, thereby enabling legal aid groups to help more poor
 Texans with their civil legal needs.
 Due to limited funding, legal aid organizations lacked basic technology
 equipment and were working with outdated computers and software. Some
 organizations did not have enough equipment for every employee.
 To remedy the situation, the Texas Access to Justice Commission's
 Technology Committee, composed of the chief information officers of leading
 law firms, spent more than a year surveying legal aid organizations about
 their technology programs, creating a technology plan to address the
 deficits, and researching the costs associated with the plan through a bid
 process. All the work was done pro bono.
 Members of the Technology Committee include: C. Lynn McGuire, chief
 information officer, Andrews Kurth LLP (Houston); J. Mark Hendrick,
 director of information technology, Baker Botts, LLP (Houston); C. Kirk
 Scruggs, director of information systems, Bracewell & Guiliani LLP
 (Houston); Scott Preston, chief technology officer, Fulbright & Jaworski
 LLP (Houston), and Dennis Van Metre, chief technology officer at Vinson &
 Elkins (Houston). Additionally, Nick Altizer, chief information officer for
 Lone Star Legal Aid (Houston), and Ryan Gravelle, general counsel for BSG
 Alliance Corp. (Austin), also serve on the committee and donated countless
 hours to the project. Jeff Edwards, of Whitehurst, Harkness, Ozmun & Brees
 in Austin, serves as the Technology Committee's chair.
 Committee members donated more than 1,000 hours of their time for the
 project, amounting to more than $120,000 worth of pro bono assistance,
 which will greatly benefit low-income Texans. As a result of the
 Committee's research and recommendations, the Texas Access to Justice
 Foundation opted to purchase $680,000 worth of equipment in bulk and donate
 it to the legal aid offices. The Foundation purchased 124 desktop
 computers, 181 laptops, 60 business-grade printers, 39 scanners, and more
 than 300 licenses of Microsoft Office 2007 and other software, which will
 be delivered before Christmas. If the legal aid organizations had purchased
 the equipment on their own, the aggregate cost likely would have approached
 "Prior to this project, many legal aid organizations were working with
 very outdated hardware and software," Richard L. Tate, Foundation chair,
 explained. "The Foundation is donating the new equipment to enable legal
 aid service providers to improve efficiency through networking and
 information sharing, automating case management systems, document storage,
 and the ability to work remotely."
 "With 3.9 million low-income and poor people in Texas, the need for
 free legal assistance and representation is unbelievably overwhelming,"
 Commission Chair James B. Sales said. "Through its dedicated work, the
 Technology Committee has developed a state-of-the-art technology program
 for legal services providers which will expand greatly their capacity to
 help those who desperately need assistance for a wide range of legal
 issues, including domestic abuse, landlord-tenant disputes, life-sustaining
 service denials and other civil matters. This truly is a wonderful gift
 that will keep giving beyond the holiday season."
 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 for and awareness of
 legal aid, including the domestic violence Protective Order Kit, the Texas
 Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and,
 an online resource for free legal information.
 The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of
 Texas in 1984, is the primary state-based funding source for the provision
 of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision
 that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their
 income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are
 earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to
 approximately 100,000 Texans each year.
 SOURCE The Texas Access to Justice Commission

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Steven J. Williams, P.C.
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