Community Presentations and Involvement
- The Low Income Taxpayer Assistance Clinic made five educational presentations on a variety of topics to clients at three different agencies—the M.D. Anderson YMCA in Spanish (in partnership with the University of St. Thomas), Boat People S.O.S through a Vietnamese-language interpreter, and the Nina Lorenzo Early Childhood Center’s PTA through a Spanish-language interpreter. Topics included tax issues related to retirement accounts; tax implications of independent contract work; criteria for selecting a tax preparer; methods to avoid tax scams; EITC; and who must file a tax return.
- Recent graduates Adam Matlock and Omar Martinez joined the Tax Clinics for a semester-long outreach project to provide information and education to the public on IRS-related information and information related to Harvey. They crisscrossed the county in those efforts.
- Clinic Teaching Fellow Crystal Jenkins and Associate Dean Catherine Burnett each collaborated with AARP for a series of community presentations on Transfer on Death Deeds (TODD). More than 150 area residents participated. These topics gained more urgency in post-Hurricane Harvey Houston.
Service agencies throughout the greater Houston area often lack the legal staff necessary to assist or guide clients on legal matters. The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics seek to close that gap by providing advice and counsel to clients of these service agencies, so that the agencies can focus more on the basic needs central to their missions.
The Civil Practice Clinics conduct monthly outreach with Humble Area Assistance Ministries and Star of Hope. The clinic staff regularly attends seminars at the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
The Veterans Clinic has a robust partnership with Houston Volunteer Lawyers to provide legal advice, counsel, and intake during weekly off-site clinics at the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center.
Educating the Profession
In spring 2017, the Immigration Clinic hosted a free half-day CLE for more than 125 attendees, focusing on how immigration attorneys and pro bono volunteers can best help their clients navigate the current system and counseling on emergency family planning in case of detention.
Educating By Social Media
Students in the Low Income Taxpayer Assistance Clinic created two additional educational video presentations and posted them to the Clinic’s official YouTube channel. Launched this academic year, the channel now hosts four topical videos that have garnered more than 850 views to date. Videos address innocent spouse relief, identity theft, and tax preparer fraud.
Snapshot: Community Outreach
In the month of September alone, staff and student volunteers participated in the following weekend outreach activities in the immigration arena:
Event Volunteer Participants Service Hours
DACA workshops 21 volunteers 77.5 hours
Citizenship workshops 8 volunteers 40 hours
Asylum workshops 19 hours